ITM's unique SMT Process Audit begins with us bringing our PC Board Fabrication and SMT Assembly expertise on-site to your facility. Unlike other audits, we don't just point out what you are doing wrong — we make positive and objective recommendations on how to do it right.
We concentrate on improving your assembly process as well as troubleshooting specific problems you may be experiencing. The entire review can generally be accomplished within 2 to 4 days (depending upon the number of lines in the facility) and with minimal disruption to factory personnel and routines.
Our specific knowledge of, and experience with, most major manufacturers of production equipment and solder pastes gained through our ongoing consulting work in the field assures you of accurate and timely information and recommendations.
Prior to ITM's scheduled visit, specific information about your assembly process, personnel and facility will be queried, including information regarding:
- current process flow
- equipment and materials being used
- composition and characteristics of the product being used
- current defect levels
- specific trouble areas currently recognized
This preparation assures efficient and expeditious on-site work with minimal facility disruption.
The ITM SMT Process Audit begins with a meeting with appropriate engineering and production staff including Manufacturing, Process, Quality, Design, and management. Each participant presents their specific areas of responsibilities as well as process concerns and problems they may have.
Initial Process Examination
ITM's experienced personnel then proceed to make the initial examination of the assembly line(s). Procedures, equipment and materials are observed. This procedure provides additional insight for the examiner for the interview phase. Quality and operational documentation is also reviewed at this point.
Participants involved in the initial meeting meet with the ITM staff individually to further discuss their areas of responsibilities. At this juncture, initial observations made by ITM are reviewed as well as problems in these areas being experienced are discussed in detail. Documentation and process control practices pertaining to the individual's area are also reviewed.
Detailed Process Examination and Gap Analysis
Based upon the principles of ITM's patented SMT Process Audit, the SMT Process Audit is comprised of two major sections:
Assembly Processes, Materials and Equipment:
- Materials – handling and validation
- Components – handling and validation
- Printing and Deposition
- Component Placement
- Reflow Soldering
- Wave and Selective Soldering
- Manual assembly and soldering operations
- Rework and repair
- Inspection – incoming, in-process and final
- In-Circuit and Functional Test
- Equipment set-up instructions
- Equipment maintenance
- 5-S implementation
- Counterfeit Component Interception/Avoidance Program Implementation
Quality Systems and Procedures:
- General Quality Systems
- Quality Records
- Material Procurement, Validation, Declaration Procedures
- Skills, Training and Certification
- Calibration Control
- Internal Audits
- Quality Records
- Statistical Process Control
- In-Process Controls
- Non-Conforming Material Controls
- Corrective Action
- Counterfeit Component Avoidance Program and Documentation
Specific areas of the assembly process are examined in detail. ITM may make measurements and analysis at the various processes. Compatibility of process parameters and materials will be scrutinized. Interviews with line personnel, as deemed appropriate, will also be conducted.
Summation Meeting – Process Audit and Gap Analysis
Upon completion of the Process Examination, ITM will review its findings and compile its presentation for the Process Audit and Gap Analysis Summation Meeting.
Following the completion of the Process Examination, ITM will present its findings in a Summary Meeting with appropriate personnel. It is here that the Recommendations for Process Improvement will be submitted. These will include specific actions to resolve specific problems as well as issues and directions for improvement of quality and cycle time reduction.
Within 1 – 2 weeks following the Process Review, ITM will submit a written report summarizing the findings and recommendations presented in the Process Review Summation Meeting. If desired, a follow-on meeting with Corporate Management to present ITM's findings can also be opted for.
ITM Process Certification
In addition to the initial (proposed) Process Audit, the client can apply for the ITM Process Certification.
ITM shall revisit the client's facility at a future agreed upon date (within 8 months of the initial audit) for a follow-up audit. If all 1st Level Recommendations cited in the initial audit have been implemented and nothing else has degraded, ITM shall certify the client's SMT assembly process.
This certification states to present and prospective customers of the client that the processes, materials, equipment and personnel have been certified by ITM to be capable of producing quality PCB assemblies. ITM will be available to state and discuss this with said customers. Certification is valid for 2 years and renewal can be applied for with a follow-on Process Audit.
The ITM Consulting Difference:
- ITM Consulting has extensive experience and expertise in SMT process audits and our methodology is patented. This is our foremost area of expertise.
- ITM does more than just evaluate and critique your process. We make recommendations and offer direction to close the gaps and assure a compliant and efficient assembly process.
- We are objective. ITM does not have any conflict of interest as we do not hold patents or have vested interest in any material or equipment suppliers and we do not stand to profit from our recommendations.
- Our objective and comprehensive (patented) Process Audit was put together by experts, not a committee. We focus on the important and critical areas and do not waste your time with the superfluous.
- We audit the process as work is in progress. Anyone can "talk the talk" but can they "walk the walk"? Checklists will not be sent in advance — an audit should be a snapshot of what your usual procedures and methods are — not something that you've rehearsed for the audit.
ITM Consulting — We don't tell you what you want to hear,
we tell you what you need to know