Happy’s Essential Skills: Tip of the Month—The NIST/SEMATECH e-Handbook of Statistical Methods

In the 1990s, the National Bureau of Standards was distributing a popular statistical document, the Handbook 91, written by Mary Natrella of the NBS Statistical Engineering Laboratory. A request by Patrick Spagon of the Statistical Methods Group of SEMATECH, a consortium of major U.S. semiconductor manufacturers, to update the NBS Handbook 91, Experimental Statistics, led to the creation of a project team from NIST and SEMATECH to create a new web-based statistical handbook including statistical software.

The goal of the NIST/SEMATECH e-Handbook of Statistical Methods (also called the Engineering Statistical Handbook), is “to help scientists and engineers incorporate statistical methods into their work as efficiently as possible,” according to the website. It is intended to assist engineers and scientists in developing their own expertise, design their own experiments, and use the appropriate statistical analysis. It also serves as a useful educational tool to help users understand and apply the proper statistical tools to their work.

Numerous case studies are integrated into the text and designed to work with the statistical software, DATAPLOT, available for free download in the “Tools & Aids” section. A fill-in-the-blank worksheet with sample data allows the user to quickly and easily duplicate the calculations with his or her own data. To make the software as useful as possible, it is available for seven operating systems: Linux/Unix, Windows (PC) versions 7/8/10, Mac OS X version 10.10, and Mac OS X Version 10.9.

I have been using this software at home and for my consulting work ever since I discovered it by accident in 1998. At Hewlett-Packard, we had our own statistics software that we sold, and later, other companies I worked for used MiniTab. These were excellent statistical programs, but they weren’t free! DATAPLOT is equal-to-or-better-than these expensive purchased statistical tools, with the added benefit of case studies and hyper-text manuals. I think this is an essential tool for any engineer to have at home, both to improve his knowledge and to have examples to use for training and publications. I encourage everyone to download it—you never know when the government is going to take it away!

Here is the link to download: www.itl.nist.gov/div898/handbook/

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2017

Happy’s Essential Skills: Tip of the Month—The NIST/SEMATECH e-Handbook of Statistical Methods

07-05-2017

In the 1990s, the National Bureau of Standards was distributing a popular statistical document, the Handbook 91, written by Mary Natrella of the NBS Statistical Engineering Laboratory. A request by Patrick Spagon of the Statistical Methods Group of SEMATECH to update the NBS Handbook 91, Experimental Statistics, led to the creation of a project team from NIST and SEMATECH to create a new web-based statistical handbook including statistical software.

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2016

Happy's Essential Skills: Understanding Predictive Engineering

12-16-2016

New product realization and design for manufacturing and assembly (DFM/A) have now started to become more visible as programs that can improve a company’s time-to-market and lower product costs. Many programs are underway by many companies and what is now needed is a framework to coordinate the application of these programs. This column will cover the interactions of DFM/A and the need for development of a new framework to coordinate the trade-offs.

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Happy’s Essential Skills: Technology Awareness and Change

11-22-2016

From Happy Holden: A long-time printed circuit-industry friend of mine, Martin Tarr, an instructor at University of Bolton, UK, is a leading expert on change. He wrote an excellent tutorial for his university course on electronics manufacturing. With permission from Tarr, I am including a portion of it here as the basis of this column, starting after the graph in Figure 2. But first, a few thoughts of my own.

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Happy's Essential Skills: 10-Step Business Plan Process

11-03-2016

It takes more than just a good idea to exploit that brainstorm of yours. Hewlett Packard’s “10-Step Business Plan Process” is the format to present an idea or product in a fashion that will answer most questions that management may have about a product or idea.

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Happy's Essential Skills: Lean Manufacturing

10-19-2016

Lean doesn’t have to exist in manufacturing alone. Lean is a fairly recent principle that can apply to all of our goods and services. For those of you not familiar with Lean, I recommend the free E-book "Survival Is Not Mandatory: 10 Things Every CEO Should Know about Lean" by Steve Williams, a regular columnist for I-Connect007.

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Happy's Essential Skills: Metrics and Dimensional Analysis

10-05-2016

After 20 of my columns, readers probably realize that I am an analytical person. Thus, I dedicate this column to metrics—the method of measuring something. I mentioned the four levels of metrics in my June column "Producibility and Other Figures of Merit." I also introduced the five stages of metrics in the second part of the column "Design for Manufacturing and Assembly, Part 2." This column completes the discussion with a look at dimensionless quantities.

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Happy’s Essential Skills: Recruiting and Interviewing

09-29-2016

Hopefully, your career has progressed to the point that you are empowered to recruit your own team or a key person for your team. There are always technical people looking for better jobs, but many times, the most talented are busy doing their work and not looking for a new opportunity.

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Happy’s Essential Skills: Computer-Aided Manufacturing, Part 2 - Automation Examples

09-22-2016

Semiconductor fabs like to avoid writing custom software to fit all of the idiosyncrasies of individual processing systems. So HP developed PC-10 to handle IC process equipment by separating it into general classes. SECS II was a mandatory prerequisite of the equipment before an interface to PC-10 could be developed.

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Producibility and Other Figures of Merit

06-10-2016

Metrics are data and statistically backed measures. It is always expedient to base decisions on data and metrics, for example, in PCB design. These measures can be density, first-pass yield connectivity or in this context, producibility. These measures are the basis for predicting and planning a printed circuit design. But what if a metric doesn’t exist? Then you can create the next best measure, the Figure of Merit

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Learning Theory/Learning Curves

06-01-2016

Learning is not instantaneous! Nor is progress made in a steady manner, but at a rate that is typified by one of two basic patterns. In some cases, plateaus will be seen in learning curves. These are caused by factors such as fatigue, poor motivation, loss of interest, or needing time to absorb all the material before progressing to new. This column will not go into details of how learning is achieved, but will summarize some of these theories.

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Happy’s Essential Skills: Project/Product Life Cycle

05-18-2016

The product, and or project (process) life cycle (PLC) is fundamental to a corporation intent on developing new products or processes. It sometimes is called the new product introduction (NPI) process but that is only half of the life cycle. There is product support, enhancement and eventually, obsolescence.

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