SMT Wars – Lesson Learned from an Electronic Contract Manufacturer and the Customer Who Sued Them
What happens when an electronic contract manufacturer follows their customer’s instructions to the detriment of the product? Product failures, blame, drama, and a really big lawsuit.
This paper will review the trials and tribulations of a contract manufacturer and their customer. Assembly residue-related failures (ECM) contributed to product failures, product recalls, and, ultimately, a multi-million-dollar lawsuit. Misguided “best practice” techniques only made matters worse. This paper will discuss what factors contributed to the “perfect storm” of product failures. Factors that go as far back to original product designs, printed circuit board fabrication, storage and handling, assembly, testing, and coating. While mistakes were made all along the way, product failures could have been avoided with a few simple process changes, adding mere pennies to the cost of each assembly while saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation.