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34 SMT Magazine • May 2016 traceability are very big. There is now a number of new needs developing as people are getting into more smart machines and smart factories. When we install sensors in the oven, it's al- most like installing a video camera. We film, if you will, the thermal process and, in real time, we can then make sure that no boards are being processed out of spec. You get an instant alarm, and we can provide SPC charting and CPK numbers, so you also get an early warning when your process is out of control. Historically this information has been contained at the oven, on the oven PC. More and more now, you want that transpar- ency to go beyond just the operator or the process engineer on the line, so we can send this informa- tion on to, let's say, an MES system where now the information is shared with up and downstream the production line, and with all the other pro- duction lines. Clients now have access to this for their own products if they use an MES, and you get full traceability and transparency. Las Marias: What is the benefit of having that full traceability and visibility across the line? Dahle: There are several. One is that, in the ear- ly days of this industry factories often had an engineer on the floor that had sort of the Midas touch. If there was a problem, call Joe and he would come over and tweak the oven and then everything would work great again. But if he was on vacation or if he wasn't on that shift, then the consistency of the production and the quality would not be there. Now we can pro- vide that consistency, essentially, regardless of the skillset of the people on the line. We make sure that each and every PCB is being processed in spec. That's one part of it. There is another element of this that is be- coming very intriguing, and as the variety of products being produced grows, whether it's consumer electronics or others, what you will see—and you already see that in your Europe and the United States, but there's a growing market for this in Asia as well—is that the production runs get shorter and they'll be more and more production line change over. The slowest ma- chine sometimes to change over from one prod- uct type to the next is the oven. You may have a multimillion dollar production line sitting still, waiting for a $50,000 oven to stabilize on the new recipe. What we do is we can basically do an exhaustive search on all the alternative set ups for the oven, and we can identify one recipe that can handle a wide range of products. There is essentially no change over time at all, because you've used the same recipe. If that's not possible, we can also search on literally billions of alternative set ups of an oven. We can search all of them in a few sec- onds, and we can tell the system to not change the temperature and just look at different con- veyor speeds and see if you can find a profile in spec. If we do, then the conveyor speed can be changed in a second, versus temperature which can take 20–25 minutes and more. Las Marias: With the system providing more data and a more efficient production line, does that mean companies can cut down on their workforce for that particular line? Dahle: That might be the case, or it might be that you free up the people you have to do more high-value-added work. I was also fasci- nated when I recently visited Jabil's facility in Silicon Valley called Blue Sky, which is their sort of future technology area. One of the things they have there are robots. I always thought of robots replacing human labor, but these ro- bots are designed to actually work side-by-side with humans. They're soft and they are covered with sensors, so if you touch them or if you get in their way, they stop so they don't harm the workers. There was an article recently by Mer- cedes Benz in Germany that actually found that Making SYStEMS SMaRtER to gain viSibilitY, tRacEabilitY, and REducE Handling ERRoRS Bjorn Dahle

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