Some people think you can have too much of a good thing, but Matric Group, a contract manufacturer with five decades of experience, begs to differ. Their view is simple, you can’t have too much quality, too much efficiency, too high a first pass yield, or too few escapes, and therefore it follows you can’t have too much inspection, particularly when it’s the right inspection.
And it’s the “right inspection” that really matters. Inspection needs to offer much more than a “go or no-go” decision. The right inspection solution provides traceability, quality assurance, and real insight into process management, root causes, and the potential for real manufacturing performance improvement.
Matric provides world-class EMS (Electronics Manufacturing Services) with personalized customer support to meet unique assembly and testing requirements. They offer both turnkey and board-level assembly, specializing in high mix/low to high volume contract assembly with ISO 9001, ISO 13485, ISO 14001, and AS 9100 certified quality management systems. Located in Northwestern Pennsylvania, Matric’s 84,000 sq. ft. facility sits on 26 acres.
In a recent blog post on their website, entitled Electronics Manufacturing Services: Equipment Your Partner Should Have, Matric explains the importance of inspection equipment from SPI (Solder Paste Inspection) to pre- and post-reflow AOI (Automatic Optical Inspection). The article offers a real insight into what should be critical stakes for any contract manufacturer worth consideration. It also outlines their commitment to being at the leading edge of technology and innovation, embracing the value and benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the digital transformation of their manufacturing systems.
Matric’s journey with automated inspection, and with Koh Young, started in 2006 when they installed their first offline AOI to support three Mycronic SMT lines. Not long after, Matric added a Panasonic line to the facility and it was the success of the offline AOI that led them to choose Koh Young in this new line. This time, though, Matric had the foresight to install not only post-reflow AOI, but also a pre-reflow AOI and an SPI system at the front of the line. Since then, they have standardized on three Koh Young multi-point inspection points in each line.
Doug Bevier, a manufacturing engineer, has been at Matric for close to three decades and plays a key role in capital equipment selection, procurement, installation, and management. As Doug puts it, “investments in Koh Young equipment were made to move us further along, to improve our yields, to quickly identify issues both on the line and in the process of running specific jobs.” As a high mix EMS that has a history in low volume and an eye to higher volume, they knew they needed to invest in more in-line equipment. Following the success of their offline AOI from Koh Young, more from the same supplier was an obvious choice.
The move from manual visual inspection to the benchtop AOI had been a great start, taking yield up into the 80 percent range. But the addition of in-line was the real revelation, shifting the needle into the mid-90s with just the addition of SPI. Adding AOI pre- and post-reflow was really the icing on the cake pushing yield up past 98+ percent. The pre-reflow AOI is picking up issues like skewed or misplaced, or even incorrect components from changed reels before they are soldered, which saves money and catches errors even earlier than before.
And it’s not just about yield. As Doug says, “A big thing that we didn’t ever have in the past and that has definitely been a benefit is the KSMART process control suite for real time monitoring, optimization, and analysis. Being able to have one person see everything across all the lines and follow trends is game changing. And the ability to access that data at will for regular reporting from a quality point of view is a huge benefit.”
Doug’s professional advice to other EMS companies is “make the investment in SPI, plus pre- and post-reflow for each line that you have in your facility and the ROI will pay for itself quickly.”
The Macro and Micro Approach
Patrick Stimpert joined Matric as VP of Operations to improve efficiency and make the business “quicker, faster, better – and all at the same time.” That’s a tall order, but a challenge that Patrick relished. He started with three basic guardrails for the business: safety, everyone should feel safe at work; quality, nobody ever gets to pass on bad quality; and reliability, and as Patrick says, “that’s our promise”.
In the time Patrick has been the Vice President of Operations, Matric has become increasingly sophisticated and continues to invest in what is needed to deliver on their promises to the customers.
When it comes to the Koh Young equipment what stands out for Patrick, like Doug is the yield improvement. In his own words “it immediately moved us to between 80 and 85 percent yield. Then we looked at our root causes and quickly pushed our yields to 98+ percent, both final yields and first pass yields.”
Matric is using the SPI, Pre-Reflow and Post Reflow along with the KSMART process control software to improve the business through a macro and micro-data approach. The three inspection machines on each SMT placement line drive quality assurance in every part of the line, while delivering root cause data that improves processes with full traceability. Meanwhile KSMART brings it all together on a single dashboard accessible from anywhere, gaining insight into the performance of each line and allowing a single operator to manage multiple inspection stations.
In the drive for quality, KSMART has moved Matric from looking at what went wrong 20 percent of the time, to looking at what happened on two or three percent. As Patrick says, “now we’re looking at reliable predictable outcomes on every job released to WIP.”
