Equipment/Process Selection: Case Study of a DMADV Approach to PCB FAB Process Design

Alex Stepinski, WHELEN ENGINEERING | 02-05-2018

Background

In 2014, Whelen Engineering Company, the OEM market leader in the emergency warning industry, developed the world’s first green smart PCB fab factory as a captive operation servicing internal demand. Due to the success of this venture, in 2016, a decision was made to explore building an upgraded factory which would serve the merchant market. This article outlines the approach we took to designing this new phase of our commercial existence, which has now been spun off as a separate business unit known as Greensource Fabrication. This new business unit is expected to go live in 2018.

Summary Approach

In our experience, a holistic DMADV approach to complex process design is not commonly used in the PCB industry. This approach requires a commitment to dedicated R&D re-sources, extensive travel by the technical team, a great deal of hands-on experience, as well as significant investment capital. Since very few PCB fabs perform R&D, we believe that there is a currently a very high ROI to this approach with low risk, since it is easy to design and secure strong competitive advantages when everyone else is just copying each other.

To read the full version of this article which appeared in the January 2018 issue of The PCB007 Magazine, click here.