IPC Releases Free Smart Factory for Electronics Manufacturing Presentation

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Barry_Maybank.jpgThe IPC APEX EXPO 2021 Technical Program features a tract on the “Factory of the Future Implementation,” March 10-11. As part of that program, IPC has made available a free presentation and video from the Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC), a CFX Program member. The presentation is titled “MTC's Implementation of CFX with Legacy Equipment.”

Naim_Kapadia_MTC.jpgIn this presentation, Barry Maybank along with Naim Kapadia, MTC technology manager, explains the background of the MTC, one of seven high-value-manufacturing technology catapult centers established in the UK. The other six are:

  • Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC)
  • Centre for Process Innovation (CPI)
  • Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC)
  • Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC)
  • Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG)
  • The National Composites Centre (NCC)

MTC’s role is to provide support, consulting, implementation examples, and leadership in the effort to introduce and implement the smart factory into UK industries, in this case, electronics assembly (Figure 1).


Figure 1: The digital-value alignment and drivers for electronics manufacturing. (Source: All images courtesy of IPC & MTC)

Barry discusses MTC’s vision and journey enabling smart factory for electronics manufacturing for a low-volume, high-mix environment using legacy equipment by implementing IPC-CFX. Barry and Naim share why MTC chose this path and what they see as the future for IPC-CFX as part of their goals and vision for their smart factory initiatives.



Figure 2: MTC’s Smart Factory a) SMT equipment; b) SMT line Smart Factory architecture.

Figure 2 shows the SMT line at MTC and the current networking. Three networks are involved in running their SMT line, and each machine has its own industrial PC or PLC on that respective network, shown as “grey,” “blue,” and “yellow” (Figure 2b). MTC wanted to bring the two legacy machines, the solder paste printer and the reflow oven, into the modern CFX network of the solder paste inspection, pick-and-place machine, and the automatic optical inspection unit.

They started by adding an industrial PC (a Beckman PC w/Windows 10) to each of the legacy machines embedded controller. Then these PCs were connected to the Rabbit MQ server that also communicated with the CFX compatible machine controller (Figure 3a).



Figure 3: a) Hardware setup for implementing IPC CFX, and b) software setup from the SDK for IPC CFX.

Figure 3b shows the software setup. Using the SDK software from IPC, a script was written in C for each PC, called the EXTRACTOR. Its job was to take standard log files from each machine and move it to the CFX program ADAPTOR in the server. Typical data from the solder paste printer is shown in Figure 4a. This data now provides traceability and trends, as well as alarms to the CFX Network. By adding a shareware visualization program called Thinkboard, it was possible to create Real-Time Dashboard (Figure 4b).



Figure 4: a) Solder paste printer sensors and b) implemented software setup for traceability and trends.

MTC then presented a five-minute video of their plans for PHASE 2 Smart Factory: cyber security for OT, augmented reality for machine maintenance and co-bot robotics to carry out multi-tasking in the assembly process.

Other highlights of this presentation include:

  • The Role for Automation and Robotics in Electronics Manufacturing,
    presented by: Mike Wilson, MTC
  • Working with the Augmented Reality/Mix Reality in Electronics Manufacturing,
    presented by David Varela, MTC
  • Advanced, Non-real Time Uses of Machine Data for Factory Operational Improvement
  • Industry 4.0 Predictive Feeder Maintenance Case Study in 10+ Factories
  • Flex Implementing a Global Machine Data Collection System





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