Nikon Metrology Inc.’s picture

By: Nikon Metrology Inc.

(Nikon Metrology: Brighton, MI) -- Process Sciences Inc. (PSI), a process engineering resource center, runs X-ray inspections to trace connectivity issues in electronic circuitry that otherwise remain hidden to the eye. Using intuitive, real-time X-ray imaging, PSI collaborates with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and contract assemblers nationwide to reveal and resolve weak points in their printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing processes.

Hidden electronic defects that remain undetected at first are often the topic of heated discussions between electronic designers and production engineers. As a consequence, additional prototype rounds are needed to sort out uncertainty about electronic system behavior and robustness. To avoid process delay and extra fabrication cost, electronics assembly suppliers and original equipment manufacturers rely on PSI to quality-proof their PCB prototype and production samples. PSI can inspect, troubleshoot, and repair PCBs at a fraction of the cost for a new, fully functional PCB prototype.

Insight into electronic connectivity issues reduces prototyping manufacturing costs

Quality Digest’s picture

By: Quality Digest

A new year always brings new hope, new plans, and new perspectives. While looking ahead is the most direct route to progress, looking back is essential to understanding the present. After all, the past creates the consequences that will shape the future.

With this in mind, the editors of Quality Digest Daily took a look at its stories and news articles throughout 2010 and collected what we thought were the most remarkable in the world of quality. From precision measurement to 3-D scanning, from Six Sigma to quality standards, from lean to customer satisfaction, we hope this three-part wrap-up (see parts two and three here) will give you some perspective and insight on what next year holds for the quality industry.

Best wishes for a prosperous 2011.

Craig Leising’s default image

By: Craig Leising

icromachining and micromolding are fabrication technologies used for developing devices and components at the micro-to-macro scale. To provide quality control at this scale, manufacturers must be able to inspect various surface measurements, including roughness, area, and dimension. Surface measurement is a crucial step during the microfabrication process, even before production in large quantities begins. Precise measurement and evaluation of a surface can lead to the best selection of process and control measures.

Micropart topography is vital to understanding and controlling a component’s use. The technique relies on quantifiable, reproducible, and reliable measurements of a part’s surface topography and dimension. For this process, the Nanovea 3-D noncontact profilometer is ideal. With its chromatic confocal technology, the profilometer can provide reliable data regardless of surface variation, angle, and reflectivity.

In this application, the Nanovea ST400 is used to measure the features of a plastic nozzle plate (figure 1). Several surface parameters can automatically be calculated, including average surface roughness, step height, area, and many.

Minitab LLC’s picture

By: Minitab LLC

ResMed is a global manufacturer of medical devices. The company’s products help people with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and other respiratory disorders. Characterized by the interruption of normal breathing patterns during sleep, an estimated 18 million people in the United States suffer from SDB symptoms.

Dedicated to discovering innovative solutions, ResMed invests 7 percent of its net revenues in research and product development. The company has more than 3,000 patents and design registrations granted or pending. In its ongoing quest for continuous improvement, ResMed trusts Minitab Statistical Software to perform the data analysis necessary to make the best decisions for product improvement, and uses Minitab macros to execute real-time statistical process control.

Barbara A. Cleary’s picture

By: Barbara A. Cleary

Signs in factories or on the back of long-range trucking rigs sometimes proclaim “X days since our last accident” or “No on-the-job injuries since 1964.” Extending the stretch between such accidents may be motivated by this announcement alone, but there are better ways to diminish or prevent rarely occuring events by using data analysis and process improvement tools.

Simply keeping track of tragic but rarely occuring events may seem like an ineffective way to prevent future tragedies. In fact, however, data analysis that focuses on the intervals between such events can help to diminish their recurrence by analyzing special cause and common cause variation. It can also help to evaluate whether an improvement step that has been taken is working. A statistical approach includes the use of g-charts and t-charts, control charts that are enjoying expanded application in health care and crisis management organizations.

Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest’s picture

By: Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest

Recently, Industry Week (IW) announced the 10 inductees to its 2010 Manufacturing Hall of Fame, a “lineup of industrial superstars whose collective careers have had an immeasurable impact and influence on U.S. manufacturing.”

