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White Paper

Electronics Manufacturing: System-assembly Simulation


How does Industry 4.0, smart manufacturing and manufacturing simulation software benefit electronics manufacturing businesses?

With the help of Industry 4.0 and simulation tools, electronics manufacturing companies are mastering a high degree of variance, continuously shrinking batch sizes and fluctuations in order volume that are increasingly difficult to predict. The word “simulation” is defined as the computer-based modeling of the operation of a real-world process or system over time. With this definition in mind, it is easy to understand why simulation is ubiquitous in engineering and industrial organizations; imitating a real-world process or system that allows experts to study the process or system they are interested in within a controlled environment. How can we use manufacturing simulation to optimize electronics assembly manufacturing?

Optimize Production: Process Optimization in Manufacturing:

This white paper describes the design and implementation of several manufacturing simulation use cases at an electronics assembly factory in Nanjing, China. This factory has six surface mount lines, a high product mix, with many variants, and some high-volume production. They also have integrated circuit (ICT) and system tests, manual assembly lines, software loading stations, box-build cells, packing and labeling, shipping and aftermarket service, and depot repair. This factory is an ideal candidate for testing the effectiveness of manufacturing simulation in electronics manufacturing environment to optimize production.

In the paper, we discuss the use cases, the approach taken, key performance indicators (KPIs) used to monitor progress, changes made to production, and the results of the theoretical simulation versus actuals. We will also discuss using the factory's digital twin and processes in additional use cases, such as sales evaluation and estimation validation. Finally, we publish results that can be used to illustrate how other factories can benefit from process optimization in manufacturing to simulate and optimize throughput and cost to make steps forward in their own digitalization journey.

What is Electronic Assembly Manufacturing?

Electronics assembly manufacturing follows much the same process as many other discrete industries. However, it's particularly critical for electronics manufacturers to get their products to market much faster to take advantage of very short profit windows. The use of simulation in manufacturing allows companies to identify manufacturing bottlenecks and highlights opportunities to increase throughput and identify cost savings opportunities such as optimization of direct and indirect labor. Also, managing inventory levels and validating the expected performance of new or existing production lines and facilities. By implementing manufacturing simulation solutions, manufacturers can answer questions such as: How much additional throughput would you obtain with an extra shift or resource? How much additional performance would you achieve by adding more cells, stations, etc.? Is my material delivery route ideal for station X or line Y?

Manufacturing Simulation Software Solutions:

In electronics manufacturing, most factory simulations are done with combinations of Microsoft Excel spread­sheet software models and some software to assist with the complexity of the computation of a dynamic system, which tends to drive limited scenario studies. With the use of manufacturing simulation software solutions, manufacturers can quickly determine alternative strategies (scenarios), that can easily be designed and tested, like, 1) Capacity simulation of wave soldering machines. 2) Logistics material flow simulation. And 3) UV coating robot automation. The models developed and tested for the wave soldering machines, for example, can now be used in production planning and forecasting as well as daily planning meetings.