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Enics' Quality Assurance department initially brought in Valor MSS Quality Management module solution to replace older software in the test area, which was obsolete and no longer supported. The main purpose for Valor MSS was to automatically collect all test results, provide a paperless closed loop for diagnostics and repair, and to maintain the test data as part of the permanent product history for each PCB’s unique serial number. The benefits of the Mentor Graphics Quality Management solution have, over time, far surpassed the initial expectations and have broadened in scope for a complete quality management system.

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Problem Statement

Full life cycle management, including after sales services, requires strict product process histories, traceability of each sub level assembly in every system produced, and tight management of change control and revisions. Enics Switzerland goals is to achieve and maintain the highest levels of quality and customer service within this complex high mix manufacturing environment. Enics quickly outgrew the reliability and accuracy of spreadsheets for data collection and paper based process controls which led to a decision to implement a more automated software solution. Enics Switzerland chose Valor as their software partner and today has a highly successful implementation of Valor MSS Quality Management as their solution for test area closed-loop repair, product traceability and total quality management.


The key to success at Enics was to expand and integrate Valor’s quality management solution as part of a real time user friendly manufacturing execution system (MES). Test and Repair support was only the initial stage of this long term project. What Enics really needed was complete traceability and devise history record for each product genealogy, which could potentially include all steps in the process operation plan, from kitting to final assembly and after sales support for warrantee repairs and updates, all the way through to End of Life (EOL) of the product. The scalability of Valor MSS scalable support for full process flow fit this need (Figure 1), along with ability to provide instant, accurate reports which Enics could include as customer documentation requirements.

Integration with SAP

Step one for the expanded benefit stream at Enics was to integrate Valor MSS with their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system supplied by SAP. This was key to preventing redundancy and errors from unnecessary keyboard entries and to streamline a more automated workflow.

The interface to SAP creates a data transfer bridge to automatically transfer crucial SAP data which is needed within the Valor MSS data structure, such as multi-tier Bill of Materials (BOM), product revisions and the associated Operation Plan which defines each process step and sequence needed to build each production work order. The Quality Management module is then configured for each product revision to include intelligent graphical representation of the product, which steps in the operation plan will require data collection, pass/fail gate with a closed loop repair, date and time stamps for WIP tracking, or special work instructions.

Integration with the Shop Floor Processes

Step two was to integrate the use of Valor MSS with critical shop floor processes for laser marking, product assembly, inspection and test, with integrated work instructions, routing sequence control and combination of manual and automated data collection actions. To facilitate the shop floor implementation Enics installed the appropriate user interface at strategic operation locations on the shop floor. This has been a scalable and expanding procedure as new product families and operation locations were added to the Valor MSS implementation plan. As more and more procedures are brought under Valor MSS control, the benefits to Enics really add up. The following is a partial list of solution highlights.

Figure 2 – Visual Inspection (VI) Station

Routing Control

Enics is using the Visual Inspection (VI) station user interface to achieve a long list of benefits. Their implementation starts with integrating to the laser marking operation so Valor MSS knows the work order for each laser ID, and then VI station ID will automatically bring up the correct work instruction revision for the work order at the current operation by scanning the 2D laser barcode on the PCB. In this way Enics always knows they have the correct work instruction revision and that the product has successfully passed all previous steps in the operation plan in the correct sequence. This routing control process insures the quality of all products.

Dynamic Instructions

Another benefit to Enics is the automated update of work instructions in response to quality problems. For example, if the Quality data collected at test or inspection shows a soldering problem related to a specific IC location, say U15, the real time document delivery can address a corrective action put in place by engineering until the problem is resolved. Since all the work instructions are linked to product revisions and operation station ID, and each work instruction can be appended or revised off line, creating and implementing a corrective action is extremely fast.

Real-time Drill Down Reporting

When Enics combines this capability with real-time drill down reporting of inspection and test data, quality problems are found and corrected extremely quickly, preventing the high cost of rework and protecting the high value of customer confidence in Enics to deliver products of the highest quality.

