Printed Circuit Board Assemblies

Sparton’s customer is a medical device company requiring the use of numerous complex printed circuit board assemblies (PCBA). As products themselves become more complex, so too does the ability to maintain quality. The customer was experiencing a high volume of defects that were not identified until the functional test stage, resulting in a high cost of correction and impacting downstream product commercialization.

Insights to consider:

The cost of poor quality

Quality defects have an exponential impact on costs as products progress in the manufacturing process. It pays to correct defects as early as possible to for greater cost reductions.

Where test strategy fits in the product lifecycle

A robust test strategy is essential to maintain operational excellence in the manufacturing process.

  • Test strategy is a component of managing the full product lifecycle from product design through full-scale production.
  • Quality and costs are best managed throughout the entire process.
  • Test strategy design is created in the product design phase and implemented during the transition to manufacturing, where the product requirements are locked and the manufacturing process is beginning to formalize.

Finding a test strategy that meets your needs

Test strategy should be viewed as a distinct business process with several different test design inputs that drive the proper testing protocols. Some of the critically important design inputs are:

  • Product functional specifications
  • Design Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (DFMEA)
  • Highly Accelerated Life Test (HALT)
  • Production volume
  • Technology being deployed
  • Stability of the design
  • Cost constraints
  • Quality goals from the design (based on industry and best-in-class standards)

A careful examination of the design inputs is filtered through an analysis of the product (BOM), a gap analysis and a corresponding review of the test opportunities (component presence, component value, component orientation and assembly quality). The formalized test strategy drives the test protocols to meet design inputs and address the product/gap analysis and corresponding test opportunities.

Services Provided by Sparton

Sparton was engaged to track defects found in the functional test stage and deploy a test strategy to increase test coverage earlier in the manufacturing process, therefore minimizing defects found at functional test. Sparton deployed a three-stage test strategy involving visual inspections, visual inspection with in-circuit testing and automated x-ray inspection with in-circuit testing.

Key challenges:

  • Identify quality defects impacting costs throughout manufacturing process
  • Create a test strategy to preserve operational excellence in the manufacturing process
  • Maintain quality and costs from product design through production
  • Deliver enterprise-wide process improvement

End Result

Sparton’s process improvements using SBS enhances quality, even when products, markets, and demands are changing. The customer implemented Automated X-Ray Inspection (AXI), plus in-circuit testing (ICT) to significantly reduce the number and cost of defects at the functional test stage. This tactic resulted in a significant reduction in the number of defects (DPMO), enabling them to achieve best-in-class status according to current IPC standards*.

← Back to all