SMTA International Conference Proceedings

Best Practices For Improving The PCB Supply Chain: Performing The Process Audit

Authors: Cheryl Tulkoff, Greg Caswell, and Craig Hillman, Ph.D.
Company: DfR Solutions
Date Published: 10/13/2013   Conference: SMTA International

Abstract: In the electronics industry, the quality and reliability of any product is highly dependent upon the capabilities of the manufacturing suppliers. Manufacturing defects are one of the top reasons why companies fail to meet warranty expectations. These problems can result in severe financial pain and eventual loss of market share. What a surprising number of engineers and managers fail to realize is that focusing on processes addresses only part of the issue. Supplier selection also plays a critical role in the success or failure of the final product.

Designing printed circuit boards today is more difficult than ever before due to significantly increased density, higher lead free processing temperatures and the associated changes required in manufacturing. The entire supply chain has also been impacted by requirements regarding the use of hazardous materials and recycling. The RoHS and REACH directives have caused suppliers throughout the industry to change both their materials and processes. So, everyone designing or producing electronics has been affected even if they’ve been part of categories designated as directive exempt.

Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) should always be considered a critical commodity. Without stringent controls in place for PCB supplier selection, qualification, and management, long term product quality and reliability is neither achievable nor sustainable. This paper builds on the Part I paper and further expands it with auditing recommendations and case studies of defects [1].

Key Words: 

PCB, supply chain, PCB audit, PCB defects, PCB reliability, PCB fabrication

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