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March, 2021

Building Resilience into High-Mix Electronics Manufacturing

By Michael Skinner, Editor C

omplex manufacturing processes, sophisticated equipment, global supply chains, and multinational operations

must be resilient to ensure ongoing success and profitability. One way to accomplish this is to build in a certain amount of adaptabili- ty and adjustment, making the entire process more durable in the face of disruption, even on a global scale. Over the past year, the

COVID-19 pandemic shuttered offices, limited working hours, and forced personnel to keep socially distant. Yet, electronics profes- sionals across the globe have reimagined their work mindsets, adjusted, iterated, and persevered. Fortunately for many in electron- ics manufacturing, operations were deemed “essential business- es.” This allowed them to continue production, even though nearly everything had changed — travel, service calls, training and support protocols, and norms of manufac- turing. COVID has underscored the need for

enduring business systems, from reliable equipment to remote assets and online train- ing, which can ensure continuity during an extended crisis. If these elements are built into opera-

tions from the start, manufacturers are equipped to navigate interruption and deliv- er high-quality output. For these reasons, Parker Hannifin Motion Systems’ electronics controls division partnered with ASM Assembly Systems to improve its manufac- turing resilience.

Remote Diagnostics Long before ASM’s factory of the future

and “Service 4.0” tools were officially launched, Richie Evans, Parker’s senior manufacturing engineer, saw the company’s vision. As early as 2016, ASM was planning for remote support capability, along with other digital solutions. There was no pandemic premonition as the innovation driver; just a visionary concept of timely line monitoring and customer support without the need for traditional service visits. Evans got a firsthand look at ASM’s Remote

Smart Factory in 2017 at a global trade show in Germany. “I remember being very impressed with

the remote smart factory concept — the smart glasses, webcams, secure connection protocols, and the ability to have ASM serv- ice personnel see what I’m seeing without physically being there,” says Evans. “At the time, I thought it was an ambitious idea. It

devices, such as smart glasses and tablets. The system provides quick responses, fast service, reduces downtime, and reduces the cost of ownership. Soon after Parker’s electronics controls

division installed two new SIPLACE SX2 placement systems in 2019, the team made use of ASM’s Remote Smart Factory for assistance with a placement head. “The technical support engi-

neer logged in, did some trou- bleshooting, walked us through the resolution steps, and we had a workaround in place in less than an hour,” says Evans. He notes that waiting for an in-person serv- ice call may have left the down until a technician arrived on site. “We can manage most things

Parker builds more than 700 types of sensors for industrial vehicles at its facility in Morton, Illinois.

has since become reality and proven its worth for our team and factory.” Secure remote machine access allows

quick resolution of issues and the avoidance of lengthy waits for service personnel to arrive on site. Inherently, this reduces costly downtime, saves on service expenditures and increases productivity. ASM’s global remote service system allows technicians to access ASM equipment and software through the customer’s LAN over encrypted internet con- nections. ASM’s Remote Smart Factory is

designed to provide a highly secure B2B and industry-compatible infrastructure with a separate production LAN to integrate all ASM machines, systems and tools. The platform transparently logs all

remote support calls and allows the compa- ny’s global experts to provide consultation. Access to the system is controlled by the cus- tomer, as well as all procedures and data. This adds up to massive remote func-

tionality, including for analysis, software updates and changes to configurations. This also enables the use of multiple smart

ourselves, but having remote guid- ance makes the fix that much faster. It also offers amazing flexi- bility for our team,” he says. “When I was out of the facility for a week during COVID restric- tions, I used Remote Smart

Factory to dial in from my home office and observe the line in real time in the plant. If needed, I could have made adjustments on the fly. The system has incredible upside for us not only at this facility, but as a future opportunity for wider multi-location opera- tions.” At current production levels, Parker’s

SIPLACE SX2 line generates close to $20,000 per hour in revenue. Because of the speed increase over the previous line, the ASM solution has streamlined manufacturing for all product builds on a single line within one shift during COVID. This has made remote tools for oversight and troubleshooting essen- tial for production optimization.

Training on Demand Resilient businesses also invest in their

teams. Personnel who are well-trained in equipment hardware, software and proper maintenance can handle many tasks inter- nally that traditionally have been handled at the supplier level. Early in 2020, ASM launched its ASM

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