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JULY 2021 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 31 e Active Rules Engine is a great way to think about an AI application that resides within the MES solution, and that is respon- sible for automatically monitoring a great many contextualized trends, making deci- sions, and raising alarms, much in the same way as our peripheral vision and thoughts did in the past. Some decisions, such as in the case of SMT line closed-loops, lead to deci- sions that are executed without the need for any human involvement, becoming more common as we learn how to use our digital- twin visibility more effectively. Some poten- tial decisions, however, need to be referred up to humans, who are now able to manage man- ufacturing operations much more effectively from their screens, seeing the holistic visi- bility of the problem, contextualized within the entire operation, rather than having to be physically out on the lines. Such challenges include bottlenecks in the flow of the process, the removal of a suspect material, absence of material or tools, or a potential premature fail- ure of a machine part. Being able to recognize the issue and create a solution avoids the ini- tial quality impact of a defect, as well as avoid- ing most of the consequences of any failure, all from the comfort of your armchair. Reducing the number of defects found in manufactur- ing indicates the reduction of market reliabil- ity issues. Now that the contextualized data has taken us so far, there is one more step that we can reliably take to promote hands-off manu- facturing. ere are likely to be various dig- ital solutions in operation on the shopfloor, which, just like machines, will each do fun- damentally different things, and most likely, will come from different suppliers with dif- ferent core-focused areas of expertise. Take for example, the use of AMR (autonomous mobile robots), a technology that is very useful in executing decisions made by our Active Rules Engine, as well as those esca- lated to humans. AMR fleet management is dependent on knowing the live status of man- ufacturing completions and requirements, both routine and exceptional. is can eas- ily be orchestrated through MES in which the Active Rules Engine is based, with the AMR fleet manager driving the detailed spe- cific AMR flow and task management, as they cover material transportation, setup and tear- down of materials and tools, product trans- fers, and tool management, as well as bring- ing feeders, nozzles, heads, and stencils, etc., in and out of production for routine mainte- nance. IIoT-based interoperability between shop-floor solutions is essential in allow- ing automation to work effectively, with the minimum of manual intervention, no mat- ter what challenges appear, leading poten- tially to the elusive SMT cleanroom, lights- out operation. Hands-off manufacturing, by addressing causes and effects of variation in the digital domain, with necessary mechanical activities moved outside of the production area where possible, means that the manufacturing physi- cal and digital twin succeed in levels of reliabil- ity and quality that no human nor automated solution could ever achieve unaided. SMT007 Michael Ford is the senior director of emerging industry strategy for Aegis Software. To read past columns or contact Ford, click here. Reducing the number of defects found in manufacturing indicates the reduction of market reliability issues.

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