How the new MY300 Trilogy line boosts throughput with fewer shifts

 
Has your production expanded to higher volumes? Do you still need the flexibility and quick changeovers to handle half a dozen different products a day? And are your line operators paying the price for these conflicting demands?

With the MY300HX and MY300EX, the newest MYPro series pick-and-place machines make it possible to build lines that maintain the highest utilization levels at speeds up to 100,000 components per hour.

FIRST LAUNCHED IN 2017, the MY300 pick-and-place machines were introduced to ensure a fully automated material flow for all next-generation boards and components. Thanks to a comprehensive redesign, they also reduce the machine footprint of the previous MY200 by 50 percent.

Double the top speeds

Now, the new MY300HX and MY300EX are continuing this design evolution with an even further reduced footprint that introduces entirely new configuration possibilities. The fastest of these, known as the Trilogy line, guarantees the same flexibility as Mycronic’s high-capacity DX Synergy line, but with up to twice the throughput.

A MYPlan 5.0 software upgrade applies new optimization algorithms to balance the line’s two MY300HX high-speed placers with one MY300EX fine-pitch and odd-shape placer. But the secret is not only in the software.

A well-balanced pick-and-place trio

By distributing four Hydra heads and two high-precision Midas heads over three frames, the Trilogy line benefits from higher mount head utilization and a more balanced and cost-effective platform. Because the Midas head occupies the optimal position on the MY300EX’s X-wagon, the machine is up to two times faster than a MY300DX when it comes to high-precision mounting. The MY300HX machines, meanwhile, have a shorter Z-stroke, leading to shorter cycle times and an added boost to top throughput speeds.

The fastest way to stay flexible

The new MY300 Trilogy mid-volume line has been received as welcome news among electronic manufacturers who demand the future-proof automation and technical capabilities of an integrated Mycronic system by eliminating the need for a separate, dedicated high-speed line. When the first beta customers shifted over to full-time production using the platform, they experienced solid evidence of success.

Among these early adopters is Allelektronik, a Sweden-based manufacturer of electronics for air conditioning, climate controls and other facility automation systems. A longtime Mycronic customer, Allelektronik had been experiencing rising demand for higher production volumes, but lacked both the extra manpower and floorspace to expand throughput.

Shifting the balance from three to one

As a result, staffing issues had become unsustainable. Running a single DX Synergy line on two shifts, line operators would work two six-hour shifts a day and still struggled to meet demand for new orders. Eventually, Owner and Production Manager Mats Landström was faced with a crucial decision: add a third shift or invest in an additional high-volume line.

“Fortunately, the Trilogy line came just in time for us,” explains Landström. “We’ve gone from average production speeds of about 25,000 to 40,000 components per hour. Of course, the actual speed varies a lot from board to board and the type of components, but still it’s been a solid boost to our volumes. The production is more stable, the machines are more robust, and we’ve gone from considering adding a third shift to deciding if we can reduce it to just one. So things are definitely going in the right direction for us.”

MY300 pick-and-place machine

Building the future of high-speed flexibility

Better yet, the new Trilogy line promises a strong return on investment for mid-volume producers with a demanding mix of products, boards and components. It includes three machines in a single, compact line at a price comparable to non-flexible lines with the same speed rating, and is available in multiple customized configurations.

“The MY300HX and MY300EX are key to our MYPro Line design strategy, which distribute the most advanced capabilities across the most flexible modular technology platforms,” explains Clemens Jargon, VP SMT at Mycronic. “As part of an integrated end-to-end SMT solution, it’s really the only platform that gives you total automated control from mid-volume down to smaller batches.”

 

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How to achieve zero stencil defects

 
Through Mycronic’s fully integrated 3D solder paste inspection and jet printing solution, you can automatically eliminate your stencil defects.

No worries, no compromises

Every manufacturer with stencil printers faces a number of difficult trade-off s: between continuity and quality, small and large components, and thin and thick stencils. All too often, this results in a wide SPI threshold for solder paste volume in order to avoid false calls and keep production fl owing.

