How To Manage Your Contract Manufacturer Part 3: Quality / Testing in Production

Manufacturing quality can only live up to the quality of the design. What you design is as good as the product will ever be. It’s relatively “easy” to make one widget. But making 100K widgets that perform according to spec under a variety of real-world conditions?

That’s another story entirely.

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Here are the areas that we focus on when it comes to quality testing:

  • Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA) Tests:

    • In-circuit tests (ICT) – bed of nails
    • Automatic Optical Inspection – AOI
    • Functional / Built-in tests
  • Overall Mechanical Assembly

    • Subassembly functional testing
    • Overall functional / Built –in tests
  • Ongoing:

    • Torque / Tension / Drop
    • HALT / HASS – accelerated life/environmental
    • Conventional Life test

Production Testing / Final Inspection:

The design has been verified and the purpose now is to ensure that it is built correctly.

  • Normal function testing can usually be tested on 100% of the units.
  • Abnormal function testing sometimes can be tested on all of the units.
  • Abuse testing cannot be tested on any units that are then shipped to the customer. As a result, when testing damages the product so it cannot be shipped, then it must be tested on a sample basis.

So what are the actual things you’re testing for? Here are our recommendations:

  • Mold qualification dimensional tests
  • Static Discharge Test
  • Aging Test
  • Humidity Exposure Test
  • Environmental Test
  • Life Test
  • Regulatory and Safety Requirements
  • Final Inspection
    • Sampling plan
    • Defect Definition (Critical, Major, Minor)
    • Date Code
    • Transportation Test
    • Aesthetic Inspection
    • Functional Test
    • Disassembly Check
    • Critical Measurements
    • Drop Test
    • Torque/Tension Test
    • Compression Test
    • Paint Abrasion Test

Finally, it is critical that you use documentation control for all of your testing. So critical in fact that we’ll say it again: Documentation control. It’s important.

How it’s implemented:

  • Use ECN’s for every change
  • Tie ECN’s to the date code/ production revision

Why it’s implemented:

  • You need to know what you’re building
  • Sometimes required by regulatory agencies (FDA)
  • Helps tie production and/or field failures with potential causes

Quality issues are the number one cause that can bankrupt a business. Taking the steps to implement proper testing with careful documentation will help you to avoid this less than fortunate outcome.

Questions or feedback? Let us know!

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Unmanaged CAD data can lead to wasted time and  expensive mistakes, but traditional PDM and PLM solutions are too costly for many companies. This guide, written by industry analyst Jim Brown, will help you find the solution that fits your needs.

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