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32 SMT007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2021 We have discussed the basics of manufactur- ing technology, application hierarchy, and au- tomation (mechanization and systemization) for the factory of the future in the free I-007 eBook, Automation and Advanced Procedures in PCB Fabrication. Sometime in every engi- neer's career, they are called upon to consid- er automation, new processes/equipment, and capital expenditures. Let's review the goal set- tings, process benchmarking, and automation strategy that will determine your approaches to automation. e analysis of your facility's performance and your goals to improve make your facility more com- petitive and may take many forms. These oppor tunities are always there: • Waste reduction, and yield and quality improvements • Cost reductions and productivity improvements • Customer and market expansions • Technology improvements • Customer needs • Exploiting new product opportunities • Digitization of data and systems Start With the Basics e greatest gains will re- sult from opportunities that are presented as obstacles to higher profits and performance. is will be different for every man- ufacturer, but the basic performance for quality, productivity, inventory management, labor effi- ciency, delivery, cycle time, sales/customer sup- port, and technology capability are but a few. Figure 1 shows the six stages of planning an automated factory. Most of the elements will be your current equipment and any new is- lands of automation. e arrows are of impor- tant significance, as they outline the flow of in- formation that will be an important new part of your factory information system. Excerpt from 24 Essential Skills for Engineers by Happy Holden Chapter 17: Planning and Implementing Factory Automation Figure 1: Priority one is to establish a strategy on how and what your Smart factory will look like. (Source: HP Computer Museum)

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