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52 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2020 Feature Interview by Patty Goldman I-CONNECT007 Al Block and Naji Norder from National In- struments talk about the PCQR 2 tool, what that entails, and how companies can use the data- driven analysis to validate the quality of sup- pliers and potentially save millions. According to IPC's website: "The IPC Pro- cess Capability, Quality and Relative Reliabil- ity Program is a unique supply chain man- agement resource, developed by IPC and Conductor Analysis Technologies for designers, manufacturers, and users of printed circuit boards. The program is based on statistical data collected from industry-developed test patterns, which quantifies the capability, quality, and reliability of printed board manu- facturers." Patty Goldman: Al, you are the chair of the IPC PCQR 2 committee [D-36]. Let's talk about what's going on in that committee and some things you're looking to do, but first, start with your background and what you do at National Instruments. Al Block: I'm a DFM engineer, and my back- ground is in PCBs. I worked as a chemist at Texas Instruments for 20 years, so that's where my strong knowledge base is, and that has helped me now at National Instruments where we do PCB assembly. Goldman: And Naji, you have been with Na- tional Instruments for how long? Naji Norder: I've been with National Instru- ments for 20 years. I've been working with the PCB supply base as a commodity for about 10 and participating in our audit and qualification process for about five years now. Block: At National Instruments, we buy our raw boards and assemble them. Before we joined the PCQR 2 program, we tried to evaluate our shops based on technology, so we came up with high/medium/low. While that was an im- provement, it depended on someone like me to be able to evaluate the shops and the technol- ogy of the boards to decide where they would be appropriately placed, so we could get the cost down and still keep our quality up. The issue was that our technology needs kept evolving. One person could not keep up with the increasing technology and widening supply base. That's when we started looking at the PCQR 2 benchmark database. PCQR 2 is PCQR 2 Tool: A Scorecard for Suppliers?

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