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SMT electronics assembly manufacturing forum.


CIM systems and Final Assembly

bphilips

#5030

CIM systems and Final Assembly | 22 January, 2001

CIM systems for electronics are very PCB-centric in that they�re not designed for final assembly. Is there anything available that can take me from assembly to final assembly and shipment?

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Jason Spera

#5037

CIM systems and Final Assembly | 22 January, 2001

CIM systems for electronics assembly have traditionally considered the PCB only. Final assembly "modules" are often attached to traditional systems to accommodate this common requirement for pre-PCB assembly, mechanical assembly, and final assembly integration of multiple products into a single system. I suggest one product evaluation test; if final assembly requires a "module" it isn't integral to the system design. Fortunately, systems do exist for handling mechanical and final assembly as well as PCB assembly within one seamless environment.

Select a system built upon a legitimate and logical PDM (product data management) structure. For example, the system must include in its data structure a multi-product engine which manages not only the revisions of all assemblies, but the subassembly tree of all products manufactured. It must also attach process revision to each level, to control the critical routing and processing of the product. This information is a prerequisite for handling the flow of subassemblies (such as PCB's) as they converge into upper level assemblies, complete with mechanical instructions and operations. Consider that a properly structured CIM system looks at all products (at its most simple level) as BOM's with processes attached to form them into products. If it does, it can handle any manufacturing operation.

The key is integration. You should seek a solution offering CAD links, process design and development tools, revision control, product data management systems, and manufacturing execution systems within one system operating upon a single database. Armed with this information, the system can emulate the real-world assembly/subassembly configuration control you use each day, and it will fundamentally handle your PCB as well as other discrete manufacturing tasks.

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marys

#5047

CIM systems and Final Assembly | 23 January, 2001

What recommendations do you have for evaluating the needs of a company in terms of this kind of software and needed hardware? What software do you recommend? Is there data available that clearly demonstrates the advantages of adopting a system like this, in terms of improvements to the bottom line?

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floydl

#5049

CIM systems and Final Assembly | 23 January, 2001

When a company looks at installing this type of system across multiple plants around the country or the globe, what are the major considerations in terms of analyzing the best software to fit these needs? Can you mention to us companies that are currently using software of this nature?

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Jason Spera

#5052

CIM systems and Final Assembly | 23 January, 2001

In the past when the electronics industry was only beginning to mature, many companies considered CIM systems or even just basic CAD/CAM functionality a luxury of only the large OEM's which would develop their own tools. Now, with the competitiveness of a mature industry and the need for excellent responsiveness, speed, AND quality within one environment, these systems are more of a necessity than a luxury.

Each company has its own unique culture, environments, and budgets. It is important for you to select a software vendor with a clean and uninterrupted "migration path" through their software suite from the most entry level system through to a full TCM, multi-factory system. By working with your vendor, you should find out the scope of their offering, then choose what fits right for you now, but consider the future.

A specific example: Today, your company might be smaller and be concerned about programming machines accurately and quickly, while also generating paper inspection documents. Select a vendor with a solid, mature CAD/CAM tool for process engineering built on a routing backbone and open architecture. For this application, systems are very inexpensive.

A year from now as you grow, you might want to introduce Product Data Management and full BOM control and revision management of all product configurations. The vendor should have a migration path to connect your existing CAD/CAM system used for process engineering seamlessly to this solution WITHOUT redundant data and without data loss. I recommend you really drill down with your vendors to discover the actual nature of this integration, as some claims are a bit over-ambitious.

Finally, when you need full factory integration and web-centric access, you need a direct and simple migration to a TransCollaborative system. Again, make sure the vendor can ensure zero data loss and an effective transition. Look to make sure the project, PDM, BOM, Quality, and all other data is actually in a single data source--not in files. Files become very difficult to manage in a large enterprise.

With respect to software and hardware recommendations, I'm a bit biased considering I administrate a company offering this type of system. However, to directly answer your question, AEGIS' solutions answer the needs above in what we believe to be the most technically and functionally elegant manner available.

Hardware requirements must be addressed on a specific user basis. However, web-centric, single database and n-tier systems will always be more forgiving on the client side (browsers only) as well as more expandable and distributable on the server side. Look for this technology. And again, actually look for the technology in eearnest and be wary of over-ambitious sales claims.

With respect to your request for benchmark data on ROI and bottom line improvements, look to your sales professional and applications support at your software vendor to fit this analysis to your specific application of the technology.

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Jason Spera

#5053

CIM systems and Final Assembly | 23 January, 2001

I gather from your question that you might have experienced large scale system implementation problems in the past, or at least fear experiencing it in the future. This is a very valid concern based on the performance of traditional CIM systems. Fortunately, technology has exploded in recent years for making large distributed systems work effectively if the developers used the proper core technology.

Consider that commercial companies handling millions of hourly transactions globally like Citibank have systems which handle this effectively. The technology exists, it simply hasn't penetrated most manufacturing applications until recently. The convergence of many technologies from the Internet to the Microsoft Component Object Model to advanced database systems has really made these systems effective.

When selecting a software system, I recommend you look to its design, as this will dictate its value for your company more than any other factor. The design of the system is also an area which can be obscured easily in the sales and promotional process, so I highly recommend you learn everything you can about modern software technology, and make your vendor prove what they are claiming. In general, a global integration of your factories for everything from CAD/CAM, to PDM, to browser-based shop floor interaction should be based on a real web-centric, n-tier backbone.

A true TransCollaborative system uses a web-centric core around one database. This core (existing in one location) services remote servers in each remote site. The access to the system is through browsers and as new facilities or terminals on the plant floors are added, the system scales easily. This n-tier, web-centric technology is part of the Microsoft DNA for Manufacturing. It is a proven technology and is operating effectively in factories.

Although I cannot offer you user references in this forum (as I would like to keep the discussion on a technical and benefits level as much as possible), I invite you to contact AEGIS' sales or visit our web site at http://www.aiscorp.com. Our team would be pleased to put you in touch with users.

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