Driving Lean Manufacturing with Digitalization


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Validating Design Manufacturability
After converting the design into a digital format and creating an accurate representation, the process engineer performs Design-for-Assembly (DFA) analysis in order to validate that the design delivered by the PCB designer is manufacturable. This process is a challenge in and of itself, as there are thousands of validations to perform. Sometimes not all the information is available, so the process engineer can’t perform all necessary validations at this stage. In addition, the validation is very time-consuming and prone to human error. Every error at this stage can affect the yield rate in production and increase the costly rework and scrap rate.

A digitalized solution allows the process engineer to run all the required validations in an automated manner. The automation eliminates the risk of human error and makes it possible to perform all validations in a manner of seconds.

Video: See how automated validation tests enable a process engineer to confirm manufacturability of a specific design.

Stencil Design
After the design is finalized and validated, the process engineer designs a stencil to support the manufacturing requirements of the PCB. Poor stencil design results in multiple production issues—in fact, stencils are responsible for a large majority of manufacturing errors in PCB assembly manufacturing. Therefore, first-time-right stencil design is critical. Since stencils are typically manufactured by a supplier, it also takes time to manufacture and ship the stencils, often causing production delays.

A digitalized solution makes it possible to design the stencil in a digital environment using a re-usable set of rules to validate the quality of the stencil design and verify that the stencil can support the PCB assembly manufacturing requirements. The automation results in faster stencil design and eliminates many production issues that result in scrap or rework.

 Video: Watch how Valor Process Preparation validates a stencil design.

Automated and Manual Assembly Planning

Defining Assembly Technology for Each PCB Component
After confirming that the design is manufacturable using the production line technology, the process engineer defines the assembly technology for every PCB component. As there can be hundreds or thousands of components on a single PCB, this process is also lengthy and error-prone when done manually.

Digitalized solutions automatically define the assembly technology while also considering the technology available on the production line. The automated technology definition saves significant time in the NPI process and prevents human error that can result in scrap or rework.

Authoring Assembly Work Instructions
After defining the assembly technology for all the components, the next step for the process engineer is to author the work instructions for assembly. This too is very time-consuming, and it is nearly impossible to ensure that the work instructions are always aligned with the most up-to-date process plan.

With a digitalized solution, updated work instructions are generated automatically. The automation enables paperless work instructions on the shop floor, which are always in line with the latest process design.

SMT (Auto Assembly) Machine Programs
In parallel to work instruction authoring, the process engineer generates programs for the SMT machines so the machines can rapidly assemble all PCB components on the PCB. One of the challenges in this step is that the process engineer often needs to use the physical machine to generate the program. This presents a challenge because the production line must be shut down while the process engineer is working on the machine program, and nothing can be manufactured on the line during that time.

In addition, the process engineer must be near the SMT machine. The company cannot utilize a central process engineering department and must have process engineers on-site in every production facility. Another challenge arises when the process engineer wants to move production between lines. As every machine vendor uses different software to program the machines, the process engineer cannot reuse programming from the original production line and must redo everything from scratch.

A digitalized solution enables offline programming of SMT machines, eliminating the need to occupy the physical production line when programming the SMT machine. What’s more, the process engineer can generate machine programming from anywhere in the world.

 Video: Watch how Valor Process Preparation works with all types of Pick & Place machines to effectively manage data.

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