Data Interfaces: The Key to Smart Surface-Mount Manufacturing
The data structures supported by surface-mount assembly equipment can critically influence the adoption of smart manufacturing in today’s electronics-manufacturing enterprises.
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Following mechanisation, mass production, and computerised automation, the fourth industrial revolution (Industrie 4.0) is transforming traditional automation into cyber-physical systems. These are expected to enable new ways of organising production, support the creation of new products and services, and open new opportunities for participation.
Surface-mount electronics manufacturing has a leading role in the revolution: not only are the instruments of Industrie 4.0 built here – from tiny smart sensors to Internet infrastructure and high-performance Cloud servers – but also advanced inline automation is combined with powerful software applications to implement smart manufacturing that adapts continuously to optimise productivity.
More and More Manufacturing Data Is Harvested
In today’s electronics manufacturing services (EMS) businesses, the traditional boundary between factory floor and back office is disappearing as more and more manufacturing data is harvested and analysed to reveal new insights for further enhancing efficiency, quality and productivity. The data must first be collected from the equipment in the line, analysed instantaneously to aid real-time management of the line, and then shared with back-office systems and Cloud applications to identify long-term trends and determine strategically how to improve.
The production line may combine equipment such as dispenser or screen printer, mounters and optical inspection from a number of different manufacturers. Although there are industry standards that allow basic communication between the various machines, interfaces between equipment from different vendors often cannot support the rich information exchanges needed to enable smart manufacturing. Even if all the equipment is supplied by the same vendor, some brands are better suited to smart manufacturing than others.
The Way Data Is Organised Is Critical
The way the data is organised is critical, and some manufacturers are able to demonstrate data structures that are well suited to making detailed information readily available to analytical software. Yamaha Motor Intelligent Machines Division has created its own specification for a machine-to-machine interface that enables rich real-time data exchanges between inline surface-mount equipment. Moreover, a complete set of software applications capture and analyse the data. These have been proven over several product generations, and are now poised to help SMT manufacturers transition their enterprises to smart manufacturing.
Seamless Connection of Enterprise Assets
Among these software applications, Yamaha QA Option is hosted on the line and compares post-placement inline optical inspection (AOI) data with dispenser/printer and mounter data (figure 1) to pinpoint any component-placement errors or solder-paste defects down to the level of individual mounter nozzles or stencil apertures. Notifications presented on-screen (figure 2), or pushed to the supervisor’s own device via Yamaha’s Mobile Judgement software, enable immediate remedial action, and hence improve quality control and drive-up productivity.
The information gathered has also been able to drive predictive maintenance, which is also now seen as an important aspect of smart manufacturing. In addition to these applications, Yamaha has developed the Y.FacT factory software suite, including setup, monitoring and traceability tools.