The Smart Factory: All the Bits and Bobs

Reading time ( words)

“Smart factory” is another phrase that describes Industry 4.0 programs. These programs seem to have replaced CIM and CAM, but it did not make them obsolete. While these topics are getting a lot of press, there is nothing new about them. We have been on a journey to automate manufacturing since the mid-‘70s. What has evolved are faster and cheaper computers, and more complex and integrated networking. Meanwhile, the cost of wireless communications has dropped dramatically and labor and materials costs have gone up. These conditions all foster a greater return for automation, with the possibility of lights-out factories with no environmental impact, leading to “lean and green” implementations.

Happy_bits_fig1.jpgStrategy and Planning

What hasn’t changed over all these years is the need for a strategic plan to achieve a smart factory. While the investment in automation may be straightforward, the investment in integrating all these islands of automation clearly is not. The strategic planning for this integration is the major topic in the smart factory. Networking has advanced so much in the intervening years that it has now become an over-riding element of the new smart factory. These elements were introduced in the free I-Connect007 eBook Automation and Advanced Procedures in PCB Fabrication.

Figure 1 shows the six stages of planning a smart factory. Most of the elements will be your current equipment and any new islands of automation. The arrows are of significance, as they outline the flow of information that will be an important new part of your smart factory.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the February 2020 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.





Suggested Items

Batteries and Data Centers

12/23/2020 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
The I-Connect007 team met with electrical engineer Mike Mosman, who has spent the majority of his career designing some of the country’s largest data centers. Mike recently sold his engineering company CCG Facilities Integration; he is now the vice president of electrical engineering in mission-critical facilities for Morrison Hershfield, and is still designing leading-edge data centers for large Internet companies. In this discussion, Mike explains how evolving battery technology and a strong demand are playing a key role in this area and others.

Happy Holden: ECWC15 Virtual Event a Success

12/15/2020 | Happy Holden, I-Connect007
This is the first Electronic Circuits World Convention that I have not attended in person since 1978. To refresh your memory, these are held every three years on a rotating basis. The HKPCA hosted this year’s conference and they kept up the fine tradition of collecting outstanding keynotes, nearly 60 technical presentations and myriad poster papers. HKPCA was also kind enough to provide English slides and translations. It is still possible to sign up and view the presentations. I have listened to 20 of the presentations, and hope to attend even more in the coming days as they are all worth watching.

Happy’s DIY Solution to Chemical Control

12/09/2020 | Happy Holden, I-Connect007
I confess. I am a control nerd and highly analytical. My second degree is in EE control theory, and I see the world in terms of feedback loops and black boxes. Early in my career, I was volunteered for the technical programs for the California Circuits Association (CCA), which was created by my mentor Clyde Coombs. In discussions with fellow process engineers, it was clear that the chemical process controls that HP could afford and allow me to put in place were not able to be duplicated by much smaller PWB shops.

Copyright © 2021 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.