ASQ - Electronics and Communications Division


Following are a few articles from the Winter 1999 / Spring 2000 edition of the ELECTRONICS AND COMMUNICATIONS DIVISION Newsletter, "CONTINUITY", edited by David Rivera.

If you are an E&CD member and did not receive this newsletter please let David know by phone, fax, or email. If you are not an E&CD member, but would like to join, just call ASQ at (800) 248-1946 and tell them that you want to join the Electronics and Communications Division.

Issue 117 and 118

Message from the Division Chair, Neil Pedersen

I just drove back to my home west of Chicago from ASQ Headquarters in Milwaukee. I spent two days there as part of a Measures Design Team developing a set of measurements that will be used to assess the health of ASQ as a whole, as well as its parts like the Electronics and Communications Division (ECD). Some of these "panel lights" examine key results such as financial health, demonstration of value to members, organizations (like your company) and society as a whole. Other indicators examine the health of key "engines" or drivers - there is one for Headquarters staff and another for volunteers. I plan to give you a more detailed update in the next issue after the design team completes its work, but my point is that there is a lot of activity directed at improving ASQ and its member units. If the energy and excitement I experienced during those two days can be extended throughout the Society and sustained we cannot fail. We will validate our perceptions as to what needs improving and be able to quickly assess whether the actions we've taken have a positive impact and also be able to detect any adverse effects on other parts of the system.

Making CONTINUITY A Better Tool To Transfer Information And Knowledge

Currently, the Division newsletter, CONTINUITY, is our primary link to our membership. We know we need to improve the content of the newsletter. However, there is no full-time reporting staff for the newsletter. The only way we can bring you news is if something comes in on the "wire service" and for the ECD that "wire service" is you, the Division member. With improvement in mind I have a special request. If you have some news to share, know of an upcoming conference, have a topic on which you'd like to see an article, know someone who can contribute an interesting article, or even saw a great piece in another magazine or journal please give us your leads. We have volunteers like David Rivera, Newsletter Editor, who are technical writers by trade. We can smooth the rough edges in your writing, find an expert to write about your topic, or assist in getting permission from the author of that great piece you saw to contribute a version focused on Division member concerns. These contributions are also forwarded to Woody Rabon, Internet Chair, who does a great job of getting most items posted on our web page within a day. If you want that content to be richer tell us what it is. If you have the skills, then send Woody an HTML page or a hot link that can be added to the site. I'm also certain he won't refuse some help with the web site.

Better Meeting The Needs Of All Of Our Members

When the Council changed the name of the Division it knew it must expand member benefits to provide value to members in the Communications sector while improving the offerings to Electronics sector members who have cast their ballot on the value of Division membership by leaving. To address the needs of all quality professionals and practitioners, the ECD is sponsoring a tutorial, Quality Engineering Using Robust Design, by Dr. Madhav S. Phadke on Sunday May 7, 2000 at the 54th AQC in Indianapolis. See the full tutorial description in this issue. The Division's two-hour session at AQC is a panel discussion on the ISO 9000:2000 changes and on the telecommunications standard TL9000. Many of the AQC panel members and other experts in both of these areas are contributing companion articles to a special issue of the CONTINUITY to be published in July. All ASQ members who join the Division or renew their membership by June 30, 2000 will receive the special issue.

Changes In Existing Member Benefits

Starting with the Fall 2000 issue of CONTINUITY we will be converting to electronic distribution as our primary delivery method. At this time over two-thirds of ECD members have an email address listed in their ASQ records. I encourage all of you to include your email address so we can reduce our publication costs and allocate these savings to other member benefits. We, of course, will honor requests for printed distribution and will include a survey in each issue to get your feedback on how well this change is working, while striving to minimize inconveniences to both members and volunteers. I want to take the opportunity to emphasize how important it is for you to keep your personal information current by updating it yourself on ASQNet or by calling Headquarters. This is our only means to stay in touch with you, electronically or by mail. We do not have the volunteer resources to follow up on returned materials. In the 1999 Fall Issue of CONTINUITY, David Rivera, Transactions Chair, announced a change in policy regarding the IEEE Transactions on Reliability, stating members must renew their subscription annually and the publication will only be sent to the address on file at ASQ Headquarters. As announced in the Summer 1999 issue, member dues for 2000-01 increase from $6 to $9. We realize that for some members this comes out of your own pocket. The Council is committed to provide you more value with this increase and seriously considers your "renewal" votes.

