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14 FLEX007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2018 Returned product is inevitable if you work in manufacturing. That does not imply that it is easy to address. No matter what the reason for the returned material, it disrupts the normal flow of the quality and manufacturing teams. An inspector must first review the defect and agree that it is indeed a defect. This seems like a simple task and can be if the material doesn't match a customer specific requirement. However, if the material must adhere to an industry-wide standard, such as an IPC stan- dard in the circuit industry, it becomes a little more tedious. In most cases the manufacturer will be more familiar with the specification than their customer. Also, they are more likely to keep the latest revision of the requirements in their library. This can cause a situation where the customer has identified a reject that isn't agreed upon when compared to the stan- dard it was built to. Tedious indeed! As well, there are other cases that have been witnessed by the author that create a less- than-easy situation. For instance, if the cus- tomer sends back rejected material that wasn't built by your company. This is typically easy to determine by company markings. Or they send back materials that have obviously been dam- aged by handling at their own facility. It com- plicates an already difficult process. How does it happen? In the flexible circuit industry (and any other industry, for that mat- ter), there are times when all the mate- rial delivered to the customer fails to meet the specifications. This can happen for a num- ber of reasons and typi- cally depends on the final inspection process. Two common final inspection processes used are sampling and 100%. When a prod- uct utilizes the 100% inspec- tion process, every part that is shipped to your customer will also have been inspected. A sam- pling process is intuitively a par- tial inspection, typically 10-25% of Consider This by John Talbot, TRAMONTO CIRCUITS RMAs: Negative Experience or Valuable Opportunity? 14 FLEX007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2018

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