pdf_downloadDownload a PDF of this issue with color photos

Spitfire Controls Website Redesigned

SigmaTron International’s Spitfire Controls Division now has a new website: spitfirecontrols.com. The division provides product development engineering and system integration expertise to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in appliance and indus-trial applications. Spitfire utilizes a shared development business model to engineer customer-owned products which may license some of its proprietary software.

The new website highlights Spitfire Controls’ capabilities and solutions. Spitfire’s team can work independently on design projects or
combine with SigmaTron’s operations to offer a complete design and manufacturing solution.

The end result provides customers with several key advantages:

  • Reduced time to product realization
  • Robust design for manufacturability/testability focus
  • Lowest total cost through a combination of design focus on minimal component count, competitively priced supply chain and efficient manufacturing operations.

Elk Grove Village Now ISO 13485 Certified

SigmaTron International’s Elk Grove Village facility has received certification to ISO 13485:2003. SigmaTron’s facilities in Union City, California and Tijuana, Mexico are also certified.

“We have seen growth in medical accounts on the west coast. Customers in this segment value our multinational footprint and ability to sup-port a full product lifecycle. They also value the fact that we offer a scalable solution and are right-sized for their typical project volumes,” said Curtis Campbell, Vice President of Sales, West Coast Operations.

“Our Elk Grove Village facility currently has two customers in the medical sector. Now that we’ve enhanced our solution for customers preferring to manufacture in the Midwest, we hope to see additional growth in this segment,” said Steve McNulty, Vice President of Sales.

Elk Grove Village Optimizes Inspection Efficiency with AOI

By Ron Feyereisen, Continuous Improvement Manager, EGV

When we made the decision to purchase an automated (AOI) system, we didn’t wish to simply purchase the first one that we encountered and check it off of our list. An IPC-based acceptability criterion is very important to our processes to produce products that meet and exceed quality workmanship standards for electronic assemblies and customer requirements.

With this in mind, we sought an AOI system that not only looks for the basics such as component presence, placement and marking, but also inspects solder joints at a logarithmic level. After months of qualifying several AOI systems, we were pleased to find one that met our goals: Omron’s RNS II-pt AOI System.

Our post-SMT reflow off-line inspection system allows for inspection of greater product diversity within a high mix/low volume production environment. This system easily allows for the inspection of PCB/panel sizes ranging from 50 – 50mm to 550 – 650mm.

Utilizing a tri-color highlight technology, the system uniquely measures solder joint topography for accurate filet angle measurements with inspection criteria set to match current IPC-A-610 acceptability criteria.  The tri-color highlight methodology is a great improvement when compared to other “sample” image based systems that simply compare images to a golden sample image. Every component identified on the approved customer’s X-Y data (generated from Gerber) has its own unique inspection model and is judged independently every time.

Fast and accurate inspections are consistently achieved with typical inspection times under 30 seconds per unit. The benefit of this speed is that we are able to cost effectively perform 100% AOI inspection on the majority of products we produce.

We are able to perform immediate root cause defect analysis due to the machine’s excellent process improvement support system. Real-time failure verification screens allow our trained inspectors to judge all component failure call-outs in the event of any false calls. All non-conformances receive immediate SMT technician attention for process improvements before additional non-conformances are created.

Our team spent less than a week training in programming techniques at Omron’s local training facility and had ten product inspection programs running the week afterwards. Needless to say, the programming learning curve was not very steep.

The system was installed in August 2012. Overall, we have seen impressive inspection efficiencies that have initiated sustainable process improvements. Many of these would have not been as easily identified with simple and subjective visual inspections. We have an ever growing list of pro-grams that include a large AOI model parts library, making the time necessary for programming shorter and shorter.

Getting the Most Out of SigmaTron’s Management Information Systems

The biggest challenge in the electronics manufacturing services (EMS) industry is ensuring adequate material availability while minimizing inventory liability. As with most data-driven processes, the more accurate a customer’s forecast, the better the result. SigmaTron’s program management team works with each customer to analyze historical demand trends and establish as accurate a fore-cast as possible. Customer forecast modules are linked to SigmaTron’s systems.

To ensure speed, accuracy and better project status visibility, SigmaTron’s Exact Macola ES ERP software links with an internally-developed iScore suite of sup-ply chain management tools.  An MRP Share program provides suppliers with complete customer forecast visibility, plus current inventory and material on order. The iScore system supports vendor-managed inventory (VMI) and Production Driven Replenishment (PDR™) pull signals. Customers are given visibility into inventory status via the Score™ customer portal.

VMI is used, as needed, with component sup-pliers. It can also be used with customers wishing to consume transferred inventories before new material is phased in. PDR™ is triggered automatically when the iScore system checks inventory for shortages as shop orders are released. If a shortage is detected, a PDR™ pull signal is sent to the supplier and parts are received in two-to-seven days.

An Automatic Replenishment System (ARS) is used for higher volume low average sales price (ASP) items to reduce transaction cost, since otherwise the PDR system would pull only the mini-mum order quantity (MOQ). The ARS brings these items in at regular intervals.

Accuracy-to-forecast is measured for higher volume projects. When it falls outside of control limits, it is adjusted. Utilizing Score, customers can:

  • Retrieve real-time data from the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system
  • Utilize data to obtain virtual visibility into a SigmaTron factory
  • View production backlog for multiple sites
  • Analyze shop floor orders to review material shortages.

As a result, when adjustments must be made, SigmaTron’s program team and the customer have the project data needed to understand the root cause of shortages or overages and respond accordingly. Overall, this level of inter-connectivity and project status visibility reduces transaction cost, supports lower inventory levels and makes it easy to identify potential issues early. SigmaTron’s combination of off-the-shelf and internally-developed systems provides a more comprehensive, customizable solution, than third-party systems alone. The key to maximizing the efficiency of these tools is start-ing with the most accurate forecast possible.

Defect Data Recording and Analysis Drives Process Improvement

By Ron Feyereisen, Continuous Im-provement Manager, EGV

Any company that values its commitment to providing excellent products and services to its customers is completely aware of the value of defect data collection and analysis for continued process improvements.

In the last five years we have made advancements in the collection, recording and analysis methods regarding defect data by utilizing proprietary software programs. Our Defect Data Management system is integrated into the iScore Product Management System.

Every non-conformance found in Production and Testing is entered into this program. By scanning the product labels’ printed 2D code, we capture the assembly number, shop order number and its unique serial number. The user then enters the specific defect code number to identify the defect found, the area in the product routing where the defect was found, the location of the defect per the boards’ component reference location, and a brief comment, if needed.

One great feature is in the way the system alerts management and supervisors to defect trends occurring within a 24 hour period on products. The system generates an email Defect Alert when the same defect at the same location on a product has been entered into the system at 3, 5, 10 and 20 multiple times intervals. This allows for immediate corrective action to take place in a timely manner.

Defect reports can be generated at any time for any date range, defect type, and/or product assembly number for analysis. The Quality and Production Management team meet once a week to dis-cuss defect trends found on our top produced products and identify any other products experiencing issues and new trends. We also track products being re-turned, verify the complaints, and take corrective action steps to eliminate the rejections.

SigmaTron Column in Circuits Assembly Focuses on Lean Mfg.

SigmaTron’s team is now contributing articles on Lean philosophy to Circuits Assembly magazine.

Hom-Ming Chang,  Vice President China Operations, authored the January column: Price Points: Using Lean Principles to Enhance Productivity in Lower Cost Regions.  Yousef Heidari, Vice President Engineer-ing, authored the second column: The Role of DFM in Lean Manufacturing.