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Blog | Manufacturing Solutions


5 Whys Root Cause Analysis Starts with a Problem Statement

Written by Marc Leclair - Vice President of Operations
Posted on April 24, 2018 at 9:22 AM

Root cause analysis is a technique performed to identify the underlying reasons why a particular problem is occurring. At Epec, we do a lot of problem solving. As manufacturers, we strive to discover better, more efficient ways to delight our customers. Whether we are working on an 8D CAPA or running an A3 Project, we are often working to determine the foundational cause of issues as the means to solving the problem.

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What Should You Know About Vendor Outsourcing?

Written by Kendall Paradise - President
Posted on April 17, 2018 at 9:45 AM

As the benefits and capabilities of vendor outsourcing continue to grow, it becomes more important to know what to look for before committing to outsourcing. Developing a sound evaluation approach while knowing what questions to ask of potential suppliers helps maximize efficiency, saving time and money down the road.

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Benefits to Utilizing an Inventory Management System

Written by Kendall Paradise - President
Posted on March 22, 2018 at 10:00 AM

With the uncertainty the global economy has brought over the last decade, it has been challenging for many companies to balance the fine line of just-in-time (JIT) inventory management, being line down, and being over budget on inventory numbers. We live in a world where next day delivery of virtually anything has become a guarantee, or at least an expectation.

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Urban Legends of PCB Processes: ENIG Black Pad

Written by Chris Perry - Printed Circuit Board Supply Chain Manager
Posted on January 19, 2018 at 2:37 PM

I can remember the first ‘incident’ of black pad, years ago, when Epec started to use the electroless nickel immersion gold (ENIG) process. We didn’t notice the issue at the time, as it is not evident on the bare board, but received the complaint from assembly as it was later identified on completed assemblies.

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Understanding An IPC 4101 Slash Sheet

Written by Chris Perry - Printed Circuit Board Supply Chain Manager
Posted on January 31, 2017 at 11:53 AM

IPC 4101 (Specification for Base Materials for Rigid and Multi-Layer Printed Circuit Boards) was released for publication in December, 1997. It was released as the replacement standard for MIL-S-13949. However, it contained a majority of the exact wording from the military standard. It maintained the “slash sheet” format appendix to the standard that specifies the resin and fiber system of different PCB laminates, along with testing parameters and properties. Initially there were 41 slash sheets, but as the industry opens up to “Lead Free” and “Green” processes, the slash sheets have increased to 66, the current revision.

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Understanding Bow and Twist of Printed Circuit Boards

Written by Chris Perry - Printed Circuit Board Supply Chain Manager
Posted on December 15, 2016 at 10:20 AM

Bow and twist of printed circuit boards (PCB) routinely rank among the highest levels of falsely identified non-conformance because it is perhaps the least understood. Envisioning a perfectly flat rigid circuit board as the standard is a fallacy believed by many incoming inspectors. Understanding the reasons and causes for PCB bow and twist can help resolve the issue at the board design stage.

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Managing Quality with Asian PCB Manufacturers

Written by Chris Perry - Printed Circuit Board Supply Chain Manager
Posted on January 28, 2016 at 1:30 PM

There was a time when “Made in China” was synonymous with cheaper, poor quality products. "Buyer beware" was the common theme associated with outsourcing to any Asian PCB manufacturers. So how did Epec approach this challenge and succeed? It was by managing quality through intense auditing, training, and qualification. Epec understood at a very early stage that first-class quality products from Asian manufacturers would require consistent presence, training, and auditing.

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PCB Cleanliness Attention to Details

Written by Chris Perry - Printed Circuit Board Supply Chain Manager
Posted on October 13, 2015 at 3:13 PM

Cleanliness of bare circuit boards increases in importance with advances in PCB technology that continue to decrease conductor spacing. Inorganic contamination within printed circuit board fabrication can lead to electrochemical migration. Electrochemical migration is the dissolution and movement of metal ions in presence of electric potential, which results in the growth of dendritic structures between anode and cathode. These dendritic growths, which were minimal over periods of time, were not a concern of "yesterdays" bare boards.

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Manufacturing Skill Development at Epec Never Stops

Written by Marc Leclair - Vice President of Operations
Posted on August 28, 2015 at 3:18 PM

At Epec, we take workforce training very seriously. We readily invest in workforce education because it is a time-tested, proven path to improving manufacturing process development and customer satisfaction. In our experience, the educated worker is not only productive, they are adaptable problem solvers focused on satisfying our customers' most demanding needs.

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Matte Finish vs Gloss Finish In PCB Solder Mask Design

Written by Chris Perry - Printed Circuit Board Supply Chain Manager
Posted on March 27, 2015 at 9:47 AM

When creating your optimal circuit board design, one factor that must be considered is the solder mask and whether to go with matte finish solder mask or gloss finish mask for your final product. Usually, most designers don't specify their preference and end up leaving the decision to the PCB fabricator. Most fabricators will likely default to a gloss surface finish, the more popular choice of the two.

 

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