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28 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JULY 2021 measles. Success can be measured by reduc- ing the number of human touches that need to be made to the product, materials, tools, or machines themselves. is rule applies to assembly itself as well as dealing with excep- tions that happen. How then to keep our brains focused while keeping fingers on keyboards and away from danger and still creating world- class process and product reliability? With each innovation of hardware within manufacturing, we lose first-hand sight of both routine and non-routine events that occur, which include abnormalities and trends that negatively impact reliability and quality. Auto- mation only includes the sensors it needs, assuming other factors are taken care of else- where, and unless pushed, typically only shares the minimum of information. When humans were all over the manufacturing line, we were Assuming perfect manufacturing engineer- ing and reliable process, then product reli- ability issues are always caused by variation, whether as the result of a simple operational mistake by a person, the wear of a mechanical component on a machine, deviations in mate- rial characteristics, or simply a change in the environment. e use of automation has not eliminated causes of unreliability, nor defects, which ironically continues to drive the need for humans to be hands-on, even as part of SMT operations. ere is clearly something missing, so cue our digital twin. With successful manufacturing automation, people are there for their brains, not for their hands. If we were to put a red dot on every- thing that we touched in manufacturing, whether through necessity, we would quickly have a factory that looked like it had contracted Hands-off Manufacturing Smart Factory Insights Feature Column by Michael Ford, AEGIS SOFTWARE

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