Quality Management Program
Cougar's quality management system is certified by the Defense Supply Center , Columbus (DSCC) to MIL-PRF-38534, Classes H and K, Technology Review Board (TRB) Option as well as to ISO 9001-2000. We remain one of very few companies worldwide certified to the TRB Option for Class K. Our Class K customers are welcome to join DSCC in these bi-annual audits.
Cougar has a complete in-house documentation and training system as required per MIL-PRF-38534 for design, workmanship and quality assurance activities and specifications. Each of our functional areas including manufacturing, test, materials, quality assurance, process engineering, procurement, document control, sales, mechanical and electrical design engineering have documented procedures in our Quality Management Portfolio that are readily available throughout the facility. We conduct internal audits and personnel training periodically to ensure continued compliance.
Technology Review Board
Our TRB is a cross-functional team of senior staff members from all the technical disciplines, led by Cougar's Quality Assurance Manager. Cougar's TRB directs the implementation of our Quality Management Program and makes broad decisions affecting quality and performance for the entire manufacturing operation. These decisions are not geared for the short-term but are by definition meant to guide the operation through long-term process stability and high performance capability. Senior Management representation is provided to the TRB by our Director of Operations to ensure appropriate resources are available and allocated to effectively implement the Quality Management Program. See our TRB report later in this section for more details.
We can offer customers dedicated project coordination for the program's duration. This ability is particularly useful for space or integrated assembly jobs requiring special documentation, source inspections, design reviews, milestone schedules and other types of support. A cross-functional team assists the project coordinator until the customer is completely satisfied with the product and service. The teams are staffed by people from quality assurance, manufacturing, test, materials, procurement, and document control. Other functional areas are pulled into the loop as required.
Material Procurement and Logistics
Also, we conduct all procurement activities using lot traceability and specification control as primary objectives.
In an effort to manufacture products that perform consistently, we have always rejected the notion that low bid alone wins our business. Instead we select suppliers based upon their success delivering high performance and highly reliable products while providing unparalleled service. Once we select a supplier, our procurement staff works to build strong relationships, strengthening Cougar's overall delivery and quality performance levels.
Using both on-site and desktop audits and a world class rating system, our Supplier Assessment Program governs all procurement activity including qualification and performance ratings. Suppliers are reviewed semi-annually for key performance metric's including quality, on time delivery and customer service and we award bonus points for "wow" performance where a supplier has gone above and beyond the call. Score cards are shared with each supplier and our procurement office works with together with them to continuously improve performance.
Cougar uses a client-server based MRP system on the Windows platform to aid the planning and control of the entire production flow. There are many advantages of MRP in our manufacturing setting such as capacity planning and time-phased material planning. Ideal for both large and small production runs, our MRP system allows us to produce kit quantities of less than 10 or greater than 100 for maximum flexibility.
Our production control staff s are located in Sunnyvale and Colorado and handle production requirements in our facilities and CM's around the world with supreme accuracy. Our staff works closely with customer service personnel to support customer delivery inquiries and status updates. Complete and timely production information is only a quick phone call or e-mail away. Our delivery goal is 100% on time.
All hybrid assembly procedures and materials are specified to meet or exceed manufacturing and screening requirements similar to MIL-PRF-38534 for military or space applications. Alumina or BeO substrates are brazed to gold plated hybrid packages using either gold-tin or gold-germanium preforms for good thermal characteristics and mechanical integrity. Substrate attach is performed using a proprietary process developed by Cougar's process engineering group. We also attach passive and active devices using a eutectic or epoxy attachment depending on the thermal requirements. We then bond all inter-connects with gold thermocompression or thermosonic wedge or gold thermosonic ball bond wires. We employ both manual and automatic wirebonding machines. All circuits receive argon plasma cleaning prior to wirebond operations. Using assembly and circuit alignment procedures, we can consistently control performance parameters. This approach ensures the highest level of electrical compliance from prototype to full-scale production. Finally, we hermetically seal each device in a dry nitrogen atmosphere (we add helium for Class K modules) to ensure minimum moisture content.
