The PCB industry is a technology-intensive and capital-intensive industry, but it is still a labor-intensive industry. A large number of automation equipment requires manual operation and assembly line operations. A medium-sized PCB company has thousands of employees. With the industrial transfer and upgrading, the implementation of the new labor contract law, the increase in the cost of living in cities brought about by the transformation of the economic structure, and the difficulty in managing the workforce after the 1980s and 1990s and the high mobility, PCB manufacturers are suffering more and more serious problems. The challenges of labor shortage and rising labor costs, and the resulting impact on production planning, product quality and profitability. At the same time, with the improvement of robot performance and the decline of prices, replacing the traditional “automation equipment + manual operation” production mode with “automation equipment + industrial robot operation” will become the trend of transformation and development of the PCB industry.
1. Types and characteristics of industrial robots
An industrial robot is a multi-functional, multi-degree-of-freedom mechatronic automatic mechanical equipment and system that can complete certain operational tasks in the manufacturing process through repeated programming and automatic control. It can be combined with a manufacturing host or production line to form a single or multiple The machine automation system can realize various production operations such as handling, welding, sorting, assembly and spraying without human participation.
the Since the first generation of robots came out in the United States in the early 1960s, the development and application of industrial robots have developed rapidly, and they have been widely used in production. They have become important highly automated equipment in modern manufacturing.
the Industrial robots are mainly composed of two parts: the body (including the mechanical trunk, motor, and reducer) and the electric control (including the drive and control system). Its function is to use the terminal actuator to replace the human hand to grab objects or tools to complete different tasks. . There are currently three mainstream industrial robots, including: SCARA (four-axis parallel joint robot), DELTA (parallel robot) and six-axis multi-joint robot (including multi-joint robots with more than six axes and derived dual-arm robots).
the The most notable features of industrial robots are summarized in the following three points:
1. Programmable. The further development of production automation is flexible automation. Industrial robots can be reprogrammed according to their work tasks and environmental changes, so they can play a very good role in the flexible manufacturing process of small batches and multiple varieties with balanced and high efficiency. It is an important part of the flexible manufacturing system (FMS). component.
2. Anthropomorphic. Industrial robots have human-like walking, waist turning, big arms, forearms, wrists, claws and other parts in the mechanical structure, and there are computers in the control. In addition, intelligent industrial robots also have many “biosensors” similar to humans, such as skin-type contact sensors, force sensors, load sensors, visual sensors, acoustic sensors, language functions, etc. Sensors improve the ability of industrial robots to adapt to the surrounding environment.
3. Versatility. In addition to specially designed dedicated industrial robots, general industrial robots have good versatility when performing different tasks. For example, different tasks can be performed by replacing the end manipulator (claw, tool, etc.) of the hand of an industrial robot.
2. Application cases of industrial robots in PCB industry
the In the early days, industrial robots were mainly used in the automobile manufacturing industry to complete welding, assembly, handling, spraying and other tasks in the automobile production process. These links did not require high precision and speed of robots. However, the situation in the PCB industry is relatively complicated. The application of robots in the PCB industry is mainly reflected in the functions of loading and unloading, flipping, sorting, positioning, and testing in each process, and it should replace manual operation with PCB board processing equipment and testing equipment. Due to the diversity and complexity of PCB boards, there are single-layer boards, double-layer boards, multi-layer boards, flexible boards, rigid-flex boards, non-porous boards and porous boards, etc., resulting in more requirements for front-end actuators; There are requirements for positioning accuracy and work cycle, so the requirements for robot technology and integration technology are also high in the application of industrial robots. After nearly two years of exploration and practice in the industry, we strive to help customers solve problems, meet customer needs, and have accumulated experience in industry applications. At present, we have mature solutions for many process links in the PCB industry, such as AOI, exposure machine, target drilling machine (OPE, XZ), silver paste hole filling, text inkjet, browning pre-stacking, finished product packaging, etc. Disc, OSP, finished product cleaning, DOME film reverse coating, LCD assembly, etc.
the The following highlights the representative application cases of three types of robots:
1. The six-axis multi-joint robot is used in the AOI inspection process
the Traditional AOI scanning machines rely on manual placement, flipping and closing of boards. One person takes care of the two machines, doing repetitive and monotonous actions every day, and the newly made circuit boards will emit a pungent smell that is harmful to the human body. Bringing a certain amount of damage, the infrared light emitted by the AOI scanning machine is also an invisible killer. We use a six-axis multi-joint robot to replace workers to be responsible for the placement, flipping and closing of two AOIs. Each shift can complete more than 700 hard PCB boards, and the overall efficiency can reach 1 piece/min( This includes AOI machine scan time). If the loading and unloading transportation line that cooperates with the retractable trigger can be further connected to the AGV for fixed line transfer, the fully automated production of the upper and lower processes can be realized.
