January 21–26, 2023
San Diego, California, USA

Line Controller as Collaborative Agent to Orchestrate Processes and Taking Automation to the Next Level

Danny Yeoh, Managing Director at camLine

January 25, 2023
IPC Technical Conference Session

A new software solution for SMT lines will be presented. It closes gaps of MES/MOM widely used and offers new capabilities. It complements the entire materials management including expiry dates or process dependencies and refers to SOP, preparation, and setup to the subsequent execution.

SMT and electronics manufacturing industry experts are unanimously moving forward to have line controlling and automation in their digital transformation journey. Typical A typical SMT line formation consists of Solder Paste Printing (SPP), Solder Paste Inspection (SPI), Pick and Place machine (PnP), reflow oven, and Automated Optical Inspection (AOI).

Now, SMT manufacturers see the bigger picture on top of single automation solutions, such as better SPI yield or better AOI quality gate control checks. The new focus is to look at the entire line operation, utilizing digital solutions to eliminate pain points and address long-term operational strategic visions.

The line controller will act as a collaborative agent to orchestrate line processes, which consist of man, machine, material, and method (4M) elements. Line controllers intend to reduce complexity by coordinating and consolidating disparity in the line to enable machine-to-machine (M2M) communication for better productivity and quality control. Practical use cases:

  • Multiple lines orchestration – Enable planning/dispatch teams to identify the most compatible line with the least effort for the next changeover run, where manual approach may take at least 1-2 hours for data review and to get the optimum line to perform conversion.
  • Central monitoring and controlling – Improve mean time to resolution (MTTR) of the line. Without such an approach, operators need to be on standby at each SPI, PNP, and AOI stations.
  • Integrate machine, recipes, and material information – Optimize material stock planning to enable just-enough materials to start the line and just-in-time material replenishment. In high mix productions, material preparation is taken into consideration with 4-6% material buffer to reduce possible logistic time loss between production and warehouse.
  • Smart changeover – Auto recipe download for the next lot recipe in queue and informs operators to perform the changeover.
  • Flexi line formation – Configure new machines into a single orchestration platform (line controller) instead of multiple, siloed applications.
  • PCB eMap interchange – Detailed PCB data collection and avoid unnecessary material consumption. With the assumption of 98% yield from SPP, it is possible to save 2% of unnecessary material consumption at the PnP.

Have we piqued your interest?

Then contact us!

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