Changes In Leadership

I'd like to welcome Terry Traver with Cummins Engine in south Texas for taking on responsibility for administering our Proceedings, a position filled by David Rivera for the last several years after it became open. I'd also like to welcome Chuck Wissinger with Cielo, Inc. and Internet infrastructure provider our Vice-Chair, Membership and Internal Affairs. In the short term his focus is re-invigorating the Regional Councilor program. Don't be surprised if he or one of the Regional Councilors gives you a call asking to participate in the program. It is a key component to expand our membership by communicating the benefits of Division membership. You should have received or will soon get a ballot to vote on the 2000-01 Electronics and Communications Division elected Council. The biographies of the candidates are in this issue. Please submit your ballot by the deadline. Looking at the leadership roster you will see some key openings ? Technical Supplement Editor and numerous Regional Councilor openings. Thank you to those members who submitted volunteer survey forms. I know we have not yet been able to find the right fit for each of you but we will keep trying. If you have not volunteered please consider doing so, if you are not interested in a leadership position we have several committee chairs who are the entire committee. Consider volunteering to assist them with their responsibilities. Finally, on a sad note, I need to communicate the passing of Phil Ernst, Treasurer, who died just after the New Year. Phil was Treasurer for the last year-and-a-half and before that Division Secretary for two years. He made important contributions to those positions. The Division extends our condolences to Phil's relatives and to the Division volunteers working with Phil at Lucent Technologies ? Lowell Tomlinson, Immediate Past Chair; Anisia Kowalchuk, McDermond Award Chair; and Roy Babel, Speaker's List Coordinator.

That's all for now until we connect again,

Neil Pedersen

Electronics and Communications Division Chair 1998-00

Minutes from Division Council Meeting, January 23, 2000

ASQ Electronics & Communications Division Council Meeting at The International Symposium on Product Quality and Integrity (RAMS), Los Angeles Airport Marriott, 1:00 p.m. PST, Sunday, January 23, 2000

Roll Call - Dawn Onalfo
Chair's Opening Remarks - Neil Pedersen
Review and Accept the Minutes of the May 23 and November 12, 1999 Council Meetings
Budget Update - Neil Pedersen
General Technical Council Meeting November 13, 1999 Update - Neil Pedersen
  • Approved the bylaws changes and a dues increase from $6 to $9 effective July 1, 2000.
  • Quality Practitioner Certification - Responsibility: James McLinn & Bill Trappen
  • ASQ Balanced Scorecard: Measures Design Team - Responsibility: Neil Pedersen

Technical Activities Status

54th annual AQC will be held May 5-7, 2000 in Indianapolis, IN

  1. GTC Meeting - Friday, May 5, 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. CDST
  2. ASQ Leadership Training -- Saturday, May 6, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. CDST
  3. ECD Sponsored Tutorial, "Quality Engineering Through Robust Design" by Dr. Madhav S. Phadke, - Sunday, May 7, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  4. Strategic Planning & Marketing Meeting - Sunday, May 7, 1-3 p.m. CDST
  5. ECD Annual Business Meeting - Sunday, May 7, 3-4 p.m. CDST
  6. Regional Councilor Meeting - Sunday, May 7, 4-5 p.m. CDST
  7. Electronics and Communications Division Booth - May 8-10
  8. ECD/RD Awards Banquet - Monday, May 8, 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. CDST
  9. "Enabling Innovation: Leadership Tasks and Tools" - Tuesday, May 9, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. & 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. - Session Manager, Neil Pedersen
  10. Electronics Division Session - Tuesday, May 9, 9:30-11:30 a.m. CDST
  11. "What you would like to know about ISO9001 and TL9000" Session Manager, Bill Trappen; Moderator, Ray A. Klotz

