Alpha Customer Value Six Sigma Project Raises Productivity by 30%

Alpha Customer Value Six Sigma Project Raises Productivity by 30%

Posted 12/4/2012 by Howie Koch

Our customer was faced with a bottleneck on their rework line due to low productivity in their hand soldering operation.  Their goal was to raise the productivity of their hand soldering operation by at least 20%.  Up to this point they had not been successful in doing so by themselves.

Six Sigma Macro Map

Dan put together a joint Customer / Alpha team to troubleshoot the problem and arrive at a solution to improve the productivity in the hand soldering operation.  Members of the team included Dan, Y.P. Jin (Alpha CTS) and two members of the customer’s production engineering.  The first step was to identify the most likely causes of the low productivity.  By using several Six Sigma techniques such as Affinity Diagrams, Fishbone matrices, and finally a Cause and Effects matrix the team narrowed their focus to the actual wire solder being used in the rework operation. 

 Six Sigma Table 1

At the time, the customer was using a wire solder from one of our competitors that was exhibiting poor wetting and slowing the process.   Dan suggested to the customer that we run a Design of Experiments comparing their current wire solder with Alpha’s SACX 0307 XL-825.  The idea was to run a two-factor, three level experiment  checking the cycle time of Alpha’s wire solder versus our competitor with different production operators but with a set amount of solder being used.

The net result was that the XL-825 produced more boards with the same amount of solder but also enabled the operators to reduce the cycle time of the process due to the superior wetting.

Six Sigma Chart 1

The above chart shows the cycle time for 400 pcs PCB in the customer’s production line by using our solder wire SACX0307 XL-825 Dia1.02mm Flux3.3%

Average cycle time = 9.65s versus over 14 seconds for the competition on this experiment.

Six Sigma Table 2

Usage of solder wire saved using XL-825 = (100g /154 pcs boards – 100g /166 pcs boards) / (100g /154 pcs boards) = 7.2% for this DOE

Based on the results of the Design of Experiments the customer switched to Alpha’s SACX0307 XL-825 solder and saved approximately USD$70,000 in reduced solder usage and improved productivity.   Their net productivity improvement over time has been over 30% gain. Alpha gained USD$75,000 in margin on the business plus an acknowledgment from the customer that Alpha is truly a Value Added Partner in their business.

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