Smart Design Data Is Essential for Industry 4.0 Manufacturing


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Almost all of the conversation regarding Industry 4.0 is centered on the manufacturing floor, which is where the effect of the initiative is most felt initially. Little attention is given to the starting data for manufacturing—the data that comes from design. However, you can’t have smart manufacturing if your process begins with dumb data. As Pink Floyd said, “You can’t have your pudding if you don’t eat your meat!”

Industry 4.0 starts with smart data. Smart data means a complete dataset with intelligence embedded within it. Wikipedia defines Industry 4.0 as “a name given to the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies.” Data exchange is a pillar of Industry 4.0.

If the data can’t be computed, exchanged, and interpreted automatically, inputs must be interpreted by humans to determine how to process the job. Smart data allows automated processing from design for manufacturing (DFM) and design for test (DFT) to stencil generation, surface-mount technology (SMT), and test programming. It’s as simple as an if/then statement: if this condition exists, then take that action. If the system doesn’t know what this data represents, then it can’t do anything with it automatically.

Digitalization of the PCB manufacturing product model is smart data. It defines the PCB to be manufactured; and in so doing, it also defines the manufacturing processes required. The PCB design process evolves the digital product model from concept to manufacturing hand-off with a lot of multidiscipline collaboration required along the way (such as schematic/layout, ECAD/MCAD, harness/board, system/boards). Each step requires smart data to collaborate, and many checks along the way to ensure that nothing is corrupted during the collaboration process.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the April 2019 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.

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