Printed Circuit Board Assembly & PCB Design SMT Electronics Assembly Manufacturing Forum

Printed Circuit Board Assembly & PCB Design Forum

SMT electronics assembly manufacturing forum.

Assembly/Stuffing Issues

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Assembly/Stuffing Issues | 14 January, 2011

Hello, I am coming here for some insight and advice.

I currently have high volumes (around 40K-50K) PCB's being stuffed at a local stuffing house. We are growing and lately have been putting in more orders with them.

The problem is the stuffing quality has dramatically gone down lately, which corresponds with our higher volume orders. Components are falling off while still in the shipment packages when they arrive at our factory. They flatly deny any responsibility for this. This is just one of many issues that we are currently having with our PCB boards.

I am new at this and would like some advice on how to amicably handle the situation with a stuffing house. What are my options? My main goal is to get to the bottom of this and to fix the problem in any way that I can but I feel that I can't do that if either parties goes on the defensive.

Any comments/lessons/advice/solutions are welcome!

FYI I am maintaining anonymity here. I will not reveal anyone's identity in this so don't ask!

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Assembly/Stuffing Issues | 17 January, 2011

We have generally seen that as volumes increase, quality can sometimes suffer. There are various reasons for this, but, we have found that the majority of them involve rushing and minimal process controls.

How to handle it with your CM? Well, it would all depend on your relationship with your CM. I prefer to begin with a discussion. As a CM, it is my goal to always provide high-quality product to my customers. If something is happening, and I'm not providing that quality, I want to know about it. I also want to perform a full failure analysis and corrective-action.

If any of my customers were experiencing problems, I would first expect them to call me, and advise me of the issues. For the issue that you describe above, I would like the opportunity to examine the boards in question. I would want to be able to see the boards in situ, and see the parts that had fallen off the boards. It's relatively easy to diagnose whether the parts are breaking off of the board (potentially related to handling), or if they weren't properly reflowed in the first place. I would expect my customer to issue me a corrective-action request for the issue. It's possible that true root-cause might not be determinable, but, an investigation should take place anyway.

No one should get defensive; but, that goes back to working relationships, etc. Start with a phone call, describe what you're finding, and request their assistance with determining what is happening. Play on the line that...they're the board assembly experts, and you need their assistance to figure out what the heck is going on. Their goal should be high quality, and, they should want to help you determine what is happening.

I'm a big proponent of working hand in hand with my customers. At the end of the day, we're a team...and need to work together to accomplish both of our goals. The attitude you describe above does not seem like this supplier holds that viewpoint. Or, that there has been a rocky relationship between your company and the supplier, likely for some time now.

If the supplier is unwilling to assist you in determining what is happening with quality, than I'd strongly recommend beginning the search for a new supplier.

cheers ..rob

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Assembly/Stuffing Issues | 28 April, 2011

Thanks! Since my last post, the stuffer and I have reached an understanding. I regularly send back anything that needs to be corrected and he is very willing and open hearing us out if it means a mistake was made on his end.

Thanks for the lesson. I'm applying your approach method to another vendor very soon!

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Assembly/Stuffing Issues | 6 May, 2011

On an unrelated issue/comment. I am founder/owner of a CM for 15 years, and the term "stuffing" always makes me cringe. The level of technology and investment that it takes to produce quality product, and stay ahead of the technology curve is considerable. Leave "stuffing" for the lines of manual labor in china, building poorly designed boards. In the US we "manufacture".

My 2 cents

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