We Have An App For That!

Burton Industries Manufacturing Dashboard App MenuIt is no secret that Burton Industries’ team members are focused on making customer’s jobs easier by doing their assigned activities to the best of their abilities. The Manufacturing Dashboard is one of the tools that helps Burton’s team stay interconnected and able to deliver superior results.

Burton Industries’ IT Department developed the Manufacturing Dashboard app to provide employees with a centralized repository of real-time information. Using the app, an employee can check everything from the history of a serial number to the number of vacation days they have. They can also access work instructions, procedures and tools via the app menu. Data entry and editing privileges are limited to key employees.

The end result is that every employee has convenient access to the real-time information he or she needs to do the job. This helps improve responsiveness while ensuring procedures are followed and trends are monitored. It is another way the team at Burton Industries is working smarter for every customer.

 

Proprietary Test Software Enhances Repeatability and Trends Analysis

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAProducts with complex test requirements and legacy products often create challenges in outsourced manufacturing. Are the latest bench test procedures in place? Are legacy components creating unacceptable fallout levels? Are multiple tests being performed in the correct sequence? Is enforced routing in place to ensure repaired assemblies complete all retest steps? The team at Burton Industries wanted to automate their processes to the point where the answers to these questions was always “yes.” In early 2019, Burton Industries’ Test Engineering and IT departments teamed up to develop test software that enhances the test team’s ability to support customers with complex test requirements and/or legacy products.

“Some of our customers require an in-circuit test (ICT), followed by a functional test and then finally a read of four-to-five voltages with a digital multimeter to make sure it hits certain values. Initially we wanted to automate the bench test process with software programming that would ensure that every test was performed, exactly to the defined customer requirements,” said Adam Waite, Test Engineering Manager.

This program has reduced the potential for human error on two levels.

Utilizing the system, the technician types in the number registering on the tester or multimeter and the program checks it against the pre-defined range. It then automatically records that in the defect yield tracking system and sends this to the continuous improvement database so that trends and needs for improvement can be analyzed.

As the test operator passes units, the quality assurance inspector scans all bar codes to convert work-in-process (WIP) to finished goods for shipment. The program automatically verifies that all routed test steps have been completed and that any defects logged against the board have been cleared.

The enforced routing that this system drives ensures that no steps get missed and that defective printed circuit boards assemblies (PCBAs) are properly handled. However, it doesn’t stop there. For example, if a customer narrows a test range, the automated system also helps enforce change management because it is verifying that ranges entered match the latest test specification revision. That is very important with new products, because there can be rapid changes as a new product evolves. It isn’t unusual to see three versions of test from prototyping to preproduction to production.

The program supports any aspect of ICT, bench test or functional test. An unanticipated benefit of the system is its contribution to root cause identification and better continuous improvement trends analysis.

“The program allows us to quickly gain access to first pass yield at the sequence level and see patterns in the level at which that failure occurs. That gives us a better idea of why a technician may be testing a circuit several times. This is very important in building legacy product where use of older last buy parts may result in a higher component failures. We have no choice but to use those parts. Understanding trends can help us structure a more efficient test process,” added Adam.

For example, in one legacy project an end-of-life ASIC IC had frequent failures. The customer had instructed the team to test it up to seven times which could lengthen test times to 20 minutes. The test database was able to generate a trends report that helped convince the customer that pretesting these parts was more efficient. The end result was shorter, more predictable final tests. This improved on-time delivery performance. Additionally, since bad components were screened out before assembly, fewer PCBA failures translated to less rework and the associated thermal stress that occurs with multiple reflow processes.

“We originally wanted to give our team a soft poka-yoke tool to minimize human error in test. However, now we are seeing the power of data. We are looking at the top three assemblies that are causing excess troubleshooting time in test to determine root cause. We’ve found that 80 percent of the time when on-time delivery metrics are off, the cause is extra troubleshooting in test. Consequently, we see this as a powerful tool for delivering better customer service,” said Adam.

 

Q4 2019 Newsletter

Burton Q4 2019 NewsletterDownload Burton Industries’ Q4 2019 newsletter here.

