Reading time ( words)
I had the good fortune to speak at a seminar sponsored by the CPCA and organized by the China Team of I-Connect007 in Shanghai on March 22. This full-day seminar was on one of today’s hot topics, “Automation in PCB Manufacturing.” Seven talks were given:
- “Planning More Automation (of HDI) In Your Factory,” by Happy Holden, I-Connect007
- “The Benefits of Deploying Robots and its Application in Manufacturing,” by Wen-Tao Bao, Universal Robots
- “Whelen PCB as an Example of Industry 4.0,” by Jochen Zeller, AWP
- “HANS Lasers in PCB Fabrication,” by Guo-Dong Chen, Han’s Laser Inc.
- “Using Raw Data to Develop an Intelligent Manufacturing Solution for Process Control,” by Les Sainsbury, Xact PCB Ltd.
- “Essential Process Control of Automated HDI,” by Happy Holden, I-Connect007
- “Whelen PCB—A Case Study of Full Automation and Zero Effluent,” by Happy Holden, I-Connect007
I started off the seminar with a keynote on automation technology and strategies. Automation has been employed in manufacturing since the early ‘80s and pioneered by the automotive industry and the Computer and Automated Systems Association of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (CASA/SME). CASA has publicized the strategy and called it CIM— computer-integrated manufacturing.
CIM has seven key areas of focus:
- Computer-aided design
- Group technology
- Manufacturing planning and control
- Automated material handling
- Computer-aided manufacturing/process control
- Computing technologies coordinating all of these
After going over some slides on understanding the activities and application of CIM, including integration of “Islands of Automation,” I landed on the CIM-directed modernization plan as seen in Figure 1. This is the blueprint for automation and consists of six phases:
- Environment assessment
- Program strategy
- Conceptual design
- Detailed design and requirement specifications
- Deployment of design 6. Implementation and execution
Phase 4 is the most important step, as it defines the requirements definition (RD). The RD requires a planning methodology, and I went over the method of benchmarking human and machine activities for mechanization and systemization (data and information) for each process workstation for the entire manufacturing process. The definitions of mechanization and systemization are seen in Figure 2 and capture all the labors of production workers and automated machines and their information. By defining each workstation (the present), the incremental improvement in mechanization and systemization can be planned (the future), as seen in Figure 3.
I went on to further define mechanization in PCB fabrication and the dimensions of systemization including modern networking and application software developed to integrate purchased software into PCB equipment. The use of the SEMETECH GEMS/SECS II protocols from the IC wafer fabrication industry provided a useful model to follow.
To read the full version of this article which originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.