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JANUARY 2023 I PCB007 MAGAZINE 91 Automation in PCB Production PCB manufacturers worldwide are invest- ing in new equipment to improve technology and production, especially in the field of auto- mation. In Europe, the automation of drilling machines is already standard to increase pro- ducivity and achieve a higher degree of utiliza- tion. e current talent shortage in the U.S. and Canada is accelerating the demand for automa- tion as well. Drill and rout machines with shut- tle system and loaders; direct imaging machi- nes with robot arms; and X-ray capabilities with drill and inline automation already allow the automatic loading and unloading of PCBs and ensure contact-free panel handling in the factory, which results in both labor cost savings and quality assurance in the PCB. Registration, Alignment, Accuracy Highly technologized devices such as spindles, lighting-heads, laser sources, cameras, code readers, and sensors are built-up on solid gran- ite and then connected to the machine control- ler to deliver perfect results and ensure highly accurate PCB processing. For high-end panels, machines with CCD are an option, as any inac- curacies of the panel will be corrected. A two- pin system on panels is mandatory for auto- mated drilling and a well-proven process to support the needed accuracy. Maximum Productivity with the Right Application Track and trace technology is also being adopted in the handling of PCBs. With a bar- code or 2D code, panels can be uniquely iden- tified and processed according to the specific CAD/CAM program. Integrated CCDs and scanner systems in the machines handle the reading of specific part programs. Automated calibration procedures ensure machine accuracies at the highest level to ensure quality of drilled, routed, and imaged products. Automated spindle maintenance reduces machine down-time and increases productivity. Automation Possibilities e engineering industry has recently advanced with Industry 4.0 and the building up of several new standards. Drill, rout, and laser machines can be equipped with a loader to feed the pan- els automatically—one of the new simplified solutions. X-ray and direct imaging machines can now be put into a production line with belt conveyors and run at a constant speed, result- ing in increased output. Panels are then han- dled with robot arms. More robotics have also been introduced to the market, including auto- mated guided vehicles, automated line sys- tems, and shuttle systems. Features for Automation to Increase Utilization Standard SW interfaces to the MES allow bi- directional communication between machines and high-level production controls, which allows for real-time status information. An operator can have remote access to all machines from the control room, allowing them to mon- itor automated PCB production, run statis- tics, and react quickly to any error message or breakdowns. Bürkle North America distributes and services Bürkle GmbH and Schmoll Maschinen equip- ment which includes IMPEX and LHMT. BNA distributes equipment lines for multilayer lami- nation, drilling, cutting, routing, imaging, regis- tration, automation and measuring. Visit Burkle North America online. 1 2 4 5 3

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