Meet Mycronic at APEX

Quality challenges? Unwanted stoppages? Unnecessary programming?

Through data-driven production there are more ways than ever to gain new insights and better control the electronics production. Mycronic’s vision is to enable a zero-defect assembly line with the highest utilization for any product mix.

At IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego 4-6 February, Mycronic will show a wide array of state-of-the-art assembly technologies that will help improve quality, flexibility and productivity in the electronics manufacturing, including new advances in machine-to-machine communication, full SMT line capabilities and automated material handling systems.

At the exhibition we will show;

  • Our full SMT line solution with expanded capabilities; including inspection machines, jet printers, pick-and-place machines and storage solutions
  • How integrations give new insights to further enable the smart factory
  • MYSmart’s advanced conformal coating, dispensing and plasma treatment robots

Date: 4-6 February, 2020
Place: San Diego Convention Center, CA, USA
Mycronic booth: #1336

Mycronic's MYPro Line for PCB assemblyOur latest developments that tackle the rising complexity in the electronics assembly

Award-winning AI² solution for a zero-defect production

Discover how our fully integrated 3D SPI and jet printing solution automatically identifies and corrects missing or damaged solder paste print to help you maintain the highest throughput speeds with simpler stencil designs and zero defects.

Award-winning SIGMA Link

SIGMA Link software, a real-time web-based interface that correlates data between solder paste inspection and automated optical inspection, now features more intuitive process controls to further improve inspection efficiency and first pass yield.

Unleash new levels in productivity with MY700 Jet Printer and Dispenser

Mycronic's software-driven MY700 solution offers solder paste jet printing and high-speed jet dispensing of adhesives with unrivalled flexibility while reducing production costs and manual rework. The MY700 allows you to produce complex boards with a speed of more than one million dots per hour.

Our versatile pick-and-place solution smarter than ever

The industry's most versatile pick-and-place solution is now faster, smaller and smarter than ever. Learn how the new MY300HX and MY300EX machines make it possible to build lines that maintain the highest utilization levels at speeds up to 100,000 components per hour.

Stops defects at their source with the new K-Series 3D AOI

Find out how our advanced 3D AOI system helps maximize first pass yield with a scalable solution for both pre-reflow and post-reflow inspection. Also, the new AOI software platform embeds machine learning based technology resulting in faster programming.

Smarter material flow

Stock accuracy, traceability, and delivery performance are key aspects of a material handling system. Increased automation is required, and in many cases is already ongoing. The Mycronic SMD Tower provides more intelligent and automatic access to component reels and trays.

Advanced conformal coating and dispensing robots

The MYC50 conformal coating system, with its intuitive user interface, precision spray valve and flow monitoring system, promises to deliver high levels of precision, repeatability and yield. Also, the MYD series' MYD55 demonstrates true 5-axis dispensing and the expansive valve offering enables you to dispense any fluid to meet your requirements.

Safe plasma cleaning robots increase yields

The new MYS atmospheric plasma system with safe plasma technology, protects your bottom line and is safe to the touch. These robots safely ensure cleaner operations and up to 50 times faster cleaning speeds, higher yields and improved traceability compared to traditional vacuum plasma systems.



Paperless productivity

– changeover guidance with Agilis Smart Bin

Missing components. Sticky notes falling off. Hunting for information. The list of reasons for unplanned downtime could go on. But in most cases, line utilization is heavily dependent on efficient material and information handling.

Lower changeover cost with Agilis Smart Bin system

The most common reason for unplanned downtime in high-mix electronics manufacturing is missing material. The Agilis Smart Bin system will help machine operators minimize downtime by ensuring that all needed material is collected and prepared just-in-time for production. 

Building on our already powerful material handling solutions, including the SMD Tower automated storage, the Agilis Smart Bin system brings unparalleled ease-of-use to the kitting and changeover process. The end result is faster changeovers and higher utilization – improving your bottom line.

