Six Sigma Training with an Edge
Air Academy Associates’ Training programs
ATMI, based in Danbury, Connecticut, is a leading supplier of high- purity semiconductor materials and handling-delivery solutions to the world’s top chipmakers.
The year 2000 was the best ever for the semiconductor industry: Demand was abundant, revenues were through the roof, and business was great. Unfortunately, by 2001, the industry had shrunk by 30 percent. It was during this period that ATMI’s president (now CEO) Doug Neugold, along with his executive team, assessed the company’s position in the global marketplace and created a vision for ATMI to become “The Source of Semiconductor Process Efficiency” for its customers. This required achieving the strategic imperative of world-class product quality and internal efficiency in new-product introduction, manufacturing, and business processes in the shortest possible time. Implementation of breakthrough Six Sigma methodology became the necessary next step.
ATMI began its Six Sigma knowledge-based management (KBM) program in November 2000 with a fundamental executive training course, which prepared executives to select the best deployment strategy of the Six Sigma methodology.
From lessons learned during the initial years of KBM deployment, ATMI, together with Air Academy Associates of Colorado Springs, Colorado, developed a unique Six Sigma educational system, which now includes the following seven interrelated training programs:
Sensor Film Helps Hold Tighter Tolerances
Sensor Product’s Pressurex Film and Topaq Image Analysis System
As an innovator of film capacitor technology, SB Electronics designs and manufactures products that are on the cutting edge of today’s demanding electronics applications. To maintain continuous improvement of its manufacturing processes, David Bryan, manufacturing engineering manager for SB Electronics, recently specified the use of Pressurex, a tactile surface-pressure-indicating sensor film from Sensor Products Inc. of Madison, New Jersey.
Many of SB Electronics’ radial lead products are designed to take up the minimum amount of space on printed circuit boards. This is often done by flattening the round capacitors by pressing them between aluminum plates. A higher-than-expected scrap rate led the company’s quality department to contact engineering to troubleshoot and improve the process.
“After histograms indicated that some of our tighter tolerance parts (±1% capacitance) were going out of specification during our pressing operation, and making some initial dimensional measurements using conventional measuring equipment (calipers and micrometers), I wanted a better way to determine exactly what was happening with the surface pressure during this process,” says Bryan.
Bryan ordered Pressurex, a thin sensor film that instantly captures and permanently records pressure distribution and magnitude between contacting or mating surfaces. The film measures pressure from 2-43,000 psi (0.14-3,000 kg/cm 2). For his test, Bryan specified the “Super Low” Pressurex product, which measures pressure from 70-350 psi (5-25kg/cm 2).