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How Industrial Robots Are Applied In The PCB Industry

Jun 27, 2018

The PCB industry is a technology-intensive and capital-intensive industry, but it is still a labor-intensive industry. A lot of automated equipment requires manual operations and assembly line operations. A medium-sized PCB company has thousands of employees.


With the industrial transfer and upgrading, the implementation of the new labor contract law, the rising cost of urban life brought about by the economic restructuring, and the difficulty of management of the workforce after 80 and 90, and the great mobility, PCB manufacturers are experiencing more and more serious problems. The shortage of labor and the rising cost of labor, and the consequent impact on production planning, product quality and profitability.





At the same time, with the improvement of robot performance and price reduction, replacing the traditional “automation equipment + manual operation” production mode with “automation equipment + industrial robot operation” will become a trend in the transformation and development of the PCB industry.


The type and characteristics of an industrial robot

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An industrial robot is a multi-functional, multi-degree-of-freedom electromechanical integrated automatic mechanical equipment and system capable of accomplishing certain operational tasks in the manufacturing process through repetitive programming and automatic control. It can be combined with a manufacturing host or a production line to form a stand-alone or multiple The machine automation system realizes a variety of production operations such as handling, welding, sorting, assembly and painting under the unaided participation.


Since the first generation of robots came out in the United States in the early 1960s, the development and application of industrial robots have developed rapidly. They have become more widely used in production and have become important automated equipment for modern manufacturing.


Industrial robots are mainly composed of two parts: the body (including the mechanical torso section, the motor, the speed reducer) and the electric control (including the drive and control system). Its role is to use the end of the executive body to replace the manpower to grab objects or tools and accomplish different tasks. . There are currently three main types of industrial robots, including SCARA (four-axis parallel articulated robots), DELTA (parallel robots), and six-axis multi-joint robots (including six-axis or more multi-joint robots and derived dual-arm robots).


The most salient features of industrial robots are summarized in the following three points:


1, programmable

The further development of production automation is flexible automation. Industrial robots can be re-programmed with the needs of their work tasks and environmental changes, so it can play a very good role in the flexible production process of low-volume and multi-variety with balanced and high efficiency. It is an important part of the flexible manufacturing system (FMS). component.


2. Anthropomorphism


Industrial robots have similar human walks, waist turns, big arms, small arms, wrists, and claws on the mechanical structure, and they have computers on their controls. In addition, intelligent industrial robots have many human-like "biosensors" such as skin-type contact sensors, force sensors, load sensors, vision sensors, acoustic sensors, and language functions. Sensors improve the ability of industrial robots to adapt to the surrounding environment.


3, versatility


In addition to specially designed dedicated industrial robots, general industrial robots have better versatility when performing different tasks. For example, changing industrial robot hand end operators (grippers, tools, etc.) can perform different tasks.


Two industrial robots in the PCB industry application case



Early industrial robots were mainly used in the automobile manufacturing industry. They completed welding, assembly, handling, painting, and other work in the automobile production process. These requirements on the accuracy and speed of the robots are not high. However, the situation in the PCB industry is relatively complex. The application of robots in the PCB industry is mainly reflected in the functions of loading and unloading, flipping, sorting, positioning, and detection of various processes. It is necessary to replace manual operation of PCB processing equipment and testing equipment.


Due to the diversity and complexity of PCBs, there are single-layer boards, double-layer boards, multi-layer boards, flexible boards, hard and soft boards, non-hole boards, and perforated boards, which result in more requirements for front-end actuators. There are requirements on the positioning accuracy and the requirements for the work tempo, so the requirements for the robot technology and the integration technology are also higher in the application of industrial robots.


After nearly two years of exploration and practice in the industry, we have worked hard to help customers solve problems, meet customer needs, and have accumulated experience in industrial applications.


At present, we have mature solutions for many process steps in the PCB industry, such as AOI, exposure machine, drilling machine (OPE, XZ), silver paste hole filling, text inkjet, brown prestack, finished product loading. Disk, OSP, finished product cleaning, DOME film reverse film, LCD assembly, etc.


➤ The following describes three representative applications of robots:


1, six-axis multi-joint robot for AOI detection process


Traditional AOI scanning machines rely on artificial panels, flaps, and closing boards. One person takes care of two machines and repeats monotonous actions every day. The newly manufactured circuit board also emits a pungent odor to the human body. Inflicting some damage, infrared light emitted by the AOI scanning machine is also an invisible killer.