Key benefits

  • Paperless kitting guidance and changeover instructions – right in front of you
  • Preload in Agilis Bins for upcoming jobs – without losing track of material location
  • Easily locate missing components wherever they are
  • Faster changeovers and higher utilization

Empty bin. Free to load for next job

Pre-loading bin F-375 according to MYCenter guidance. Kitting complete. Insert magazine in machine MY100B, slot 7. Machine running. Keep magazine in machine MY100B, slot 7. Changeover. Bring reels in positions 4, 9 and 12 to Workstation 2.

Complete kitting and changeover guidance

The intuitive instructions are presented where the actual work takes place, directly on the material container, minimizing unnecessary movements across the factory floor in search for information.

The upper-left side of the e-label shows an icon for easy indication of the bin’s material status: kitting ongoing, ready to bring to machine, ready for changeover, etc. To the right of the icon, the operator can view primary instructions such as machine name, feeder slot, the material destination during changeover, and more.

How it works Mycronic Agilis Smart Bin scanner

The Agilis Smart Bin system provides intuitive paperless kitting guidance, based on wireless, electronic labels (e-labels) that communicate with the central data server via a radio base station. Each Agilis Smart Bin is equipped with an e-label that is mechanically attached to the front of the bin.

The MYCenter Material Handling software guides the operator through the entire kitting and changeover process, by presenting instructions on the PC monitor, but also on the e-labels. All actions are confirmed using the hand-held barcode scanner.



Johanna Malmström and Tesfu Woldai represented Mycronic at the award ceremony.

Innovator of the Year award in Employer Branding

Universum, an organisation in Employer Branding Research, Insights and Communication, awarded Mycronic in Sweden as the “Innovator of the Year” for the Employer Branding work we have done during the year and that has led to a higher position in their ranking of Best Employer in Sweden.
Universum's motivation to the award:

“This company has in a short time positioned itself on the talent chart. Through a well-involved management and dynamic HR function, the company has increased both knowledge and attractiveness among the engineers. The company has taken a number of new approaches to Employer Branding, which has generated strong and successful results.”

Innovation is in our DNA

At Mycronic we focus on creating clear career paths and that you get to work at the forefront of cutting-edge technology and create world-leading electronics and production equipment.

"Innovation underpins everything we do within company, and for example to encourage our employees to be even more creative and innovative we organise global "Innovations Day" - where we set aside extra time to focus on an idea that you want to develop further," explains Mikaela Näslund, Director Global Platform Development, R&D.

Clemens Jargon and Olivier Pirou from Mycronic and Vi TECHNOLOGY attended the award ceremony.

Two of Mycronic’s solutions received a GLOBAL Technology Award 2019

Last night Global SMT & Packaging held their annual Global Technology Award at Productronica, and recognized Mycronic with two awards for being one of the industry’s leading innovators. One for our Jet Printer and SPI inspection machine’s add-on and repair solution and one for Vi TECHNOLOGY’s process control software SIGMA Link.

Award in the category “Printing equipment”

Mycronic’s solder paste add-on and repair solution closes the loop in solder joint quality, achieving zero stencil defects. By combining two innovative products, MY700 Jet Printer and PI 3D SPI, Mycronic has created a breakthrough offering to the SMT industry. It opens new perspectives in terms of quality control of the paste deposition process in a SMT assembly line with high product mix at any production volume.

The jury motivation: “Mycronic’s add-on and repair solution addresses a major need in the industry. It is well documented that up to 70% of defects originate from the stencil printer. Of these defects, the majority are missing solder paste. By automatically verifying the paste deposits and replenishing the missing paste with this verification system, the overall reliability and yield of the line will improve.”

“I am very glad that our innovations are getting attention in the industry. The add-on and repair solution with the jet printer and SPI machine is a unique solution, solving a major issue for our customers,” explains Clemens, VP Global SMT at Mycronic.

