Consulting Services

Offering You a Wide Range of Consulting Services

ITM Consulting helps companies of all sizes to improve, certify, and enhance their electronics assembly processes, outsourcing, and equipment selection. In addition to basic troubleshooting, our upfront analysis helps you avoid or resolve problems, streamline your process, and improve your financial return.

Our company is well known for some of the highest-rated seminars and technical conferences across three continents. Turn to us for on-location process training of the highest caliber.

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Offering You a Wide Range of Consultancy Services

ITM Consulting helps companies of all sizes to improve, certify, and enhance their electronics assembly processes, outsourcing, and equipment selection. In addition to basic troubleshooting, our upfront analysis helps you avoid or resolve problems, streamline your process, and improve your financial return.

Our company is well known for some of the highest-rated seminars and technical conferences across three continents. Turn to us for on-location process training of the highest caliber.

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Business Services

Expert Technical Legal Assistance

Our team is also experienced in rendering technical and expert witness services for other legal disputes. This includes mergers and acquisitions of electronics assembly and other related companies as well as process and product arbitration.

Expert Witness Services

Whether you need help with process and product defense, intellectual property protection, or legally defending your process, we have you covered. Product and intellectual property are very important in maintaining a competitive position in the electronics assembly market. Our consultants have significant experience supporting these efforts by acting as expert witnesses.

Trust us to provide you with broad technical expertise, long-term historical knowledge of the electronics assembly industry, as well as direct experience with generating, submitting, and defending patents.

We have extensive experience with submittals, testing, depositions, and court appearances related to litigation. ITM Consulting's experience includes both US and international cases.

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Business Services

Expert Technical Legal Assistance

Our team is also experienced in rendering technical and expert witness services for other legal disputes. This includes mergers and acquisitions of electronics assembly and other related companies as well as process and product arbitration.

Expert Witness Services

Whether you need help with process and product defense, intellectual property protection, or legally defending your process, we have you covered. Product and intellectual property are very important in maintaining a competitive position in the electronics assembly market. Our consultants have significant experience supporting these efforts by acting as expert witnesses.

Trust us to provide you with broad technical expertise, long-term historical knowledge of the electronics assembly industry, as well as direct experience with generating, submitting, and defending patents.

We have extensive experience with submittals, testing, depositions, and court appearances related to litigation. ITM Consulting's experience includes both US and international cases.

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Process Certification

Our company has become the first and only entity in the world to offer Electronic Assembly Process Certification (US patent 7,003,477 B2). We have also introduced some new products including design for manufacturability and assembly guidelines that can be adapted to any SMT assembly process, third party merger and acquisition evaluation and equipment, and materials marketing and sales analysis.

Today, as in the past, we continue to best serve our clients through interaction that not only solves today’s problems but also prepares them for tomorrow’s challenges.

ITM Consulting – for those who know the difference.

Risk Assessment and Risk Management Consulting

In electronic assembly, whether a CEM or and OEM, Risk Management is nothing less than vital. Determining potential risks and issues in the manufacturing process before they impact production goes a long way towards keeping quality up, production costs down, reducing liabilities and retaining customer satisfaction.

ITM Consulting can work with you to assess and management risk on your assembly processes.  We will help you identify and analyze potential risk areas as well as assess and develop risk monitoring and handling options.

ITM helps you optimize your process and maximize quality.

CEM Assessment / Evaluation / Auditing

Electronic manufacturing has always been and always will be demanding.

With constant change, small margins and very challenging economic currents it is essential that the suppliers you trust your PCB assembly and fabrication to are the best and performing optimally.

Do you really want to leave selection and ongoing assessment of your suppliers to chance?

Does your company really have the manpower, skills, experience and expertise to accurately and thoroughly assess the procedures, equipment, materials, human resources being used to build your product?

Could the quality and yield of your PCB build be improved? Can you determine how?

ITM Consulting is the solution. Process auditing and supplier assessment is one of ITM’s core competencies. Our more than 100 years cumulative experience in electronic fabrication and assembly on both the supplier and user “sides” enhances our expertise in supplier assessment.

ITM knows electronic manufacturing. The ITM Supplier Assessment Audit incorporates direct assessment of quality philosophy, policies, and systems, with very strong emphasis always being placed on implementation and performance as reflected in actual day-day operation within the manufacturing facilities.