These challenges are especially acute for manufacturers of automotive and power electronics, whose PCBs might contain 80 percent chip components, together with an array of large, high-voltage components, or vice versa. The MY700 3D SPI add-on solution eliminates the need to compromise stencil thickness by automatically applying the deposits wherever they’re needed most.

As Viktor Olsson, Product Manager Jet Printing, explains, “with closed-loop horizontal communication between the screen printer, SPI and Jet Printer, you get the automatic precision you need for whichever stencil thickness you choose. If it’s a 75-micron stencil, it can jet more volume on top to compensate for the larger components. If it’s 200 microns, it jets all the small dots you need. And for any other issues, it automatically inspects and repairs individual deposits with the industry’s highest precision.”

Bigger production volumes, bigger opportunities

This level of control represents a huge opportunity for high-volume manufacturers, where an FPY improvement of even a fraction of a percent can have a major impact on profitability, quality and delivery times. “The ability to simplify stencil designs and automatically correct any difficult deposits at high speeds is really an industry first,” says Tomas Stetter, Sr. VP Assembly Solutions.

“Wherever stencils are involved, our solution can increase total yield, first pass yield and overall line utilization both immediately, and over time. When it comes to taking the next step towards Industry 4.0, there’s really no simpler, more trouble-free way to improve the quality of the solder paste application process in these extremely demanding environments.”
 

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Introducing SLX laser mask writer series for semiconductors

As a response to the growing demand for new low-end segment mask writers, Mycronic introduces SLX – a next generation semiconductor laser mask writer series. The launch of the SLX also marks the company’s re-entry to the market of laser-based mask writers for the semiconductor industry.

Mycronic SLX semiconductor laser mask writer

For over a decade, Mycronic have focused on the development of leading-edge mask writer technology for photomasks within display manufacturing (in TV’s, smartphones and tablets etc.), as well as for applications within the multipurpose market – a broad segment comprising many different application areas.

Based on the same advanced technology, the SLX laser mask writer is designed to meet the rising demand for photomasks for mature semiconductor nodes. With this new series of machines, Mycronic intends to support an upcoming replacement and modernization cycle within the industry and meet the need for additional capacity.

Trends driving market transformation

The trend towards making everything smarter – consumer goods, cars, Internet of Things, medical devices, and even industrial manufacturing equipment – is driving new demand for low and mid-range semiconductors. Industry projections point to more than 90% of all new growth in the industry stemming from these fields, rather than traditional sources like computers and smartphones.

The rapid pace of change in the semiconductor industry has led to a strong investment focus on keeping up with the leading-edge, rather improving the efficiency of more mature node production. Still, due to speed and lower dollar-to-mask costs, laser photo masks are preferred whenever they can meet the technical requirements. Out of the over 600,000 photomasks produced in semiconductor industry each year, 70-75% of these are written using laser-based mask writers, demonstrating how these remain critical for semiconductor production – especially in mature design nodes.

New demand creates need for replacement of old machines

Although Mycronic hasn’t launched any new offerings in the semiconductor arena recently, the company never left the space. Service of the existing installed base of semiconductor mask writers Sigma and Omega secured a close contact with the industry.

Through our relationships we’ve seen the growing demand in the mature semiconductor segment, while learning about the limitations of the current generation of production technology. By now, most systems have been in service for some 15-25 years, making production slow and costly, with machines difficult to maintain. In short – these are rapidly approaching their replacement cycle. Adding to this, the semiconductor market build-up in China is driving new needs, both for leading-edge as well as low-end equipment.

Shared base technology for ultimate performance

The SLX series is based on the same technology as the display mask writers, including writing principles and the recently launched Evo control platform. The precision of the leading-edge mask writers used for the display industry are already well within the requirements of the mature semiconductor arena. Sharing a base technology platform between display and semiconductor mask writers will leverage synergies within current and future technology development – fully utilizing the existing service organization.


“We have had a close interaction with the leading players in the industry and it is clear that we can offer customers a modern, attractive cost-effective solutions for the mature segment. By combining and leveraging the development for the display and semiconductor industry Mycronic can assure long-term partnership for customers in both industry segments” says Charlott Samuelsson, Sr VP Pattern Generators.
 

