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PCB | October 09, 2007

Will you accept x-outs?

Are there advantages in production that compensates the waste of resources when excess of panels is needed in the PCB manufacturing when so called x-outs are not accepted by the electronics manufacturer?
For PCB makers with yield far from 100 percent the utilization of the PCB maker’s production capacity, workforce and raw material may be deep down on a scale of efficiency. PCB purchasers very rarely accept PCB panel arrays containing x-outs.

”They very rarely accept x-outs. For prototypes and in really urgent matters, yes, but not in normal cases”, PCB provider Elektrotryck’s production manager Fahme Saber told evertiq.

”We start some over counts to be on the safe side”, he told evertiq.

”If we get to chose of course we do not want defect boards but if we get x-outs we can not just throw away perfectly working boards. It depends from case to case to. A lot of extra work comes with it as the SMT equipment has to scan every single board in the array to control if the board is OK and that takes us a lot of valuable time which for sure costs us money in the end. For some few boards it is OK but if it is about larger series we can not accept it”, EMS provider Chip & Circuits CEO Lars Sjöblom told evertiq.

“X-out boards in arrays are very rare these days”, Lars Sjöblom though wanted to make clear.

PCB manufacturers very often have to manufacture many times more panels than is requested by the customer. Material, staff cost, production capacity and time could possibly be saved if the PCB purchaser would accept these marked panels.

“Aren’t we supposed to think of the environment? The scrap heap is one thing we already have in mind but we must not forget about our children, think of all the chemicals used in the etching and plating”, PCB provider Multi-Teknik’s sales manager Pelle Eriksson told evertiq.

Lars Sjöblom wants to point out that the problem with x-outs is caused by quality issues at the PCB providers and he draw the comparison to the electronics manufacturer who delivers products with lack of components.

”If we deliver soldered boards without components, are we aloud to re-solder the components or do we have to waste the boards and start all over again? Many of our customers don’t accept several repairing sessions for the boards”, Lars Sjöblom told evertiq.

According to several PCB providers evertiq has been in contact with many of their customers don’t accept x-out boards at all. Even if it is just about a few panels it is not OK to deliver arrays with x-outs. Does the manufacturer’s extra handling and extra process time weigh heavier than the waste of staff, material and time at the PCB provider?

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