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10 SMT Magazine • April 2016 soldering BGA components, and solder print- ing. The frequent production switches among different products are also among the biggest challenges. This leads to quality issues such as time-to-market pressures, respondents say, which cause them to hurry and possibly over- look key process parameters. Still on quality, the respondents say there is also a need to identify all critical-to-function parameters without hav- ing to resort to very high sample sizes. Interestingly, 44.7% of our survey respon- dents are relying on their suppliers when it comes to their process engineering. Overall, most manufacturers say there is a lack of sup- plier support across the board. Key issues here include failure by the supplier to deliver to schedule, meet product requirements, and have adequate material on hand to recover from a yield failure. Management buy-in also plays a key role, as according to our survey, there a lack of coopera- tion between management and production to ensure proper process engineering. From an ad- ministrative standpoint, respondents pointed out the lack of budget and the need for expe- rienced and skillful staff as key issues when it comes to improving their manufacturing pro- cesses. The trend in the electronics as- s e m b l y industry is toward more automa- tion, and our survey reflects this, as more than 60% of our respon- dents consider further automat- ing the control of their pro- cesses. Also, more than a third, or 34.5% of the surveyed com- panies also consider the Internet of Things (IoT) or Industry 4.0 to have a huge impact in their pro- duction line. Even though survey respon- dents consider the never-ending introduction of new equipment as a challenge (as mentioned above), they did point out their wish list when it comes to technology im- provements in equipment or tools to help improve their engineering. Among these are the need for real- time, anytime/anywhere data assimilation from their shop floor equipment; machine diagnostic software; better linkages into tracking systems for all operations; automated data gathering; improvement in AOI speed; SPC capability; and better IR oven for soldering, to name just a few. In line with our process engineering survey, this issue of SMT Magazine features articles and insights that aim to help electronics assemblers and manufacturers address the issues described above and help improve their processes. For starters, Mike Renneboog and Robert Clarke of EMS firm Etratech detail how they were able to address their inefficient processes— in particular, solder paste mis-registration—to minimize defects and improve their PCB assem- bly and SMT line quality and productivity. Michael Ford of Mentor Graphics, mean- while, writes about the need for process prep- aration systems to be able to cope with every aspect and production without mistakes and confusion, in order to scale the flexibility and responsiveness of the production operation in line with customer and market expectations. Bjorn Dahle of KIC Thermal writes that defects are simply too expensive and "doing it right the first time" is the new strategy in this high-pressure environment. In his arti- cle, he explains the benefits of improving the reflow and screen printing processes through a case study of one of his compa- ny's EMS customers. I interviewed Matej Kranjc of National Instruments, a test and measurement equipment pro- vider, to get an insight on data acquisition systems and big data analysis—which are among the key challenges highlighted above in our survey. In our interview, Kranjc talks about how big data analysis is enabling process innovation. In his technical article, Gerjan Diepstraten of Vitronics Soltec writes about critical process parameters to improve and achieve a repeatable, consistent control of the selective sol- dering process. Inside these pages is also a case study regarding why TeligentEMS took a sys- TakinG ThE GrEmlins ouT of Your ProcEss

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