Orbotech Celebrates Success of Orbotech Diamond and Discusses Future Trends

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Matties: The idea behind a smart factory is to optimize your factory in real time, which doesn’t necessarily mean building a large batch of boards and sending it to an AOI machine. It means testing each board inline as it is being manufactured and adjusting the process accordingly. How are you moving into the inline inspection model?

Gantz: Providing information in real time, or almost real time, is extremely important; it is a critical part of inline inspection. Our solutions can deliver the data in this short time period based on protocols that enable the data to move very quickly. They provide critical feedback to the PCB manufacturers in real time—not a few days later after significant damage has already been done. Another must-have element of the inline model is a combination of data automation and physical automation. This means that Orbotech solutions can handle changes made to the process, which ensures increased yield.

Matties: Are you saying that you’re looking for a process that’s conveyorized, but, an inline process, for example? So, as the board comes out of an imaging process or a wet process, that it’s inspected as it goes from one process to the next without interruption?

Gantz: That has been an industry vision for many years now. To make it a reality, there are a number of issues that need to be resolved, such as the harsh chemical processes and the general environment of a PCB factory. Take, for example, AOI for high-end PCBs, which requires highly sophisticated optics to support fine resolutions. Controlling the environment here is critical as harsh chemicals can impact the fine optics, and by extension, AOI performance. We are working together with our customers and key process players to optimize these processes.

Matties: I was at a large factory that was doing an incredible job of loading the machines. It was fully automated, but it was the standard model of a large stack of boards that had already been processed, and they sorted the good from the bad. How do we move into optimizing the process in real time?

Gantz: That’s an interesting question. It essentially requires looking at the AOI room in a far more holistic way than is traditional. It means changing the way verification happens and turning an unwieldy process into an automated one with virtually no handling and better yields. Automating the collection of defect images and analyzing them in an offline station results in the manufacturer eliminating false defects without having to touch the board again.

About 18 months ago, Orbotech launched this process with its Remote Multi-Image Verification. Recently, we introduced the RMIV Pro—an upgraded version of RMIV and a part of the Ultra Dimension™ AOI solution. Orbotech’s RMIV Pro automatically and simultaneously grabs defect images during the inspection process. These images are taken via different channels and are integrated into a single multi-color image, which enables operators to accurately differentiate between real and false images in a very short timeframe. This represents a real revolution in the AOI room and enables the optimization of the process in real time.

Matties: In today’s marketplace, we know that AOI equipment works. We know we can automate the AOI process, but what about the data? How do we leverage that? Essentially, we’re talking about a digital factory—having information that goes in and collecting only the relevant information as it comes out. Since there are so many data capture points, it’s easy to become overloaded with data. What information do you think is the most critical for fabricators in their data collection?

Gantz: As you mentioned, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with data, so it has to be analyzed in a smart way that brings real value and isn’t just noise. This means actionable manufacturing and process intelligence. Fabricators need greater production visibility and to see what is really happening on their shop floor in real time—for example, defect distribution and images or quality control data. They need to be able to track production down to the unit, and they need to have access to analyzed data over time. This enables them to better understand the big picture, to control production quality and efficiency, and ultimately make smarter, faster decisions.

Matties: How soon do you think we’re going to see the full impact of 5G in the PCB sector?

Gantz: 5G is a fast-growing end market and has already made an impact in some places, particularly on PCBs that require line/space with very high accuracy. I think the full impact will be felt in 2020 and beyond, so right now, we’re at the beginning and are working to address the issues that 5G raises. The improved network capabilities and additional functionality that 5G will enable via its higher speeds and faster responsiveness will lead to changes across the electronics industry and will open up worlds of new possibilities. This will drive much more demand from the PCB makers, and in turn, from capital equipment makers like us.

Matties: I appreciate your time today, Meny. Is there anything that we haven’t talked about that you want to share with the industry?

Gantz: This is an interesting time for the industry. There are lots of changes taking place as well as challenges and opportunities. We keep looking ahead as we continue to push boundaries. Orbotech is working closely with our customers to understand their current and future needs to provide them with solutions that answer those needs and to continue to design the future of PCBs.

Matties: Well, I appreciate your time today. Thank you so much.

Gantz: Thank you.


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