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Most folks associate quality improvement initiatives with upfront expenses and ongoing cost increases. Fortunately, when done efficiently and with enough forethought and planning, quality improvement programs can pay for themselves in the form of increased throughput, reduced labor steps, and reduction in materials consumption. Increased yield improvements are then a pure bonus. The following project, centered on Saturn’s LPI solder mask operation, was implemented about 13 years ago and details just such an example. It was one part of a comprehensive review of our processes prompted by customer complaints of scratches on their incoming PCBs. The results, including a customer award, galvanized us to our current continuous improvement modus operandi.
Cleanroom Fixes Following LPI solder mask application, panels were partially cured in a tunnel oven and then scheduled for LPI imaging. A number of cosmetic defects were found to be related to mishandling and air cleanliness of the imaging area. To reduce mishandling, a new transportation cart system was implemented. To reduce opens due to dust, the entire area was enclosed with clean room curtains and station HEPA filters with particle counting machines.
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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of The PCB Magazine.
Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
Nolan Johnson spoke with Brian Wojtkiewicz at PCB West about Taiyo’s latest developments in solder mask technology. They discussed the company’s advances in flexible circuits, HDI, and much more. In particular, Brian discusses the importance of reliability in fabrication and assembly. "We’re always in the fabricators’ shops. I’m out in the field talking to them, helping the operators understand the process, and making things work better because then we don’t have issues down the road," he says.
I-Connect007 Editorial Team
In this second half of our conversation, Michael Carano discusses some of the metrics that fabricators need to consider before investing in new processes, especially process control technologies, and some of the challenges board shops face updating brownfield sites.
Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
“Summer is over, now it's back to work!” This was the opening line of the invitation to the 18th EIPC Technical Snapshot webinar, Sept. 14, following the theme of advances in automotive electronics technology, introduced and moderated by EIPC President Alun Morgan. The first presentation, entitled "The fully printed smart component—combining additive manufacturing and sensor printing," came from Jonas Mertin, a thin-film processing specialist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology.