Testing Todd: Optimize Your Training Time

Today’s training has become an essential part of any operation, especially because most quality management systems (QMS) require this. To be compliant with ISO 9001 you must maintain a competence and training system. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when taking on the competence and training mission.

Too many times you just hire the new employee, give them some work instructions and practical training, document their completion, and that’s it. Unfortunately, this can lead to many problems, and here is why.

Assigning Employee Instruction
First, you must make sure the process or work instruction is robust. Too many times a process or work instruction is assigned to a person, usually a quality engineer or technician, or possibly the manager of the department, cell, or manufacturing unit. This is a problem, as that person may quit, move to another department, or otherwise become unavailable; the process is now orphaned. So, a process or work instruction should be assigned to a department and not a person. Therefore, it is always a task for the department.

Next, the building of the work instruction based on a documented process should not be a solo activity. Many times, the document is written by a third party or technical writer that has no real familiarity with the task being documented. This leads to process anomalies. Of course, a new machine or process may be assigned to a technical team to get the machine online and document the operation of said machine. But it cannot stop there. Line operators should be involved in the documentation process. They are the ones who will be performing the task daily. The overall operation of the machine or process is to provide a goal, which may be a product, part, or combination thereof. Just documenting how to run the machine is not sufficient. For the work instruction and process to work cohesively, we must combine the task with the surrounding environment, tools, and space. This requires looking at it from a higher level.

To begin with, we must evaluate the space. Is the machine or tool placed efficiently? Are there any hazards due to the installation? These could be:

  • Tripping hazards
  • Crush or pinch hazards
  • Ergonomic hazards

One thing that is overlooked when installing new processes and/or equipment is the impact the work area has on the success of the process. If we don’t look at these things, we are creating waste. In this context I do not mean waste or scrap of the product but the waste of time due to poor planning of the space.

We need to look at items such as:

  • Tools required for the task
  • Movements the operator must make
  • Travel if the operator must move the product to and from the machine
  • Health and safety such as lifting and twisting, if so applicable

This is where the importance of combining the process or work instruction with efficient development of the workspace or cell comes in. Another important aspect is to optimize the workspace so that it only contains the tools and supplies needed for the task. Get rid of everything else which serves no purpose and just creates clutter.

Time to Test
Here is where involving an operator-level employee benefits the overall success. Once the process or work instruction is documented, it must be tested. Go through the steps one by one to validate the necessity. You will find that some of your requirements may be dumb. During this evaluation you will be able to optimize the steps, validate the ergonomics of the area, and streamline movements to achieve the best possible outcome.

It is only after this is complete that you can effectively train your workforce. They will learn the task based on optimal efficiency and the repeatability will be higher than that of a loose or messy process. The thing is, if you leave holes or gaps in a process, your operators will find the shortcuts or ways to deviate from the intended task. Having a robust and tested process, as well as work instruction, will keep this behavior to a minimum.

Now that we have our employees trained, we need to document this to be compliant to the QMS. Many times, we train the employees, document their file as trained, cut them loose, and they disappear into the abyss. Well, that doesn’t work either. Once the employee is trained and documented, they need to be reviewed on a regular basis. Most common is an annual review. This ensures they are still performing the task correctly and/or have improved or degraded since last review. Because the QMS needs to be reviewed at least yearly, it gives the department an opportunity to review the process as well. Perhaps the machine was upgraded. Perhaps there is an obsolete step or a new one required. This is all part of the overall continuity between the process, work instruction, and employees performing the tasks.

Conclusion
The process must be designed optimally, including workspace, tools, and ergonomics. In today’s times, efficiency, repeatability, and the minimization of waste is crucial. When processes and work instructions are “in tune” the ability to efficiently increase productivity and quality will quickly become apparent.

This column originally appeared in the April 2022 issue of PCB007 Magazine.

Back

2022

Testing Todd: Optimize Your Training Time

05-03-2022

Today’s training has become an essential part of any operation, especially because most Quality Management Systems (QMS) require this. To be compliant with ISO9001 you must maintain a competence and training system. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when taking on the competence and training mission.

View Story

Testing Todd: Has Universal Fixture Testing Gone the Way of the Dodo?

04-04-2022

Although flying probe testers have become common place in today’s manufacturing theatre, one must wonder if the fixture tester, specifically the universal grid or “pin in hole” fixture has any valuable use in the electrical test arena? The advancements in flying probe technology are undisputed with the new abilities to do many of the tests that benchtop testing historically required.

View Story
Back

2021

Testing Todd: Why, Why, Why—Never Stop Questioning

12-29-2021

If you have been around young children, I’m sure you have fallen into the “Why” game or “Why” loop with the young’un. I’m now a grandfather and the game started again a long time ago. “Grampa? Why is that man limping?” “Well, he has a cast on his foot.” “Why, Grampa?” “Well, it looks like he was injured.” “Why?” And so it goes. These brilliant young children have mastered root cause analysis and they don’t even know it.

View Story

The New Electrical Test—Riding the Wave

11-22-2021

Many years ago, when electrical test (ET) was necessary on a bare printed circuit board (PCB) you would build a dedicated fixture with spring pins and mount the box fixture to a machine interface and perform the test. However, back then there were no preconfigured netlists, and the machines were only capable of “learning” the board. This was known as the “self-learn” or “learn comparison” test. At the time, all you could do is prove that all the boards of the test lot were the same. The risk was that if there was a film defect and all boards had the same fault, the test would still pass even though all boards were defective.

View Story

Testing Todd: Is Your Process Cluttered? Supercharge It!

09-30-2021

Recently I came across a posting on social media regarding process development in the eyes of Elon Musk. Although there are many philosophies with regard to process development, I found Elon’s insight particularly interesting. Let’s design a process, shall we?

View Story

Testing Todd: Design for Manufacturing? Don't Forget Test!

09-07-2021

Design for manufacture (DFM) is a great discipline for creating designs that provide optimum performance while still maintaining affordability. However, what can be, and does get overlooked is the DFT (Design for Test) variable. As greater manufacturing demands are put to the manufacturer it also creates challenges to validate the electrical deliverables that may be required.

View Story

Testing Todd: The PCB Limbo—How Low Can You Go?

07-26-2021

Columnist Todd Kolmodin takes a stinging look at the price of printed circuit boards over the past 30 years. What caused this "downward spiral" in the industry?

View Story

Testing Todd: Meet Mr. Henry and Do Not Blow a Fuse

06-18-2021

Columnist Todd Kolmodin explains the connection between electrical test and Joseph Henry. Can you figure it out?

View Story

Testing Todd: Keeping the Tools Sharp

05-18-2021

Quality is not just an action; it is a way of life. We can say we are quality conscious but as the days pass the discipline can fade. The tools become worn, dull and finally discarded. So, we must revisit the tool shed periodically to make sure our tools are razor sharp and at the ready.

View Story

Testing Todd: A Point of Order—Do Not Just Rearrange the Pencils!

04-28-2021

In our concentration on continuous improvement, we should look in to the order of things. Efficiency comes from streamlining processes, effective training, and the ability to monitor success through KPIs and feedback on deliverables.

View Story

Testing Todd: Homing in on the Target

03-30-2021

Although electrical testing provides a beneficial safeguard against an electrically inferior product reaching a customer, it does require adherence to critical processes.

View Story

Testing Todd: Owning Your Processes

02-23-2021

It’s extremely common to write a process or work instruction and let it loose in the wild to thrive. The problem is, if there is a problem or a glitch it may never get noticed. Why you ask? It’s simple. Humans have an extraordinary ability to adapt.

View Story
Back

2020

Testing Todd: Training the Force or the Few

12-31-2020

As with any business, the quality of goods and/or services is of the utmost importance. Company reputations are gauged by the success or failure in maintaining high-quality outputs. Todd Kolmodin explains how maintaining high-quality and on-time delivery depends on multiple factors: first, equipment and tools to produce the product or service, and second, the power of the workforce behind the product.

View Story

Testing Todd: Don’t Get Pickled by the Barrel

11-25-2020

Whether you have two layers or 50 layers, it all comes down to how the layers communicate. Otherwise, you just have a bunch of two-dimensional layers, and that isn’t practical. Todd Kolmodin describes how the practical magic, of course, is plated drilled holes.

View Story

Testing Todd: Roadmap? First, Find the Road!

10-22-2020

Todd Kolmodin originally thought of discussing roadmaps and how they pertain to our industry and analyzing trends. However, it’s difficult to work with the roadmap when you cannot find the road. Todd shares his thoughts and experiences regarding the wildfires in Oregon and the West Coast of the U.S.

View Story

Testing Todd: Don’t Be a Boss—Be a Leader

08-26-2020

Leader, boss, follower, collaborator, teammate. These are terms we have heard many times during our travels through this thing called life. Todd Kolmodin explores the difference between a boss and a leader and shares his observations on leadership.

View Story

Testing Todd: Too Much Automation?

08-03-2020

The last six months have brought monumental changes to commerce, manufacturing, recreation, and almost every aspect of our daily lives. Todd Kolmodin shares his thoughts on how much automation is enough?

View Story

Testing Todd: Down-shifting to the New Normal

05-17-2020

Today, we find ourselves in a place none of us even thought could happen due to the global COVID-19 outbreak. Todd Kolmodin encourages readers to be heroes and shift down to the new normal for a bit.

View Story

Testing Todd: It’s Not Easy Being Green (or Is It?)

04-24-2020

“It’s not easy being green,” are well-spoken words from our amphibian friend, Kermit the Frog. Now, more than ever, there is a focus on being green. Todd Kolmodin explains how one of the largest—if not the largest—contributor to waste is paper, but the difficulty is letting go of it in the consumer and manufacturing segments. For the workplace, this can be more difficult, or is it?

View Story

Testing Todd: Waste Not, Want Not

03-15-2020

Any time we overestimate our projects, we lose costs. For individuals, it may not be as monumental, but for manufacturing, it can be painful.

View Story

Testing Todd: Looking at Digital With 11111100100 Vision

02-12-2020

Todd Kolmodin explores how far technology has come, from the challenge to "plug in" in the '80s, to how difficult it can be to "unplug" in this digital age.

View Story
Back

2019

Testing Todd: Go To Bed Hungry

12-19-2019

Another decade is coming to an end, so, forward thinkers, let's take this time to review the past, evaluate past decisions, and hopefully make prudent decisions to move forward in the ever-changing marketplace in which we exist. There has never been a Magic 8 Ball to predict what is going to happen, so we all do our best to calculate, look over the fences, and aim to remain in this competitive meat grinder we call “the market.”

View Story

Testing Todd: Staying in Your Lane

12-15-2019

As 2019 comes to a close, Todd Kolmodin addresses the importance of standardization, which comes down to an agreement that we are to perform a task or set of tasks the same way every time. Putting your engineering hat on, this provides predictability with a high degree of accuracy.

View Story

Testing Todd: Understanding the Fine Print

10-08-2019

New technologies are emerging each day with more stringent requirements than the past. Also, reversals in obsolescence programs bring products back to the market for which the original documentation and/or requirements are ancient compared to today’s standards; in some cases, this documentation is even lost. Further, it is not uncommon to find that original artwork isn’t available or that the part must be recreated from a finished circuit board sample.

View Story

Testing Todd: What Do You Mean 'Passed' Isn't Enough?

08-05-2019

From a reliability standpoint, we need to quickly assess what risk we may have uncovered when faults are detected during electrical test (ET). "Passed" is not always passed. We must be diligent to scrutinize the failures found during routine ET as a high yield may not indicate high reliability.

View Story

Testing Todd: The Evolution of Probers and Fixture Testers: Blinded by Science

06-26-2019

The evolution of the PCB has come a long way in the last 30 years. The science of electrical test has had to travel that road as well. It's not just a question of screening for opens and shorts. Today, the library extends to interrogating passive components, efficiently and cost-effectively evaluating dielectrics with multiple planes and pairs involved, and adhering to strict requirements from the military, export regulations, and OEMs alike.

View Story

Confidence in Inspection

04-12-2019

The job of third-party inspection is to provide an unbiased review of the customer requirements versus the final product manufactured. This inspection can include both physical and functional criteria. Read on to understand the growing acceptance and requirement of third-party inspection in many areas of the manufacturing industry, including military, aerospace, and medical.

View Story
Back

2018

Testing Todd: What’s in your ET?

07-13-2018

With all the buzz around automation, paperless operation, and integrated processes, it’s time to think about how the connected systems work within an electrical test department. We are all familiar with computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), but with electrical test we can also add computer-aided test (CAT) and computer-aided repair (CAR).

View Story

Testing Todd: How are the Ratings?

05-24-2018

Hello, readers! Thank you for stopping by again. Let’s talk about ratings. No, I’m not talking about the latest Facebook likes or Twitter retweets, but a topic that confuses many final QA technicians the world over. I’m talking PCB voltage ratings.

View Story

Testing Todd: AVI—Your Tireless Friend in Final Inspection

05-01-2018

The “automation vs. human” debate continues. There are experts with many years of experience -performing final inspection with precise detail. This is not debated. However, in the course of human events, circumstances change with unpredictable results. This presents challenges to manufacturers striving to deliver product on-time and within specification guidelines.

View Story
Back

2017

Testing Todd: No Missed Steps—5S Methodology

08-22-2017

In today’s work environment, a company should strive to produce quality product, maximize margins and reduce cost as much as possible. At times, this can be very difficult. Work ethics and methodologies of “how to do things” have developed over many years and can be deeply rooted in many manufacturing theatres. We find at times the “way we have always done it” may not be the most practical way today. This is apparent with the advances in automation, labor force reduction and shifting market demands.

View Story

Flying Probe Testing vs IPC-9252B

05-30-2017

Flying probe testing is extremely popular in today’s manufacturing theatres. The main factor is cost reduction in contrast to dedicated fixtures and fixture testing. However, there are some limitations in flying probe testing when gauged against industry specifications—specifically, the use of indirect vs direct testing in Test Level C.

View Story

Testing Todd: Go With the Flow

04-18-2017

In today’s testing theatre, the flow of information from the OEMs and manufacturers to the independent contractors is mission-critical. Missing information can cause delays, incorrect processing and ultimately scrap or end user rejection of the product. The buzz term being used a lot today is “flow-down.” It pretty much describes itself: It is the flow of information down the supply chain.

View Story

Testing Todd: Plating and Surface Finish—The Challenges to Electrical Test

01-23-2017

Plating and surface finish applications are not without their own set of challenges but these manufacturing processes also affect the electrical test theatre. Microvias, high-aspect ratio plate quality, and surface finish all have their own challenges in ET.

View Story
Back

2016

Testing Todd: Are You a Leader or a Manager?

10-21-2016

The question can be asked, are you a manager or a leader? Can you be both? Is there even a difference? The answer to this latter question is, yes. In a successful organization there are many people performing different tasks all in harmony to make the business successful. Some individuals can be phenomenal leaders while others can be excellent managers. Some can actually be both. How do we define a leader from a manager?

View Story

Test & Measurement—The Case for Validation

07-15-2016

Test and measurement (T&M) are terms that can strike fear into the most robust of minds. Many engineers create designs and products of the future with specific results predicted for performance.

View Story

Testing Todd: Quality Management and the Hidden 'I' in Team

05-24-2016

Today, businesses of all types are jumping on the quality bandwagon. The more critical the product, the more the consumer/customer wishes the highest possible quality in the goods or services requested.

View Story

Quality Management and the Hidden 'I' in Team

05-06-2016

Today, businesses of all types are jumping on the quality bandwagon. The more critical the product, the more the consumer/customer wishes the highest possible quality in the goods or services requested. Customers send surveys with buzzwords like ISO, QMS, and AVL for their suppliers to complete so they have confidence that what they receive is of the highest quality.

View Story

Testing Todd: Process Management: Doing It Right

04-27-2016

Simply put, process management is the idea of figuring out how to do something, documenting it and then monitoring the effectiveness of the steps you created for the end result. Simple, right? Unfortunately, many who take on this endeavor fall short due to missing some key attributes to creating and maintaining a robust process. This article features eight steps in building and maintaining a robust process.

View Story
Back

2015

Flex and Rigid-Flex Circuit Testing: Challenges & Solutions

06-24-2015

Although flex circuits are nothing new in today’s technology roadmap, the testing of unpopulated flexible circuits can be challenging. In this article, columnist Todd Kolmodin writes about the different methods available to test these circuits.

View Story

Electrical Test: Surface Finish vs. Water Marks

05-20-2015

New finishes have come to market; some allow better conductivity, while others reduce the overall cost of precious materials. Regardless of the finish, electrical test must be performed on these circuits. With that comes the caveat of how much of a witness mark can be left on any given landing pad and still be acceptable to the CM or the final OEM user. Todd Kolmodin explains.

View Story

Challenges of Electrical Test

01-28-2015

In our arena today, we can solve pitch and density with flying probe machines, and volume with our grid testers, but the catalyst that is in the mix is that pesky soldermask! Here's why I bring up that necessary process as a problem for electrical test.

View Story
Back

2014

What is 4-Wire Kelvin?

12-05-2014

"I've been asked many times, 'What is 4-Wire Kelvin?' So, this month I will explain the 4-Wire Kelvin Test and how it can help uncover defects that normally would go undetected in standard electrical test methodology," writes Columnist Todd Kolmodin.

View Story

Where Do We Go From Here?

12-01-2014

In this installment of "Testing Todd," Gardien's resident expert Todd Kolmodin answers questions from Dan Beaulieu concerning the future of electrical test. His focus is on the future of testing technologies, testing equipment, and E-test.

View Story

Testing Todd: Where Do We Go From Here?

12-01-2014

In this installment of "Testing Todd," Gardien's resident expert Todd Kolmodin answers questions from Dan Beaulieu concerning the future of electrical test. His focus is on the future of testing technologies, testing equipment, and E-test.

View Story

Flying Probe - Indirect Testing vs. Military

08-19-2014

The use of flying probe testers has become increasingly popular in recent times, mainly due to the affordability of the equipment and also the reduced cost of testing, as no dedicated or "bed of nails" fixture is required. When using flying probes to test military product, one must be diligent to make sure the test method is allowable.

View Story

Testing Todd: Flying Probe - Indirect Testing vs. Military

08-19-2014

The use of flying probe testers has become increasingly popular in recent times, mainly due to the affordability of the equipment and also the reduced cost of testing, as no dedicated or "bed of nails" fixture is required. When using flying probes to test military product, one must be diligent to make sure the test method is allowable.

View Story

Everything You Wanted to Know, But Were Afraid to Ask

07-30-2014

This month, "Testing Todd" author Todd Kolmodin of Gardien Services USA presents readers' questions about the basics of electrical test, including the different types of testing available today.

View Story

Testing Todd: Everything You Wanted to Know, But Were Afraid to Ask

07-30-2014

This month, "Testing Todd" author Todd Kolmodin of Gardien Services USA presents readers' questions about the basics of electrical test, including the different types of testing available today.

View Story

Seven Tips for Choosing the Right Test Service

06-12-2014

Do you need to go outside your company for your testing service? Maybe you have capacity issues, maybe your equipment is down, or maybe you just want an established back-up plan? Whatever the reason, it is very important to choose the right outside testing service because, ultimately, you're not just choosing an objective service provider; you're choosing a partner.

View Story

A Summary of Various Test Requirements

06-03-2014

The PCB industry has advanced significantly in the recent millennium. OEM specifications and requirements have also advanced due to the maturing of technologies, which has caused the requirements of electrical test of these higher technology products to advance and increase in intensity.

View Story

Testing Todd: A Summary of Various Test Requirements

06-03-2014

The PCB industry has advanced significantly in the recent millennium. OEM specifications and requirements have also advanced due to the maturing of technologies, which has caused the requirements of electrical test of these higher technology products to advance and increase in intensity.

View Story
Copyright © 2022 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.