Proposition: Developing smarter processes for future electronics
The Electronics manufacturing theme enables companies to achieve manufacturing efficiencies through improved design, operational innovations and a reduction in the risks of adopting new technology solutions in materials and processes. It also contributes to automation and test, and verification for electronics assembly.
The Electronics manufacturing theme is advancing printed circuit board assembly capabilities, and the facilities at the MTC include a fully equipped surface mount technology line along with automated inspection, selective soldering, conformal coating and ancillary equipment.
Current focus topics are:
- Rapid set-up and change-over, robust processes for new product introduction and lower cost of ownership.
Manufacturers need to handle short production runs with multiple line change-overs each day. To reduce change-over time and errors, equipment in the assembly line can be set up and programmed remotely and real-time data exchanged between networked equipment for better process control and repeatability. Automated build sequencing, optimisation and intelligent storage can reduce the change-over time for re-fitting component trolleys.
- ‘Hands-free’ assembly and rework
While hand-soldering operations for through-hole components can often be replaced by selective soldering techniques such as mini-wave, the automation of any necessary rework and repair operations needs a rapidly reconfigurable multi-step process station with minimal heat spreading to adjacent components.
- Efficient verification and traceability
Fast in-line automated three dimensional measurements of solder joints and verification of joint shapes to standards’ requirements can reduce human operator inspection of assemblies, with benefits in labour saving and lower risk of defects.
RF-ID tagging of printed circuit boards enables automated tracking, equipment set-up, error proofing of process settings or tool selection, part traceability and real-time visualisation of work-in-progress.
- Low stress manufacturing
Manufacturing processes apply stresses, including thermal, mechanical and electrical or risk of ESD to electronic components and circuit boards during handling and assembly. New lower stress processes can improve the lifetime of the parts being produced.
Looking forward, the theme is positioned to develop and translate new manufacturing capabilities for high temperature and harsh environment electronics devices and systems, power stack assembly with improved thermal efficiency and embedded components and systems.