In addition, ITM is experienced with leading and “bleeding edge” technologies, IPC and JEDEC specifications, as well as working with FDA and Class III assembly requirements. ITM stays current on the evolving compliance requirements of the various RoHS enactments.

Comprehensive and Effective

While SSQA (Standard Supplier Quality Assessment) and other similar standardized procedures such as ISO-9000 are very powerful and useful systems for evaluating sales, service, and manufacturing operations, history has demonstrated that these systems are not always effective in achieving their objectives.

Far too often, these systems have become “paper exercises” which do not truly influence actual quality and performance throughout all of the corporate operations as intended. In assuring supplier quality, these methods can be extremely valuable, but efforts must be extended to “keep them real and vital! ” The risks of misuse are always present.

While many suppliers can “talk the talk”, ITM supplier assessments assure that they are “walking the walk”.

In addition, we don’t merely “score” the supplier, but we make actual recommendations that will enhance and improve the supplier’s manufacturing process — both in terms of efficiency and quality.

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.

By interspersing, in real time, documentation review, procedural questioning, and hands-on inspection of actual operations, the true reality of quality, as manifested in delivered products and services, is more comprehensively evaluated. ITM emphasizes observing and working directly with the people who really impact quality: operators, technicians, and operational supervisors.

This, along with a comparison to current “World Class” standards and practices has always been fundamental to ITM’s auditing strategies. We feel it is the uniqueness and value of the methods that contributed to the granting of a US Patent (number 7003477B2) for the Auditing Process in 2006.

Additionally, ITM has found that auditors, working in teams, simultaneously participating in discussions or observing actual manufacturing operations, provide a superior and much more comprehensive evaluation.

By supporting and sometimes questioning each other, two or more sets of ears, eyes and minds, frequently identify more questionable issues and penetrate to a significantly deeper level of understanding of actual supplier operations.

Make ITM Consulting part of your supplier assessment team and do it right.

Contamination Failure Analysis

Contamination issues can be both difficult for the manufacturer to track down and very costly with regard to yields and field failures (“escapes”). ITM has experience and expertise in identifying root cause(s) of contamination and recommending directions for mitigating the problem.

ITM works on-site to examine the entire assembly process –from “dock to stock” –from bare PCBs through final packaging. We then drill down expeditiously identify all the possible causes. We work several notable FA Labs that specialize in cleaning/contamination issue to identify the nature of the contamination. ITM then interprets the FA lab info and co-relates it with our on-site findings. This allows us to recommend accurate corrective and preventative actions.

So consider bringing in ITM Consulting and stop playing process “whack-a-mole” spending tens of thousands of dollars (or more) and jeopardizing customer relationships. ITM can resolve the problem efficiently and economically.

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Contamination Failure Analysis

Contamination issues can be both difficult for the manufacturer to track down and very costly with regard to yields and field failures (“escapes”). ITM has experience and expertise in identifying root cause(s) of contamination and recommending directions for mitigating the problem.

ITM works on-site to examine the entire assembly process –from “dock to stock” –from bare PCBs through final packaging. We then drill down expeditiously identify all the possible causes. We work several notable FA Labs that specialize in cleaning/contamination issue to identify the nature of the contamination. ITM then interprets the FA lab info and co-relates it with our on-site findings. This allows us to recommend accurate corrective and preventative actions.

So consider bringing in ITM Consulting and stop playing process “whack-a-mole” spending tens of thousands of dollars (or more) and jeopardizing customer relationships. ITM can resolve the problem efficiently and economically.

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DFM Defect and Problem Resolution

Design for Manufacturability and Assembly remains the biggest nemesis for the electronic assembler. ITM has expertise and experience in resolving DFM problems. The effective PCB designer must be knowledgeable with respect to the characteristics and capabilities of the SMT assembly process including soldering, placement, cleaning and testing. Most aren’t !  We perform DFM for Assembly reviews, find the deficiencies and identify them for you.
We also educate Designers in electronic assembly (and how they may be negatively impacting it) with On-site workshops.

Equipment Development

For The Electronics Assembly Industry

The design and development of process equipment for the Electronics Assembly industry is challenging for a number of reasons.

  • The development cycle from concept to introduction is long
  • The new equipment, over its expected lifetime (usually several years) must have the capabilities to meet future assembly and product requirements
  • Product technology (and therefore assembly requirements) are dynamic, changing continually even during the development cycle.

