Tracebility Project (A Software Based Project from the past)

Traceability System For Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS)

Traceability refers to the completeness information about every step in a process chain. In other words it is a method to record and documenting a process, identity, location, time and various aspects related with the product by intension to make the product traceable. It can be found in many various types of industry such as electronics manufacturing services, logistics, materials, supply chain, food processing etc. Companies which realize the importance of traceability should place traceability matter as one of it priority in business strategy. Technically speaking, traceability can be implemented as software based or paper based or both combined.

In this post I’d like to share about my experience in developing a software application for traceability for an electronic manufacturing services company where I worked with (PT. Plexus Manufacturing).

I’ll only covers the software development, while in fact it covers  all the the steps, from design to development is one package.

It started in 2002 when we my company signed a business contract with Maxtor Corporation (Lately known as Seagate-Maxtor as later on Seagate acquired it) to build printed circuit board (PCB) controller for hard disk.  One among of the top lists of customer requirements is that the supplier must provide traceability system for PCB controller built and the developed system must able :

  • Perform unit traceability as deep as electronic component level especially A-Item parts such as PCB, board Controller ICs, Memory, Power supply regulator Integrated Circuits (IC) etc.
  • Record the critical information of part being assembled i.e: part number, part date code, vendor name etc. Ensure that only valid part able to be assembled onto PCB controller. i.e : Only valid part number and valid date code able to be loaded on to certain model, this is to prevent wrong component/part loaded on to PCB (later on I use BOM (bill of material) as referencing key)
  •  Record the date and time of assembly and record machine information used to assemble the PCB Binds the information of PCB controller serial number which is worldwide unique to component/ parts information are being loaded onto PCB. Record and ensure only well trained operator able to run the assembly machine.
  • Record the inspection time, inspector information and ensure only qualified inspectors are being allowed to do the inspection. Record the Testing date and time and tester machine information. For all failed PCB in test stage, it must debug or reworked. If during PCB rework or debugging found any component need to be replaced, the system must ensure that replacement is done correct, by means the substitute component must has same part number (or it equal) with replaced part. Before PCB unit packaged for shipment there must have final gate system to check that PCB unit has passed all the process.

Reading those requirement, first thought crossing my mind was “this will be big project with big resources to be involved in, time consuming…above all this is a big challenge..🙂

“ First thing I did were made an assessment by some discussion with: Warehouse, on how the part identified, is there any unique identification for each part number. How the part number labeled is, is it barcode or just plain text? And how they transfer part to production / assembly line Process team to find out in detail the PCB assembly process of flow. Production on how they perform assembly, how they arrange manpower and how they treat component/part before and during loading to assembly machine Quality Assurance (QA), how the inspection performed and how to ensure that inspector is qualified for inspection. Testing on how PCB assembled tested. How the Tester works, is it possible to be integrated with production system to collect test result data log? Briefly speaking, after long discussion and complex assesment, data and information collection from people might be affected by the system implementation I decide that this system will be divided into six modules….. (To be Continued..)

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