SMT topics in focus
Even in the age of Industry 4.0, people remain one of the most important factors in SMT production. With its new Intelligent Factory concept, innovation and market leader ASMPT uses existing pools of data to train employees, make their work easier, and deploy them where they achieve the highest return on investment. The completely deserted ‘lights-out factory’ remains a distant wish even in times of all-encompassing digitalization. SMT factories are too individual, and the capabilities of legacy installations are too different from each other to replace all humans with machines. Especially from an ROI-based point of view, a production that is semi-automated based on specific requirements is the right solution for intelligent manufacturing.
SMT manufacturing is teamwork. From the few operators on the lines to the maintenance technicians and logistics specialists to the production manager, everyone must pull together effectively to handle complex orders on time and in a cost-saving manner. A modern optimization strategy must therefore support all employees equally and maintain the right balance between automation and effective personnel deployment.
When it comes to the digital transformation in electronics manufacturing, ASMPT puts people at the center. Making their work easier and providing them with effective support was already the goal of the Integrated Smart Factory, on which the concept of the ‘Intelligent Factory’ is now based. Its newest aspect is the strategy of integrative data use: Information collected by the numerous systems on the factory floor with the help of open standard interfaces for the electronics industry such as IPC-HERMES-9852 and IPC-2591 CFX gets accumulated, organized, dynamically evaluated, and then made available exactly where it is needed. In this way, manufacturing systems will be able to make decisions autonomously in the future and carry out actions where it makes sense. For example, AMRs (autonomous mobile robots) can save operators from having to move materials around. And where troubleshooting is concerned, even newly hired employees will quickly be able to find a solution. Capabilities like these will make the workday more structured, more predictable and thus more effective for all employees in the SMT factory.
There are many questions on the road to intelligent manufacturing in Industry 4.0 for which solutions from ASMPT provide effective answers:
How can I deploy people effectively on the line?
With WORKS Command Center, ASMPT’s application for qualification-oriented personnel scheduling across multiple lines in the Intelligent Factory, scarce skilled workers are deployed from a structured pool of experts with foresight, sufficient lead time, and in a personalized manner via mobile user devices. WORKS Command Center displays only the data that’s relevant for the job at hand, which avoids ‘firefighting’ and unnecessary stress.
Customer evaluations have shown that, in addition to the average line utilization, the number of employees can also be optimized significantly, thus increasing the efficiency of the existing production while proactively addressing the persistent shortage of skilled labor.
How do I provide relief for the maintenance team?
The Intelligent Factory concept also helps to solve a difficult problem: How do you maintain the equipment in optimal condition while keeping it available for ongoing production operations? If you do this manually, you lose a lot of time fixing recurring collisions between tasks. ASMPT’s Factory Equipment Center makes the job much easier. The manufacturer-independent asset and maintenance management system seamlessly registers all production-relevant systems down to individual feeders and nozzles and generates maintenance plans that reconcile the requirements of production operations and maintenance, allowing the technical team to focus on its core tasks. This reduces its workload and increases the availability of all the production equipment.
With Virtual Assist, ASMPT provides maintenance technicians with a compact digital assistant on their smartphone, tablet, or PC. All they must do is scan the machine ID via a QR code or ask questions about the task at hand in natural language. The software does the rest: It collects technical data, maintenance instructions or videos from a wide variety of sources and displays them in an orderly and clear manner. With Virtual Assist, even newcomers can carry out their duties quickly and effectively.
How do I support quality assurance?
Another good example of the integrative use of data in the Intelligent Factory is the software-based search for defects in ongoing production. Until now, quality assurance software worked closely with an SPI or AOI system and looked at products, lines or machines individually, one by one. It was the job of the quality assurance staff to manually compile the data from the various systems and correlate it with each other because many faults do not originate where they are first discovered.
WORKS Process Expert from ASMPT makes this job much easier. As an intelligent inline expert system, the quality assurance application from the WORKS smart shop floor management suite optimizes the processes along the entire SMT line with an ambitious goal: zero defects per million opportunities (DPMO). To do this, it automatically integrates and correlates all the data generated by systems ranging from the solder paste printer and the SPI unit to placement machines and AOI systems at the end of the line. The cross-functional application makes it possible to detect errors that would have gone unnoticed otherwise. Thanks to the standardized IPC-2591-CFX interface, this works not only with machines of the DEK and SIPLACE platforms but also with other machines on the SMT line. Identifying errors and fixing them no longer requires years of experience. Factors causing slowdowns can now be quickly isolated and resolved so that the line can run fast enough to meet all deadlines, which makes quality managers, planners and executives equally happy.
Another benefit of using data across multiple lines is that the root causes identified by the WORKS Process Expert appear on the display of the affected machine, telling the maintenance staff at a glance where they need to take action. The application also provides detailed error statistics based on AOI data in the form of performance indicators and freely selectable graphics.
How do I train my employees?
The Intelligent Factory principle also applies to education and training because data is collected, processed and made available where it is actually needed. With its ASMPT Academy, the market leader provides a wide-ranging and target-group-specific portfolio of courses.
eLearning features an attractive environment that allows employees to learn at their own pace and receive knowledge on demand in the comfort of their own workplace. Virtual reality is another training medium that is suitable in many situations. In virtual training rooms, specialists gain practical experience on machines and train work processes, assembly and disassembly steps – as often as they like, regardless of time and place, with virtual reality courses in 2D or 3D.
If you prefer training and education with a more face-to-face approach, the instructor-led variant is the best choice: Product experts from ASMPT convey the material to small groups with practical exercises on machines or in virtual software environments – via video conference, in ASMPT training centers, or on-site at your company. Finally, blended learning offers the advantages of several worlds by conveying and/or deepening knowledge in a training center or remotely via a hybrid learning plan of online courses and face-to-face events.
How do I find the right partner?
Whether we are talking about software for optimized personnel deployment or training measures – the service provider’s portfolio and thus his know-how must cover the entire production process, and ASMPT is the right partner for this. With its hardware, software and ASMPT Academy, the technology and market leader covers all aspects of modern SMT production while pure software manufacturers or training specialists pursue only partial aspects.
Sven Buchholz, Vice President Product Management at ASMPT SMT Solutions, expresses this quite clearly: “If you want to make effective use of increasingly scarce skilled labor, you must start in many different areas. Focused automation measures take a lot of pressure off the employees, allowing them to work based on their qualifications across multiple lines with integrative, data-driven concepts. This makes it possible for companies to raise their line utilization and reduce quality costs with significantly fewer people. Training and continuing education complete the overall package, which is geared towards increasing effectiveness.”
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.