Automotive manufacturers face the unique combination of leading edge technologies, extreme operating environments and significant cost pressure. SigmaTron recognizes those challenges and has the systems, process and equipment technology that support fast ramps to volume production, defect and risk mitigation practices, and regional manufacturing options that are required in automotive sector manufacturing.
We use advanced product quality planning (APQP) to support the robust, production part approval process (PPAP) in every product launch. Our team members working on automotive projects receive training in other International Automotive Task Force (IATF) core tools and Six Sigma techniques related to maintaining superior quality and efficiency.
Our production processes are based upon Lean Six Sigma manufacturing principles that focus on minimizing defect opportunities, variation and inefficiencies. We utilize kaizen events to analyze the root cause, and develop a recommended corrective action to address any defects that do occur.
SigmaTron Offers Automotive Customers a Number of Advantages
From a global network of facilities, we offer automotive electronics customers:
- Near shoring for logistics convenience
- Product migration to lower cost regions for cost reduction
- International Material Data System (IMDS) access
- Product development and DFx via our Design Services team
and/or strategic partners
- Cable and harnesses
- automated terminal prep capabilities
- processes compliant with SAE USCAR21 standards (Tijuana, Mexico facility)
- Enhanced automated inspection (3D solder paste)
- AOI, X-ray
- Functional, burn-in/ESS
Product expertise includes:
- AC/DC inverters
- LED lighting
- Signaling devices
Relevant Certifications: IATF 16949 (Tijuana, Mexico and Suzhou, China facilities)
Fast Production Ramp
An automotive tier 2 supplier needed a contract manufacturer capable of supporting a fast ramp to volume production and rigorous quality requirements. SigmaTron International’s Tijuana, Mexico team utilized APQP techniques to fine tune the production process. Its preproduction run-at-rate testing helped optimize the harness prep and assembly automation.
Test throughput was enhanced by placing the electrical test prior to depanelization and testing full panels instead of individual PCBAs. The AQPQ process also identified that specialized tooling was needed to achieve optimum quality during depanelization. The harnesses were also subject to SAE USCAR21 requirements. Third-party reliability testing was done to initially validate the process. The Tijuana facility added pull test equipment that does hourly sampling pull tests and cross sections of crimps to determine alignment, ensuring the equipment remains within process limits. As a result, the project hit its initial volume production goals with yields of 100% .
Defect Opportunity Elimination Via Kaizen Event
An automotive product printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) that included a flex cable was experiencing intermittent failures following the in-circuit test. SigmaTron’s team scheduled a kaizen event to analyze the test process and determine the root cause of this potential failure mode. The team determined that in some cases, the flex cable could catch in gaps in the test fixture bed as it was being removed, creating an undetected defect. The team recommended a fixture redesign that placed ESD-safe plastic over the openings in the fixture bed that created the issue.
As a result, the defect opportunity was eliminated with no changes to the product design and minimal fixture modification.