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36 SMT Magazine • February 2017 by Thom Hansen MC ASSEMBLY Since the EMS landscape has become so com- petitive, staying on top of new advances in tech- nology and being able to rapidly adapt to chang- ing customer needs, market demands, trends and technological advances is critical. The fol- lowing are some examples of how electronics as- sembly technology developments have impact- ed the EMS industry in recent years and will like- ly continue shaping the industry in the future. Layers of Verification Today, recent advances in testing and in- spection technology enable a robust quality re- view process with layers of verification, provid- ing a much more reliable product to customers. It starts in the very beginning with scanning in bar codes rather than typing in numbers and eliminating the opportunity for human error. This process offers efficiencies and at the same time provides a layer of verification. The layered testing process continues with automated SMT set up verification and solder paste inspection. Then, an automated optical inspection (AOI), X-ray and visual inspection is used to assure the product meets customer re- quirements. ICT, flying probe and ESS tests add to the reliability of the products being built. Many EMS's also continually invest in their em- ployees by training them in Lean manufactur- ing techniques, SPC, regulatory requirements, along with certifications to standards like IPC workmanship, J-STD, etc. One of the newest technology advances on the market in the last year was an automated router for printed circuit boards. The automat- ed router allows the ability to de-panel boards without stressing the components on the board from a manual de-penalization process. The other new technology that is popular includes automated conformal coating equip- ment to eliminate hand spraying and manual masking process. Additionally, 3D AOI technol- ogy provides a much better understanding of the quality of product being produced. New equipment that is currently in devel- opment is designed to give faster results and in- clude more capabilities, streamlining and im- proving on current technology and processes. Any new technology that EMS providers are looking at investing in should add to product reliability or provide flexibility to customers. What's Driving the Rapidly Changing Electronics Assembly Industry FEATURE

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