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Put tomorrow’s
workflow 

in your control

Mycronic at Productronica

Quality challenges? Unwanted stoppages? Unnecessary programming? Now you can control tomorrow’s workflow like never before. With new state-of-the-art assembly solutions. The latest advances in machine learning and collaborative robotics. And end-to-end expertise in factory-wide planning and integration. 

Enhancing quality, flexibility and productivity

As electronics assembly continues to grow more complex, Mycronic will be showcasing more ways than ever before to improve quality, flexibility and productivity in a range of electronics manufacturing applications. PCB manufacturers will experience new advances in machine-to-machine communication, full SMT line capabilities and automated material handling systems.

Automotive electronics manufacturers will gain expertise in the industry-leading Camera Module Assembly and Test (CMAT) system. And manufacturers of advanced photonic and radio-frequency devices will learn more about the industry’s first 1.5 micron die bonder for high-precision, high-volume manufacturing.

Discover how the next generation of Mycronic's assembly solutions help put the future in your control at Productronica in Messe, Munich, Hall A3, Booth 341, on November 12-15.

Visit Productronica's website for details around the exhibition.

 

A wide array of state-of-the-art assembly technologies for you to explore at Productronica

Mycronic MYPro Line

Full SMT line solution with expanded capabilities

The recently launched MYPro Line, the company’s latest full SMT line solution, will demonstrate a number of new software and automation capabilities at Productronica.

New insights with M2M communication

As a member of the Hermes Standard Initiative, the majority of Mycronic’s machine models will now be Hermes compliant. This standardized machine-to-machine communication protocol is an important step in gaining holistic insights into factory-wide productivity.

Collaborative robotics for autonomous material handling

In a significant step towards improving labor utilization, Mycronic will also demonstrate a next-generation collaborative robotics system. The solution will show the potential for entirely operator-independent retrieval, kitting and distribution of component reels.

New advances in conformal coating and plasma treatment

As part of Mycronic’s rapidly evolving MYSmart series of dispensing and conformal coating robots, a number of new hardware and software innovations will be on display at Productronica. The industry leading MYC50 conformal coating system and the new series of plasma surface treatment systems will be on display.

Automotive camera assembly solutions

In addition to these new SMT capabilities, Mycronic will also present the manufacturing solutions and experts behind the industry-leading CMAT system. The millions of sensor modules assembled every year by manufacturers using this system are enabling enhanced automotive safety and, ultimately, autonomous driving.

Advanced die bonding systems

Finally, visitors to Productronica will have the opportunity to learn about the industry’s leading high-precision die bonding systems for flexible high-speed assembly of optoelectronics and microelectronics.

 

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AEi automotive sensor industry

- Why a single advanced assembly system is vital to today’s automotive sensor industry

Boston-based Automated Engineering Inc. (AEi) may be a little-known part of Mycronic for most SMT customers, but for the fast-growing automotive electronics industry, AEi’s compact solutions are critical to producing millions of advanced camera sensor modules per year.

THE RISE OF VEHICLE AUTOMATION. One look in the cab of any modern car will tell you where the industry is heading: from intelligent cruise control to lane assist and collision avoidance systems, automated controls are proliferating. The capabilities of these systems are increasing rapidly, and all are powered by advanced camera and sensor systems.

Unlike many of today’s “vision cameras”, which display images to support drivers’ decisions, these new types of vehicle automation systems rely heavily on what are often called sensing cameras, which use sophisticated image-processing algorithms that are specifically designed to support the decision-making of the car’s own software. Today these decisions involve relatively straightforward tasks such as collision warnings and active braking, but their capabilities are quickly evolving.

With the help of sensing camera modules, the industry is rapidly approaching next generation driver assistance and driverless vehicle systems. This is where AEi’s products play a critical role, enabling flexible mass production of camera modules with industry leading Active Alignment Assembly and Test equipment and manufacturing solutions for its customers.

