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Industry Documents - Manufacturing contracts, service level agreements, evaluation forms, templates

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Improving printed circuit board surface mount technology (SMT) line productivity with preventative maintenance and cause and effect analysis

By Lee Whiteman

Eliminating SMT line preventative maintenance to save costs in tough economic times is a mistake. Tracking SMT line performance with an SMT line downtime form (below) can improve cause and effect analysis and increase productivity.

ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS and electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers are not immune to the pressures of the current economic downturn. All manufacturers are investigating methods to reduce overhead costs. It is not just a matter of sound business practices – it is a matter of survival.

And with all cost-cutting ventures, one might consider reducing or eliminating preventative maintenance practices on equipment. Preventative maintenance is an overhead function. Reduce it and one can reduce the cost of ownership. Funds used on preventative maintenance can be applied elsewhere within your business.

Effective RFQ for EMS manufacturing programs
Differences between OEM, CM, CEM, ECM, EMS, ODM, JDM, design houses

Figure 1 depicts the process flow of a typical surface mount technology (SMT) manufacturing production line. If fully automated, as in a high volume environment manufacturing commercial hardware, there are no manual operations.

Therefore, if any of the eight processes illustrated are down for an extended period due to equipment being down, the entire line is unavailable for production.

Even if specific processes can be performed manually, such as screen printing, component placement, and the inspection operations, such manual performances will be less efficient and slower than their automated counterparts. Product quality would be compromised and chances of hitting your printed circuit board six sigma objectives can be thrown out the window.




Figure 1. Typical electronics manufacturing printed circuit board SMT line




Downtime due to a manufacturing process will lead to expensive disruptions in production. Downtime is defined as the period of time when production equipment is not operating due to a series of malfunctions.

When production hardware is down due to improper maintenance, it is not producing hardware. In one instance I am familiar with, disruptions in production which were directly related to equipment downtime cost a company over $1,000,000 annually in wasted labor and poor quality.

Downtime v. utilization
Downtime is not to be confused with utilization. Downtime represents the time a piece of equipment is not operational and it requires repairs. Utilization refers to the fraction of time a piece of equipment is operational and in production.1 If a process is fully operational, its utilization is 100%.

Conversely, availability is the inverse of downtime – it is the time that a machine is not down due to repairs.

If a work cell has no downtime, its availability is at 100% – it can be used to manufacture hardware.

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