Award in the category “Process control system”

The SIGMA Link process control software suite helps to achieve new levels of product quality and SMT process reliability, by leveraging Vi TECHNOLOGY’s SPI and AOI inspection machines. Its real-time data correlation and analysis deliver a unique and powerful tool to take a close control over the manufacturing process, and to visibly increasing First Pass Yield.

The jury motivation: The SIGMA Link software suite takes a holistic approach to monitoring the entire shop floor and monitors any deviations in the process, not only the AOI or SPI data. This, in combination with the ease of programming and easy to follow GUI, were two winning factors.


Solder paste add-on and repair

Eliminate stencil printing compromises at any volume with the MY700 3D SPI Add-on and Repair module. Discover how our fully integrated 3D SPI and jet printing solution automatically identifies and fills in missing or damaged solder paste print to help you maintain the highest throughput speeds with simpler stencil designs and zero defects.


SIGMA Link process control

Get the data and images you need to improve yield, diagnose your PCB process, and continuously improve your products. SIGMA Link is your real-time web-based interface for unified SPI and AOI data, allowing you to connect multiple machines to your Manufacturing Execution System. Thanks to rapid data correlation and analysis, it delivers powerful possibilities for measuring, controlling and anticipating process variations.


How data-driven production is redefining tomorrow’s workflows

New product mixes. New innovations. New perspectives. As electronics assembly grows more complex, Mycronic and its customers are expanding their visions for the future. It’s all about leveraging bigger data and actionable insights to take broader control of fast-changing industry demands.

SMARTER WORKFLOWS ARE JUST AROUND THE CORNER. Imagine sitting down at your desk in the morning and opening a new ECAD file. It’s intriguing. The substrate is stretchable. A few of the components you’ve never seen before. And the customer wants a prototype tomorrow. She also wants the first 10,000 board batch optimized, manufactured and shipped for assembly in Hanoi at the end of the month. It’s all attached under the subject line: “Can you handle this one?”

Anticipating change through deeper insights

In the near future, this simple question will reveal powerful new business insights. Your software might predict the new job’s effects on ongoing production and purchasing, simulate the first run and adjust key parameters to the board design. It might tell you if you can meet the deadline, your overall equipment effectiveness throughout the job, and signal key staff to tell them where and when they’re needed most. Before you even start, you’ve simulated the product’s DPMO based on millions of points of past production data, and you know your line utilization will be 85%.

“These are some of the things we think about when we think about putting our customers in control,” says Thomas Stetter, Mycronic, “and this scenario isn’t as far off as you might think. In fact, we’re investing heavily in making all of these capabilities possible.”

Preparing for tomorrow’s opportunities

Ask industry experts what challenges tomorrow’s electronics manufacturers will face and the list is bound to be wideranging. On the technology side, the trends continue toward miniaturization and higher material variability. On the business side, average PCB sales prices are on the decline, and customer expectations for faster time-to-market are on the rise. Simply put, the pressure is on to unleash bigger gains in quality and efficiency throughout the assembly process.

Taking performance to the next level

Together with customers, Mycronic is leveraging its end-to-end expertise, software and solutions to unleash new levels in quality, flexibility and productivity throughout the factory. This means delivering not just higher-performance machines, but more actionable data flows, more compatible interfaces and more adaptive, predictive information loops. All of these are part of the company’s vision to enable the zero defect assembly line with the highest possible utilization for any product mix.

A new mindset for a new era

To achieve this ambition, a new mindset is needed. A perspective that looks beyond individual process steps and ideal machine speeds to proactively identify and address actual efficiency leakages – wherever they might occur. This involves better measurement, control and anticipation of process variations to reach new levels in product quality and process automation. It requires smarter data flows to minimize working capital and boost delivery output. And above all, it demands a clear vision for tomorrow’s agile manufacturing – a vision that is quickly becoming reality.