Adding the pre-reflow AOIs was unconventional in our minds at the time. “I felt that if we could stop a mistake from traveling to reflow, we would cause less rework damage of very small parts. “This thorough process paid off as we removed hundreds of WIP storage locations from the production floor that once held the “In need of troubleshooting PCBs” and possible rework. We just don’t use them anymore. It’s because you just don’t have rework sitting around waiting to be processed.”
Liisa Maenpaa is Director of Quality Assurance at Matric and is impressed with the improvement in yield since the Koh Young equipment arrived. She witnessed the combination of three inspections as a real value add. As she says, “We still have reels that come in from a supply chain manufacturer with mixed parts or polarity skewed throughout the tube or reel. The pre-reflow identifies those things before they go into the oven, and this reduces rework.”
And it’s so much more than go or no-go. The Koh Young enables an operator to visualize and find a defect. Liisa explains “once the machine calls a defect, the operator gets an aligned image. They can drill down to a 3D image that can drill down to another 3D image on different planes. So, it’s possible to see what the machine is seeing, and then be able to make a good solid IPC- based call on that.”
Liisa adds “we really use our data a lot for determining root cause that drives constant and continual improvement on how we’re programming and setting up jobs. It increases overall efficiency in production, because you don’t have that constant percentage of every job going to rework. And rework just opens up our opportunity for more defects.”
The operators at Matric really love the Koh Young machines. It’s very easy to pull programs and to switch between programs. Liisa explains that “when we’re doing first pieces off in the line, another QC operator often comes over with another board and they need to stop and switch the programs and run that first piece through.”
Liisa is a data-based thinker, and she really appreciates the KSMART software. “We are in the process of building it out and eventually we’ll have a dashboard on every line where you can see a color-coded chain of events. It’ll be running green if everything is coming out of the Koh Young perfectly. It’ll show red when there’s something that’s gone wrong or gone off the rails, or you start having defects. And we’ll also be able to build a daily, weekly, and monthly dashboard of overall performance across all the lines” Liisa continues, “Our ultimate goal, once we get our Koh Young empire established on all lines, is a command center where we have one person operating all the SPIs and AOIs.”
Matric is a visionary company, but they know to deliver on their vision they need to be aligned with their customers and with their equipment partners, like Koh Young. They invested in the Koh Young equipment to improve quality and performance and they’re not done yet!
Koh Young and Matric are working together to build a system that delivers on Matric’s vision of “quicker, faster, cheaper, and better, all at the same time!”
Matric has multiple Koh Young KY8030-2 SPIs and pre-reflow and post-reflow Zenith Series AOIs connected with KSMART smart factory solution software. You can learn more about these products and the rest of the Koh Young portfolio at www.kohyoungamerica.com. For more information about Matric electronics manufacturing capabilities, visit www.matric.com.
About Koh Young
Established in 2002, Koh Young pioneered the market by launching the first 3D Solder Paste Inspection (SPI) system using a patented dual-projection Moiré technology. Since then, it has become the global leader in 3D measurement-based SPI and Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) equipment for the electronics industry. Based on its True3D™ measurement-based inspection technology, Koh Young has developed new solutions for challenges with Machining Optical Inspection (MOI), Dispensing Process Inspection (DPI), and Semiconductor Packaging Inspection (MEISTER Series), as well as branching out to Medical Robotics for brain surgery (KYMERO). Through its technological innovations, Koh Young has secured thousands of global customers, and maintains the largest global market share in the SPI and AOI markets. Additionally, by adopting its user- centric R&D activities, it continues to leverage core competencies and develop innovative solutions for new and existing markets. Its activities stem from the corporate headquarters in Korea to its global sales and support offices in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. These local facilities ensure it keeps in close contact with the market, and more importantly, its growing customer base to provide access to an award-winning network of inspection and measurement experts. Learn why so many electronics manufacturers trust Koh Young for reliable inspection at kohyoung.com or the regional site at kohyoungamerica.com.
Koh Young America, 1950 Evergreen Blvd., Ste 200, Duluth, GA 30096 kohyoungamerica.com Brent Fischthal, Senior Marketing Manager, Koh Young America Brent.Fischthal@kohyoung.com
For 50 years, Matric Group has been a leader in electronics contract manufacturing, offering services throughout every stage of the product development process. From engineering, PCB assembly, box builds, cable, and harness assembly to aftermarket services, Matric provides turnkey and board-level assembly specializing in low-to-high volume, complex assemblies that other contract manufacturers can’t handle. From the BOM, through production, to shipping the assembly, Matric Group works to ensure a high-quality, on-time delivered product. Certifications include AS9100, ISO 9001, ISO 13485, ISO 14001, Nadcap Accredited – Electronics, ITAR, RoHS Compliant, and HUBZone Certified.
With over 300 associates between locations, the blend of size, experience, and industry knowledge Matric delivers quality products. Matric Group – “Electronics and People you can count on.”