47th annual Reliability and Maintainability Symposium will be held January 22-25, 2001 in Philadelphia, PA

The deadline for submitting papers for RAMS 2001 is April 17, 2000.
For more information see the RAMS Web page or contact the RAMS Database Coordinator, 804 Vickers Avenue, Durham, NC 27701-3143 USA

55th AQC, May 7-9, Charlotte, NC

  • Division Session Manager - Responsibility: Bill Trappen
  • Topic Session Managers - Submit two names, Senior Grade or above, due March 1
  • Paper Reviewers - Submit two names, Senior Grade or above, due March 1

Membership & Internal Affairs

  • Regional Councilor openings
  • Membership surveys


  • Fall 1999 and winter 2000 issues of Continuity
  • Spring 2000 issue
  • Special summer issue
  • Proceedings - Need AQC exhibit address to ship excess inventory
  • IEEE Transactions

Old Business

  • Luggage Tags for AQC

New Business

  • Achieve Council Consensus on National Director Nominations - Attachment 1
  • Obtain Council Approval for Non-Budgeted Special Mailing Quote for 2,000 Letters: standard postage ~ $650, first class ~ $1,050 (May need 3,000)
  • Approve 54th AQC tutorial agreements

Tactical Plan Updates (Quarterly Treasurer and Chair reports not itemized)

  • Exhibit contract fees due 2/14/00 - Responsibility: Dawn Onalfo
  • Award & scholarship proposals due 2/28/00 - Responsibility: Open
  • Testimonial awards due 2/28/00 - Responsibility: Open
  • Division Director ballot due 3/1/00 - Responsibility: Neil Pedersen
  • Division training board representatives names due 4/14/00 - Responsibility: Open
  • Division draft budget due 6/1/00 - Responsibility: Open
  • Complete strategic plan by 6/1/00 - Responsibility: Don Williams
  • Submit Division committee names 6/1/00 - Responsibility: Ray Klotz
  • Fellows nominations due 7/3/00 - Responsibility: Open
  • 1999/2000 McDermond log book due 7/31/00 - Responsibility: Anisia Kowalchuk
  • Division Operations Manual - Responsibility: Chuck Wissinger

Tutorial Description: Dynamic Robust Design

Introduction: Getting products early to market with high quality and affordable cost are a key to success in the global market. This tutorial provides a proven method that quality professionals, engineers, and managers can use to meet this challenge. The participants will learn the Dynamic Robust Design method that is used by numerous companies worldwide to achieve unique global competitive position. The course will focus on how to measure the quality of a product or process during all phases of the product realization process, and how to optimize the quality with minimum experimentation.

What is Robust Design? Robust Design is a method for making the function of a product or a process least sensitive to all sources of variation - environmental variations, manufacturing variations, and component deterioration.

The key steps of the Robust Design method are:
1) defining the ideal function as needed by the higher-level system,
2) understanding the uncontrollable (noise) parameters affecting the product/process,
3) selecting suitable designable (control) parameters,
4) formulating a suitable quality metric called Signal-to-Noise (S/N) ratio, and
5) systematically searching the space of control parameters to optimize the S/N ratio.

Dynamic Robust Design: Traditional Robust Design method focuses on the use of static S/N ratios that give excellent quality improvements. With Dynamic Robust Design, which uses dynamic S/N ratios, engineers can develop reusable, flexible subsystem designs and technologies that can significantly cut the time to market. The resulting designs greatly reduce system integration time and cost. Also, the engineer can respond to changing customer needs with minimum effort.

Ideal Function: The main function of a product is its purpose for existence in the broader system. That purpose expressed in precise mathematical terms is called the ideal function. It is often expressed as a linear equation relating the product response to the stimulus, called the signal parameter. The students will learn the thought process involved in defining the ideal function.

