Process Stabilization / Cost Reduction
Time spent: ~ 5 weeks
This project is carried out at a manufacturer of solder alloys for the electronics industry. One of their main stream products is solder powder. This solder powder is mixed with deoxidizing flux to solder paste and is used in automated manufacturing lines, among others for the production of mobile phones.
To obtain solder powder in the right size and size distribution (critical to quality), the produced powder is sieved in vibratory screeners. The screens are made on site and the company was facing short life cycle problems. A screen tension drop of about 75 % in a life cycle of 6 weeks caused major process instability and low yield.
As a starter, the supplier of the vibratory screeners was asked to demonstrate the production of a new screen. That demo screen was followed during its life cycle. Its tension was measured at each cleaning session (about 4 times in 24 hours). The demo screen didn’t act significantly better compared to the others.
With the tension measurements on the demo screen, the base line was set. In the mean time an FMEA-scheme was set up with all possible causes and ways to improve the screen performance.
Based on the FMEA-scheme, a different adhesive was chosen. The life cycle improved from 6 to 30 weeks.
The costs for rescreening the 32 decks dropped from about 190 k€ to 35 k€ a year.
A much more important saving however is the stabilization of the process and maximizing the yield.
The new method is demonstrated at the other 3 solder powder manufacturing sites in the company.