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PCB Manufacturing, Assembly & Test Blog

16 Oct, 2014

Michael Ford While meeting with a customer recently, a PCB layout design engineer engaged in PCB routing using the very latest of Mentor’s Xpedition PCB routing software commented that he had never seen before how automated routing tools could create what he “saw” in his head. Perhaps this is a testament to how the Mentor PCB layout auto-router logic is getting to a level of cleverness approaching a human brain, … Read More

22 Sep, 2014

Manufacturing Cost Simulation

Posted by Jay Gorajia

Jay Gorajia Have you underestimated the costs of manufacturing a product?   Cost overruns killing your planned margins? Don’t really know if design decisions have any effect on final manufacturing costs?  Under pressure to reduce your costs, but don’t understand where the costs are coming from? Some say understanding the “cost of manufacturing” is an elusive number.  However, with a well-designed systematized Factory … Read More

1 Sep, 2014

Michael Ford As humans, it is said that we consume between 2,000 and 2,500 calories per day of energy, 1,300 of which are used just to keep the body alive, including about 300 calories for the brain. The numbers vary from difference sources and of course are averages. Calorie consumption for the brain is said to range from 0.1 of a calorie per minute, up to around 1.5, probably the difference between watching the … Read More

18 Aug, 2014

Simple Competition Is Simply Not

Posted by Michael Ford

Michael Ford In an effort to drive down prices, or perhaps some would say, in an effort to avoid having to manage the industry, here in the UK, the government have opened up the domestic electricity market to promote competition between providers. What a surprise! It is not going well. It has been shown that many people are happy to stick with their current provider, due to their perception of the difficulty to … Read More

31 Jul, 2014

Don’t Talk About Industry 4.0

Posted by Michael Ford

Michael Ford With some 20 years of software development specifically for the improvement of PCB electronics manufacturing, I have seen a few things come and go. It was in those very early days, before the IBM PC, before LANs, and of course before email and the internet, the I set out with my initial team to resolve manufacturing issues with computers. We made our own crude LAN systems. We saved data on to cassette … Read More

11 Jul, 2014

Exploding LEDs

Posted by Michael Ford

Michael Ford LEDs came on to the scene just as I was in high school. Having had several feeble little torches on my bike as a kid, with many failed experiments to make the “feeble little wicks” a bit brighter, I saw LEDs as a wonderful technology. Throughout the years that have followed, we have brighter LEDs, and different colours – I was in Japan as the first wave of individual blue LEDs went on sale, some of … Read More

1 Jul, 2014

Mark Laing Hi there We recently released a new version of the Valor Production Planning application that has enhancements to support both LED Binning and Key Performance Indicators or KPIs. LED Binning is widely used in the automotive market place but will also be applicable to any industry where LEDs are used for displays that require consistent lighting levels. The issue here is that LEDs that have the same … Read More

30 May, 2014

Jay Gorajia

Are mobile Apps becoming more prevalent in the Electronics Manufacturing landscape? I recently came across a survey at Manufacturing Business Technology magazine by Canvas: The article states “…The survey points to an increasingly mobile manufacturing

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21 May, 2014

Industry 4.0 Coming To The US?

Posted by Michael Ford

Michael Ford

I am asked this question frequently. Though Industry 4.0 originates in Germany, I sometimes wonder whether it has actually even come to the German electronics manufacturers yet. This is the problem when something radically different comes to a somewhat conservative industry. The resistance to change for established companies is very high, where past experience of so-called improvements has actually

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16 May, 2014

The Business Of Supply Chain Issues

Posted by Michael Ford

Michael Ford

At APEX this year, I was talking about material inventory integrity across the factory shop-floor and warehouse infrastructure, and the huge effect that it can have on the bottom line of any manufacturing business. You can see this on YouTube: The ERP system is one of the largest investments made in electronics manufacturing. It is responsible

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Material Turns, Inventory Accuracy

14 May, 2014

Build Globally

Posted by Mark Laing

Mark Laing

Hi there My latest webinar has just been posted on the web site. I have posted the link below to get you there directly. Being able to manufacture PCB products around the world provides a number of advantages to the manufacturer. The challenge is being able to move those products to different locations efficiently even if the lines are the same, never mind if the lines are different machine

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30 Apr, 2014

Mark Laing

Hi there The Valor Process Preparation suite currently supports a large number of SMT, AOI, SPI, ICT, FPT and AXI machine models however there are always new machines coming to market that will need to be supported in the future. I would like to ask for your input on new machines or technologies that you are considering or have already committed to in your facilities. For low volume and high mix production,

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AXI Programming

17 Apr, 2014

Mark Laing

Hi there Great show this year in Las Vegas for Apex. Hall was full of exhibitors and the traffic was good on all days. One of our themes this year was reducing the chaos of all the many part and package libraries that are created and managed to support PCB manufacturing. I spoke with Andy Shaughnessy on the iConnect booth about this. Please click on the link below to view the interview. Please let me

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3 Apr, 2014

Mark Laing

Hi there It was a great three days in Las Vegas last week for the IPC Apex Trade Show. We met many new and existing customers at our booth. The attendance seemed to be higher than last year though I don’t know the official numbers. I presented at the PCB Designers Forum on the Monday morning on simplying all those part and package libraries that you need to manage. This was also one of the areas

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20 Mar, 2014

Michael Ford

At APEX this year, I will be presenting a poster in the poster session on Wednesday at 3pm , talking about counterfeit materials and the importance of traceability. The use of counterfeit materials can be a critical subject where safety critical products are concerned, or where brand integrity is important. Quality and environmental issues are also a likely consequence where materials have been used

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