With its extensive experience in equipment design, development, marketing, and application, ITM can assist in many phases of the new product cycle from the analysis of historical background, to current and future market research and applications, as well as new product concept and specification, testing of concepts, prototypes and baselining of final designs.

Failure Analysis – Assembly Processes

Whether you are struggling with new technologies or a stubborn defect, ITM can help you resolve the problem expeditiously and economically.

Whether lead-free or lead-inclusive, ITM’s experienced consultants, with our proven diagnostic routines and resources can help you determine the source(s) of yield lowering defects as well as improve processes believed to be under control.

Whether it’s in-house or supplier related in materials, printing, placement, soldering (reflow, wave and selective), inspection, handling and/or through-hole – we get your problems resolved.

Most important, ITM’s Process Troubleshooting Analysis and Corrective Action Report help our clients learn how to avoid future problems and become self-sufficient in diagnosing and troubleshooting.

In a weak economy, with engineering staff reductions, the manufacturer might not have the resources and expertise to deal with costly process defects. Each of our consultants have over 25 years experience in Surface Mount Technology – equipment, processes, materials and components. In many cases, we not only know the process, we helped develop it. With our contacts and resources throughout the industry, we uncover the root cause of the defects and resolve them.

ITM keeps up on all the current materials, component, PCB, equipment and process technologies and methodologies. ITM has proven expertise and can help you resolve problems related to:

  • Design for Manufacturabilty Issues
  • Materials
  • PCB Substrate issues
  • Solder paste issues
  • Stencil Printing
  • Material Dispensing
  • Automatic Component Placement
  • SMT Soldering
    • Reflow
    • Vapor-Phase
    • Wave-soldering
    • Selective Soldering

  • Inspection and Repair
    • AOI
    • Manual Inspection
    • X-Ray
  • Conformal Coating
  • Documentation
    • Workmanship Standards
    • DFMA Guidelines
    • Procedures

As defects go down, margins and profitability increase.

Don’t fight a fact, deal with it. Bring ITM’s capable consultants in to help you run lean and efficient.

Retained Consulting Services – Adjunct Staff

ITM Consulting can work with you and your team on an on-going extended time.  This could be for a Risk Assessment and Management project, process development program, CEM Assessment and Selection, among others.  As Adjunct Staff we work as a member of your team – sometimes on-site and sometimes remote – whatever is appropriate to the scope of the project.  ITM works on a committed amount of time per month and can include site visits, teleconferences, workshops and supplier visits as well as email and telephone support.  The unique ITM Advantage is that you have the knowledge, experience, and expertise of the entire ITM Team involved.

PCB Fabrication Source Evaluation

Finding good, capable sources for bare-PCB supply is difficult. Seldom does the capability to analyze PCB fabrication processes and sources exist in OEM or CEM operations.

PCB fabrication is a complex combination of several processes, any one of which, if not properly controlled, can cause immediate or latent board failure, negatively effect assembly processes (especially soldering), impact delivery schedules and your time-to-market. Worse yet is the mis-qualification of a board supplier that cannot meet your needs from the perspective of production, quality or capability.

ITM Consulting can help you address this need. Our experienced consultants have over 15 years experience in the fabrication of Printed Circuit Boards and can survey and qualify potential or re-qualify current board suppliers.

The client's Procurement Specification will first be reviewed to assure that all key parameters are covered. ITM's consultant will then survey and audit the fabricator's complete process including: pre-engineering, configuration control, materials quality, process and statistical control, and individual elements within the fabrication process.

In addition, our process auditor will review your procurement and compliance documents to ascertain if the fabricator's capabilities match your procurement needs.

Once the audit is complete, you receive a full report highlighting the fabricator's capabilities and whether they meet or are at variance from your needs

In-Plant Training and Workshops

Boost your Electronics Assembly Process knowledge with our Workshops.   These are presented on-site at your facility and we “customize” the content to an extent to reflect the equipment, processes, and materials you are using as well as what is in the industry at large. Practical and based on real-life situations – not academics.

Process Audits

ITM's unique (and patented) 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.

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.

