Panasonic Connect Backs Digital Transformation in Manufacturing

It is an exciting time for manufacturing, as demand for goods is high, production is busy, and global manufacturing leaders are investing heavily in their future workforce. In the United States specifically, the CHIPS Act is providing a US$39 billion investment in manufacturing incentives and another US$13.2 billion in R&D and workforce development. This is the backdrop going into IPC APEX EXPO 2023 in San Diego, California from January 21 to 26, 2023.

Panasonic Connect Co., Ltd. will be attending APEX 2023 with one of the largest displays in its history. The Process Automation team will be there to showcase how they are helping manufacturing customers’ digitally transform amid ongoing challenges with operational visibility, migration of operations, and labor force volatility.

New Engagements at the Panasonic Connect Booth

At Panasonic Connect booth #933, attendees will have an opportunity to interact with several new products. The nearly 5,000sq.ft. booth will focus on the latest surface-mount technology (SMT) manufacturing products, which improve productivity and output while minimizing costs and waste materials. Attendees will be able to participate in:

New product showcases:

▫ Including the new NPM-GP/L screen-printing machine, which is making autonomous factories a reality;

▫ ASF Feeder carts (reference exhibition), which offer the fl exibility of easily fi tting tape reels from 8mm up to 104mm in width.

Live machine demos: Featuring odd-form environments, high- and low-volume environments and versatile placement options for high-mix environments. As the demos will show, the solutions are adaptable in a wide range of scenarios.

Education stations: Focusing on material management, PanaCIM software and smart manufacturing solutions.

PanaCIM software delivers a feature-rich, manufacturing software suite through a scalable infrastructure that can grow with the manufacturer.

▫ Material management solutions focus on best practices for making sure components are where customers need them, exactly when they need them.

Smart manufacturing solutions showcase answers for Manufacturing 4.0, along with best practices in the use of data to increase production output.

NPM-GP/L: Increased Productivity and Proactive Monitoring

Panasonic Connect will display new products at IPC APEX EXPO 2023 booth. Among them include the NPMGP/L, a revolutionary screen printing machine that can be completely changed over in 3.5 minutes, instead of the 10-minute industry standard. The NPM-GP/L is incredibly fast and accurate and can automatically implement production line changes.

An optional function can create a fully automatic printing process as well as automatically supplying and collecting solder, reconfiguring pin support of the substrate, and undertaking a range of other processes required for production line changes. It can automatically implement production line changes. It has a printing accuracy of ±3.8μm and a cycle time of 12 seconds. As manufacturing continues to evolve, the NPM-GP/L printer and the entirely new NPM G Series will provide a new level of speed, accuracy, and automatic process control unmatched in the industry.

NPM-GP/L screen-printing machine

New ASF Feeders and Cart to Minimize Downtime

Benefiting both high-volume and high-mix customers of Panasonic Connect, the new ASF feeder & cart offer capabilities not seen in previous models while putting a premium on manufacturing up-time. Featuring higher speed than previous feeders, it requires less duplication to maintain throughput while providing the capability of feeding microchip placements with the same standard feeder.

In addition, it auto-loads all feeder sizes in 15s (not just 8mm) for parts in paper or plastic tape, allowing for jobs to be set-up in ¼ of the time it takes today. Moreover, with a feeder that can auto load the next tape, this directly contributes to maximizing line uptime and throughput.

Aside from being compatible with the NPM G Series, the ASF features backward compatibility with the Panasonic Connect NPM and NPM-X Series. Furthermore, their design promotes further automation as it is compatible with automated guided vehicle (AGV) for hands-free change carts and reels in the future.

The Cost of Downtime

Meanwhile, downtime is expensive – unplanned downtime costs industrial manufacturers an estimated US$50 billion annually – as such, manufacturers who are looking to reduce costs should invest in proactive monitoring. Proactive machine monitoring will increase production times, allowing maintenance repairs to be made in real time. This reduces downtime spent waiting on a specialist to evaluate and fix a machine. Monitoring further ensures that machines are performing at their fullest capability.

On the other hand, APC-5M is a new software capability from Panasonic Connect that monitors machine performance and evaluates the continuous performance of the equipment to assess head, feeder, and nozzle performance to ensure optimal machine performance. The software can ensure the equipment is running properly, beginning to degrade and provide warning, or alert when any of these subsystems will result in defects or increased scrap before these conditions occur. This allows customers to perform maintenance when it is required rather than based on a prescription or at a cost of quality or performance.

When machines are ready to be updated or upgraded, machine-to-machine (M2M) ensures a smooth transition. With M2M, a new technology can be retrofitted into older machines so production is not delayed or compromised. This allows manufacturers to realize high-quality line production through M2M. As demand remains high, making sure that machines are efficient, working at their best potential and leveraging the latest technologies is essential for success.

Manufacturing in 2023: Making Autonomous Factories a Reality

There are a multitude of opportunities in manufacturing right now, and it is not limited by geographic location. The five largest global manufacturing plant construction projects in Q2 of 2022 span across the United States, Japan and China. To get an idea of which areas of manufacturing are thriving, users can look into sectors that are growing the fastest. At the end of 2020, medium- and high-tech manufacturing grew nearly 4 percent compared with the same period in 2019.

To keep up with demand and get ahead of supply chain issues, manufacturers need to implement cutting-edge technologies. These will not only boost productivity on assembly lines but will also attract new talent looking to work in a growing industry.

At APEX 2023, Panasonic Connect will help customers and industry professionals understand – and see – how automation is creating the future of manufacturing.

Visit Panasonic Connect at booth #933 at APEX 2023 for more.