"Smart Factory" — SMT Component Management Solutions

Hawker Richardson
Thursday, 01 June, 2023

"Smart Factory" — SMT Component Management Solutions

A “smart factory” must streamline component management to fully automate SMT production. A dedicated system with live data creates a structure that mitigates human error and oversight, assists with forecasting component obsolescence, and manages the supply chain resulting in efficient SMT assembly.

Receiving Goods

The first step in surface mount device (SMD) component management is receiving the SMD component reels to update inventory for production. SMT assembly manufacturers need a receiving system that executes rapid and accurate inventory counts. It is also important to date stamp reels as components have built-in obsolescence. Components should be used on a “first in, first out” (FIFO) basis. A receiving system must facilitate shelf-life management with built-in batch expiry date tracking integrated with MES and ERP practices.

The IMS-100 receiving station from Scienscope can read up to four seven-inch reels at once from multiple suppliers creating a UID label for traceability with a date and time stamp. According to high-volume manufacturers, the IMS-100 can reduce the weekly hours an operator spends with manual processing from forty to six. The system can also read boxed components via a phone app.

Storing SMD Component Reels

The next process in streamlining component management is warehousing the SMD reels in a rack or cabinet that enables the production team to easily identify required reels. Tape and reel components need to be stored out of direct sunlight. They are also subject to humidity and temperature fluctuations, and if not stored correctly, can result in tape and component degradation. The FIFO method should be adhered to avoid the degradation of capacitors.

The SMART RACK from Scienscope is the fastest and safest way to retrieve reels. UID numbers are scanned, and the reels are placed in any location on the rack syncing with MES and ERP systems. Reels cannot be taken out without authorisation. The Smart Rack scans production orders, and LED lights illuminate the location of reels for the production run. Alternatively, integration with a pick-and-place machine creates an automated process to identify which feeder number needs to be replaced when a component reel runs out. By positioning the Smart Rack near the mounter, reel replacement is easy, minimising production downtime.

Component Counters

After a completed production run, updating inventory is the final step in optimum component management. X-ray counters efficiently read reels and count components communicating quantities with ERP or MES systems. The reels are then warehoused back in the storage rack. With up-to-date data in hand, the procurement team works together with the fabrication team to ensure that components are available and ready for the next production run.

The AXC-100 III component counter from Scienscope utilises state-of-the-art X-ray technology to take images of components, and AI software to count the quantities which are then relayed to ERP and MES systems. The system is efficient and completes the component management cycle by counting four reels at once with 99.9% accuracy in less than two seconds each.

The Complete Component Management System

Bringing structure to component management increases efficiency in the “smart factory” PCB assembly line. Accurate component quantities, simplified warehousing, quick and easy retrieval, and active replenishment all equate to reduced downtime and a smooth production process.

The combined Scienscope system — Receiving station, Smart Rack and X-ray Counter — delivers the complete component management solution.

Top image credit: iStock.com/MJ_Prototype

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