Original Date: 05/01/2000
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Circuit Card Assembly: Design Team
During 1995, Northrop Grumman Defensive Systems Division (DSD) determined that its circuit card assembly (CCA) design and fabrication process incurred unwanted costs and scheduling impacts. To streamline and develop a more efficient process, the company set up an integrated process team for CCA design.
This cross-functional team, with representatives from every discipline connected with CCA design and fabrication, invoked a structured process. A key achievement is the team’s commitment to work as a group to pull the design through the entire process, rather than passing the design from one stage to the next. Through its iterative efforts, the design team developed an efficient and structured process for the company’s CCA design cycle. Sequential applications of this process have successfully achieved progressive improvements. Discrete portions of the process include design (e.g., electrical, mechanical); physical implementation (e.g., printed wiring board layout); and fabrication.
Key features of the CCA design and fabrication process include: A designated cross-functional team for each CCA that owns the design.
A process roadmap that fully defines the sequence of activities in the CCA design process.
Incremental design reviews that serve as gateways before proceeding to the next step.
A sequential, two-step process for the printed wiring board (PWB) layout with part placement finalized before interconnections are routed.
Process metrics which are established, monitored, and continuously refined.
Since being implemented in 1995, Northrop Grumman DSD’s schedule for design was reduced by approximately four months; for PWB layout by more than one month; and for fabrication by over two months. Figure 2-1 illustrates the CCA: Design Cycle reductions of 52% through 1999. By reducing the scope of effort within certain activities, the company can tailor its process programs without downgrading the importance or quality of their outputs. Whenever tailoring is considered, Northrop Grumman DSD actively assesses the risks. In addition, active ownership of the design empowers and encourages team members to innovate and achieve improvements in the process.
Figure 2-1. Circuit Card Assembly: Design Cycle
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