At Dragon, we're approached with manufacturing questions all the time. While our business is leveraging our expertise and knowledge directly for our customers, we also like to share the wealth more broadly for the manufacturing community. To this end, we'll be answering some questions we receive about the manufacturing process in this short video series we call: "Ask a Dragon"
What are some key steps you would recommend to control quality on full box-builds?
Before we dig in, let's define a couple of the terms in the question. A box-build is the term used to encompass all the assembly work involved in an electromechanical assembly, other than the production of the printed circuit board (PCB). A box-build is also sometimes called “systems integration.” When we talk about quality control (QC) in consumer electronics mass production (MP), we mean the overarching process that ensures your end customers receive products that are free from defects.
Specifically relating to QC for box-builds for your product, the approach you’ll want to take is more about understanding what has the highest need or imperative to be tested, rather than the tests themselves. Understand the key performance metrics of your product, next determine when in the assembly process those metrics get tested, and then create a process for how the entire product should be tested without being “used”.
For a couple examples: let’s imagine a smart scale product. Withstanding a lot of weight and working reliably for a long time with use only once or twice per day are key factors, but you don’t need to expect a lot of jostling, rotation/movement, or extreme temperatures/humidity changes. So, prioritizing sensitivity/accuracy of the weighing function with accelerated life testing might be a priority for this product. The priorities would be very different for a “disposable”/”consumable” component of a product such as a pod or capsule for liquid or gas dispensing. These latter components may have contents under pressure that could be highly flammable, so their durability against leaks/etc in jostling and changes in temperature/pressure is paramount, but they have a shorter life, so the longevity factor is a lesser priority.
When Dragon works with our customers to evaluate, review, design, and/or implement QC and Test processes, we employ the Dragon Standard Quality Testing Protocols that include an in-depth review of each of the following test areas: Durability, Transportation, Life Testing specification (including HALT/HASS (highly-accelerated life test and stress test)), Verification/Validation, Incoming Quality Control (IQC), Acceptable Quality Levels (AQL), PCBA, Functional, Aesthetic, Ongoing Production testing, Packaging, Shipment Audits, Dimensional Verifications. However, the product performance metrics play a huge role in determining the specific QC priorities for your company and product line.
Got a question of your own you'd like us to answer? Feel free to submit your question and we'll answer it in our series.