Industry 5.0 is all about making manufacturing smarter and more data-driven with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and the internet of things (IoT). And as more and more industries seek to adopt innovative technology, PCBA manufacturing isn’t far behind. Robotics and autonomous systems have become a part of many PCB manufacturing facilities to help them meet skyrocketing production demands.
From board fabrication to final assembly, multiple steps can be programmed to allow for autonomous action during PCBA manufacturing. Let’s explore what smart PCBA manufacturing is and how implementing it can help you ensure process and quality control.
Autonomous Systems in PCBA Manufacturing
Automated systems have long been a part of industrial manufacturing, accounting for speed and productivity needs. The same can be said for PCB fabrication and assembly where robotics and software automation have helped reduce errors, costs, and time. Now, the transition to smart manufacturing means more precision and productivity can be achieved from autonomous systems. An autonomous system can be used to accomplish a variety of tasks, including:
- Using IoT to collect and communicate data in real-time from the existing manufacturing system.
- Using AI to analyze data and optimize manufacturing operations.
- Using production data to program robots as well as detect defects in the manufacturing process.
The advantages afforded by smart robotics and autonomous systems in PCB manufacturing mean the loading/unloading, positioning, kitting, chip and through-hole soldering, assembling, and testing of integrated PCB circuits can all be completed with more accuracy. Factory automation software can easily analyze and understand the customer’s design intent and automatically program robots for work. Furthermore, it communicates any discrepancies to ensure quality control in the PCB assembly process. Together, robotics and autonomous systems can provide efficiency, precision, and quality for smart PCBA manufacturing.
Benefits of Using Robotics and Autonomous Systems
Autonomous PCBA manufacturing leverages IoT to give control to learning robots. The benefits of doing so include the following:
- Error reduction: The miniaturization of circuit boards has made it increasingly difficult for humans to perform the assembly process without error. With robotics for smart PCBA manufacturing, it’s possible to obviate manual errors that can ensue when assembling microscopic components.
Components like PCB soldering robots can also assess the quality of solder placement and communicate it immediately. As the process requires a high level of precision and consistency, identifying any defects early on in the process is beneficial for rectifying possible issues such as misalignment, solder bridges, or cold joints.
- Cost-saving: Defects in PCBA manufacturing can be minor yet significant enough to damage the entire circuit board. The most common sources of error stem from design misreadings and mishaps during soldering or assembly. With robotics, precise parameters can be employed to ensure accuracy, and error-free manufacturing means avoiding reworks and saving on material costs.
- Accuracy and precision: The use of AI and ML enables the automated control of robots and machines when manufacturing circuit boards of many different sizes and designs. With a system that ensures accurate programming and expedient error detection, maintaining accuracy and precision in manufacturing becomes that much easier.
- Efficiency: The use of pick-and-place robots, programming software, and automated inspection equipment means each step of the design, build, and testing phases can be completed more quickly and with greater precision. Ultimately, this results in accelerated project turnaround times.
Smart PCBA Manufacturing Is The Way Forward
For a component as precise as a PCB, meeting extensive demands while ensuring quality can seem like a challenge.
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However, by utilizing the ideal combination of software, robotics, and autonomous systems, it is possible to achieve higher productivity and quality. Inside the smart factory of Tempo Automation, highly efficient robotics and autonomous systems work in tandem to redefine prototyping and PCBA manufacturing.
And to help you get started on the best path, we furnish information for your DFM checks and enable you to easily view and download DRC files. If you’re an Altium Designer or Cadence Allegro user, you can simply add these files to your PCB design software. For Mentor Pads or other design packages, we furnish DRC information in other CAD formats and Excel.
If you are ready to have your design manufactured, try our quote tool to upload your CAD and BOM files. If you want more information on CAD files or how to incorporate your design into a CAD format, contact us.