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70 The PCB Magazine • December 2016 A lot of things are taken for granted now- adays. Even in our everyday lives, we order things, but are we always getting exactly what we've ordered? What we've paid for? Maybe… hopefully…but maybe not. In the testing world, we call this double-checking "supplier surveil- lance," and it can influence and affect anyone and everyone in the printed circuit board and printed circuit assembly supply chain. In a nutshell, supplier surveillance is a set of steps that you've put in place to ensure that you are getting whatever it is that you have asked for. Whether that be a circuit board, a laminate material, some plating bath chemistry, a met- al alloy…or whatever. A little bit of testing on the front end, to ensure that you're receiving what you think you're receiving, can go a long, long way in providing you and your customer some piece of mind. It's a small bit of due dili- gence that can pay off big. A small bit of test- ing or double-checking that allows you, with confidence, to know that you are getting what you've paid for and that a potential product or field return from your customer is not due to your use of poor quality building blocks. No matter where you are in the supply chain, if you are receiving defective material or product and are not performing any supplier surveillance, then there is a 100% chance that you are passing said defective material/product on to your customer. A successful supplier surveillance plan will ensure that you are receiving and then using exactly the materials/products that you want to build the widget you are selling to your custom- er. Supplier surveillance plans typically incor- porate items such as product data sheets and/ or certificates of compliance (CoC) to ensure that the material or product matches what you believe you are receiving. Product data sheets commonly contain information about the fea- tures of the material/product as well as chemi- cal, electrical, and/or mechanical properties of the material/product, along with any testing history that may have been performed. Simi- larly, CoCs typically contain much of the same Are You Getting What You've Asked for? LET'S TALK TESTING by Keith M. Sellers NTS-BALTIMORE

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