The Evolution of Industry 4.0, Through the Eyes of the PCB Manufacturer
July 01, 2017
Industry 4.0 – known to some as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), or Smart Factory –promises to transform the manufacturing and production infrastructure in profound ways. Its name derives from its potential to usher in the fourth industrial revolution – a bold objective when one considers the magnitude of the revolutions in steam power, assembly line production, and computer automation that preceded it.
Much has been written about the envisioned technology framework that will enable Industry 4.0 to be fully realized. This effort has required a complete rethink of legacy production processes, and is accelerating the transition from analog, centralized workflows to digital, decentralized production processes. The ultimate end goal of this digitalization effort is to create autonomous “cyber physical” production systems via which customer orders will be able to steer themselves throughout the supply chain and manufacturing processes with little to no human intervention. This new framework will enable breakthrough gains in production efficiency and agility, boost overall yield, and lower production costs substantially.
We have a long way to go before this vision is achieved, but continued innovations in manufacturing automation, sensor technology, the IoT, and big data analytics are accelerating the Industry 4.0 transformation. Key to this effort is the ability to source, aggregate and analyze production data at real-time speed, with end-to-end, pinpoint-precision visibility into the production line. Production data must be shared at every point across the manufacturing line, and harnessed in a manner whereby high value data can be readily understood and acted upon immediately.
Orbotech’s role as a provider of automated manufacturing equipment gives us unique insight into these processes, particularly when it comes to the production of printed circuit boards (PCBs). Widely regarded as the fundamental building blocks of electronic devices, PCB production provides a good window into the technological evolution that’s now underway on the path to Industry 4.0. Among our observations and recommendations:
Quickly extract the most valuable data. PCB manufacturers often struggle to make sense of the huge amounts of data flooding in from a multitude of sources across the factory floor, particularly when there’s wide variance among the data attributes than need to be analyzed. By leveraging an integrated network of manufacturing and IT systems that can seamlessly share data and parse and assess all known data parameters in real time, PCB manufacturers can more quickly extract the valuable data they need to make more informed decisions. Digital processes such as direct imaging, inspection, laser drilling and legend digital printing are accurately measuring and inspecting the PCB panels in different production stages. The capability to extract and to understand the relevant data from the vast amount of data attributes supports intelligent analysis capabilities that allows the PCB fabricator to make smart decisions on process improvements
Real-time, high-precision inspection shortens decision making cycles and improves yield. If repeated defects in the PCBs aren’t detected quickly and accurately, hundreds of processed panels may ultimately need to be scrapped – this is wasteful and expensive. Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) systems can help eliminate this issue by quickly identifying recurring defects and localized defect distribution, alerting the manufacturer in real time to halt the line and/or troubleshoot the preceding processes such as etching or environmental conditions. Using direct imaging (DI) systems,
PCB manufacturers can quickly identify and measure panel dimension instability, such as stretching, and make the necessary image adjustments. Over time, these measurements can be averaged together to better plan the production parameters and materials used for later batches.
Track everything. Product recalls are a fact of life, affecting everything from baby cribs to automobiles to artificial hearts. But recalls are expensive and they needn’t be so prevalent. In the
electronic devices domain, it’s far more cost effective in the long run to implement RFID and 2D barcode tracking at the PCB panel level to ensure that every PCB can be traced throughout the production process, identifying when, where and how the PCB was handled, at every single touchpoint. With a complete record of the production process, defective PCBs can be identified and isolated early – long before they’re built into the end device.
PCB manufacturers are of course just one subset of the manufacturing community, but the core concepts that underpin these best practices are widely applicable, and can provide manufacturers with the intelligence they need to make faster, better decisions. Looking ahead to the future, decision making responsibilities will increasingly be transferred from humans to machines, and the frictionless,
omni-directional flow of data across the supply chain and factory floors will enable the real-time responsiveness and agility that make Industry 4.0 a reality.
Author: Shavi Spinzi, Industry Marketing Director, PCB Division, Orbotech
Published by: Evaluation Engineering
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Some of the materials contained on this website (including in press releases, webcasts, presentations, posts and other places) contain forward-looking statements and are subject to the Safe Harbor provisions created by the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements relate to, among other things, future prospects, developments, business strategies and industry trends and involve certain risks and uncertainties. The words “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “will,” “plan,” “expect” and “would” and similar terms and phrases, including references to assumptions, have been used in this website to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are only predictions and actual events or results may differ materially. We refer you to the documents KLA Corporation (“KLA”) files from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission, specifically, KLA’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. These documents contain important factors that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those contained in projections and other forward-looking statements including, among others, volatility and cyclicality in the semiconductor equipment industry and other industries in which KLA and its subsidiaries operate, potential fluctuations in operating results and stock price, international trade and economic conditions, the ability to compete successfully worldwide, management of technological change and customer requirements, fluctuations in product mix within and among divisions, the timing and strength of product and service offerings by KLA and its subsidiaries and its and their competitors, intellectual property obsolescence and infringement, and factors associated with key employees, key suppliers, acquisitions, and litigation. Additional factors impacting the business of KLA and its subsidiaries include integration between KLA and its acquired companies, ability to achieve synergies and other benefits of acquisitions in the timeframe anticipated, if at all.
KLA and its subsidiaries assume no obligation to update the information in this website (including press releases, webcasts, presentations, posts and other places) to reflect new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
This site is provided by KLA (or its subsidiaries) on an "as is" basis. None of KLA and its subsidiaries make any representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation of the site, or the accuracy or completeness of the information, content, materials, pricing, services, or products included on this site. Product specifications and prices are subject to change without notice, and products may be discontinued without notice. None of KLA and its subsidiaries will be liable for any damages of any kind arising from the use of this site, or the material that is provided on this site, including but not limited to direct, indirect, special, incidental, punitive, or consequential damages.