Manufacturing during COVID-19: How a Fortune 100 electronics company maintains oversight
COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into traditional oversight practices in electronics manufacturing. Instead of traveling to factories across the globe to ensure ramp and production go smoothly, engineering and operations teams are working from home. To ensure that production stays on track, many are scrambling to get eyes on their line so they make decisions remotely. Instrumental customers are ahead of the curve. Since the beginning, they’ve had the ability to view images of units as they are built, leverage AI to discover and intercept issues, and access real-time data that allows them to make decisions from anywhere. With the onset of COVID-19, Instrumental’s product and data have become a core strategic asset while teams are unable to travel freely. The following anonymized use case from a Fortune 100 electronics company illustrates how Instrumental is bringing oversight and control in these uncertain times.
As the customer approached production, the value of Instrumental had already been financially proven: Instrumental was identifying poor glue and other issues on more than 6% of the units they were building, enabling a cheap rework process instead of end-of-line scrap. As COVID-19 rapidly changed plans for onsite engineering support during their upcoming ramp and production, the customer’s team made Instrumental a core part of their strategy to bridge the gap.
Instrumental captured images of 100% of units with drop-in stations at four carefully validated locations in the assembly process, analyzed them in real-time for anomalies, aggregated the images, defects, and defect rates over time so they could be easily accessed by remote team members, and provided real-time alerts when something shifted on the line. One of the largest opportunities for scrap reduction was to ensure that a UV cure glue was applied correctly before cure, as misapplied glue would cause the unit to fail and could not be reworked. Instrumental algorithms evaluated units after the glue application and identified those that needed rework in real-time, saving dollars each time.
“The major value in Instrumental is that we can catch complex issues before units make it later in the process.” — NPI Operations team lead
Instrumental was at the core of the customer’s strategy to manage ramp and production without an on-site engineering team – providing both a strong financial return as well as enabling oversight to new potential issues that would not be possible otherwise. “The major value in Instrumental is that we can catch complex issues before units make it later in the process,” shared the NPI Operations team lead. Providing visibility into what’s going on in the factory while the team has been grounded has enabled the team to make forward progress and improvements remotely. One engineer exclaimed, “Kudos to Instrumental. You are part of my daily routine for remote build support.”