Industry 4.0 PCB Manufacturing: New Capabilities and Protections

April 8, 2021 , in Blog

Industry 4.0 manufacturing PCB components

Industry 4.0 manufacturing, an outgrowth of the fourth industrial revolution, is characterized by its utilization of cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to control physical devices and improve productivity. While advanced printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) technologies that exhibit the intent of Industry 4.0 manufacturing strategies have allowed for a higher degree of alignment with design integrity, they have also had to innovate in their response to increased cybersecurity threats.

Let’s examine how blockchain technology has enabled PCBA manufacturers to maintain security while taking advantage of the innovations associated with Industry 4.0 manufacturing.

How Blockchain Enables Digital Security for Industry 4.0 Manufacturing

Responding to the interconnected nature of Industry 4.0, PCBA makers and their supply chains require more robust security mechanisms. To fill the security gaps, blockchain technology—commonly used in distribution networks for electronic components—has successfully mitigated, and often prevented, damage from cyberattacks.

Ways in which blockchain technology can assist Industry 4.0 PCBA security:

  • Applying intelligence to determine threats along the chain and proactively maneuver mechanisms to defend against attacks.
  • Creating content delivery networks, which are overlapping computer networks containing copies of the same data sets, to resist targeted attacks, such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
  • Creating data backups in the event of an attack.
  • Creating permanent records of a device’s state and configurations.
  • Helping recover data corrupted or lost due to an attack.
  • Preventing disguised devices from connecting to the network.
  • Protecting stored information regarding credentials, digital rights, identity, physical assets, provenance or resource use securely and reliably.
  • Providing identity and access management to better defend against cyberattacks.
  • Verifying device settings and software to ensure they are authentic and that there has been no tampering.

Blockchains create a virtual distributed ledger that time-stamps each block in order and records the signature of its maker. These individual blocks point toward the previous block in the chain using encryption, creating a network with no central authority. This aspect of blockchain technology makes it particularly effective against cyberattacks.

As PCBA design and manufacturing practices continue to integrate with cloud-based Industry 4.0 manufacturing processes, it is likely that blockchain technology will enable security to keep pace with industry-wide innovations.

Design Integrity in PCB Manufacturing

Well-designed PCBAs incorporate design intent, which is enhanced by software-driven processing as are Industry 4.0 technologies—like IoT, machine learning, and AI—and allow for ever-smaller electronic components and accelerated processing speeds. Using whisper-thin, high-performance material and coreless assembly, HDI PCBAs are constructed for denser packing of wiring and capture pads, which facilitates high throughput that supports working with IoT devices. Along with these developments, advances in computer-aided design (CAD) software allows for faster, more versatile board design.

Industry 4.0: Manufacturing Leads to Process Improvements

As factories increasingly use AI and machine learning to run internet-connected operations, the  collected data can be harnessed to increase efficiency. Additionally, by connecting physical assets and systems in factories to intelligent networks, PCBA production can become increasingly autonomous.

Tempo’s Smart Factory

At Tempo, our smart factory utilizes an agile manufacturing process based on the digital thread, which is a communication network that extends from the assembly plant where all machines and equipment are software-driven to the fabricator, component vendor and designer. This utilization of a digital communication network to drive the PCBA manufacturing process sets us apart and enables us to maximize design intent incorporation into your built boards.

Tempo’s Software-Driven Smart Factory Delivers the Industry’s Leading Custom Turnkey PCBA Manufacturing Services
  • Virtual PCBA Contract manufacturing.
  • Rapid, accurate quotes.
  • DFM support from Day 1 of design.
  • Digital Thread Processing with real-time monitoring.
  • Fastest turnaround times in the industry to maximize ROI.
  • QC certified Agile Manufacturing process to support risk management.
  • Standard and Advanced QC testing.
  • Worry-free supply chain continuity.
  • Specialization in rapid prototyping and low-volume production.
  • PCBA development optimization for complex critical system industries like Aerospace, Medical Devices, Automotive, and Industrial.

A Commitment to Innovation

Tempo Automation co-founder Shashank Samala stated in a summer 2018 podcast that the digital transformation should focus on accelerating the process of bringing innovation to market. Tempo’s automation software participates in this process by allowing engineers to upload designs and receive feedback about manufacturing within minutes. By truncating the PCBA design process, its proprietary software allows engineers to conceptualize ideas digitally and reduce the time necessary for real world testing.

To help you innovate, we furnish the information you require for DFM checks and enable easier viewing and downloading of DRC files. For Altium designers or Cadence Allegro users, just add these files to your PCB design software. For Mentor Pads or other design packages, we furnish DRC information in other CAD formats and Excel.

If you’re ready to manufacture your design, try out our quote tool to upload your CAD and BOM files. For more information on how Tempo works at the leading-edge of Industry 4.0 manufacturing concepts in the PCBA design and manufacturing process, contact us directly.

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