Included in the list of IW’s manufacturing “dream team,” alongside businessman and author Larry Bossidy and computer magnate Michael Dell, is Norman Bodek, a name that those of us in the quality world have long been familiar with. Bodek is co-founder of the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence and is responsible for bringing scores of books and articles on kaizen blitz, single-minute exchange of dies (SMED), total productive maintenance, quality function deployment, hoshin kanri, poka-yoke, and the visual factory to a U.S. audience. And as anyone who has ever listened to Bodek speak can attest, he is as entertaining as he is informative.

In an interview with Quality Digest Daily, Bodek tells us what the Industry Week honor means to him and his views on the future of the quality profession.

Maribeth Kuzmeski’s picture

By: Maribeth Kuzmeski

Consider the following scenario: It’s 8 a.m. and you’re in an upscale hotel in Times Square—part of a well-known chain you regularly frequent—getting ready for a crucial business meeting. As you turn on your hairdryer, the power goes out. A bit nervous but not yet panicked (it’s just a blown fuse, after all), you call the “At Your Service” number and are told that “someone is on the way.”

Fifteen minutes pass, then 20. All you can think about is the hotel’s constantly looping “At Your Service” message assuring you staff will get you anything you need, anytime, anywhere. Your meeting is drawing closer, and your hair still hangs in wet strings. Twice more you call, anxiety turning to anger, both times getting the same (evidently rote) response from the “service” person. 

Finally, the power comes back on, followed by a knock on the door. It’s the maintenance man explaining that it wasn’t his fault but the front desk’s. At no time does anyone acknowledge your inconvenience—or apologize for taking 35 minutes for what should have been a five-minute fix.

100 Customer Service Tips by Larry Williams’s picture

By: 100 Customer Service Tips by Larry Williams

There are leaders and there are followers. There is nothing wrong with following the lead of someone, especially when that person is knowledgeable and imparts wisdom. Leaders often say they hope their instruction inspires people to help others someday. The following tips will bring you closer to that goal.

You don’t have to be a star athlete or famous celebrity to be a role model. Many ordinary people in the community are admired every day because of their tremendous contributions to others. You can be a role model simply because the everyday things you do are above and beyond what is expected. You can be a role model simply because of your caring and responsible work ethic.

Being a model employee is a great place to start. Once you hone the skills for providing spectacular customer service, you’re poised to establish a reputation that quickly expands through word of mouth. People always sing the praises of someone who exhibits model behavior.

Know your surroundings and anticipate how others might react to you. Be on your best behavior. Strive to improve every aspect of how you present yourself. Be especially aware of how you interact with your customers. Listen to customers with undivided attention and patience. Be helpful and project a positive image.

Peter Dizikes’s picture

By: Peter Dizikes

Nearly 6 percent of greenhouse gases generated by humans are due to the flow of products to consumers. David Simchi-Levi, a professor in Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT)  Engineering Systems Division and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, suggests that corporations could significantly lower these emissions by systematically analyzing their supply-chain logistics. Not enough companies analyze their emissions data in a thorough way, he says.

“This is a big problem,” says Simchi-Levi. “If you just do back-of-the-envelope calculations about logistics, supply chains, and emissions, you can arrive at misleading conclusions.”

In his new book, Operations Rules (MIT Press, 2010), Simchi-Levi outlines a variety of ways companies can improve their logistics—in particular, by using data and analytics to reduce the effect of supply chains on the environment. Consider “food miles,” the distance a food product travels to market, a common statistic aimed at measuring sustainability that is sometimes useful, but sometimes deceptive as well, asserts Simchi-Levi.

Robert Kaphengst’s picture

By: Robert Kaphengst

Effective communication and consistent measurement across all engineering disciplines and processes are essential to the design and manufacture of the highest quality products. Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) is key to achieving these goals.

GD&T defined

GD&T is a standard language used to communicate the allowable geometric variation on parts. The language includes symbols that are used on mechanical engineering drawings to quickly and accurately define design, manufacturing, and inspection requirements for various features on components and assemblies.

The GD&T symbols for each dimension on a part represent their relationship to a datum—the feature on that part that is used as a reference point for tolerance calculations and dimensional measurements. The datum on each part is considered “zero point,” and calculations are built from that point to all other dimensions to ensure the consistency of the part. A datum system, often referred to as a “zero reference system,” makes it clear to design, manufacturing, and quality engineers where they need to begin measuring or manufacturing from. Additionally, using datums dramatically simplifies the design and specification processes.

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