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SMT topics in focus


SMT topics in focus

SMT: Quality, flexibility and transparency in SMT production


This article was published in the 3rd issue of the professional journal SMT.

Rapidly growing markets, electromobility and the digital transformation in industrial production offer electronics manufacturers new opportunities for generating sales and expanding market shares – provided their SMT factories can respond quickly, deliver a consistently high level of quality, and focus on maximum transparency and traceability in each process step. Market and technology leader ASMPT offers a range of intelligent and interlocking solutions for them. -Please scroll down for full article-

With the global focus on climate protection and net-zero targets, increased consumer interest, political support and government subsidies as well as technological progress in automobile batteries and driving ranges, all the lights are green for electromobility. But the concept of Industry 4.0 also offers unique new opportunities in the manufacturing sector as automation, stationary and mobile robot solutions, powerful software and AI are finding their way into production facilities all over the world. What both markets have in common are their enormous growth potential and the steadily increasing demand for highly complex electronics.
Depending on the job at hand and the industry, suppliers must produce large numbers of constantly changing PCBs or the same highly integrated module in large quantities. As the components being processed vary greatly in terms of size, specifications and complexity, the demands on the production hardware and software are correspondingly high. Companies that serve these markets with state-of-the-art technology find themselves one step ahead in the race for lucrative contracts from the industrial and automotive sectors.

SIPLACE SX: Maximum placement flexibility
The latest generation of ASMPT’s SIPLACE SX assembly platform is ideally equipped for these new markets and their production requirements. It adapts more quickly to any challenge and delivers even more precision and flexibility. It is smart, open to other systems and relieves operators in these times of skilled labor shortages. Standard interfaces and a growing number of automation options make it the number one choice for the integrated smart factory.
The SIPLACE SX can process up to 86,500 components per hour, from the smallest 0201 (metric) SMDs to components measuring 200 × 110 × 50 millimeters. And with the optional OSC package and THT capability, the SIPLACE SX pushes the boundaries of SMT production. Where time-consuming manual work was previously required, the machine now delivers even highly differentiated boards quickly and efficiently. PCBs up to a width of 260 mm can be produced in the efficient dual-conveyor mode, and with the optional Smart Transport module, the SIPLACE SX can handle boards measuring up to 1,525 × 560 millimeters. The Waffle Pack Changer (WPC), which is also optional, automates the supply of components from trays measuring up to 347 × 235 millimeters for the assembly of ICs of the type found in many automotive systems.
The SIPLACE SX offers agile solutions for volatile markets with its exchangeable gantries, which make it possible to adapt placement capacities across lines with great flexibility in just a few minutes. This means that the right capacity is always available in the right place, and bottleneck lines are a thing of the past.
An onboard system that inspects solder pads, looks for missing components under shields and checks the correct placement of previously placed components contributes to a comprehensive quality assurance approach. And the optional 3D Coplanarity Module uses 3-point laser measurement technology to verify the planarity of large BGAs and QFPs in addition to checking for missing balls and deformed connectors, thus reliably detecting and discarding or rejecting misshapen components. The latter is particularly important for very expensive components with many connecting wires, such as processors.

SIPLACE TX: Balanced performance in volume production
The SIPLACE TX platform features maximum precision and performance in the smallest footprint by being able to place up to 96,000 components per hour in a length of only 1 meter. It is the ideal machine for manufacturers who want to stay flexible while also having to deal with high production volumes. And the option to equip both gantries with stationary cameras for unique stereo vision capability makes the SIPLACE TX a great end-of-line machine in optimally balanced high-speed lines, as does the optional new SIPLACE Tray Unit for the non-stop supply of components from compact trays. its main storage area holds 30 trays while the cache storage compartment holds another 12, making it possible to refill the unit with no production interruption. Each level holds two JEDEC trays or one tray measuring up to 355 × 275 millimeters. A status LED as well as an RFID tag for each level make the operators’ work easier and increase the unit’s usability. And thanks to its minimal protrusion, the new SIPLACE Tray Unit increases the machine’s footprint only slightly despite its extensive functionality.
Flexibility also depends on the head
Universally deployable on the SIPLACE SX and the SIPLACE TX platforms, three innovative placement heads bring more flexibility and balance to SMT production. With its exceptional speed and precision, the CP20 places up to 48,000 components per hour ranging in size from 0201 (metric) to 8.2 × 8.2 × 4 millimeters. The multi-talented CPP head switches dynamically between collect-and-place mode (most efficient for standard components), pick-and-place mode (safe for special components), and a mixed mode. NEW: The CPP head can use grippers, which enables it to handle components whose surfaces don’t permit the use of vacuum nozzles. Lines can thus be balanced even more effectively. Large and/or heavy components are a case for the TWIN head. It places components with heights of up to 50 millimeters, lengths of up to 200 millimeters and a weight of up to 300 grams (including the nozzle or gripper) with a force of up to 100 newtons. Even components with snap-in or through-the-hole (THT) connectors can thus be processed quickly and safely in standard SMT processes. This eliminates the need for special processes to install the connector modules common in vehicles. The machine’s high-resolution component cameras ensure a consistent level of quality. Stereo measurement technology recognizes even complex structures with great precision. It uses two offset images to generate 3D models that make it possible to reliably identify bent THT connectors or measure centering pins.

