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First piece PCBA validation

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First piece PCBA validation | 15 December, 2010

We have been struggling with first article inspections and have built entire lots incorrectly many times. This seems to affect us on both SMT and Through hole assemblies. We have an AOI, but it is not in-line. Does anyone have any advice for putting together a validation plan for first piece builds that is fast and effective?

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First piece PCBA validation | 15 December, 2010

I have used Unicam software to create visual workaid documentation along with a setup sheet showing BOM in relation to feeder setups, etc. This was used in 1st piece verification, but also in the early days I had to do a 2 person validation. One and then another. It's a pain but faster and less painful than rework.

Sounds like your yield is taking some major hits so to get that back in check you need to tighten the belt and check one in every 10 boards until you achieve your goal. Comes down to accountability and reducing human error.

Additionally if you have QA auditors as we did, they would do a sampling for every startup in addition to operator checks.

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First piece PCBA validation | 15 December, 2010

Sounds like there may be a people problem somewhere in your process.

We have a couple of checks set up to aid with capturing first article issues.

First, of course, the kit is checked against the BOM to ensure that all of the parts match.

Then, we verify the machine set up, to ensure that the operator correctly loaded the machine, and that the magazines are typed in correctly.

For most boards, we do a 100% first article inspection before re-flow. For some simpler boards, we do it post-reflow.

Finally, all boards are checked 100% post assembly for assembly errors (solder, polarity, and placement).

We have found that this gives us the best opportunity to capture defects, and minimize escape to our customers.

All of these checks are signed off as they are being performed, to ensure accountability. Where possible, errors are corrected by the person who caused them (when not possible, the responsible person is immediately advised of the errors).

I'm only running one shift, so we don't do a machine check each shift for a continuing job. But, when I did have a second shift running, I had the operators double checking the machine set-up at the beginning of their shifts. We also instituted an additional sign off for reel re-loads in the middle of a run (when applicable).

Our through hole process is similar; though we don't check set-up. Boards are inspected prior to wave soldering for assembly errors, and then, again, post soldering.

Building ownership into the process is essential. If your people aren't invested in producing quality product, all the process checks in the world won't help.

cheers ..rob

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First piece PCBA validation | 16 December, 2010

Thanks guys, It sounds like adding redundancy and audits to the process is the best low cost option.

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First piece PCBA validation | 17 December, 2010

Thanks guys....

I have the same issues here. We have just moved our entire plant into another, so everything has to be verified. Would anyone recommend any particular actions be taken to verify or validate equipment setups? SMT, wave and selective wave

Thanks, Dave

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First piece PCBA validation | 25 May, 2011

Have any of you tried Automated First Article Inspection Systems such as the Cluso Vision Systems FAI?

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First piece PCBA validation | 25 May, 2011

Adding redundancy and audits to the process is the worst option. Audits are a non-Value added expense. Too many companies that have a problems Just throw more inspection into the process trying to filter out process problems or people deficiencies. Fix the process and you won’t need the inspections. Do your homework up front on new jobs making sure the documentation is correct and the program is correct.

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First piece PCBA validation | 25 May, 2011

The SimmScope is an first article inspection system that uses an overhead digital microsope on a motorized gantry to inspect the board - much like an AOI - except that it does not automatically make the pass/fail decisions. It is up to the operator to make the decision based on a visual comparison of the live image to the stored golden board image. The advantage over the scanning type systems is the higher resolution of the microscope for viewing small parts.

The system imports both the Gerber data and the XY list. It uses them to display a graphical "roadmap" of the board that can be used for point to point navigation. It can also be used to detect and correct errors in the pick and place program, as bad rotations will show up on the graphics. The corrected XY list can be exported back out to the Pick and place machine

A post inspection report is generated for traceabililty, as well as a color coded graphical printout. The report can also be loaded back into the machine to re-inspect areas of the PCB.

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First piece PCBA validation | 26 May, 2011

PCBA is a data driven business, if BOM and CAD are merged correctly and signed off as correct, then correct smt programs can be generated etc - the correct software tools can help drastically here.

I think get it right first time is better than spending on inspection - this comes last after all other aspects are verified and corrected.

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First piece PCBA validation | 26 May, 2011

The Simmscope doesn't sound like it will catch, for example, an incorrect value resistor or capacitor which is one of the most common setup errors.

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First piece PCBA validation | 31 May, 2011

Hi SSager,

Check out the FA Inspector. It provides 1 Automatic Detection Mode and 2 Manual Inspection Modes. Its used to automate First Article Inspection Tasks and enhance today's principally manual process using microscopes and pen and paper. The FA Inspector uses a High Resolution Scanner and the software performs template matching to identify: presence/absence, polarity, correct part, off-position/skew/tombstoning, and solder bridging..automatically.

Check out:

Call me or email me if you have any questions.

Frank Silva. 858-536-5050x111,

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First piece PCBA validation | 8 June, 2011

KaHrpr is correct. All of the extra 'redundancy' is waste in your process and will work against any goal of being lean. I would suggest establishing a team of individuals to do a C.I. project and conduct a PFMEA and try to determine where any holes in your process maybe.

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