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How Artificial Intelligence is making PCB Manufacturing More Intelligent?

By | Date posted: | Last updated: July 18, 2020

Over the last one decade, if there is one technology that has metamorphosed from a futuristic, forward-looking concept to a widely used reality, it has to be Artificial Intelligence or AI, as it is popularly called. A ubiquitous technology, it is today being used across a range of applications and is changing the way we live. Whether it is AI driven voice assistants, such as Siri or Alexa or the more ambitious project of self-driving cars, the usage of AI is widespread and is growing exponentially.

The use of AI has been quite widespread in the PCB Manufacturing Industry as well. In fact some of the benefits that AI has brought to the industry include but are not limited to:

  • Rendering the PCB manufacturing process efficient
  • Cost optimization
  • Quicker turnaround times
  • Reduced scrap rates
  • Efficient management of assets, inventory and supply chains

AI can also go a long way in helping systems communicate with each other as well as with operators. With the help of AI, PCB Manufacturers can also determine precise placement of each component, which can both improve performance and significantly reduce the time taken for assembly. With gadgets and therefore PCBs getting progressively smaller in size, the importance of accurate placement of components cannot be overstated.

Another aspect where AI provides a significant advantage is in the area of inspections. AI can easily discover defects, if any, which can in turn go a long way in saving both time and resources, as opposed to manual intervention.

For AI to be able to make a meaningful impact when it comes to PCB Manufacturing, however, the following aspects need to be taken care of:

Accurate data

To be able to make accurate decisions, volume and importantly quality of data is imperative. While AI can play a crucial role in areas such as Automated Optical Inspection that helps in identifying failure and defects, its success depends upon input of accurate data. With the right data inputs, AI can go a long way in minimizing the possibility of defects that can exist with human intervention, where a human operator classifies errors into “true defects” and “false alarms.” However this process is prone to a huge amount of errors that can easily creep in while making this classification. With AI, however, the probability of such errors is extremely negligible.

Expertise

With both AI and PCB manufacturing being extremely complex operations, what is absolutely imperative is in depth knowledge and the right skills set. With the right kind of professionals the two complex operations can be married. However, this requires that professionals be extensively trained for this operation, who, in turn can oversee developing the AI system in the PCB Manufacturing domain.

Collaboration

For AI to be effective in PCB Manufacturing, another aspect that is of importance is high level of collaboration between the customer and the AI solution provider. The stronger this collaboration the greater the effectiveness of results!

Research

What is also needed, of course is continuous and on going research to unleash the true power of AI in PCB Manufacturing. A certain amount of relentlessness and dedication in the domain of research is a must have if the true potential of AI has to be reaped.
Deep Learning
With deep learning, the most complex PCB operations can be undertaken with ease. For example, if it comes to soldering the PCB, deep learning will ensure that you apply just the right amount of solder. Essentially what deep learning can assist with is understanding the most sophisticated of situations and ensure that the probability of errors is negligent.  With both turnaround times and error margins being controlled, the contribution of AI to PCB Manufacturing is priceless.
Machine Learning
The importance of Machine Learning has been reaped in many industries. Essentially it can use data effectively to gain experience and be able to solve complex problems with near zero human intervention.

Applied to the PCB manufacturing process, Machine Learning can go a long way in improving operations as well as reducing the cost of human intervention
To sum up
The positive impact of AI for any PCB Manufacturer, USA is invaluable. To completely harness its huge potential, however, it requires that the above factors be meticulously developed. Above everything enough time and resources need to be dedicated to the usage of AI in the PCB Manufacturing domain. Done well, this could lead to a new era where the production process is extremely streamlined and the outcome is exponentially improved.

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