Feeder options: Flexible supply and reliable measurement
With the new 120-mm feeder, SIPLACE platforms can now process components that previously had to be supplied on trays or even with the help of robots. The same applies to extra-wide OSCs, which can now be supplied in tapes, thus eliminating the need for the kind of operator assists that would be necessary with trays. For seamless traceability, a splice sensor recognizes the transition to another batch.
The Deep Pocket Feeder also contributes to increased flexibility. With its integrated pneumatics, it compresses empty component tapes so that they glide smoothly through the empties channel. Even tapes that are up to 30 mm deep can be easily processed this way.
The SIPLACE Glue Feeder ensures the safe processing of large and tall components by applying an adhesive directly to the underside of components without touching them so that it stays in place during transport and soldering. The Glue Feeder gets installed just as flexibly as a regular feeder. Its parameters are programmed directly on the feeder, and the placement machine’s vision system checks the glue dot automatically.
The SIPLACE Measuring Feeder can also be installed or removed as easily as a standard feeder. It contains all the measurement and control electronics it needs to do its job. With the help of special nozzles on the placement head, components are placed onto a gold-plated contact surface on the top of the feeder so that their properties can be verified electrically. It is is capable of measuring components measuring from 0.6 × 0.3 millimeters to 6.0 × 3.2 millimeters. Since the SIPLACE Measuring Feeder can test the electrical properties of resistors, capacitors, diodes and coils, it is capable of reliably detecting faulty batches. The operating parameters of the SIPLACE Measuring Feeder are controlled and programmed with the usual SIPLACE software. The user can define for each component whether it should be verified and based on what sample size. New component reels are automatically verified via the splice sensor.

The smart shop floor management suite WORKS guarantees quality and transparency
In addition to best-in-class hardware, process-supporting and process-optimizing software plays a critical role in complying with today’s strict quality standards. The smart SMT shop floor management suite WORKS from ASMPT leads the way in this field. As an inline expert system, the WORKS Process Expert application optimizes the scrap rate as well as the number of operators assists along the entire SMT line in both the pre-placement and post-placement areas. The application optimizes SMT production lines that are equipped with DEK solder paste printers and SIPLACE placement machines from ASMPT. To make this possible, the solder paste inspection (SPI) and automated optical inspection (AOI) systems automatically and continuously deliver data that the software uses to further optimize the entire line.
In the case of the DEK solder paste printer, the intelligent software enables it to automatically adjust the print offset as well as the squeegee pressure and speed, and to initiate the understencil cleaning process as needed. In conjunction with SIPLACE placement machines, the application continuously evaluates the pickup data. If it registers an increase in faulty pickups, the software automatically locates the source of the error and suggests measures that an operator can take to remedy the problem. Based on the operator’s feedback in combination with the continued supply of measurement data, the WORKS Process Expert can determine which measures were successful. It also uses big-data technologies to analyze all current and historical test data in real time, which enables it to continuously improve itself.

IPC-2591 CFX bridges the gap to the Integrated Smart Factory
Thanks to the IPC-2591 CFX standard, third-party SPI and AOI systems can be easily included in the optimizing feedback loop of the WORKS Process Expert application – an important factor for investment security. Such systems are used after the placement process and before the reflow stage. 3D inspection systems play an important role in quality control because they identify missing, misplaced or defective components, soldering errors or insufficient markings on the PCB and report such faults to the software via the IPC-2591 CFX interface.
Consistently automated production and the continuous flow of data across all production and inspection systems on the line guarantee maximum transparency of process and product data. This capability is important, for example, to comply with the strict quality requirements of the automobile industry, which demand the seamless traceability of all components across the entire production process.

Traceability and the freedom to make decisions
Traceability is the be-all and end-all for continuous and effective production monitoring and optimization. If the quality engineer recognizes weak spots at a single glance, he or she can take the right measures instantly. This kind of relief for employees provides a decisive competitive advantage, particularly in times where skilled workers are hard to find. To be successful as a supplier today, you must deliver outstanding quality from day one because the customer will not accept repaired circuit boards.
Based on open standards and its modular product portfolio, SMT specialist and market leader ASMPT is establishing its Open Automation concept as a flexible and manufacturer-independent strategy for the economically viable automation of production processes for more quality and efficiency. Open Automation leaves it up to individual electronics manufacturers to decide at any time to what extent and how quickly they want to automate and upgrade – all while ASMPT’s experts support them step by step on their journey to the Integrated Smart Factory.

Industry 4.0 manufacturing – an integrated network of systems
If you want to consistently exploit the newly created market potential of the automotive and industrial sectors, you must analyze and optimize the entire hardware and software on the shop floor as a total Industry 4.0 system across all manufacturers. You would be well-advised to select an open interface standard as well as systems that are as open as they are flexible, thus enabling continuous improvements and quality assurance with their end-to-end data transparency. It is equally important to pick the right process partner. ASMPT has many years of experience in all areas of SMT production, knows the current market requirements in detail, and does not restrict its customers with proprietary standards.

Best-in-class solutions

As the industry’s technology leader, ASMPT offers a broad portfolio of best-in-class products. Our solutions stand out with their perfect interaction of hardware, software and service components – powerful, smart, and ready to raise your production to a new level.

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