Custom reports are also quickly exporting to excel files, including any drill down variables desired, so Enics can quickly provide exactly what each customer requires for Quality Report deliverables, including historical and current data.

Box Build Genealogy

Traceability is a major requirement from Enics customers so it is crucial that Enics deploy a solid capability to insure the chain of process data and product configuration is never broken. Enics accomplishes this in an automated fashion using Valor MSS. This is especially important in the area of firmware revisions because of differences in calibration models for many of the new digital controller products. Valor MSS builds the genealogy of each box (system) by tying the individual unit IDs to the higher level box ID, including sub units IDs such as firmware. This is a key function of Valor MSS as it also allows for quick assessment and break down of a system genealogy when items are returned under warrantee repair or for upgrades.

Data Collection

Enics uses both the VI station and Test and Repair (TAR) Station (figure 3) user interface for most operations that produce quality data such as manual or visual inspection, ICT and Functional Test.

Figure 3 –Test and Repair (TAR) Station

The TAR station interfaces directly to test equipment to automatically capture test results and parameters. The operator then uses the diagnostic tools of the TAR station to determine if the test result is valid. The resulting diagnosis and repair procedure is captured in a knowledge base to assist in subsequent diagnosis of the same or similar problems. Enics has taken this one step further to link the TAR station with an interface to LabView (National Instruments) for even more robust diagnostic tool kits. In any case the closed loop control feature tracks first pass yield and second pass yield separately and insures that any failed unit is repaired and passes the test before moving on to the next production station.

The simplest data collection feature of Valor MSS is using the VI station as a WIP tracking check point. In this case the Enics operator just scans the product ID at the station and the system collects and posts the date and time stamp, location name and operator name into the data base. This is very helpful data when tracking progress or bottlenecks in each work order or process area.

The convergence of all data items collected within Valor MSS system creates a rich relational database that delivers both tangible and intangible benefits to Enics in the areas of customer support and responsiveness, collaboration between departments and people, and continuous improvement of the manufacturing process. Web based accessibility helps everyone in the plant.

Summary of Benefits at Enics

In an interview with André Beier, Quality Manager at Enics Switzerland, he summarized the following benefits derived from deploying the software in the plant.

  1. We now have Quality you can see, along with the Quality processes behind the products which you cannot see. Valor has helped to make our Quality data visible and accessible.
  2. Field returns from our customers has gone down. Valor MSS insures that each process is completed correctly before moving to the next step. It also forces our operators to correctly handle the many revision changes. Our old paper process was more forgiving and so it was easy to work with the wrong revision.
  3. Valor MSS has helped to streamline the process flow which has created a benefit that is hard to measure, but I believe we are easily 15% more efficient in our operations.
  4. We now work paperless which eliminates error due to lost or misplaced paper, eliminates personalized paper work that adds confusion, and creates a centralized and standardized process that everyone can follow.
  5. With Valor MSS our work instructions can use a variety of color photos instead of line drawings. This communicates to our operators in a much better way. The intelligence of the CAD data layer “behind” the photo creates a clear graphical view that is unambiguous and represents true reality.
  6. Valor MSS has greatly improved our reaction time. In our very high mix environment, flexibility is a must. We now have a standard tool so that people can move to other process areas without special training. Everything is clear on the screen. This keeps our flexibility high without slowing us down.
  7. Enics is performing very well is a very tough competitive business. Our success is directly tied to our very high quality and the Valor MSS Quality Management module is a major part of this success.


About Enics

Enics is a large tier two EMS company headquartered in Zurich, They have a total of nine manufacturing sites in Europe and Asia. Enics specializes in providing full life cycle services solutions for industrial and medical electronics (see Enics ranked number four in worldwide sales of industrial electronics in 2007. The Turgi plant runs a very high mix production with about 1800 different products and is a Enics center of excellence for Engineering and IT.

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