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How failures troubleshooting software can boost electronics companies operation?

Updated: Dec 19, 2021

The global electronics industry is highly competitive, innovative, and fast-changing. With short product cycles, is typical to employ a just-in-time production model. Manufacturing systems malfunctions and failure-related costs can be tremendous. KIAMI's FASTtroubleshoot is a top-class failures troubleshooting software that helps to provide fast, high-quality resolution, cutting down repair time and reducing manufacturing costs.

The electronics industry is generally comprised of two groups of firms: component suppliers and electronics assembly firms. Component suppliers firms include manufacturers of passive components, semiconductor components, printed circuit boards (PCB), display components, and more. This industry includes highly automated equipment such as boules or bare wafers, machines for the manufacture of masks and reticles; assembling semiconductor devices or integrated circuits; lifting, handling, loading, and unloading equipment; Instruments for inspecting or checking semiconductor wafers or devices, photo masks or reticles used in manufacturing semiconductor devices. The electronics assembly industry includes highly automated equipment such as components placement machines (chip shooters and IC placers), solder paste printing machines, reflow ovens, wave soldering machines, loading equipment, PCB conveyors, and various test equipment such as automatic test equipment (ATE), automatic optical inspection (AOI) and others. The manufacturing processes in the electronics industry are very accurate, high volume, and characterized by a controlled environment. Machines malfunctions or failures can generate many defected products, materials scrap, manufacturing delays, high repair costs, low products reliability, products fields' failures, and more. The related quality costs are huge. In such cases, it is critical to provide fast, high-quality resolution.

How can FASTtroubleshoot boost electronics manufacturing?

The biggest impact of FASTtroubleshoot is on the ongoing operation of these manufacturing processes. When engineering, maintenance, IT, or operation user handles system malfunction or failure, FASTtroubleshoot provides all the necessary information to enable fast, high-quality resolution. He can drill down to the relevant malfunctioned process/ sub-process step and go over possible failure reasons, based on failure characteristics, symptoms, and error messages. He can run documented test procedures until the root cause is detected or use documented repair procedures to provide effective and best-practice treatment and run the expert wizard to review detailed guidelines. The user interface was optimized for tablets and mobile devices, using touch screen navigation, at the manufacturing floor.

The diagram on the right describes a real-life troubleshooting example in an electronics assembly line. In printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing, fiducial marks allow SMT placement equipment to accurately locate and place parts on boards. Immediately after a printed board (PCB) enters into a components placement machine, its fiducial marks are scanned before the placement begins. Fiducial marks no read error is one of the common ones. Line's operator that tackles such error drills down into the relevant sub-process, in that example - Fuji placement machine > Fiducials read sub-process. Doing so reveals all the possible reasons for such failure.

Possible fiducial no-read failure reasons are displayed in the right table. The line operator follows the checks required to identify the root cause until it is identified and resolved or calls the relevant support team to proceed with the investigation. As it can be seen in the example, FASTtroubleshoot provides the following benefits:

  • Cuts-down failures repair time. In some complex failures from few hours to few minutes downtimes.

  • It enables operational teams to resolve by themselves a wider range of failures, which previously have been resolved by maintenance, engineering, or IT. It is extremely useful when support team members are not available or not on shift, allowing a quick and convenient method to resolve the issue.

  • It enables to preserve organization accumulated knowledge and spread best-practice diagnostics and repair procedures inside teams, among teams, and between sites.

  • It enables to shorten new workers' learning curve and raises professionalism level of all.

  • It enables to shorten ramp-up and reduce the risk while introducing a new process, equipment, information system, or product.

  • Improved manufacturing processes' quality, reduced material waste due to long downtimes or returning failures, reduced manufacturing delays, and increased throughput/ utilization.

FASTtroubleshoot stimulates knowledge sharing across the company and pushes all stakeholders towards operational excellence. Among the teams that can gain the maximum benefits from this system:

  • Manufacturing line operators

  • SMT Equipment programmers

  • Machines maintenance staff

  • Process Engineers

  • Products' defects analyzers and repair technicians

  • Test equipment (ATE) developers and operators

  • Automatic inspection equipment (AOI) programmers and operators

  • IT MES, ERP, and WMS information systems and infrastructure teams

How can FASTtroubleshoot help electronics development and NPI?

Another important use of the FASTtroubleshoot platform is to support new products design, development, and introduction (NPI) processes. Any organization that deals with such development phases have many employees that gain very important experience on how to do things right the first time, minimizing development, prototype, and pilot builds' manufacturing ramp-up errors. FASTtroubleshoot is a perfect platform to document such best-practice guidelines and reuse this accumulated knowledge in development projects. It can hold such guidelines on different aspects of project development such as design for manufacturing (DFM), design for testability (DFT), design for assembly (DFA), and more. Dynamic checklists can be used before each project step and before any prototype build, contributing to the overall process improvement.

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