What is Smart Manufacturing for PCBs?
The world over, manufacturers of electronic products continue to struggle to meet market demands. These are caused mainly by the requirement of rapid new product introduction to keep ahead of the competition, customization/personalization, expectations of quality, internet connectivity, and more. To meet these product demands and more, Rush PCB recommends using Smart Manufacturing for printed circuit boards (PCBs).
So far, electronic manufacturers have applied one or more solutions of applied digitalization to their processes during product development. These include:
- PCB contract manufacturing through supplier collaboration
- Advanced part and mold manufacturing through model-driven processes
- Product optimization through integrated simulation and layout
- Production ramp-up, process verification, virtual design, test management, and execution
- Box builds and shop floor connections through manufacturing execution system
- PCB assembly and test through integrated planning and management
With digitization, manufacturers can plan better and validate production alternatives faster. This helps to increase the performance and effectiveness of manufacturing operations. However, according to extensive studies, digitalization has not helped in creating the anticipated bottom-line impact.
Rush PCB recognizes that digitalization requires a new manufacturing/operating model, an integrated platform—one that unites all the domains necessary to engineer, manufacture, and deliver better quality PCBs. At Rush PCB, we call this Smart Manufacturing. For this, Rush PCB follows steps like:
- Validating manufacturability of PCBs
- Virtual design, simulation, and optimization of production processes
- Managing manufacturing operations and materials
- Using manufacturing data to generate business value
Validating Manufacturability of PCBs
Rush PCB uses Design for Manufacturing (DFM) analysis for fabrication, assembly, test, and reliability checks to asses issues affecting performance. We assess the PCB design and the placement of components for ease of manufacturing and assembly with the goal of making a better product at a lower cost. We do this by suggesting simplification, optimization, and refinement of the PCB design. For this we examine five principles during a DFM exercise:
Rush PCB recommends DFM in the early stages of the PCB design process, even before we begin the tooling process. Ideally, DFM requires the participation of all stakeholders, including designers, engineers, manufacturer, and material supplier. This cross-functional DFM exercise ensures optimization of the design.
Read About: Past and future trends in PCB design
Virtual Design, Simulation, and Optimization of Production Processes
At Rush PCB, we plan the fabrication and assembly processes to enable a smooth flow. The planning helps in preparing the process while identifying the impact of design changes on fabrication and assembly lines while delivering updated work instructions.
By validating processes, we visualize and analyze the entire assembly operation, thereby discovering issues related to human and machine assembly, while ensuring adherence to best practices.
The major advantage of the above exercise is a substantial improvement in capital investments planning and operating expenses prediction. This way of optimizing production leads to maximization of utilization and reduction of costs.
Managing Manufacturing Operations and Materials
At Rush PCB, we use materials management tools to ensure just-in-time delivery of materials to the fabrication and assembly line. This eliminates excess work-in-process, while improving inventory turnover.
Our comprehensive solution for electronic preproduction, production, and execution helps to manage data from all resources such as operators, tools, and machines to build complete traceability. We integrate this solution seamlessly with our product life-cycle management and enterprise resource planning systems.
Read About: PCB Routing Requirements
Using Manufacturing Data for Generating Business Value
All our manufacturing processes generate data, such as those on material consumed, process flow, quality, and more. This real-time, normalized manufacturing data helps us in driving intelligent, decision-making business analytics solutions, root-cause analysis, prediction of future performance, and cost and quality trends, thereby helping to improve our business value.
Advantages of Smart Manufacturing
With Smart Manufacturing, Rush PCB is on its way to eliminate disconnected systems, silos of information, and mounds of paper-based work instructions. This helps us to manage a continuous integrated work flow starting from design, to planning, to production, to delivery.
At every stage of PCB fabrication and assembly, a difference is eminently visible between Rush PCB’s Smart Manufacturing and the earlier piece-meal digitization strategy. Major differences include:
- Designs are more reliable and manufacturable
- Design, engineering, and manufacturing departments collaborate better
- Data redundancy is lower
- Shop floor planning mistakes are fewer
- Manual data entry is less error-prone
- Inventory and use of materials are more optimized
- Best practices of manufacturing are better enforced
- Work instructions are more accurate and up-to-date
- Key performance indicator monitoring is through real-time data collection
- Root-cause identification is faster
- Higher product mix capability without loss of factory performance
To the customers of Rush PCB, its Smart Manufacturing strategy offers several advantages, namely:
- Lower product development time, leading to faster time-to-market, with the advantage of frequent new product introduction. The quality improvement through DFM exercises improves the design for a longer life-cycle of the product.
- With Smart Manufacturing, Rush PCB can quickly follow up with manufacturing, as soon as the design is complete. This allows for better product personalization and customization.
- With more informed decision-making through manufacturing data, there is better visibility into analysis and manufacturing.
- Smart Manufacturing at Rush PCB is improving the efficiency of our manufacturing processes and materials. This not only reduces overall manufacturing costs, it makes our PCBs more affordable to our customers.
For all your PCB requirements, please contact Rush PCB, or visit our website today.