2. The SCARA robot is used in the circuit board coil detection process
At present, there are very few complete sets of detection equipment for multi-layer board coil short circuit on the market. Most of the detection equipment relies on manual work. For PCB boards with large apertures, the board is manually placed on the detection equipment and then the equipment is turned on for detection. PCB boards with small apertures It is necessary to manually hold the device (probe) to detect each coil. We use the SCARA robot to complete the loading and unloading and alignment placement of the detection equipment, and realize the one-time inspection of all the coils of the large-aperture board; for the small-aperture board, we use the SCARA equipment to fix the probe at the execution end and position it visually , Each coil is tested with a probe, and our equipment also effectively avoids missed detection due to small or large coil apertures during manual operation. Compared with manual operation, it can significantly improve the detection efficiency and avoid quality problems caused by missed detection.
3. The DELTA robot is used in the packing process of small circuit board finished products
The existing FPC trays are manually picked up one by one and put into the blister tray. Because the FPC is soft and thin, it is inconvenient to pick up, so the efficiency will be greatly reduced. Delta800 plus a set of vision system can save the mess from messy. Select the qualified ones from the FPC pile and place them in the blister tray according to the requirements, the effect is not inferior to manual work. Its speed can reach 60 pieces/min, which can completely replace manual sorting and packing.
3. The advantages of industrial robots replacing labor in the PCB industry
Just like the automobile industry and other manufacturing industries, industrial robots replace labor in the PCB industry and bring many advantages to enterprises.
1. Reduce labor, speed up work rhythm and improve work efficiency. Robots can achieve high-speed repetitive operations, which can be much higher than manual work beats, thereby bringing about a significant increase in work efficiency and a reduction in labor costs and management costs.
2. Improve operation accuracy and improve product quality. Robots can use programming and vision systems to achieve accurate positioning and repeatability, effectively improving product quality.
3. Avoid potential threats to workers’ health and safety in the working environment, and save investment in environmental safety.
4. Reduce the efficiency and quality decline and accident rate caused by the impact of repetitive and boring processes on workers’ status;
5. Optimize the operation process and reduce the operation space.
6. Effectively reduce material consumption rate.
7. It can work continuously for 24 hours and work in a black light environment;
8. It can make the manufacturing process flexible. In the future, there will be more and more small batch orders in the PCB industry. The use of industrial robots can greatly improve the flexibility of production and realize the rapid delivery of orders.
9. Enhancement of brand image and reputation. The application of industrial robots has further improved the automation level of PCB manufacturers, driven progress in product quality, production efficiency, cost control, and responsiveness, and improved the overall competitiveness of manufacturers in the industry.
10. Application prospects of industrial robots in PCB industry
At present, the application of industrial robots in the PCB industry has just started, and there are still many problems to be solved. Many operation lines in the PCB industry are non-standard products. In the process of robot application, it is limited by the existing work space and the original equipment capacity. In the face of the influence of different PCB board material factors, it is also necessary to consider the application of various sensors to improve the robot. At the same time, it is also necessary to consider training a group of employees who can operate and maintain robots for the manufacturer.The application of industrial robots in the PCB industry in the future will present the following trends:
11. From single-station or single-line application to multi-line application. It is difficult for existing PCB companies to fully introduce robots to realize automated production, and they need to invest a lot of money for transformation, but they can carry out step-by-step transformation on qualified single stations and single lines, and gradually expand the scope of application after achieving obvious results.
12. From the application of pure robots to the application combined with other intelligent equipment such as AGV. Most of the material transfer between production lines in the existing process is manual operation, and it can be implemented in a distributed manner by combining robots and AGVs to achieve orderly transfer of materials.3. The existing factory is mainly for local applications, and the construction of the new factory will be planned as a whole, and the application of robots and AGVs will be directly introduced.4. Through the combination of industrial robots and the Internet of Things, the manufacturing process will be more intelligent and flexible.