Vertical Networking of Smart Systems

Vertical Networking of Smart Production Systems

Christi Beck-Levicki Blog


Vertical Networking of smart productions systems refers to the ability of “smart factories” to be able to respond to changes in demand, supply, and faults. This allows smart factories to be needs-oriented, individualized, and customer-specific in terms of production operations. There is also emphasis on resource efficiency and the efficient use of materials, energy, and human resources.

A smart factory will always know every resource and product it has, and in an ideal world, can always locate a part or material. The smart factory can:

  1. Manage production
  2. Account for discrepancies or fluctuations in orders
  3. Make needed adjustments faster

Saline Lectronics fully embraces vertical networking. Within our Surface Mount Technology (SMT) Department, all machines are linked to one another and able to fully communicate. As an example, our Solder Paste Inspection machine (SPI) is directly linked to our Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) machine. If there is a failure in the AOI machine, we can turn to the SPI data to see what effect, if any, the solder paste had on the failure in the AOI. Approximately 80% of SMT defects associated with the AOI can be attributed to the incorrect distribution of solder paste.

Our Juki Surface Mount Lines all possess Intelligent Feeders. The technology found here ensures that the right feeder is always located in the correct spot. If one of the corresponding reels is loaded incorrectly, the machine will not run, and this avoids the incorrect placing of components. This also allows our SMT lines to be much more efficient and drastically reduces line changeover time, as well as any machine idleness during a job.

On top of all of this, Saline Lectronics also utilizes Intelligent Inventory Solutions in conjunction with Cogiscan’s Track, Trace and Control System. This Inventory Solution utilizes via barcode scanning and location management tools. This technology gives us the ability to know the exact location of any component once it is pulled from the stockroom.

The long-term plan at Saline Lectronics is to further connect all machines on the production floor. These enhanced connections will require Data Analysts to fully monitor and understand the data being generated by this network of machines. Within our “Intelligent SMT Department,” this network of machines monitors and tracks trends related to our processes, giving insight into inefficiencies and opportunities for better assembly flow. These Data Analysts will work closely with our Manufacturing team to craft new assembly and manufacturing scenarios, making our manufacturing processes more intelligent and more efficient.