Component Management

SolderStar embraces concept of the SMART factory

23rd November 2015
Peter Smith

SolderStar, a specialist manufacturer in the design and development of thermal profiling equipment for the electronics industry, has introduced SMARTLine, an innovative data capture system.

The future of manufacturing will be focused on the SMART factory which will encourage progressive productivity, profitability and flexibility and Industry 4.0 is the way in which this focus will be achieved. By moving to a SMART factory method information can be captured across the whole manufacturing process, making condition monitoring and fault diagnosis easily detected. The longer term goal of self-predicting algorithms can also be used to foresee problems before they occur.

This provides a company with the ability to understand and have more of an insight into its manufacturing status. Mark Stansfield, managing director at SolderStar said: “Initiatives like the ‘SMART’ factory and Industry 4.0 are high on the agenda for manufacturers so it was important for SolderStar to develop a data capture system which builds upon our range of real-time process monitoring instruments and sensors. “SMARTLine provides the network link and software for the streaming of live process data from the ovens on the production floor. The system is scalable and provides all the tools today to allow big data capture from single test/evaluations lines to full smart factories scenarios.

“When we introduced the state-of-the-art system at Productronica we received very positive feedback from customers looking to push their manufacturing systems forward to find true intelligent manufacturing procedures. “The competition placed on companies to provide quality products quickly is very prevalent today, especially in the electronics industry. For increased productivity, quality and flexibility it is essential to implement a SMART factory environment. The SolderStar SMARTLine system can help in this process as it ensures that monitoring of the thermal processing equipment will not be left behind and can adapt to this new technological wave. “Our pioneering Automatic Profiling System (APS), a full time system for profiling each and every PCB soldered in a convection reflow oven, is already monitoring process conditions in real time via an array of special sensors mounted within the oven, so we are well placed to work with customers to produce data from the soldering ovens via standardised methods.”

SolderStar SMARTLine communicates via IP networks providing data from the SMT line and provides tools for analysis of the captured data using web based methods via desktop or mobile platforms. These tools provide an immediate insight into the performance of the process, providing engineers with an invaluable insight into the manufacturing environment. The system architecture uses a layered approach and is built upon existing and widely used protocols. As Industry 4.0 standards develop further it will be a simple step to integrate the data feeds into customer systems with built in support for a number of exchange formats such as XML, JSON and AMQP.

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