Flexible Thinking: Process Engineering—PCB Manufacturing’s ‘Delta Force’


Reading time ( words)

The role of the process engineer is arguably one of the most important jobs in the printed circuit industry. The process engineer is on the front line of manufacturing and responsible for making sure product yields and profitability meet expectations. The job typically entails and intertwines many different and even disparate disciplines, including: electrochemistry, mechanical engineering, NC machining, robotics and automation, metallurgy, laser technology, polymer processing and photolithography. It even reaches back into the printed circuit design process. Because of this variety, it is also arguably at once, one of the most challenging and interesting jobs in the PCB industry.

In practice in most major manufacturing facilities, process engineers often specialize in just one of the areas identified here. In smaller facilities, the process engineer often must move between and attend to matters in more than one discipline, most commonly process steps which immediately precede or follow the area where the engineer has special training and expertise. However, in many cases, factors which may influence product quality and yield may be several steps earlier or later in the process. This is extremely important when one is looking into, or in the midst of implementing a new process on the manufacturing floor. Change comes slowly in PCB manufacturing and old habits are hard to break, so keeping a finger on the pulse of the process is critical.

It is a simple fact of life that in PCB manufacturing, process characterization, monitoring and maintenance are critical to success, and so also is collecting and evaluating data on process health. The tools and specific methods and measurements required will vary significantly from process to process, but without control, the quality of the results of the process will be left to a roll of the dice.

Read the full article here.

 

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of The PCB Magazine

Share

Print


Suggested Items

IPC Validation Services: What to Expect at IPC APEX EXPO 2020

01/24/2020 | Nolan Johnson, PCB007
IPC’s Randy Cherry previews what to expect from IPC APEX EXPO 2020, including a full line on display demonstrating CFX/Hermes, further development of the Validation Services program, as well as testimonials from member companies that have been participating in IPC’s new trusted supplier program to the Department of Defense (DoD).

What’s the SCOOP: Chinese New Year

01/03/2020 | Philip Spagnoli Stoten, SCOOP
Chinese New Year really is an amazing celebration with millions of workers returning to their families for the celebrations. But with the shutdown and mass migration come stress on infrastructure, supply chain and the whole manufacturing and fulfillment ecosystem. I asked a few Industry experts what they thought the key issues are and what advice they’d offer.

The Institute of Circuit Technology Autumn Seminar

10/03/2019 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Meriden has been established as a popular Midlands venue for Institute of Circuit Technology (ICT) meetings. On September 19, a multitude of Fellows, Members, and Associates gathered for the Institute’s autumn seminar, which was organised and hosted by ICT Technical Director Bill Wilkie. The agenda included five informative technical presentations, describing current research and development on significant topics relevant to the industry.



Copyright © 2020 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.