How Industry 4.0 Impacts Your PCB Development

When I hear the word "revolution," my first thoughts are of the many conflicts throughout human history that usually resulted in irreversible change. In most cases, the change that manifested was necessary; however, at times, the transformation could perhaps have been attained less painfully. Industry, the sector of the economy concerned with the manufacturing of goods, has also undergone a number of revolutions. Beginning with the first industrial revolution of the late 1700s through the early 1800s, which converted much of agrarian Europe and the U.S. to urban centers, each of the three industrial revolution iterations have spawned changes that are unlikely to be reversed.

The same should be true for Fourth Industrial Revolution, often referred to more succinctly as Industry 4.0. As this revolution is still in its infancy, it is not easy to define all of its attributes or explicitly state the extent to which it will transform industry or the economic landscape. However, it is predicted that the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices used in manufacturing will exceed 900 million by 2020 and play a major role in the industry 4.0 transformation. Let’s discuss what industry 4.0 entails and how it will affect your PCB development process.

What is Industry 4.0?

Industrial revolution 4.0, or Industry 4.0, refers to the utilization of automation, robotics, IoT, and data integration to create smart factories capable of manufacturing products virtually autonomously. This industrial transformation is not bound by industry and will lead to better quality products produced at greater efficiency and lower costs.

Industry 4.0 is intended to digitize manufacturing by utilizing technological advances in data acquisition, processing, and storage that are major aspects of IoT. As we are early in this revolution, the breadth of its utilization across industry sectors and its full impact is open-ended. However, we can define a number of significant attributes, as listed below:

Major Attributes of Industry 4.0

  • Industrial IoT (IIoT)

IIoT refers to an IoT structure within an industrial facility where machines communicate and exchange data with each other and other system devices.

  • Cloud

The cloud will serve the same purpose as it does in IoT, for storage and data transfer to remote (from the factory floor) locations.

  • Automated Robotics

The ability of machines to operate autonomously and interact with other machines will improve the accuracy and speed of operations.

  • Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing will be used to build customized components and devices, especially those comprised of special materials.

  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

VR and AR will be used to simulate processes before actual physical runs are done to reduce downtime for changeovers.

  • Big Data Processing

As industrial operations grow, the ability to transfer and process large volumes of data quickly will be essential for Industry 4.0 facilities.

The above list is not exhaustive and does not include other advanced manufacturing techniques that may be utilized to enhance Industry 4.0 implementation.

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How Does Industry 4.0 Affect Your PCB Development?

The central premise of Industry 4.0 is autonomous automated industrial processing. This necessitates that PCBs and electronics utilize production equipment that are high-quality, precise, and reliable. Other important devices, such as sensors and actuators for data collection or process monitoring and high-speed data processing modules, are typically complex and require very small boards. The motivation for smart factories is to manufacture products at the highest efficiency and lowest costs. Therefore, in addition to the need for very small complex boards that are reliable and of high-quality, PCB development must be expeditious. Meeting these demands for Industrial Revolution 4.0 facilities will require that your PCB design and manufacturing be optimized. This can be accomplished by following the guidelines listed below.

Guidelines for Industrial Revolution 4.0 PCB Development

  • Select a capable contract manufacturer (CM)

To meet the criterion that most Industry 4.0 devices require, you need to have reliable and capable manufacturing; therefore, your choice of CM is very important. And this relationship should be collaborative and initiated as early as possible, preferably during the design stage.

  • Create an effective PCB development process

When developing boards for Industry 4.0, it is imperative that you establish an effective process. This means ensuring that all applicable considerations, such as regulatory requirements, are adequately addressed.

  • Optimize component selection and security

One of the principal keys to good performance in the field is the quality and reliability of the components used. Therefore, you should optimize component selection by sourcing from reputable distributors to mitigate counterfeiting and utilizing vendor data to avoid shortages.

  • Optimize design for manufacturing (DFM)

The importance of tailoring your design to your CM’s equipment capabilities and techniques cannot be overstated. Failing to do so will delay the building of your boards and can even prevent manufacture altogether.

  • Ensure your CM employs good quality control (QC)

The performance and reliability of your PCBs in the factory hinges on the quality of the fabrication and assembly of your boards. Therefore, you should make sure that your CM is committed to quality and institutes good quality control (QC) measures.

Tempo‘s Industry 4.0 Custom PCB Manufacturing Services
  • ISO-9001, IPC-600 and IPC-610 commitment to quality certifications.
  • Agile manufacturing process to support risk management.
  • Accurate quote in less than a day.
  • DFM support from Day 1 of design.
  • Entire turnkey PCB manufacturing in as fast as 3 days.
  • High precision, complex PCB fabrication and assembly capabilities.
  • Sources components from the most reputable suppliers in the industry to reduce procurement time and help with component security.
  • Specialization in fast prototyping and low-volume production.
  • Standard quality testing; including X-ray and inline AOI.
  • Advanced QC testing; including flying probe, time domain reflectometry and ROSE.

The future of industrial production is Industry 4.0. This transformation will herald a new exciting and high-performance era of product manufacturing. However, it requires that PCBs and electronics that will drive the smart factory devices meet challenging criteria. At Tempo Automation, our facilities and processes are designed to support your Industry 4.0 PCB development. And we are prepared to partner with you on day one of design and work with you throughout development to ensure these requirements are met.

And to help you get started on the best path, we furnish information for your DFM checks and enable you to easily view and download DRC files. If you’re an Altium user, you can simply add these files to your PCB design software.

If you are ready to have your design manufactured, try our quote tool to upload your CAD and BOM files. If you want more information on Industry 4.0 or its impact on your PCB development process, contact us.

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