Charting the course ahead

Guiding the course for this development are six key process pillars that Mycronic believes will unlock significant new gains in quality, productivity and flexibility in the years ahead. Although individual machine capabilities remain important, advances in these six key areas will redefine the industry’s previous conceptions of production performance.

Quality, productivity and flexibility redefined

Where quality was once considered a final verification step, in the smart factory it is about producing fewer defects in the first place with the help of powerful in-line inspection systems, factory-wide sensors and advances in deep learning algorithms. Productivity, once viewed as machines and people performing at full capacity, is now seeing significant gains thanks to enhanced machine-to-machine, machine-to-human and collaborative robotics interfaces. And flexibility, previously defined in terms of machine capabilities, is now being expanded to include adaptive factory-wide systems with unprecedented levels of visibility.

All of this is becoming possible thanks to intensive collaborative innovation between Mycronic and its customers. “With multiple global R&D and application centers, together with process and integration engineers near our customers worldwide,” says Thomas Stetter, Mycronic, “we’re now able to bring our process expertise closer to the rapid new application developments in a number of key industries. Whether it’s automotive, medical or consumer electronics, we’re constantly learning and adapting to their needs.”

Where can we give you better control?

This brings us back to our original scenario and the question faced by every electronics manufacturer today: Can your factory handle the challenges that the future might bring? A future that demands zero defects and higher line utilization, even in the face of fast-changing product mixes, complex design for manufacturing collaborations and constantly smarter data management?

“At Mycronic, we believe the answer is ‘of course you can,’” continues Thomas. “According to our product roadmap, at least, we’re moving quickly to a production that’s more predictive, more adaptive to dynamic changes and far more data-driven. Because our customers work with innovative products, it’s our responsibility to give them innovative production solutions, together with deeper, more useful insights into their processes.”

“What this looks like on the factory floor will vary enormously depending on the customer’s business strategy, supply chain, cost structure, and so on,” he concludes. “What we aim to do is bring the system-wide perspective, the process expertise and the right technologies. Then it’s just a question of looking together at potential performance gaps to ask: Where can we give you better control?”


The smart factory - illustration

Six key process pillars for the future factory

Data-driven manufacturing is redefining tomorrow’s workflows and unlocking new opportunities in quality, flexibility and productivity. Mycronic has defined six key process pillars that will be vital to capturing more value in tomorrow’s most demanding production environments. 

1. Process control

The foundation for process control is a series of sensors that measure the process parameters and perform accurate data collection. This data needs to be refined into actionable information through software analytics and correlation, which increasingly requires AI to interpret the “soft” data. Extensive open APIs will also be required, since process data must be made available to all potential consumers in the factory, not only the machine or process point that collected the data.

2. Production scheduling and line performance optimization

The key challenge will be to reach high levels of performance and utilization while still allowing for a high degree of fl exibility when it comes to ever-changing build schedules and urgent orders. Scheduling and optimization tools must take into account both historical data and a “best guess” future projection. Full visibility of materials, machines and staffing levels is key to creating an optimized, yet robust, build schedule. This will require integration with other key systems in the factory.

3. Quality management

Quality management systems will evolve from the traditional approach of capturing, classifying and recording defects, to the more value-adding approach of predicting and preventing defects. This will require self-learning systems with the ability to anticipate drift, correlate data to create actionable information, and close the loop to prevent defects before they occur. The goal should be to also make the quality system an integrated part of the design process, so that product developers can predict the quality outcome of their design choices.

4. Equipment automation

Automation is not only about reducing manual labor. It is also about improving quality by avoiding human mistakes. However, 100% automation in complex production environments is neither possible nor economically viable, today. A more collaborative approach to automation will be required in the future, where machines, robots and humans work better together to perform assembly tasks, and to verify the result of these tasks.

