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I had the opportunity to speak to Oren Manor of Mentor Graphics about their design to manufacture solution, and specifically how it helps OEMs large and small make the transition to Industry 4.0 without a complete factory overhaul.
Barry Matties: Tell our readers a bit about Mentor Graphics, and what you do, Oren.
Oren Manor: Mentor is an EDA company, and one of the unique things about Mentor is our full design-to-manufacture flow. Unlike maybe some of the other EDA companies out there, Mentor is unique in the sense that it really does provide a full solution ranging from silicon design, board design, to preparation of production and then everything around the shop floor control, so it’s really a complete solution.
That’s where we have an edge on some of the other EDA companies and that is also our advantage when we compete with some of the other EMS companies out there. We are the only ones that can really handle the design data and prepare it for manufacturing, program the different machines and then control the actual process. The end-to-end solution has a lot of advantages for the customer, especially for vertically integrated manufacturers, where the OEMs actually have some manufacturing in-house. So the majority of SMT lines are still owned and managed by these vertically integrated OEMs, and that’s when the Mentor portfolio is most appealing.
Matties: So it is a captive facility.
Manor: It is a captive facility. We do deal with EMS companies as well, of course, some of them also offer some design services, but one of our advantages from an OEM perspective is our very wide portfolio. Of course from a sales perspective, as well, Mentor deals with customers on a global level giving them both the software for their design as well as the software for the manufacturing, making the flow of data, and the bridge of the data, very robust.
Matties: It really is about flowing the data from one point to the next in a timely, accurate way that gives invaluable feedback, post production.
Manor: Yes. We always talk about this wall between design and manufacturing. Even if we go to a vertically integrated automotive manufacturer, where we still see a lot of in-house manufacturing, the design guys don’t really know the manufacturing guys and the manufacturing guys don’t trust the design guys. There is a big barrier between them. We always think of them kind of hopping off the design side and not really trusting these guys. There’s a lot of mistrust.
When we come in we simplify the flow. We use our ODB++ format, which is much more intelligent data, and we can build trust there and make this much leaner. Then the designers are happy, because their boards come back faster and manufacturing is happy with less questions, less spends, and everybody at the end of the day gets ahead with this. It is a win-win for everybody and of course management sees it. We try to explain to management that you have to leverage the effectiveness of the machines that you own. You could always go and outsource and go to Foxconn or Flextronics—everybody can do that. But you’ve got your own lines. Take advantage of that. Take down that barrier. Take down the wall. We’ve been talking about this lean NPI for a couple of years now. Now I think with smart manufacturing this is becoming even more and more important because it’s hard to be very good at manufacturing if you get bad data.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of SMT Magazine.