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ITM Process Certification

ITM Process Certification provides to your customer and potential customers that you assembly processes, equipment, procedures, materials and documentation are in compliance with industry Best Practices. We do this in conjunction with our (patented and proven) Process Audit. Our company has become the first and only entity in the world to offer true Electronic Assembly Process Certification (US patent 7,003,477 B2).

It has been said that “Certifications aren’t just an ‘added bonus’ at an electronics manufacturing facility”. With over 35 years of Process Audit experience through many audits of CEMs, OEMs, and ODMs in Automotive, Telecom, Avionics, Military, Medical, Computer and Industrial Control and many other product assemblers, we know what to look at and what it takes to incorporate Best Practices.

ITM Process Certification, when attained,  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. Contact us to find out more about this distinctive service.

ITM Consulting – for those who know the difference.

Process Development and Implementation

ITM can assist you in setting up any assembly process which may be new to your facility, expanding your current process or developing a new capability including:

  • Any Standard Surface Mount Assembly Process
  • Lead-free Process
  • No-clean Process
  • Reflow of Through-hole
  • Direct Chip Attach
  • Ball Grid Array

ITM's experienced consultants can assist you in start up, process documentation, process control and Assembly Certification and will keep in touch throughout implementation and after.

Starting first with our pre-visit preparation, then an audit of your current assembly process and capabilities and finally process implementation.

Lean SIX-SIGMA Manufacturing Consulting

In today's difficult times, quality and profitability have never been so important and so challenging.

Yet, it surprises many people to find that very small improvements in productivity can result in exponential improvements in profit.

Here is an example. Let's say you were losing just 3 minutes per shift each day. Maybe you waited a little to replenish the solder paste, or dallied some when you went to get the stencil for the new job. No big deal right?

Wrong! Depending on your line the results will vary, but on the average line you would lose $90K of production per year. Remember, the only profits you generate are from the products coming off the end of your lines!

ITM would like to audit your line for such time wasters and also search for process, material, and equipment problems and improvements, all of which will directly impact the quality of your products and productivity of your operations.

We would also like to cost model your facility with ProfitPro3. This cost model will help us to predict the profit improvements possible with our recommended productivity enhancements.

Telephone Consultation Service

ITM Consulting Telephone Consultation Service

“Consultant on Tap”

Do you need some advice on a nagging defect causing problem?  Have questions about possible alternative technologies, materials or component packages?  Are you wondering about the impact a new methodology, component package or material might have on your process?   These and many other questions can sometimes be easily, quickly and economically answered by the experienced consultants of ITM – most likely without the need for a site visit.

The procedure is very easy.  Use the Contact Form at www.ITMconsulting.com/ or call us at (615) 985-2107

State your question in the area provided and submit the form.  ITM will respond to you within 24 hours of receiving the inquiry.

It it is a question or problem we can work on with you via a telephone or email conversation, we will refer you to submit a Telephone Consultation request via our E-Commerce Store.  We will have the ITM consultant (or consultants) with the most appropriate and extensive expertise in knowledge of the topic contact you with a phone number for the telephone consultation session.  Or you may submit  your question via email to be answered via email.

The cost for a maximum 1 hour of telephone consultation or email response is $200.  ITM accepts Paypal and credit cards through Paypal through the E-Commerce Store.  If further telephone and/or email consultation is required, you can opt for that.  If you and the consultant agree that an on-site consultation is required, you can arrange for that with ITM and the cost of the telephone consultation will be applied to the on-site fee.

Don’t fight a problem, deal with it!  Contact ITM Consulting today.

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Selective Soldering Process Review and Analysis Consulting Services

ITM Consulting works with clients in a technical consulting capacity for the purpose of providing on-site selective soldering process consulting services. ITM performs an assessment of the present selective soldering process and validates the manufacturing practices and procedures utilized to produce the subject printed circuit board assemblies. ITM determines a root cause analysis and identifies process enhancements to rectify the present solder defect conditions and implements recommended correct actions for the subject printed circuit board assemblies.

ITM reviews the through-hole assembly operation as well as the selective soldering operations of the clients manufacturing operation for the purpose of benchmarking and recommending improvements and/or enhancements to the assembly and soldering processes that potentially could result in improved quality levels, higher production yields and more efficient throughput of the subject board assemblies. An additional goal of these process review and analysis services is to enhance the working knowledge and skill-sets of the internal technical and operational staff.