5. Material handling

Stock accuracy, traceability, and delivery performance are the key aspects of a material handling system. Today, most factories rely on manual handling, often with the support of barcode or RFID systems. But increased automation is required, and in many cases is already ongoing. Many Mycronic customers have already started to invest in robots and AGVs, and Mycronic is actively supporting them by adapting products for robot interaction. We have also invested in an in-house robotics lab in order to be prepared and to better support our customers in this area. We will also see more augmented reality solutions to better guide humans to carry out those tasks that cannot be fully automated.

6. Communication & Connectivity

The future smart factory will require integration on all levels, and in many cases this will require customization. Whether it’s product-to-machine, machine-to-machine and human-tomachine feedback loops or vertical integration to ERP and MES systems, Mycronic has the ability to off er custom-made software integrations in all areas where our solutions play a role. The need for customized horizontal and vertical integration is certain to grow in the future, as manufacturers experience everincreasing demands for transparency. Industry communication standards such as Hermes, CFX and IPC-2581 (Digital Product Model Exchange) will play an important role in this development. Mycronic is supporting and actively participating in the development of these standards.

Interested to learn how bigger challenges is requiring bigger perspectives? Read how data-driven production is redefining tomorrow’s workflows.


Closing the loop in solder joint quality

– eliminating stencil-related defects with Mycronic’s latest closed-loop solution

Integrated inspection solutions continue to pay off for customers, even at the highest production volumes. With Mycronic’s latest innovation, it’s now possible to automatically eliminate stencil printing compromises at any production volume with simpler stencils, perfect jet-printed solder joints and the highest possible yields.

Tackling defects at their source

For manufacturers running high-volume production lines, stencil-related defects are a constant challenge. In fact, this is where 61% of all SMT defects originate, according to a Vi TECHNOLOGY survey. As a consequence, more and more producers depend on a combination of stepped stencils, timeconsuming solder repairs and advanced solder paste inspection systems.

Automation meets precision Mycronic’s Jet Printing and 3D SPI add-on solution

The MY700 3D SPI add-on and repair solution resolves these issues with a single, softwaredriven modular solution. It combines a PI series 3D SPI system in-line with a MY700 Jet Printer to automate solder paste inspection, addon and repair at the highest throughput speeds. Added in-line after a stencil printer, the solution makes it possible to simplify stencil designs, eliminate stepped stencils and increase overall yield at high speeds by leaving the most difficult deposits to the fully software-controlled jet printing and inspection system. It can be used to repair missing solder paste from the stencil printing process, add solder paste in difficult areas on the board or automatically add solder paste with high precision to existing print patterns to achieve the perfect volume for specific pads.

The power of intelligent SPI

In 2017, Mycronic acquired France-based Vi TECHNOLOGY, whose solutions were already used by leading global manufacturers of aerospace, automotive and consumer electronics. Part of an effort to offer customers the world’s most sophisticated closedloop inspection systems, Vi TECHNOLOGY’s inspection solutions complemented the Mycronic portfolio with a uniquely integrated, accurate and scalable architecture.

Now, the company’s K series 3D AOI, PI series 3D SPI and SIGMA Link process improvement software suite are being integrated with Mycronic’s SMT solutions to bring more automated capabilities and higher quality process controls than ever before.

The PI Series 3D SPI is not only the world’s first auto-programmed SPI unit. It is also capable of capturing extremely precise paste volume measurements on the smallest pads, combining a patented Z-referencing technology and an ultra-large 50 x 350 mm 3D field of view. Together with the un-precedented speed and solder paste volume control of the MY700, it offers unmatched control of first pass yield.


Prototype stretchable smartpatch

Stretching the limits of wearable electronics

Deep in the snow-capped mountains of Sweden, the national cross-country ski team will soon not only be pushing their limits in the tracks, but testing stretchable electronic sensors to monitor heart rate, stress, glucose levels and more. Unlike standard wearable devices that tend to be bulkier, stiffer and create friction, the new multi-sensors stick like hair-thin tape (100 microns) to the skin, are ultra-light and stretch to fit the contours of a finger, arm or leg.

