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66 SMT Magazine • March 2017 sembly that is completely automated and digi- tized and had increased their productivity enor- mously. The Component Tape Flow Every electronics manufacturer deals with large numbers of components used in the pro- duction process. These components are placed on component tapes that can be used by the pick and place machines for PCB assembly. Cur- rent technology has advanced such that this flow of component tapes is fully automated, from inbound to the moment they are ready to be loaded onto the pick and place machines. Even more important, processes are set up in a way that provides complete tracking and trac- ing of the components at all times, eliminating manual handling and reducing errors. This automated process is set-up as follows. All incoming reels are handed to a robot that is AGVs increase Prodrive Technologies' produc- tivity and enable 24/7 production without hu- man interference. They navigate without sup- porting infrastructure through the factory, find- ing their way from pick-up locations to drop-off locations. In this age, smart minded companies con- tinuously search for flexible automation and digitalization of their processes. Track and trace become essential parts of every automation pro- cess. Industry 4.0 is a good example of an initia- tive that helps companies getting ready for the next industrial revolution, focusing on flexible automation, digitalization, and track and trac- ing throughout the whole supply chain. Em- bracing these ideas in such a way has enabled manufacturing in Europe be globally competi- tive and significant amounts of manual labor redeployed. Prodrive developed a components logistic process for printed circuit board as- PRODRIVE TECHNOLOGIES: 4.0 IN ACTION Figure 1: Prodrive Technologies' AGVs navigate without supporting infrastructure through the factory, finding their way from pick-up locations to drop-off locations.

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