The August issue of The PCB Magazine is focused on the war on process failure. This subject of process failure turns out to be quite broad and affects essentially everyone in our industry, from the raw material suppliers to the circuit designer to the PCB processor to the assembly folks and on to the OEM. We all have a hand in it, both causing and solving problems and benefiting from solutions. You will find several apropos and useful articles in this issue.

First, Dave Dibble of New Agreements Inc. discusses survey results, which pointed out that the problems and concerns are essentially the same for everybody. He analyzes the survey results then provides answers to the top four areas of concern using his systems approach.

Then, Steve Williams of The Right Approach Consulting interviews Operations and Supply expert Fane Friberg. Together they discuss how important driving supplier improvement is to driving product improvement. Not just discussion, but again, much useful information is included.

An excellent article by Stan Heltzel at the European Space Agency discusses circuit failure in high-reliability PCBs in great detail. This highly technical paper presents good evidence and reasoning for the need to improve not only our processes but also our industry specifications, in order to keep abreast of current high-rel requirements.

Verdant Electronics’ Joe Fjelstad writes about one of the most troublesome areas in our industry, the soldering process. A review is in this issue and the full article can be found in this month’s SMT Magazine.

Well-known consultant Bob Tarzwell provides a little troubleshooting guide on the copper plating process, a great refresher. Rounding out the issue is Flex Talk columnist Tara Dunn of Omni Circuits discussing the pitfalls of transitioning from a domestic prototype to offshore production, highlighting considerations such supplier selection and potential material variation.