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Future Electronic Manufacturing and Materials

In a continuous race for higher productivity in combination with a need for reduced time to market electronics production in times of Industry 4.0 has to handle four major challenges:

1. Made to order at high mix low volume

As seen in consumer markets, the demand for personalized goods will merge into the industrial electronics sector. Electronic manufacturers will streamline their complete supply and value chain to offer increasingly agile services and solutions. Additive manufacturing will also be used throughout the assembly and test processes to realize on-demand customer specific production.

2. Big Data vs. Smart Data

Smart Data technology will be used to permanently monitor the performance of every process and piece of equipment within the production area to ensure that processes are under control and minimize failures. Based upon the data and the deployment of artificial intelligence closed loops will keep the processes in the required tolerances. Should a failure occur, the machine will have already alerted the production team as well as the equipment supplier responsible for maintenance and required spare parts will have been ordered.

3. Smart Technologies and Materials

Intelligence will be built into electronic and electro-mechanical assemblies – the printed circuit board. Along with the part number of the bare board, build documentation for the final assembly will be stored in the circuit itself. As the product passes through the stages of production, operators will be able to call up the next set of construction guidance relevant to their work.

4. Collaborative Working

A much greater use of collaborative robots (co-bots) will appear within the production. Electronic manufacturers have started to invest heavily in co-bots and the use in a wide range of applications will increase massively. Co-Bots offer high flexibility in automation, rather low invest and short set-up times. Examples of their use will include loading of SMT* components onto feeders and ‘hand placing’ components that cannot be picked by SMT equipment.