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70 SMT007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2018 Article by Edward Hughes ACULON Ever-increasing demand for more complex boards that have higher densities of compo- nents means more challenges for SMT assem- bly operations and yields. Smaller component sizes and more densely packed PCBs lead to more powerful designs in much smaller prod- uct packages. These advancements have spurred a new set of challenges in building smaller and more complex assemblies. Even though SMT products have been manu- factured in high volume for decades, SMT line issues continue to be prevalent and new demands continue to pose new challenges. While the SMT print process is not complicated, controlling the outcome is complex. Having an underperforming SMT process results in lots of rework, lower throughput and added product costs as well as product reliability issues. Rauland, a division of AMETEK Inc., is an 80-year integrated communications technol- ogy company that builds nurses call stations and school bell systems. The company responds to market needs globally with two distinct communication system product lines: Responder, designed for the healthcare indus- try; and Telecenter systems, which serve the educational market. SMTA-certified Process Engineer Jimmy Crow works at Rauland's highly sophisticated, FDA-compliant manufacturing facility that has state-of-the-art SMT equipment. At Rauland they build four- to eight-layer PCBs, place BGA, PCBGA, QFNs, typical double-sided boards, with its smallest part to date an 042 Aperio. Disciplined and quality conscious, Crow was not happy with the performance of his SMT line. There were too many defect and too much line downtime. Rework levels were also too high. His goal was to reduce SMT related defects and increase throughput while main- taining quality. Studies have shown that 65% of defects from SMT lines comes from the screen-print-

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