Signal-to-Noise Ratio: S/N ratio is a measure of how close the observed signal-response relationship is to the ideal signal-response relationship in the presence of noise parameters. Depending on the nature of the product's function, different formulations of the S/N ratio are used as objective functions. The S/N ratios are also ideal for writing specs for vendors, for evaluating vendor quality, and for tracking product development progress. Together with the quadratic loss function, the S/N ratio forms a powerful tool in evaluating the true cost of quality. Quality professionals can greatly improve their effectiveness by judiciously using the S/N ratio and the quadratic loss function to monitor and guide development progress. The student will learn various S/N ratios with the help of real case studies.

Orthogonal Arrays: Design or process optimization involves investigating a large number of control parameters. Orthogonal arrays allow the engineer to accomplish this task systematically and dependably with limited R&D budget. Orthogonal arrays have also proven effective in testing hardware/software product performance under diverse operating conditions. Not only will students learn to use standard orthogonal arrays but also to modify them to best suit the problem at hand.

Case Studies: New concepts will be explained through case studies: radio receiver design, wire bonding, night vision system reliability, solder paste printing, radar design, IC fabrication.

Audience: This tutorial is designed for quality professionals, design and manufacturing engineers, managers, and executives. It assumes understanding of variability and basic engineering. In class exercises will be used to facilitate learning.

Course Objectives: Participants will learn how to do the following:
  1. Make designs insensitive to manufacturing and raw material variation, thus reducing material, rework, and scrap cost.
  2. Make designs least sensitive to operating environment variation, thus improving reliability and reducing operating cost.
  3. Enhance reusability of the designs for different applications, thus saving development cost and time.
  4. Employ a new structured development process that allows engineering time to be used most productively.
  5. Learn a mathematical tool called orthogonal arrays to study a large number of decision variables with a small number of experiments.
  6. Use a new measure of quality called signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) to predict the quality of a product from the customer's perspective.

Message from the Editor, David Rivera

As most of you know, print media tends to be slow. That is, articles have to be written, edited, layed-out, proofed, printed and distributed. It is a process wrought with obstacles. Enter the Internet and email. As ECD Chair Neil Pedersen mentioned earlier, we will electronically send this newsletter via email by the end of 2000. This action represents a huge saving in our printing and mailing costs. It will also allow for more timely delivery of news and information relevant to ECD members. Of course, those who still wish to receive a hardcopy may request one. Our goal is make more effective use of the technologies and resources to improve service to our members.

Another noticeable change is in regards to the IEEE Transaction on Reliability. It became evident that more and more ECD members who had requested this publication were not receiving it. This is due largely in fact to a number of members who had either changed jobs or moved. As a result, the policy and Request Form have changed. ECD members who request this publication will receive it only in the year of the request. Annual renewal is required and will be sent to the mailing address on file with ASQ Headquarters.

Sadly, the one most important thing that has not changed for the better is membership involvement. I know, you already have a full time job, a spouse, some kids, a dog, a cat, and some fish that are all demanding of your time. It's hard to find the time to write a news item or participate on a committee. Yet, you are holding the opportunity to get involved in your hand at this very moment! Below is condensed version of the ECD Survey or you can turn to page 15 for the full version.

What will it take to get you to write an article?
A better education
A huge sum of money
An insanely huge sum of money

You would sit on committee if you
Got a divorce
Received a death threat
Received an insanely huge sum of money
All of the above

Realize, I'm not promising anything, but I can request that insanely huge sum of money in next year's budget.

All ECD members are encouraged to attend the ECD Annual Business Meeting on Sunday, May 7, 1-3 p.m. CDST in Indianapolis, IN. This is an opportunity to meet with and hear from your Council members.

ECD Newsletter Advertising Rates

$425/$1500 for Single/4 Issues (Full Page)
$225/$800 for Single/4 Issues (Half Page)
$125/$450 for Single/4 Issues (Quarter Page)
$65/$200 for Single/4 Issues (Business Card)
For more information contact David Rivera, ECD Newsletter Editor.

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