We use a six-axis multi-joint robot to replace the two AOI's boards, flaps, and take-ups. Each shift can complete more than 700 PCB hard panels, and the overall efficiency can reach 1 block/min ( Including AOI machine scan time). If it is possible to further connect the loading and unloading line with the recharging plate feeder and connect it to the AGV as a fixed line for transport, full automation of the upper and lower processes can be achieved.


2, SCARA robot for circuit board coil detection process


At present, the whole set of testing equipments for short-circuit coils of multilayer boards is still very few in the market. Most of the testing equipments are dependent on labor. Large-aperture PCB boards are manually placed on the testing equipment and then turned on to detect the equipment. PCBs with small apertures are used. Need to manually hold the device (probe) to detect each coil. We can use the SCARA robot to complete the loading and unloading of the coordinating inspection equipment, and realize the detection of all the coils of the large-aperture board at one time. For the small-aperture board, we use the SCARA equipment to perform the end-fixed probes, through visual positioning. With the probes for each coil, our equipment also effectively avoids missed detections due to small coil apertures or large apertures during manual operation. Compared with manual operation, the detection efficiency can be significantly improved, and the quality problem caused by missed detection can be avoided.


3, DELTA robot for small circuit board finished loading process


The existing FPC trays are manually picked up one by one and placed in the plastic tray. Since the FPC is soft and thin, it is very inconvenient when it is inconvenient. Therefore, the efficiency is greatly reduced. The Delta 800 plus a vision system can be messy. The FPC piles were qualified and then placed on the plastic tray as required. The effect was not inferior to manual. His speed can reach 60 pieces/min, which can completely replace the manual sorting and loading.


Three industrial robots replace the artificial advantage in the PCB industry



Like the automotive industry and other manufacturing industries, industrial robots in the PCB industry instead of artificial bring many advantages to the enterprise.


1. Reduce employment, speed up work, and increase work efficiency. Robots can achieve high-speed repetitive operations, which can be much higher than manual work cycles, resulting in a significant increase in work efficiency and reductions in labor costs and management costs.


2. Improve job accuracy and improve product quality. Robots can use programming and vision systems to achieve accurate positioning and repeatability, effectively improving product quality.


3. Avoid the potential threats to the health and safety of workers in the operating environment and save the investment in environmental safety.


4. Reduce the decrease in efficiency and quality and the accident rate caused by repeated and boring processes affecting workers' status.


5, optimize the work process and reduce the operating space.


6, effectively reduce the material rate.


7, can be 24 hours continuous operation and work in a black light environment.


8, can make the manufacturing process flexible. In the future, the PCB industry will see more and more small-batch orders. The use of industrial robots can greatly increase the flexibility of production and achieve rapid delivery of orders.


9, enhance the brand image and reputation. The application of industrial robots has enabled the automation level of PCB manufacturers to be further improved, driving advances in product quality, production efficiency, cost control, and response capabilities, and improving the overall competitiveness of manufacturers in the industry.


Four industrial robots in the PCB industry application prospects



At present, the application of industrial robots in the PCB industry has just started, and it still faces many problems that need to be solved. PCB industry many production lines are non-standard products, in the robot application process to be subject to the limitations of the existing operating space, limited by the original equipment capabilities, in the face of different PCB board material factors, but also consider the use of various sensors to improve the robot The intelligence also needs to consider training a group of employees who can operate and maintain robots.


The future of industrial robots in the PCB industry will show the following trends


1. From single-station or single-line applications to multi-line applications. It is difficult for existing PCB companies to fully introduce robots to realize automated production, and large amounts of funds are required for transformation. However, step-by-step transformations can be carried out on single-stations and single-line vehicles that meet the conditions. After obvious effects are achieved, the scope of application is gradually expanded.


2, from the application of a simple robot to the application of AGV and other intelligent equipment combined. Most of the material transfer between production lines in the existing process is manual operation, and it can be distributed and implemented to achieve the orderly delivery of materials through the combination of robot and AGV.


3. The existing factory is mainly based on local applications. The new plant construction will be planned as a whole and the application of robots and AGVs will be directly introduced.


4, through the combination of industrial robots and the Internet of Things, will make the manufacturing process more intelligent and flexible


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