Panasonic’s Novel Mounters Further Factory Automation

The Process Automation Business Division (PABD) at Panasonic Connect Co., Ltd. aims to achieve autonomous factories installed with mounters. To this end, the company has been bringing to market the NPM G Series edge devices. Particularly, those that constitute the platform of autonomous factories in stages.

PABD handles two fields. First, the circuit formation process, which covers electronic components mounters, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, display manufacturing equipment, and software. Next, the thermal processing system, which covers welding machines, welding robots, and laser processing robots. 

PABD said factories continue to evolve autonomously in the manufacturing process. Predominantly, mounters sit at the core of an autonomous factory. It aims to achieve non-stop factories that continue to operate 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

Akihiro Akiyama, Senior Vice President, Panasonic Connect Co., Ltd., and Managing Director, Process Automation Business Division

As the key technology in its product development, PABD sets real-time monitoring by artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous control of 5Ms. To be exact, the 5Ms are huMan, Machine, Material, Method, and Measurement. They are the variable elements that affect the quality of products in the production process. 

The NPM G Series edge devices realize production lines required by customers as the platform of autonomous factories. 

The NPM G Series comprises NPM-GH modular mounter, NPM-GP/L screen printer, Auto Setting Feeder (ASF) automatic components supply system, and the APC-5M system for mounting line that tracks changes in 5Ms and stabilizes production.  Panasonic Connect has been bringing the Series to market in stages.

NPM-GH modular mounter

Promotes at Exhibition

At JISSO PROTEC 2023 held from May 31 to June 2, Panasonic Connect promoted the NPM G Series to visitors by exhibiting working machines, including the NPM-GH new modular mounter, which delivers both high productivity and high-precision mounting.

In addition, NPM-GH features the industry’s top class mounting accuracy, which is the mounter’s strength. In the high-precision mode, it boasts accuracy of ±15μm.  The company targets to achieve even higher mounting accuracy. Panasonic Connect plans to bring to market an ultrahigh-precision model with accuracy of ±10μm by the end of FY2023. The company has already started accepting orders for the NPM-GH, which was attracting visitors’ attention. 

ASF that allows automatic supply of reel components was exhibited as a reference product.  Accordingly, it supports tape width from 4 to 104mm, realizing skill-less automatic supply of mounting components. ASF is set for market at the end of FY2023 or later.  With its market release, all core products of the NPM G Series will be in place. 

Highly Evaluated Algorithm

Akihiro Akiyama, Senior Vice President, Panasonic Connect Co., Ltd., and Managing Director of PABD, said, “The NPM G Series released to market last year has been selling steadily.  I presume this year is the peak. Customers highly evaluate our original algorithm to monitor status through output and eliminate variations in quality by subdividing causes.  We will expand areas we can offer values to customers by merging excellent edge devices, such as printers and mounters, and software. Going forward, we will further enhance accuracy of mounting technologies in preparation for innovations in packaging technology in the semiconductor back-end processes.”

Presently, amid the sluggish market landscape across the board, demand for automotive-related products has been picking up, mainly in Japan and countries in Europe.  Panasonic Connect steps up efforts in the automotive electronic field. Moreover, the company will accelerate synergy with its wide range of technologies in addition to proposing the NPM G Series. 

At JISSO PROTEC, the company also promoted blue direct diode laser (DDL) in its thermal process system business.  The blue DDL adopts a blue laser with high brightness and high output achieved through the company’s original light collecting technology.  It achieves laser processing of highly reflective materials, such as copper.  Amid the trend toward electrified vehicles (xEVs), the company accelerates the proposal of the blue DDL anticipating the increase in copper processing in automotive power modules. 

Furthermore, Akiyama said, “We plan to release the blue DDL by the end of FY2032.  In FY2023, we set forth ‘Providing impression’ as a motto of PABD.  We will contribute to customers’ manufacturing by leveraging our wide range of product technologies.”