Yield and reliability considerations have resulted in an increased emphasis on particulate and chemical contamination control for vended parts in the disk drive industry as well as in other microelectronics and precision manufacturing industries. A vendor process contamination checklist (VPCC) intended primarily to assist the responsible engineer in identifying potential sources of contamination within the vendor process is discussed. Appropriate remedial action may then be initiated in consultation with a cleaning/contamination control specialist. The questionnaire is slanted toward machining houses because these environments are notoriously difficult to diagnose and control with respect to contamination. It has been used with considerable success at IBM San Jose for vendor process investigation and rectification and has often resulted in greatly enhanced cleanliness of incoming components. The description of the checklist is followed by a discussion section where the reasons for some of the less obvious questions are stated. Examples of process improvements obtained by using the checklist are presented.

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