High-volume precision assembly

The technology behind active alignment may be complex, but the principle is fairly simple. To assemble a camera module, a sophisticated automated assembly process is needed to first activate the sensor, align and focus a lens to the sensor to measure optical characteristics through a series of images, and then lock the module into place with adhesives .– all with extreme control and precision. A. single speck of dust or misalignment of a few microns, and the vehicle’s entire safety critical system can be compromised.

The machine that enables this, the Camera Module Assembly and Test system, or CMAT, performs all of the multiple axis alignment process steps as well as component surface preparation, epoxy dispensing, pre-curing and test. All of this is performed within the machine’s compact 1 x 1.5-meter footprint. A Final Functional Test (FFT) system, a derivative of the CMAT that measures the optical performance of the fully cured camera module assembly, is also often included in a complete assembly line to ensure outgoing product quality.

“Our machines are essentially mini-factories,” explains Steven Michaud, President at AEi. “There’s a plasma surface-activation module, a dispense module, an align module, a test module and so on – with a total cycle time short enough for the demands of high volume automotive production. The intelligence involved in coordinating and optimizing these processes is what really makes us unique. These are some very high-precision algorithms that enable everything from process design and alignment, to data optimization.”

AEi Mycronic

A lifetime of high performance

The result is a highly precise and robust camera or sensor that remains accurate despite the lifetime of environmental stresses a vehicle needs to withstand. “Our customers need to ensure that the quality of the camera can hold up to high and low temperature extremes and harsh road conditions,” says Michaud. “So, material processing is key. Alignment is key. Cleanliness is key. Quality of assembly is key. They need to predict and ensure the same quality in all of the variables. Active alignment is critical to holding all this together.”

For every new camera we develop a process together with the customer, covering dispensing, alignment, anticipating adhesive shrinkage during curing, etc. We develop all of this and work through the entire mass production period. We like to think of ourselves as an extension of our customer’s own design and process optimization capabilities.”

On the forefront of electronics assembly

AEi was acquired by Mycronic in 2016 as part of a strategic diversification program into an adjacent application in automotive electronics assembly. As a technology pioneer and the world’s number-one supplier of high performance camera assembly systems, AEi was already a well-positioned partner to most of the largest automotive electronics manufacturers.

Today the company has a leading position in a fast-growing market driven by advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving (AD) penetration within the automotive industry.

 

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Dispense, coat and create

– Introducing Mycronic’s application centers for dispensing and coating

The MYSmart series and Mycronic’s jet printing technologies make it possible to solve any dispensing or conformal coating challenge. Now Mycronic is establishing multiple application centers worldwide to help customers make the most of them.

New application centers worldwide

With a larger global installed base of MYSmart and MY700 jet printing and dispensing systems, Mycronic is taking the next step in bringing its hands-on expertise closer to customers by establishing multiple new application centers for dispensing and coating in the US, Europe and Asia.

The centers offer customers a complete service offering, from prototyping and process development to automation and software integration.

Creating tomorrow’s opportunities

Mycronic’s new application centers are designed to function as a practical interface between Mycronic and its customers, across industry sectors and among industry partners.

“At a typical technical seminar for coating,” says Koppens, “we bring together several leading manufacturers of coating and dispensing fluids and inspection systems to explore future demands in electronics protection. To find new ways to help our customers get more from our systems, we really need to collaborate and stay at the forefront of new applications.”

“Show us your application. We’ll help solve it.”

To date, the new centers have handled dozens of customer projects, with many more in the pipeline for 2019. From advanced process control and traceability systems for automotive electronics manufacturers to new adhesive fluid trials for consumer electronics.

"We really have the chance to better understand our customers’ production environments and set up the right process to get them off to the best possible start. So if you’re looking into ways to improve your process, show us your application. We’ll help you solve it,” Koppens explains. 

Several process improvements benefiting the customer

A number of process improvements have already resulted from several customer collaborations. “One example is a pre-heat buffer conveyor,” explains Koppens, “which we developed for a customer primarily to reduce energy consumption in the dispenser. By pre-heating the board up to ninety degrees, it also ensures a more stable process with a shorter cycle time.”

Another service offering that has experienced strong customer demand is application development, where specialists from Mycronic help to optimize a particular board design for the dispense application, to reduce cycle times or to minimize production costs.

