Smart Manufacturing Roadmap: Data Flow Considerations for the Electronics Manufacturing Industry

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The 2019 iNEMI Roadmap features a new chapter on smart manufacturing. The chapter identifies key technology gaps and needs and offers recommendations to guide the electronics manufacturing industry in realizing the benefits of smart manufacturing. This article is based on information excerpted from the chapter.

The future of the electronics manufacturing industry depends on its ability to develop and deploy suites of technology platforms to realize the benefits of smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0. Smart manufacturing technologies will improve efficiency, safety, and productivity by incorporating more data collection and analysis systems to create a virtual business model covering all aspects from supply chain to manufacturing to customer experience. The increased use of big data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) enables more efficient collection and analysis of large volumes of data.

Several industry reports predict that manufacturers will realize tens of billions of dollars in gains by 2022 after deploying smart manufacturing solutions. R&D programs around the world are developing technologies that will improve traceability and visualization, enable real-time analytics for predictive process and machine control, and build flexible, modular manufacturing equipment platforms for high-mix, low-volume product assembly.

The vertical segments of the electronics manufacturing industry—semiconductor devices, outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT), and printed circuit board assembly (PCBA)—are converging, and service offerings are being consolidated, driven by common/shared challenges, such as:

• Responding to rapidly changing, complex business requirements

• Managing increasing factory complexity

• Achieving financial growth targets while margins are declining

• Meeting factory and equipment reliability, capability, productivity, and cost requirements

• Leveraging factory integration technologies across industry segment boundaries

• Meeting the flexibility, extendibility, and scalability needs of a leading-edge factory

• Increasing global restrictions on environmental issues

As the supply chain continues to evolve and converge, shifts in the traditional flow of materials will drive the need to adopt technologies that seamlessly interconnect all facets of manufacturing operations.

The smart manufacturing chapter of the 2019 iNEMI Roadmap looks at enabling technologies that span industry segments, identifying key gaps and needs that must be addressed, and how these enablers are integrated. The technologies considered most important to build a strong, agile, and scalable foundation are:

• Materials flow and conversion

• Data flow architecture

• Digital building blocks (artificial intelligence, machine learning, digital twin)

• Security

This article focuses on the data flow architecture of smart manufacturing, the foundations of which are:

• Factory information and control systems

• Big data

• Edge, fog, and cloud computing

It highlights the roadmap’s integration of these elements across factory operations and facilities, digital building blocks, and security for semiconductor, OSAT, and PCBA manufacturing.

Situation Analysis

General factory operations and manufacturing technologies (i.e., process, test, and inspection) and the supporting hardware and software are evolving quickly while the ability to transmit and store an increasing volume of data for analytics—such as AI, machine learning (ML), and predictive (versus reactive) operations—is accelerating.

The advent, and subsequent growth, of big data is occurring faster than originally anticipated. This trend will continue, highlighting existing challenges and introducing new gaps that were not considered previously. The roadmap identifies several key considerations for data flow. It should be noted that while there are common elements across the three electronics manufacturing vertical segments (semiconductor, OSAT, and PCBA), there are also unique situations specific to each manufacturing environment. In all cases, standardized communication interfaces between the segments are critical.


Figure 1: Connectivity architecture providing smart manufacturing functionality.

Semiconductor and OSAT

For semiconductor device manufacturing and back-end assembly and test, accelerating the development of big data technologies will enable the deployment of solutions to realize benefits from increases in data generation, storage, and use. These capabilities, which deliver higher data volumes at real-time and near-real-time rates, will increase the availability of equipment parameter data to positively impact yield and quality. There are several challenges and potential solutions associated with these changes, including:

• Connectivity architecture providing smart manufacturing functionality (Figure 1)

• Data flow between manufacturing execution systems (MES)—fog or cloud—and machine interfaces (edge)

• Security of information transmitted between and across the cloud to remote access points

• Standardization/guidelines for data formats between edge devices (e.g., machine-to-machine (M2M) communication)

• Preferred options for real-time monitoring and response time (e.g., M2M versus machine-to-MES, edge to fog)

To read the full article, which appeared in the July 2019 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.


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