Manufacturing mission-critical electronics

Building bullet proof processes when failure is not an option

Retrocausal deployed on a Shenzhen assembly line

When manufacturing electronics for high-reliability products, the stakes are high. If the electronics fail in a phone or a watch, it would be an inconvenience, but failure in mission-critical applications such as medical devices, battery systems, telecommunication infrastructure, and airplanes could be catastrophic.

Over the past decade, experienced manufacturing associates have been retiring at the highest rates since the industrial revolution started. At the same time, employment in the global “temporary help supply” industry has more than tripled. These workers are often less skilled than the rest of the staff, leading to higher training requirements as well as quality and productivity challenges. Another trend in electronics systems manufacturing is an increasing customer demand for customizations.

All these factors are leading to quality issues for electronics manufacturers, and have increased the need to mistake-proof manual assembly processes. Our RetroActivity platform assists these manufacturers in three ways:

These capabilities have been shown to yield 10% improvement in first-time yield and 60% reduction in manual-assembly related quality issues within 2 weeks.

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Use Cases:

Contract Manufacturing (QC)

Pathfinder is the preferred solution for Contract Manufacturing due to its rapid re-programming capability. CMs have been able to re-program Pathfinder to function on a line that has been reconfigured for a new product within hours. CMs have a hard time setting up quality controls on their lines, and they using Pathfinder both as a Digital Instructions platform and a soft form of Digital Poka Yoke.

New Product Introduction

When a mass scale product is being set up for manufacturing at a CM, the first few weeks are crucial to extracting maximum productivity from the line. IEs use Pathfinder to obtain time studies, by conveniently re-programming it for a new station in two hours and then letting it capture timing measurements over the afternoon and night shifts. They are then able to re-deploy the same Pathfinder license/laptop the following morning on a different workstation.