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56 PCB007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2020 As we are all in our rethinking mode, retool- ing our lives and considering how we do busi- ness, we must ask, "How much automation is enough?" We can easily get caught up in the cost savings and immediate gratification. But remember, the automation you implemented is a snapshot of today's technology. It will do what you want today, but it will not evolve. It cannot learn without costs. (maintenance con- tract, service agreement, etc.). However, your employees at these critical processes think dynamically, analyze, criticize, ask questions, provide options, and evolve. They will always be necessary. There is a place for automation, but balancing the cost savings vs. the liability the automation may create are bullet items that should be on any engineer and management whiteboard. Be safe. PCB007 Reference 1. W. Gallagher, "How Apple learned automation can't match human skill," AppleInsider, June 5, 2020. Todd Kolmodin is VP of quality for Gardien Services USA and an expert in electrical test and reliability issues. To read past columns or contact Kolmodin, click here. Apple and Foxconn have learned [1] . Automa- tion lacks one critical component: the ability to question, reason, and evolve on its own. At the end of the day, the robot does exactly what it is told to do, over and over again. Yes, ro- bots are predictable, can work in the dark and don't need breaks except for periodic main- tenance. However, all the optics, conveyors, arms, and brute strength that automation can provide is no match for the grey matter of the human brain. Highly skilled human labor is still needed. In many aspects of automation, providing the human replacement for mundane, repeti- tive tasks works out fine. More complex tasks, although campaigned for automation, should be rethought. Here, the human element still makes a valuable difference—the ability to question, analyze, think critically, and create are traits that automation will always lack re- gardless of how strong the AI may be or the complexity of the program driving the process. It is not thinking. It is doing exactly what it is told. To quote David Bourne, principal systems scientist at The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, on his work with Apple and Foxconn [1] , "Robotics and automation are fan- tastic and amazing when it works, But when something breaks, God knows what happens." Enough said. It has more than 27 miles of multilevel thoroughfares on which 1,700 autonomous vehicles shuttle Intel's most precious cargo. It's the automated material-handling sys- tem (AMHS) at Intel's D1 factory in Hillsboro, Oregon. Intel runs overhead transport sys- tems like this in every one of its six chip fabs worldwide. The boxes scooting along on the overhead tracks are front-opening unified pods (FOUPs) that carry as many as 25 wafers, each contain- ing hundreds of Intel chips, on their weekslong fabrication journey starting as blank silicon discs. Oregon's wafer superhighway connects nine buildings, including the D1X and D1D factories. The two factories to- gether are a little larger than 12 U.S. football fields. Take a quick 2-minute tour around Oregon's D1 factory, captured before pandemic recommendations for social distancing took effect, to learn more about what AMHS leader Mutaz Haddadin calls "the heartbeat and blood flow of the fab." (Source: Intel Newsroom) Travel Intel's Autonomous Superhighway

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