 

Mycronic's approach to dispensing and coating challenges

MYSmart coating machine

Rising demand for dispensing and coating

Mechanical integrity is increasingly crucial for today’s electronics. Whether it’s electric toothbrushes, car electronics or wearable devices, more and more devices are exposed to moisture, impact, thermal stress and other harsh environments. Dispensing and coating systems are therefore essential to ensuring longer lasting, high-quality products.

The need for precise and selective protective coating is quickly expanding into a wide range of board designs and manufacturing environments. “In Europe and the US, conformal coating is growing more important for all kinds of automotive, aerospace and medical electronics,” explains Koppens. “In Asia we see a lot more focus on smartphones, cameras and other consumer electronics – typical high-volume applications.”

When it comes to dispensing, some of the growing challenges are driven by a wider mix of components, higher component density, and a general demand for more robust finished products.

“Underfill, for example, is crucial for BGAs, since an epoxy underfill gives better strength, resistance to thermal stress, and protects against moisture and other contaminants,” says Koppens. “And powerboards, which tend to have a lot of large and tall components, usually need high-viscosity silicones to improve mechanical strength.”

All of these applications require high-precision dispensing systems that can accommodate a variety of fluids while being flexible enough to integrate into existing production systems.

Solving solder defects

Solder paste deposits represent yet another rising quality challenge for electronics manufacturers. With Vi TECHNOLOGY inspection systems as part of the Mycronic family, it has now been verified that 70–75 % of failures in electronics production are due to the stencil print process used by most facilities. These stencil processes are particularly limited when it comes to handling large variations in solder paste deposits.

With the dual-head MY700 Jet Printer and Jet Dispenser, the advantages of jet printing can be leveraged in production environments of any scale.

  • Smaller high-mix manufacturers can achieve perfect quality solder deposits at high speeds, apply high-precision adhesive fluid deposits, or a combination of the two.
  • Mid-volume producers can ramp up speeds by combining two MY700s, using a dual large-dot ejector for higher throughput together with a dual small-dot ejector for more challenging precision deposits.
  • High-volume stencil printer lines can benefit from the MY700 as part of an add-on program, which makes it possible to solve quality issues in challenging processes while simplifying stencil designs.

The MYSmart series goes global

The introduction of the MYSmart dispensing series also marked a significant expansion of Mycronic customers’ capabilities into any type of electronics assembly processes, offering a complete portfolio of tabletop and inline dispense solutions, together with a versatile conformal coating system.

First launched in 2017, the series incorporates a portfolio of core technologies used by leading global automotive, aerospace and consumer electronics, upgraded with high-end standardized features for the global market. Standard features across the range include precision robotics, high-accuracy laser detection systems, automated calibration routines, high-speed jetting and more.

 

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– How one aerospace manufacturer saves time and boosts production volumes with SMD Towers

Debating whether to upgrade from racks and shelves to an intelligent material handling system? With the help of SMD Towers, one Florida-based electronics manufacturer shows how smarter material handling not only cuts kitting times and repetitive manual work – it can also significantly increase production volume. 

GABLES ENGINEERING, founded in 1946, has a deep history in aviation electronics. An industry leader in avionics controls, with customers including Boeing and Airbus, the company’s custom control panels can be found on virtually every major commercial aircraft model produced in the last 70 years.

Big inventory, big challenges

To promise customers short design-to-production cycles with an expansive product mix, material handling was a constant challenge.

“When we started SMT manufacturing at this site,” says Clarence Nichols, SMT Supervisor at Gables Engineering, “we placed our parts on shelves and in drawers. It was really difficult to locate parts.” In addition to requiring a four-person kitting staff, the manual storage system gave little insight into the location, stock levels or traceability of parts. Manual documentation was time-consuming, and with such a large stock of parts, discrepancies in inventory counts were inevitable. Only an annual inventory audit would reveal eventual overstock and waste.

A successful trial

As part of a continuous effort to define future developments in the industry, the engineers at Gables would regularly visit the major SMT trade shows in search of evolving technologies. It was here they identified a promising alternative for their material handling issues. “One year we visited APEX and were introduced to the SMD Tower,” says Nichols. The assembly team decided to give the new system a try. Those towers are a lifesaver when it comes to inventory.

