Preventing Product Recalls: Analyzing Your Rigid Flex Printed Circuit Boards For Flaws

The assembly of rigid flex printed circuit boards requires little of human hands. As such, the boards may have just as many or fewer functional issues. As a quality control specialist, you want to be sure that the product recalls on the circuit boards your company manufactures are few and far between. To do that, you have to have several employees closely examine the boards for printing flaws and test them for flexibility. Proper training is important, but understanding the printing process and how each batch of boards is supposed to look, feel and respond is just as important.

Examining the Boards for the Correct Number of Layers

Printed circuit boards are assembled by sealing very thin sheets one on top of another. If a board is missed during the assembly line, it will not function like the others and could result in a batch recall. To prevent a recall, have every board checked closely for the correct number of layers. There are expensive, high-tech pieces of equipment that can do this for your company, and/or you can do it manually. Under magnifying lenses, your employees can carefully count the layers to make sure the correct number are present in every circuit board.

Visually Checking for the Correct Circuitry

The final layer printed on top of each circuit board batch should look a certain way. Arm your employees with either a picture or a full-sized model of what the boards are supposed to look like when they are complete. Remaining assembly that is done by hand should also appear in the photo or on the model so that your employees have a clear idea of what goes where.

Electronic Testing

In the final stages, every board should be checked for electronic functionality. The electronic testing station employees need to send small volts of electricity through each board while it is connected to a data collection computer. If all of the internally printed layers were printed correctly and the boards pass visual inspections, you can relax knowing that this batch should not come back to the plant for recycling.

Understanding Recalls That Passed All Tests

From time to time, all of the batches that have passed the tests and visual examinations will end up with a few flawed boards. In this case, something was either missed, or the boards failed after they were installed in the products they were constructed for. Re-evaluating what went wrong will allow you and your fellow employees to improve the area of the plant that caused the failures, post-installation.