The following tasks are deliverables of these consulting services:

On-Site Assessment
Based on communications between the client and ITM, it is recommended that a third-party assessment of the present selective soldering operations be conducted to enhance and optimize the soldering processes employed for the subject assemblies. This on-site consulting will consist of the following tasks:

1. On-site analysis of the manufacturing, process and quality data to observe and assess the through-hole assembly and selective soldering process parameters
2. Perform a process capability assessment of the subject assemblies relative to the selective soldering processes employed
3. Determine root cause analysis of the present through-hole solder defects and identify process enhancements to rectify the present defect conditions
4. Validate the manufacturing impact of the subject board assemblies relative to the recommended solutions

Soldering Process Audit
Based on communications between the client and ITM, it is recommended that a third-party assessment and benchmark audit of the internal processes be conducted to assess the implementation of processes, equipment and materials with regard to capabilities for producing the subject board assemblies. This on-site consulting will consist of the following tasks:

1. On-site visit of manufacturing operation to observe and assess the present selective soldering processes, practices and procedures
2. Meet with key personnel to review and assess internal process strengths and weaknesses and related issues and concerns
3. Review process documentation and manufacturing yield data including:

      • Through-hole process review and design for manufacturability (DFM) guidelines
      • Liquid flux deposition and thermal profiling techniques
      • Wave dynamics and board impingement
      • Through-hole related process defects, defect condition and corrective actions
      • Statistical process control (SPC) and solder defect data analysis
      • Workmanship standards, operating and training procedures and practices
      • Process optimization and design of experiment (DoE) techniques
      • Preventative maintenance procedures, practices and frequency

4. Provide an on-site process review summary meeting and verbal report-out of all findings, process enhancements and recommended corrective actions, to be followed by a written report

Wave-Soldering Process Review and Analysis Consulting Services

ITM Consulting works with clients in a technical consulting capacity for the purpose of providing on-site wave-soldering process consulting services. ITM performs an assessment of the present selective soldering process and validates the manufacturing practices and procedures utilized to produce the subject printed circuit board assemblies. ITM determines a root cause analysis and identifies process enhancements to rectify the present solder defect conditions and implements recommended correct actions for the subject printed circuit board assemblies.

ITM reviews the through-hole assembly operation as well as the wave-soldering operations of the clients manufacturing operation for the purpose of benchmarking and recommending improvements and/or enhancements to the assembly and soldering processes that potentially could result in improved quality levels, higher production yields and more efficient throughput of the subject board assemblies. An additional goal of these process review and analysis services is to enhance the working knowledge and skill-sets of the internal technical and operational staff.

The following tasks are deliverables of these consulting services:

On-Site Assessment
Based on communications between the client and ITM, it is recommended that a third-party assessment of the present wave-soldering operations be conducted to enhance and optimize the soldering processes employed for the subject assemblies. This on-site consulting will consist of the following tasks:
1) On-site analysis of the manufacturing, process and quality data to observe and assess the through-hole assembly and wave-soldering process parameters
2) Perform a process capability assessment of the subject assemblies relative to the wave-soldering processes employed
3) Determine root cause analysis of the present through-hole solder defects and identify process enhancements to rectify the present defect conditions
4)Validate the manufacturing impact of the subject board assemblies relative to the recommended solutions

Soldering Process Audit
Based on communications between the client and ITM, it is recommended that a third-party assessment and benchmark audit of the internal processes be conducted to assess the implementation of processes, equipment and materials with regard to capabilities for producing the subject board assemblies. This on-site consulting will consist of the following tasks:

1) On-site visit of manufacturing operation to observe and assess the present selective soldering processes, practices and procedures
2) Meet with key personnel to review and assess internal process strengths and weaknesses and related issues and concerns
3) Review process documentation and manufacturing yield data including:

  • Through-hole process review and design for manufacturability (DFM) guidelines
  • Liquid flux deposition and thermal profiling techniques
  • Wave dynamics and board impingement
  • Through-hole related process defects, defect condition and corrective actions
  • Statistical process control (SPC) and solder defect data analysis
  • Workmanship standards, operating and training procedures and practices
  • Process optimization and design of experiment (DoE) techniques
  • Preventative maintenance procedures, practices and frequency

4) Provide an on-site process review summary meeting and verbal report-out of all findings, process enhancements and recommended corrective actions, to be followed by a written report