“IF ALL GOES WELL, this next generation of wearable electronics can be used not only for sports but healthcare and other applications,” says Gustaf Mårtensson, an expert in complex fluids at Mycronic, one of eight companies in the EU-financed SINTEC project.

“For me personally it feels like a gift not only to be enabling the future of electronics but improving the health prospects for millions of Europeans – and even creating jobs for a whole new industry. All of us on the SINTEC team are really fired up about making it happen.”

Next-generation wearables

According to Mårtensson, the growing interest in advanced physiological monitoring is being driven by a global trend towards wireless-enabled wearable devices. “Most people know how a smartwatch, for example, allows you to measure steps walked, heart rate, quality of sleep and other metrics. Now we are taking this to a whole new level in terms of lightness, accuracy, comfort and the possibility to capture hidden data by being in direct contact with the body.”

Robust, stretchable and sustainable

“Imagine applying a tape-thin sensor to an elderly patient that hugs their body and moves with them, monitoring their heart and other functions,” Mårtensson says. “The big challenge is making it robust enough to stretch and twist, while containing ultra-thin, interconnecting circuitry on multiple levels. Another challenge is utilizing sustainable, non-toxic materials, such as Galinstan, a metal alloy for liquid circuitry, that stays liquid down to –19°C (–2°F).”

Goal: develop a working production line

As a high-tech company with fully integrated PCB manufacturing technology, Mycronic was asked to help develop this hybrid stretch PCB technology. The goal of the four-year project, which ends in 2023, is to find a commercial solution for the actual production of stretchable electronics, including achieving a higher degree of maturity in several technical challenges. For Mycronic, this means implementing a working production line using the products and technologies in its product portfolio, including conformal coating, dispensing, pick-and-place, and inspection. “Now, it’s full speed ahead!” says Mårtensson.

Eight partners in the SINTEC project

The European Horizon 2020 research project SINTEC (Soft Epidermal Communication Platform) includes the following partners:

Academic Partners

  • Engineering Sciences at Uppsala University (Sweden)
  • Swedish National Winter Sports Center at Mid Sweden University (Sweden)
  • LINKS at Polytechnic of Turin (Italy)

Company Partners

  • Mycronic AB (Sweden)
  • ST Microelectronics (French-Italian)
  • Warrant Hub (Italy)
  • Evalan (The Netherlands)
  • MySphera (Spain)

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no. 824984.


Anders Lindqvist

Innovation is our rocket fuel

A true internationalist with a global track record of growing technology-based companies, Anders Lindqvist, new CEO of Mycronic, says the company will continue to invest heavily in R&D, grow organically, acquire new companies where it makes sense and stay close to its customers to add big value.

ANDERS LINDQVIST KNOWS his way around a factory. With more than 20 years of experience in international positions at Atlas Copco and most recently as CEO of Piab, a global leader in automation and materials handling, he’s seen, first-hand, the challenges facing companies as they struggle to achieve digital transformation, automate, embrace Industry 4.0 and more.

Diverse global experience

A Swedish engineer by training with an MBA in marketing from University of California, he and his family have done tours in places like Shanghai (five years), Belgium (seven years), and France (two years). This diversity of international experience is a perfect fit for Mycronic, where 99¬% of all customers are located in electronics hubs outside Sweden.

“I’m not the guy asking for Swedish meatballs,” Lindqvist says with a laugh. “For me, it’s not just about work; I really enjoy experiencing other cultures – the people, food and traditions. I feel totally at home anywhere. When in China, I even brought local food home to Sweden.”

Family man and world citizen

Married for more than 20 years, with two children in their early twenties (boy and girl), the Lindqvists have spent most of their life abroad. “My kids speak several different languages and my son is pretty fluent in Mandarin,” he says.

