Smart Factory / Industry 4.0 – Partnering for the Future

Increased global competition, demand for faster product delivery, more product models and customization, price reductions, and shorter life cycles, have created an environment where speed, time-to-market, and efficiency are mandatory. To meet these market requirements, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, also known as Industry 4.0 or the Smart Factory, has evolved.

Saki is leading the way in the production of automated inspection systems that facilitate these changes. Saki has increased the capacity of its production facilities and maximized customer production efficiency through M2M handshaking with other production-line equipment. In addition, Saki has partnered with some of the major component placement and screen printing equipment manufacturers and is part of Fuji Machine Manufacturing's "FUJI Smart Factory with Nexim" initiative.

There are 3 main functions of M2M connections with inspection equipment:

  • Feedback from the SPI machine to the printing machine
  • Feed forward from the SPI machine to the placement machine
  • Feedback from the AOI machine to the placement machine

The need for accuracy

With all the lighting, cameras, positioning systems, and other factors that are essential to inspection machines, by far the most important for M2M communication is accuracy. For machines to function optimally, the data that is fed to them must be extremely accurate or failures will occur. With M2M communication, it is critical that the data and detailed information that goes into one machine is relayed accurately to the next one. Saki's Software Library Synchronization Function shares global library data to synchronize the data between machines.

Saki's SPI and AOI systems are based on a sturdy gantry structure, which is the foundation for high accuracy. It consists of a rigid frame to ensure that the vertical axes are parallel, a twin motor drive system for Y-axis positioning, and a high-precision linear scale. A sturdy base maintains the coordinates and positioning and keeps the system running smoothly, even at high speeds. It also prevents movement and shaking that can result in friction and cause thermal expansion.

The success of the M2M communication relies on the amount, type, degree, quality, and accuracy of the data that can be observed, captured, and recorded. The software, capabilities, and operation of the equipment also play a significant role in the type of data that can be collected and communicated. Since PCB conditions can affect accuracy, AOI systems, like Saki's BF-3Di 3D AOI systems with pixel-based board warpage measurement and compensation, contribute to the accuracy of feedback/feed forward data.

A test was conducted to determine the inspection results that could be achieved through M2M communication. An assembly line ran continuously for 5 hours. A position was marked at the start of the run and measured upon completion. Comparing the two marks, the Saki 3D AOI inspection system achieved accuracy greater than 1.0 Cpk, indicating that a ±10μm accuracy was maintained. The coordinates remained constant and the process was not influenced by thermal expansion.

The success of the Smart Factory and Industry 4.0 will be based on the level of functioning of each piece of equipment in the line, the amount, type, and quality of data collected, and the ability to communicate that data to each part of the assembly line. The accuracy of the inspection equipment directly correlates to the quality and optimization of the production process for all the equipment involved. Saki's ability to maintain accuracy to precisely measure and communicate inspection data is at the forefront of this M2M revolution.