Authors: Gregory Vance¹ and Todd Vick² Company: Rockwell Automation¹, Inc. and Universal Instruments Corporation² Date Published: 9/25/2016
Abstract: One of the major challenges for an electronics assembly manufacturing engineer is determining how an SMT machine will impact throughput. Typically an SMT equipment supplier will ask for a few (5-10) products to simulate the throughput capability of their machine. Unfortunately, if the engineer works in a high-mix low-volume environment, he may need to know the impact of a new machine on 1,000 or more products. Currently there are no simulation tools to effectively model this. This is confirmed in the 2015 IPC International Technology Roadmap for Electronics Interconnections, which states “In order to better deal with the demands for increased interconnection density and respond to market demands for better return on capital investment in assembly equipment, there is a need within the manufacturing industry for continued improvement in tools and software for modeling and simulation. Needs in this area include better methods of load balancing and improved machine utilization? The tools for determining the balance on assembly lines will need to be flexible to handle the mix of assembly types that manufacturers now face.” 
Rockwell Automation partnered with Universal Instruments to develop a tool to model a large quantity of products and the impact of varying SMT line configurations. The information used for the modeling includes placements per panel and components placed per hour. With these tools, an electronics assembly plant can be analyzed to identify improvement opportunities and perform “what if” analysis to model impact of machine changes.
SMT, Components Per Hour, CPH, Utilization, High-Mix, Low-Volume