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Special Topics: Lean manufacturing & Six Sigma
Lean manufacturing considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination. "Lean" is centered around creating more value with less work.

Six Sigma, using a set of quality management methods, seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing causes of defects and variability in manufacturing. Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has quantified financial targets--cost reduction or profit increase.

Kaizen, Japanese for "improvement", focuses on continuous improvement in manufacturing activities.

Statistical Process Control (SPC) is an effective method of monitoring a process through the use of control charts.

Learn about these and other business and process improvement tools and philosophies here.
Articles & Papers
Monday, June 8, 2009Lean Sigma, an approach that has been in practice for several years, mixes the lean manufacturing concept and problem solving approach with Six Sigma for a more efficient manufacturing process.

Tools & Methods for Lean Production Management in EA
Monday, June 16, 2008Lean manufacturing is far from a new concept, and many within the electronics assembly (EA) industry are already familiar with the principles and concepts behind it.

SPC and usage difficulties in SMT
Tuesday, November 18, 2008The idea of monitoring manufacturing processes using statistical methods goes back to the 1920s when Walter A. Shewhart, an American physicist, engineer and statistician, was engaged by the Western Electric Company in Chicago to find a way to produce their products with a certain quality level. 

Placement optimisation in a lean manufacturing environment
Wednesday, February 6, 2008Tier 2 and Tier 3 EMS companies face increasing pressure from competition in low-cost manufacturing countries to produce assembled boards at lower cost, with increased complexity and to tighter deadlines.

6.10 – Inventory management: combining business intelligence & material handling hardware
Monday, January 8, 2007Most business intelligence (BI) tools and supply chain management (SCM) applications address inventory issues from either a software perspective or a material handling perspective;.
Efficient line changeover: the key to lean manufacturing
Monday, April 6, 2009Changes in the domestic printed circuit board assembly industry have resulted in a dominant shift to a high-mix, low-volume (HMLV) manufacturing environment resulting in a high frequency of line changeovers.

Solder-bearing RF shields streamline PCB assembly, reduce costs, improve quality and eliminate signal leakage
Thursday, October 31, 2013This Tech Bulletin addresses the specific challenges involved with soldering RF shields to PCBs and explains how using solder-bearing technologies to pre-apply solder to the shields can significantly improve assembly processes and productivity, while enhancing quality of the final product.  
This issue has become especially important with the widespread requirements for RF shielding that is used in small form-factor products such as Smartphones, tablets and other handheld devices that require consistent quality within very high-volume production environments.

Nanotechnology and mathematical methods for high–performance thermal interface materials
Monday, June 16, 2008Higher power chips have resulted from a variety of new developments in the electronics industry.


Parts management
Tuesday, January 4, 2011Almost 30 years after the fact, we’re still asking PCB designers to “build their own fonts” (so to speak) on a daily basis, to great expense.
Hitachi at IPC APEX Expo 2011
Matt Wyglendowski introduces the new Sigma platform from Hitachi. The focus of the machine is flexibility, high speed placement and accuracy, and offers one of the largest component ranges in the industry.
MYDATA Automation at IPC APEX Expo 2009
Brian Duffey introduces the Flow Line for lean manufacturing.
Valor Division of Mentor Graphics Corporation SMT/HYBRID/PACKAGING 2011
Michael Ford shows off some interesting new materials management products from the Valor Division of Mentor Graphics, which are of incresaing interest to manufacturers during this time of component and materials shortages.
CES14 Audi
Global SMT Columnist Phil Stoten speaks to Marcus Keith, GM, Project Management for AUDI at CES 2014 in Las Vegas
Cogiscan at productronica 2011
Trevor Galbraith interviews André Corriveau, Co-President, Product Management of Cogiscan at productronica 2011 in Munich
Vi Technology at SMT/HYBRID/PACKAGING 2010
Chris Davies, Vi Technology's sales director, shows off the 5K Perform for high-quality, high-reliability detection for boards up to 535 mm square. Equipped with Vi Technology's proven vision technology, it can inspect components down to 01005.
Stefan Techau talks about the three new highlights of their product range: ProActiv, which enhances print quality; Nano-ProTek for coating stencils for improved yield; and HawkEye inspection software.
Machine Vision Products had five new product offerings, including the MVP Ultra V which has an accuracy of 3-5 µm, an 8 megapixel camera and a speed increase over its predecessor of 40 percent. The Ultra SPI system is a combination of 2D and 3D with a speed reaching 5" per second. The system uses real-time data resulting in very low false call rates. Another new introduction is the ID Code for bottom side inspection of selective soldering inspection and bar codes. MVP also launched two line management software systems. For more information, please visit: Video Editor: Elisangela Dahlke
From humble beginnings as a tiny single sided PCB shop in the early 50's, Hong Kong based Wong's Kong King International (Holdings) Limited (WKK) has today become one of the largest electronics industrial equipment distributors in Asia under the stewardship of Chairman and CEO Mr. Senta Wong. Its Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) business of WKK Technology Ltd. (WKKT) pulls rank as the world's Top 17th EMS business in 2005, when it made a quantum leap from its 23rd position in 2003. WKK is an EMS company which provides manufacturing services to global customers in the USA, Europe, Japan and Asia Pacific. For us, international certification is critical so there is "common understanding" regarding Quality Level and System which is what WKK strongly stands by. WKK have a specially built leisure facility for their workers and test sources of water and food for their health and wellbeing. They also take care of their people by providing clinical services, convenience store, gymnasium, computer/library, theatre/TV rooms etc. They wholeheartedly encourage everyone to develop whole person skills as they provide ample training and job rotation opportunities. For more information, please visit:
From our Columnists
Thermal management, part 2
Friday, August 12, 2011Last month opened this discussion of thermal management, providing background as to the importance of thermal management predicated on transistor density increase, and the rise in on-chip frequencies that are combining to increase thermal energy densities on the IC.
Thermal management, part 1
Wednesday, July 6, 2011As chip features shrink, transistor density increases, on-chip frequencies rise, and so also do the thermal energy densities on the IC.
Latest SMT Answers questions
There are no questions related to this area at this time. Visit the SMT Answers section to ask your own or explore questions from other process areas and topics.
Latest Products
Altia releases Altia Design 11.1 – new GUI Development Editor
Friday, April 18, 2014Altia offers a GUI editor and graphics code generator that enable development teams to build completely custom user interface models with graphics created from scratch or imported from industry-standard design programs like Adobe Photoshop. The Altia GUI can be connected to a variety of simulation tools or C code to create a complex, user-driven model which can be shared with users and management teams for testing and validation prior to production.
Mentor Graphics enterprise verification platform
Thursday, April 10, 2014Mentor Graphics Corp. (Nasdaq: MENT), announced the Mentor® Enterprise Verification Platform (EVP), which combines Questa® advanced verification solutions, Veloce® OS3 global emulation resourcing technology, and Visualizer™, a powerful debug environment, into a globally accessible, high-performance datacenter resource. The Mentor EVP features global resource management that supports project teams around the world, maximizing both user productivity and total verification return on investment.