As soon as the team began labeling reels, programming jobs and assembling kits, the benefits became obvious. “We started with one tower and saw immediately how it made our process more efficient,” says Nichols. Time spent locating parts and gathering kits dropped sharply, “so we began installing more of them. Today we have seven towers and are considering upgrading a few of them to the new SMD Tower 8000”, explains Nichols, referring to the latest SMD Tower model that stores up to 1,148 reels within just a 1.5-square-meter footprint.

Tracking parts like never before

In particular, Nichols explains, the system’s software features have enabled an unprecedented level of stock accuracy. “The combination of the SMD Tower and the MYCenter software gives us real-time tracking of our inventory and the location of all our parts. So instead of doing annual inventory audits like before, we can just go into the system, print out the total number of parts left, and make adjustments.”

Turning to more valuable work

“The system is so efficient that we were able to cut down on kitting staff,” says Nichols. “If I had four people pulling parts before, now I’ve gotten it down to two. This means the other two can be doing something more valuable.

Bottom-line results

Although the time savings are clear, the real question confronting many manufacturers remains: How much can a component handling system really increase production? In short, how does it drive revenue growth? Posed with this question, Nichols concludes, “I would say it led to a significant increase in production capacity.”

 Mycronic's SMD Towers at manufacturer Gables Engineering

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Mycronic’s new collaborative Center for Deep Learning in Electronics Manufacturing (CDLe) in San Jose, California is focused on deep learning, a subset of AI and machine learning that employs sophisticated neural networks to effectively learn how to predict actual outputs from actual data.

The power of predictive algorithms

Deep learning methods have matured rapidly in recent years, particularly in industries with large volumes of real-world data such as insurance, retail and advanced manufacturing. Within supply chain management and manufacturing, some of the highest business impacts will be in predictive maintenance and yield optimization, followed by procurement analytics and inventory optimization.

“Predictive services are one of our initial objectives,” explains Mikael Wahlsten, Director and Product Area Manager for Photomask Generators at Mycronic. “Image classification, for example, has advanced significantly and has strong potential for improvement. In terms of image processing, we can definitely find novel ways to improve quality and enable the system to better adapt to its environment.”

Huge data gives us great potential

The quality of deep learning algorithms depends on huge data sets – in most cases requiring millions of labeled examples – in order to exceed human abilities and traditional analytical technologies. And real-world production data is something Mycronic systems have in abundance, thanks in part to the ongoing development of the Mycronic 4.0 intelligent factory.

“All of our systems today are essentially softwaredriven and increasingly integrated with other factory systems,” says Wahlsten, “The process data they create is hugely valuable as training data – which is used to train the algorithms. This holds a lot of potential when it comes to generating accurate simulations through deep learning.”

“Simulated environments,” he continues, “are particularly useful for SMT customers who need to find new adaptive methods for automated production.

The entire Mycronic 4.0 intelligent factory concept relies on factory-wide information flows – horizontal, vertical and into the cloud. This level of total automation involves so many systems, with so much complexity, which is exactly where these types of adaptive deep learning algorithms can add massive value, both within the production line and in other systems throughout the factory.”

 

 

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How Mycronic’s new collaborative deep learning center can help unlock the value of AI.

Together with NuFlare Technology and D2S, with support from NVIDIA, Mycronic has established the Center for Deep Learning in Electronics Manufacturing (CDLe) in San Jose, California. Mikael Wahlsten, Director and Product Area Manager for Photomask Generators at Mycronic, gives his insights into the idea behind the new collaboration and what it can mean for Mycronic customers in the near future.

A new global resource

“First of all,” Mikael Wahlsten explains, “this new center is a valuable global resource we can use to build our deep learning expertise within Mycronic. It will serve to strengthen our customers’ positions within a range of Industry 4.0 applications, providing novel solutions to existing problems in pattern generation, SMT assembly, inspection and dispensing.”

