Happy’s Essential Skills: Computer-Aided Manufacturing, Part 2 - Automation Examples

Reading time ( words)

The Sunnyvale, California PCB facility was built in 1981 and had even more factory automation than Palo Alto, California facility did. The many systems it had were:

  • WIP tracking
  • CNC for drilling
  • Low-volume robot lamination
  • Wastewater treatment process control
  • AOI and Electrical Test
  • Production scheduling
  • Computerized plating and chemical control
  • Laboratory automation of chemical analysis
  • Inkjet individual board serialization for traceability

Figure 14 shows the overall CIM System Information Flow. This was the first implementation of HP’s automation strategy, “The Manufacturers Productivity Network.”


Figure 14: CIM information flow for the Sunnyvale PCB fabrication facility.

Figure 15 shows four of the automated systems controlled by the CIM network: a) Electroless copper and multilayer desmear line; b) Dual copper-nickel-gold/tin plating lines; c) Automatics chemical analysis, control and dosing; d) Robotic material handling in multilayer lamination.


Figure 15: CIM information network: a) Electroless copper and multilayer desmear line; b) Dual copper-nickel-gold/tin plating lines; c) Automatic chemical analysis, control and dosing; d) Robotic material handling in multilayer lamination.


  1. Industrie 4.0 Smart Manufacturing for the Future
  2. Introduction to Serial Communications, TalTech Instrumental Software Solutions.
  3. IEEE Standard Codes
  4. IEEE-488
  5. Message Automation & Protocol Simulation (MAPS™), GL Communications, Inc.
  6. “Semiconductor Productivity at HP,” HP Journal, July 1985.
  7. SEMI Standard E30, General Equipment Model.
  8. IPC Status of Standardization; IPC Committee Home Pages.
  9. Smart IoT Technology for Machine Condition Monitoring, Advantech B&B SMARTWORX
  10. Hermann, M., Pentek, T., Design Principles for Industrie 4.0 Scenarios, Working Paper No. 01/2015, technische universitat-Dortmund, 2015.
  11. Industry_4.0, Wikipedia.
  12. “Computerization comes to Plating,” Metal Finishing Magazine, May, 1978.
  13. MPN: Alive in Sunnyvale PCB; CIM brochure.  

Happy Holden has worked in printed circuit technology since 1970 with Hewlett-Packard, NanYa/Westwood, Merix, Foxconn and Gentex. He is the co-editor, with Clyde Coombs, of the recently published Printed Circuit Handbook, 7th Ed. To contact Holden, click here.


Suggested Items

ICT Seminar 2023 Review: Energy, Thermals, and Assistive Technology

03/16/2023 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Widely believed to be the traditional Centre of England, Meriden was a popular venue for a gathering of the UK printed circuit community this month. They braved the forecast of heavy snow for the Institute of Circuit Technology’s annual general meeting to learn about current developments and challenges in a thought-provoking technical seminar and to network with industry peers and contemporaries. Thankfully, the forecasted heavy snowfall did not reach Meriden until after the event; we only had a few flurries, although the weather caused considerable disruption elsewhere in the country.

EIPC Winter Conference 2023, Day 2 Review

02/28/2023 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Day 2 of the EIPC Winter Conference at the Groupama Stadium in the Décines-Charpieu region of the Metropolis of Lyon in eastern France included a privileged visit to the Bugey Nuclear Power Plant for those who were registered and passed their security clearance. Such was the interest that the party was split into morning and afternoon groups. EIPC board member Martyn Gaudion, CEO of Polar Instruments, made a fine job of moderating Session 6 twice over.

EIPC Winter Conference 2023: Day 1 Review

02/27/2023 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
The EIPC Winter Conference returned to the Metropolis of Lyon in eastern France this month. In 2018, the venue was Villeurbanne in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Five years later the setting was the Groupama Stadium in Décines-Charpieu, and leaders of the European printed circuit community gathered in expectation of a spectacular programme of 16 presentations, a visit to a nuclear power station, and an invaluable networking opportunity. They weren’t disappointed.

Copyright © 2023 I-Connect007 | IPC Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.