Many countries, one global industry

While cultures may differ, he notes, the fundamental needs and purchasing criteria of the electronics industry are strikingly similar across borders. “It doesn’t matter who you talk to, they all want to boost their productivity with faster, safer and more efficient systems. New technology can make a big difference, but you need to see the bigger picture of where the market is moving. I believe this is where Mycronic can really support our customers, helping them to invest wisely, handle current and future challenges and be even more successful.”

Building on a strong foundation

So what attracted him to Mycronic, and what does he plan to change? “You know, I’ve admired Mycronic from a distance for many years. The electronics sector is a very cool, fast-moving and visible industry that I find personally very exciting: New smartphones, self-driving cars, OLED flat-screen TVs, space ships. It’s all happening now and changing at lightning speed. Mycronic is doing a good job and will continue to improve – always nimbler and more customer-centric than ever.”

Mycronic office in Täby

Innovation is more than R&D

“For me, innovation is about being brave and encouraging people to dare to try new ideas or methods – everything from logistics and sales to manufacturing. Innovation covers a wide range of actions and processes that could result in significant change – for us and our customers. This might involve adopting creative financing plans, a machine refurbishing program or more.

As an example, he cites how Mycronic virtually pioneered a whole new level of precision and speed for pattern generators used in the display market, single-handedly invented solder paste jet printing, Agilis feeder technology for faster pick-and-place changeovers and more. “These are all examples of organic growth,” he says. “They show how we listened to the market and then harnessed our R&D capabilities to meet a huge customer need.”

Open for strategic acquisitions

“But we should not rule out acquisitions as a means of building out our product portfolio. For example, we recently made a strategic acquisition of Automation Engineering Inc., a high-tech developer of camera technology, because we see a huge need in the emerging autonomous vehicle market. And we bought a company called MRSI specializing in ultra-high precision die bonding systems. The addition of Vi TECHNOLOGY also expands our coverage of the entire electronics assembly line, which is something we’ll continue to focus on.

The ski coach for kids

Asked about his management style, the low-key and thoughtful Swede pauses for a moment, gazing out the window of his spotless corner office in Stockholm. “Growing up, I worked as a professional ski instructor for children. The pay was terrible, the hours bad, but seeing people having fun, developing and achieving remarkable things really motivated me.

“You might think that leading a group of kids in ski jackets sounds adorable, but it comes with plenty of challenges. You need to make sure they’re feeling comfortable, enjoying it and overcoming their fears to achieve their goals. And you’d be surprised. Once they move a little outside their comfort zones, amazing things start to happen.”

Delegating with responsibility

Today, he carries with him that same coaching mindset and is no micro-manager. Not surprisingly, he warmly embraces a decentralized, entrepreneurial management style, an approach he learned and used successfully at Atlas Copco. This involves delegating authority, but with responsibility. “The best decisions are taken as close to the customer as possible. When you push decision-making out to the local markets, it allows for better speed, responsiveness, effi ciency and uses people’s intelligence in better ways.”

Setting clear targets

“It’s my job to set the framework, rules and targets, but how these are achieved is very much up to the manager in charge. They can use their own creativity and entrepreneurial skills to fi nd the best way. But they can also expect to be held accountable.”

Staying top of mind

“My goal is for Mycronic to always be top of mind with our customers when it comes to helping and supporting them to be successful. I will continue to expand our global footprint, bringing our expertise out closer to the market. We already have a great team in place, an ever-improving product portfolio and we will only continue to get better and better. I look forward to an exciting journey ahead.”


Machine defeats human in Go game

From millions of data sets to a single click

– what’s next for deep learning in SMT?

The ability of manufacturing systems to predict and adapt to unforeseen situations, often referred to as Artificial intelligence (AI), promises to revolutionize the electronics assembly market. In a period of just five to ten years, deep learning researchers at Mycronic predict a highly automated SMT environment approaching zero defects with little to no human intervention.

