SMT topics in focus
Technology leader ASM can look back on a very successful Productronica 2021, which closed its doors a few days ago. The company’s hybrid presence on site, on the air and on demand was enthusiastically received by visitors both on the show floor and online. At the booth on site, the innovative Open Automation concept for the Integrated Smart Factory captured most of the attention. It had been implemented in form of an SMT line with autonomous transport robots (AIVs) for material transport and automatic loading and unloading systems for the PCBs.
Despite the trade fair organization’s sophisticated safety and hygiene concept, the number of visitors was much smaller than in previous years, but the quality of the contacts ranging from interesting talks to concrete project inquiries was truly impressive. And the many viewers of ASM’s livestreams from its Productronica studio and the virtual booth with its extensive media library solidified the impression that many visitors who could not be on site made good use of the company’s online offerings. Particularly the media library continues to enjoy high access rates even after the show, which is a clear sign that hybrid events may not be the exception but the rule in the future.
Focus on Open Automation
With Open Automation, ASM has developed a concept that provides an alternative to fully automated shop floors, which tend to be inflexible and expensive. It allows electronics manufacturers to determine the degree and speed of the transition to automation in a way that works best for them because ASM’s modular approach combines seamless M2M communication with the integration of third-party solutions and existing systems. As a tool for the economically feasible optimization of processes and for achieving gains in quality and efficiency, Open Automation gives electronics manufacturers the flexibility they need.
The line shown at the booth to demonstrate Open Automation in practice consisted of the latest generation of a DEK TQ stencil printer, an Process Lens 5D inline SPI system, a SIPLACE SX placement machine equipped with the new ASM Automated Waste Disposal System, an AOI system from automation partner Viscom, PCB handling systems from Nutek, and matching software solutions from ASM.
Showtime at the Productronica
During the show, which took place several times a day, visitors could observe various modular automation applications live, such as automated PCB loading on the line where an AIV from CTS Omron delivered circuit boards and handed them over to the Nutek loader, and check them for everyday suitability and whether they are retrofittable in their own production.
As a special feature, the system adjusted the required conveyor width automatically based on the digital product type ID provided by a higher-level system. From this point on, IPC-Hermes, the standard protocol for enhanced M2M communication, forwarded the product type ID along with other process-relevant information to all machines on the line.
Under the maxim of delivering the best possible return on investment, ASM also demonstrated the efficient division of labor between people and machines using the DEK TQ printer as an example. In this application, the ASM Works Command Center software send the operator a message on his or her mobile device that an AIV has just delivered a new stencil, which the operator then replaces manually.
Seamless communication between machines and AIVs
What’s possible with printing can also be applied in the placement process. During the show, AIVs from Eurotec picked up changeover tables from the setup preparation area, switched them out at the SIPLACE SX, and returned the old changeover tables to the setup preparation area. Thanks to the seamless communication between the AIVs and the high-end SIPLACE SX placement machine, product changeovers can be executed automatically in only a few seconds. Even waste can be carted off automatically with the ASM Automated Waste Disposal System, which can be easily installed underneath the placement machine.
Material storage can be automated as well. AIVs from Knapp collected component reels from the ASM Material Tower and carted them to the setup preparation area. For optimized workflow scheduling, the coordination and control of all AIVs can be managed via the new ASM Factory Automation software module.
Continuous quality control and optimization
At the end of the line, an AOI system from automation partner Viscom checked the finished circuit boards. To ensure that errors are not only quickly detected but also analyzed and remembered for future occurrences, the Process Engine processed the AOI data via an interface that was newly developed on the basis of IPC-CFX and correlated the information with other process information from the entire line. The Process Engine is part of the Works smart factory suite. By connecting all systems with each other, this smart software solution is an essential component of Open Automation and the foundation for the Integrated Smart Factory. Because ASM Works in combination with ASM Factory Automation also ensures the integration, control and coordination of third-party solutions via the open interfaces. This is a significant difference to providers who can only implement automation with their own equipment.
Still available on demand
For the first time, all of ASM’s Productronica highlights can still be viewed on demand. as the virtual Productronica booth and the extensive media library continue to be available to interested online visitors: https://www.asm-smt.com/en/productronica-2021/
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