Recently, Kenny Houck and Mike Peters from ACDi were able to attend the IPC APEX event in San Diego, CA. The event is held yearly to bring together the electronics manufacturing services supply chain to learn and inspire. Mike and Kenny agree that it delivered again this year. Here are some of the things learned and experienced.
We had the opportunity to see firsthand how Industry 4.0 and a connected factory are happening now and are delivering results that will have a lasting ripple effect in the industry. CFX (connected factory exchange) was designed to showcase how the IoT can deliver standardized, actionable machine data—in real time—to our smart phones. While the standard continues to evolve, it provides us with a framework to evolve the factory floor. ASM, and equipment manufacturer, did a particularly good job of demonstrating the potential of a connected factory.
Coming out of this initiative is the evolution of pick and place machines. The older pick and place equipment have limited mechanical feeders with no way of tracking lot numbers and no way to adjust to certain packaging pitches, and some were unable to adjust pick up in the Y axis. But now they are able to extract detailed information and share it in multiple file formats. This is valuable now because some customers are asking for traceability of parts thru lot codes, some parts have pick up areas that are not centered and may be offset, and smart feeders can be set to various pitches.
Also of note was the move of many manufacturers to a “complete line” of machines versus offering niche products. We saw companies like Juki, Mycronic, Panasonic, etc. offering everything from AOI systems to placement equipment, to wave soldering machines to screen printers, and more.
One of the reasons we attend IPC APEX is for the continuous learning opportunities. Between the two of us we attended the following courses:
- PCB Surface Finish/ Reliability
- New Developments in Selective Soldering Technology
- Conformal Coatings
- Advanced Paste Printing
Any tradeshow is an opportunity to catch up with vendors and friends. We met with some of our suppliers from our stencil houses, bare board manufacturers and machine shops of tools/fixtures. We shared our outlooks for the remainder of 2018 and how we can help each other provide the best service to our clients.
3D AOI is now mainstream and we were able to see it in action and can now visualize how ACDi can incorporate it in our operations to improve quality. Another impression was made on how advanced the newer X-ray machines were at determining the void percentage and easy programming.
Lastly, it was particularly valuable to be able to visit the booths of some of the pick and place equipment vendors. We were able to go from one vendor to another to compare and contrast how they position themselves against each other for competitive advantage. This helps us evaluate the best machines for our client base for future purchases.
Kenny Houck is an SMT Engineer and Mike Peters is a Manufacturing Engineer at ACDi.