“THIS IS NOT SCIENCE FICTION – WE’RE WELL ON OUR WAY RIGHT NOW,” says Romain Roux, a PhD deep learning engineer at Mycronic’s Center for Deep Learning in Electronics Manufacturing (CDLe) in San Jose, California. The center is currently conducting research into deep learning and AI applications for electronics manufacturing.

Reinforcement Learning – the secret sauce

To illustrate the speed of development in AI, Roux recalls how already in 2017 Google’s DeepMind AlphaGo AI defeated the world’s number-one Go player. Regarded as far more complex than chess or poker, Go is an abstract strategy board game for two players involving black and white stone pieces in which the aim is to surround more territory than the opponent. “The milestone victory by AI was enabled by something called ‘reinforcement learning’ – meaning the use of autonomous new observations and decision-making based on studying previous patterns and playing thousands of games against itself,” says Roux. “At the time, everyone thought this achievement would have taken at least another 20 years!”

From basic Chess to highly complex Go

According to Roux, it is this new level of deep learning and computing power that opens up huge new potential. Returning to the example of Go versus Chess, he notes how an average Go game has 200 moves versus 37 in chess. “ When IBM’s Deep Blue chess-playing computer beat leading chess champions 20 years ago, it could process fewer move possibilities in this closed-loop game.” By contrast, Go involves up to 320 billion possible combinations or more. “Clearly no human doing rulebased programming can handle this. It was AlphaGo’s neural networks that allowed it to creatively sort through millions of data points to develop new strategies and recognize new patterns.”

Vision: the intelligent Mycronic 4.0 factory

Intent on accelerating the development of deep learning and AI for the benefit of its customers, Mycronic expects to incorporate it into our product development roadmaps in 2020. “Our focus is on the Mycronic 4.0 intelligent factory, which relies on factorywide information flows – horizontal, vertical and into the cloud,” he says. “Our ambition is the zero-defect line, and we are already gathering data in collaboration with PCB manufacturers at multiple sites.”

Challenge: achieving repeatable accuracy

According to Romain, in addition to gathering large data sets and image libraries, a key hurdle is achieving repeatable and accurate recognition of a component’s geometry. This will mean improving automated optical inspection systems (AOI) to ensure the stability and accuracy of the definition of new components, even in dynamic production environments where designs, assembly fluids and packaging change rapidly. For Mycronic, this has required building up a large library of tens of thousands of 3D images, including data on complex geometries, that can be quickly recognized using algorithmic assistance.

“This is a good start” he says. “We will need ten times or even a hundred times more data so that our deep neural network can generalize to all types of components and all types of boards. This amount of data is quite usual for deep learning applications”.

He explains that machine learning – which is necessary for a range of auto-programming, closed-loop and predictive systems for Mycronic equipment today – involves parsing structured data to train machine learning algorithms according to defined criteria. Going a step further, deep learning, a subfield of machine learning and AI, structures the algorithms in layers to create an artificial neural network that can create and simulate new situations in order to improve its decision-making without relying on rule-based programming.

The emergence of Digital Twins

Today, deep learning scientists are building virtual replicas of physical factories and combining this with AI and analytics to simulate operations in real time. Often referred to as Digital Twins, this new approach allows for the analysis of data and systems (in the virtual model) to head off problems before they occur in the physical factory. According to Roux, this will enable predictive maintenance, zero-defect manufacturing and creative solutions to product designs in simulated environments. He estimates that the widespread use of Digital Twins in the SMT industry may be ten years down the road. It will also depend on another key breakthrough: synchronized data correlation of all systems in the different machines – something that is not possible today.

Taking steps in the right direction

Mycronic has already developed SIGMA Link, an advanced software suite that gives better control and actionable insights into product quality and process automation. It offers data correlation between SPI and AOIs from the same line, and from several lines, without the need for a Manufacturing Execution System. The system continues to improve with the help of larger sets of quality training data. “The addition of deep learning functionality will take the benefits of this system to a whole new level in the years ahead.”


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