Printed circuit board assemblies are built with through-hole, surface mount technology (SMT) or a combination of the two. Our processes and materials are specified to meet or exceed manufacturing and inspection requirements similar to J-STD-001. This compliance is an important part of our manufacturing capabilities as many integrated assemblies we produce are based on printed circuit board designs in connectorized packages.Test and Measurement
We have automated all appropriate electrical test functions in our test labs using HPVee ATE software written for the Windows environment. We can perform highly complex tests over a wide temperature range, -55° to +125° Celsius, as well as -24 to +24 volts, and DC to 40 GHz for many tests. ATE equipment includes Network, Scaler and Spectrum Analyzers; Noise, Power and Digital Volt Meters; Synthesizers; Signal Generators; and Phase Noise Test Sets.
The increased flexibility and productivity the software provides allows us to customize testing for specific customer requirements. We can also use this automation for matching, statistical analysis, and other labor-intensive tasks, as required. For added efficiency and process control we have developed a test database where product specifications are stored and retrieved on demand by technicians using our automated software.
Our 18,500 square feet of production space is maintained at or below Class 100,000, 0.5 micron particles per million (Class 100 for space level modules), and between 30% and 65% relative humidity. We have ESD controls in place to meet or exceed the intent of MIL-STD-1686, including a complete network of earth-to-ground rods and wrist straps, which are tested regularly. We store raw material and work-in-process components in nitrogen back-filled desiccators to minimize oxidation and other storage related problems. And finally, our facilities offer an efficient layout for manufacturing flow-including greater visibility and reduction of production bottlenecks-thereby increasing productivity and capacity.
Cougar's standard hybrid product line is designed and constructed to comply with MIL-PRF-38534, as required. We have four streamlined screening flows that assure high reliability yet are cost-effective and reduce lead time. Our Q-Series screening sequence is a simplified flow for the most cost sensitive programs where a little screening goes a long way. Additionally, Cougar offers the QG-, QH- and QK-Series screening flows, which follow the MIL-PRF-38534 Classes G, H and K screening flows, respectively. The QH- and QK-Series are fully compliant MIL-PRF-38534 hardware, including element evaluation and subgroup testing and will be marked accordingly. Finally, all Avnet MTS screening flows including the R and S flows are now tied to one of the Cougar flows for continuity. All screening flows are detailed in Table II herein.
When requesting either Cougar's Q-, QG-, QH-, or QK-Series screening flows, place a Q, QG, QH or QK behind the model number; for example, model ACP14025 becomes ACP14025Q for the Q-Series flow and model OS8601 becomes OS8601QG for the full Class G flow, and so on.
Of course, customized screening flows can also be accommodated, as we are capable of running various combinations of environmental tests similar to Class H or K hardware. Contact our sales or applications engineers for more information on these options.
Process Development and Control
Cougar has implemented one of the most current process development tools available-Design of Experiments (DOE). The benefits of thoroughly characterized processes are many, including high capability and low variability. Our policy is to couple the front-end DOE work with Statistical Process Control (SPC) at the back-end where practical. We currently control all wirebonding processes including manual wedge, ball and ribbon and automatic wedge and ball bonding with SPC. We also control all gap welding processes and our lab particle count processes statistically. We expand the use of SPC to other key processes as required. Finally, our SPC program feeds our Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) program with useful data for further improvements in process performance, thus closing the process improvement loop. Tightening process control limits through variation reduction simply means fewer defective parts per million-the objective behind statistical analysis.
Other process controls include our equipment calibration and maintenance programs. We calibrate all required manufacturing and test equipment per MIL-STD-45622 and maintain records for easy review upon request. Preventive maintenance on all types of equipment is conducted regularly and thoroughly to ensure minimal downtime during critical production builds.
We also perform what we call in-line process verification (IPV) at various steps for Hi Rel hybrid fabrication. Some of these steps included bond pull and die shear on a sample of the production lot. Other IPV steps include in-line x-ray, resistance to solvents testing and RGA or residual gas analysis.
Process control at Cougar also has a human element. Cougar's highly qualified personnel provide the necessary infrastructure to support production requirements from high-end commercial applications to Hi Rel programs requiring vigorous screening and qualification testing. To ensure we have qualified employees, we formally train each employee to exceed the requirements of their respective processes. Because our staff is responsible for much of our process control and improvement, we go to great lengths to teach them and listen to their improvement ideas. The result is superior process control and manufacturing productivity.