The result, says Wahlsten, will be a prioritized portfolio of Mycronic initiatives aimed at developing more adaptive solutions to current production challenges as well as new applications and services to help customers increase yield, productivity and performance.

The digital transformation continues with increasing data

Due to the rising complexity in electronics production, there appears to be no end in sight to the rising volumes of data generated by today’s highly automated factories. In the cases of pattern generation and inspection, in fact, the volume of data produced by a single system in a day can be comparable to the data generated by a small bank.

With the help of deep learning, this “big data” is a valuable resource that can help manufacturers bring the next wave of digital transformation into the physical world.

“Our pattern generators are used to produce billions of displays used for smartphone screens, computer flatscreens and TV displays every year,” says Wahlsten. “And with AEi, our systems manufacture a large share of all the camera modules which are critical to highly automated next-generation autonomous vehicles. So in many ways, our solutions are indispensible to some very vital global industries.

Our responsibility at Mycronic is to identify where state-of-the-art technologies can create more value in our customers’ production. The Center for Deep Learning in Electronics Manufacturing will help us fulfill that promise, to test new applications in the world’s leading region for AI and deep learning, and to bring these improvements into our customers’ environments as soon as they’re both viable and reliable.”

 

 

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Mycronic MY700 jet printer and GP Elektronik

 

A game changer in high-speed jet printing

Multiple fluids. Multiple ejectors. Dual heads. Higher speeds. Put together, all of these enhancements mark the beginning of a new era for jet printing.

Founded by Pedersen’s father nearly thirty years ago, GP Elektronik began in Odense, Denmark as a small CAD design bureau specializing in PCBs. In a recent interview, GP Elektronik’s General Manager and CEO, Anders Bo Pedersen explains how the MY700 is a perfect fit for the company’s vision to combine the best in quality, flexibility and now higher volume production.
 
“Today we use two production lines, with one MY700 Jet Printer in each line, and we focus on running a good business, making good products and having some fun with the best equipment along the way,” says Pedersen.
 

Mainstream ready

With the MY700, Pedersen is confident that the technology is ready for mainstream, higher volume production. In particular, its dual ejector heads, dual lanes and multiple ejector sizes have opened up opportunities to produce larger batches for a number of fast-growing customers.
 
“The speed increase with the MY700 gives us a lot more headroom to grow with our customers’ demands. And there’s a lot of versatility with the small, medium and big dots with the three different ejectors. The largest gives you 100 % more paste volume in one dot, so the biggest impact in our production capability in terms of speed has definitely been the large dot ejector.”
 
 

Rising batch sizes, rising throughput

This ability to scale production quickly and seamlessly is becoming increasingly important for GP Elektronik as the gap between the smallest and largest batches continues to grow. Just a few years ago, Pedersen explains, longer series production was relatively rare, “but now batches of 5,000 fairly complex boards are not uncommon.”

“With the MY700 the production is very stable and we have very few stoppages. It’s complex to calculate the actual figures, but by the end of the day the throughput increase is maybe 40 %, depending on the application type and component mix. With a different mix you could easily raise that to 50–70 %.”
 

Complex designs with total freedom

For many manufacturers, the advent of highspeed solder paste jet printing opens up entirely new possibilities for replacing current stencil printing techniques with a more flexible, software-driven solution.
 
“The design freedom is completely different than with screen printing. We can make much more complex designs without making the production process more complex. This helps as we are seeing a growing mix of high-power boards, and fine-pitch BGAs and other small  components. So you can design with 102 resistors close to a big D2 pack, high-power LEDs, or pin-in-paste components right next to 0004 LEDs.”
 

A mature technology with stable hardware gives endless potential

In their current applications, GP Elektronik mainly relies on a single solder paste dot size for both ejector heads in their MY700s. Still, Pedersen remains excited about the ability to apply a range of other assembly fluids in the future.
 
Pedersen now looks forward to the next big shift in contract manufacturing, where software automation will play an even greater role.
 
“The hardware stability gives us so many possibilities to adapt new parameters to try new things. Now that the MY700 is a rock-solid hardware platform, the sky is the limit on what you can do with software updates,” Pedersen concludes.
 
 
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