Q3 2019 Newsletter

Burton Q3 2019 Newsletter

Download Burton Industries’ Q3 2019 newsletter here.

Q2 2019 Newsletter

 

Burton Q2 2019 Newsletter (1)Our latest newsletter looks at our transition to ISO 13485:2016, a new test database that is helping optimize test strategy and data collection, new additions to our management team, training activities and our team’s participation in support of a worthy cause in our community.

Read the full newsletter here.

Material Constraints Update: April 2019

While material constraints are likely to occur through the rest of 2019, overall trends are are positive. Lead-times are decreasing in most component types and Burton Industries is seeing less allocation and backorders. Here is what our supply chain team is seeing by commodity:brochurepg1c

  • Analog – (Sensors, Power, Regulators ) Stable to Decreasing – 10-12 weeks.
  • Batteries – Stable – 8-12 weeks.
  • Connectivity (WIFI, Bluetooth, Cellular) Microchip lead-times increase to 18-20 weeks, many manufacturers Stable 12-16 weeks.
  • Discretes (MOSFETS, Varistors, ESD, Didoes, Rectifiers)  Overall decreasing, however some lead-times are still high at 12-26 weeks.  Very positive signs here.
  • Electromechanical – (Power Supplies, Relays) -Stable to Decreasing 10-14 weeks.
  • 8 bit MCU, 32 bit MCU, LCD’s , FBGA– Stable to Decreasing.
  • Interconnect –  Stable with the exception of automotive connectors which are extended 26-40 weeks.
  • LEDs – Stable 8-10 weeks.
  • Memory – Stable 4-12 weeks.
  • Passives
    • Capacitors
      • Electrolytic – Still at 14-18 weeks with some pricing increases (NIC, Nichicon).  Panasonic is seeing Decreasing lead-times at 14-18 weeks with stable pricing.
      • Film Capacitors – Stable- Lead-times 12-16 weeks.
      • Tantalum Capacitors – Decreasing to 11-14 weeks, pricing is stabilizing.
      • Polymer Tantalum Capacitors – Stable 12-16 weeks.
    • Resistors
      • Fixed – Decreasing- Lead-times still high at 16-30 weeks.  Rohm is in allocation and selective pricing adjustments per market are still being made.
      • SMT General (Less than 1UF) Decreasing – Lead-times still range 16-30 weeks.

 

 

China Tariff Update

While negotiations have been slow, resolution on a trade agreement with China that would eliminate the current tariffs seems to DSC05352be continuing to move forward. According to Bloomberg News, line-by-line negotiation on an agreement with China is underway. The 10% tariff on printed circuit boards (PCBs) and components fabricated in China remains in place, but has not escalated. As mentioned previously, even with the 10% tariff, in many cases, China remains the most competitive option for PCBs. We continue to monitor the situation and review alternate sourcing options.

Market Cost Drivers 2019

Overall, there has been a 3.8% increase in base metal costs in 2018 and these increases may continue in 2019, particularly if a positive change in the tariff situation results in increased automotive production. Increases in cost of base metals are most likely to impact capacitor costs. For 2018 cost increases by commodity were:

    • Ceramic Substrate 30% increase
    • Palladium 20% increase
    • Ruthenium 275% increase
    • Tantalite (Tantalum Capacitors) – Steady increases throughout 2018.

The Tariff Situation and PCB Sourcing

DSC05355As we write this, the tariff situation seems to be improving. The 25% jump in tariffs planned for January has been postponed 90 days, pending the result of ongoing negotiations with China. That said, there is a 10% tariff on printed circuit boards (PCBs) fabricated in China. Even with the 10% tariff, in many cases, China remains the most competitive option. Should the tariffs jump to 25%, that would no longer be the case. The team at Burton Industries is in the process of qualifying Taiwanese PCB options to ensure our customers have a range of cost competitive options.

Burton Industries Q4 2018 Newsletter

Our latest newsletter looks at equipment additions, migration to the ISO 9001:2015 quality standard, our 40th anniversary open house and our annual food drive. View Burton Industries Q4 2018 Newsletter here.

Burton Newsletter Q4 2018