AEG power solutions launches a unique wireless battery management system MoniStore for large energy storage installations
Thursday, April 3, 2014AEG Power Solutions, a global provider of power electronics systems and solutions for industrial power supplies and renewable energy solutions, announced the launch of an innovative wireless battery cell control system, MoniStore, targeting battery energy storage applications. 
Innovative MW battery storage systems are being used for grid support and grid building in typical on- and off-grid applications.
Intersil introduces digital power modules that speed time to market and eliminate need for complex power circuit design
Tuesday, March 18, 2014Intersil Corporation (NASDAQ: ISIL), a provider of innovative power management and precision analog solutions, announced the ISL8270M/71M family of digital power modules that dramatically reduce customer design complexity and accelerate time to market. Designed for 25/33 Amp applications, the ISL8270M/71M product family is based on Intersil’s fourth generation digital power controller, reflecting the company’s continued leadership and expertise in advanced digital power technology.
UA1780 Fit-Line Inspection Data Creation System from Seika supports the new HIOKI FA1240 Flying Probe Tester
Tuesday, March 18, 2014With the Hioki UA1780 Fit-Line Software application, users can generate high-quality test data even without PCBs. The software supports the newly debuting Hioki FA1240 platform with simple, intuitive Windows 7 based operation. Additionally, the new UA1780 Fit-Line software application uses Gerber data files rather than CAD, which can sometimes be difficult for customers to obtain, if not non-existent.
Intersil’s new high efficiency buck-boost/boost switching regulators increase battery life in mobile devices
Tuesday, March 18, 2014Intersil Corporation (NASDAQ: ISIL), a leading provider of innovative power management and precision analog solutions, announced the industry’s first high-current buck-boost and boost switching regulator family in a tiny, integrated CSP package, enabling improved efficiency for high current designs in a small form factor.
Phase extender, slave step-down controller for up to 240A compatible with digital power system management
Friday, March 14, 2014Linear Technology Corporation introduces the LTC3870, a dual phase synchronous step-down slave controller that can generate currents up to 240A when paired with a companion master controller by extending the phase count in multiphase applications. Compatible master controllers include the LTC3880 and LTC3883 digital power system management controllers.
Tektronix unveils 40 Gb/s high-performance BERT for Datacom & long haul testing
Tuesday, March 11, 2014Tektronix, Inc., a worldwide provider of test, measurement and monitoring instrumentation, unveiled the industry's first fully integrated 40 Gb/s Programmable Pattern Generator (PPG). This 40 Gb/s PPG, along with the previously announced 40 Gb/s Programmable Error Detector now comprise a complete 40 Gb/s BERT solution.  With 200 fs Random Jitter (RJ) and 8 ps risetime performance, the new Tektronix PPG4001 delivers the performance and signal quality critical for serial data testing at 40 Gb/s.

Intersil introduces industry’s first radiation hardened 12V input point of load switching regulator
Tuesday, March 11, 2014Intersil Corporation (NASDAQ: ISIL), a provider of innovative power management and precision analog solutions, announced the industry’s first radiation hardened 12V input point-of-load (POL) synchronous buck switching regulator capable of operating over an input voltage range of 3.0 to 13.2V for aerospace and satellite power applications.
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