FUJI Smart Factory Flexibly Supports High-Mix, On-Demand Production
FUJI’s manufacturing solutions do not only provide optimal production equipment, but also offer solutions for profitable smart factories.

he advent of smartphones and the technologies and infrastructure that stemmed from their rapidly increasing usage, along with connection of things and services through the internet, have led to great improvements in convenience in day to day lives. For example, a car is a “thing” used to transport people from one place to another, but a number of these cars carry other functions, like providing beneficial information and services to drivers through computing. These cars are called connected cars. We are also seeing new value being created with the kinds of services provided by the smart speakers and communication robots that have come into the scene in recent years. Moreover, rapid innovation in delivery services is also taking place. Next-day delivery of goods, or even hours after an order is placed, is already possible.

Part of the reason why improvements have been seen in delivery is the satellite warehouses that have been established in the suburbs. Another big contributor to these improvements is logistics automation. In logistics automation, optimal management is performed through a system, and picking from shelves is performed automatically by a robot upon receiving a command. Operators only need to do minimal amount of processing before the goods are immediately shipped, for both effective and timely service.

There may be a lot of more complexed items to be considered in a surface-mount technology (SMT) factory, but overall there are many similarities.

This article introduces FUJI Smart Factory (Fig.1), which flexibly supports manufacturing systems and changes in manufacturing when performing high-mix, on-demand production.

FUJI Smart Factory

Plan – do – see
FUJI Smart Factory focuses on four main areas within the manufacturing process, offering solutions for optimization within each of these areas: 1) Engineering as the planning stage (Plan); 2) Logistics as the flow of material in the factory (Do); 3) Process as the actual production (Do); and 4) Analytics as the monitoring and analysis.

These four areas are by no means separate to one another. They are all interlinked through the “plan – do – see” cycle, and together, the individual solutions for each area in this cycle are able to close the gaps that arise between the plan (virtual) and actual production (real). FUJI believes that this will create highly profitable factories that can cater to on-demand production and the realization of smart factories.

Next is an example of how “plan – do – see” can be implemented.

Implementation Example

Engineering – plan
Scheduling is particularly important if manufacturers aim to achieve planned production without drops in operation rates at factories that produce diversified products. In practice, there are a lot of difficulties and a lot of effort that go into scheduling. Large variations can arise when creating schedules based on experience and intuitions, which vary from person to person; optimization of already-made schedules being disrupted by sudden insertions; and schedules not going according to plan because of variations in work times and other indeterminate elements. FUJI Corporation offers Nexim Scheduler as a way to reduce the work load involved in scheduling and to design optimal schedules without relying on the experience and intuition of individuals.

For fast output, the following inputs are entered into Nexim Scheduler. The creation of schedules used to be the domain of a select few engineers, but now anyone can create optimal schedules quickly, easily, and accurately. Inputs include 1) Work order (model, volume, deadline); 2) Resources (equipment, operators); 3) Production conditions (line, operation, standard work times), and 4) Part usage planning (warehouse, ordering information). Outputs include 1) Production schedule (order, production time, changeover time); 2) Optimal part arrangement, placement sequences; 3) Scheduling and issuing commands for picking; and 4) Scheduling and issuing commands for changeover.

Fig. 1: FUJI Smart Factory
Fig. 1: FUJI Smart Factory
Logistics – do
Logistics is an extremely important area when considering the efficiency of the entire factory. This area requires a comparatively large amount of operator involvement, and there is also a lot of work that requires human intervention in comparison to other areas of SMT. In other words, optimization of this area leads directly to the kind of significant improvements discussed in the introduction. Along with identifying the problems that exist within logistics processes, FUJI provides solutions for reducing the workload involved in preparing parts, and keeping part inventories to a minimum.

The work that is required for the task at hand is all made clear through linking Nexim, sTower II, and Smart Setup Station (Photo 1) together so that operators are able to concentrate on tasks without any confusion. Having the system to consistently check out parts and provide changeover support and guidance for the applicable lines and machines at the offline changeover area leads to reduced workloads and prevents mistakes from occurring (Fig. 2).

By linking Nexim and sTower II (Photo 2), it is possible to have an automated warehouse that is linked to a system to automatically check out parts for changeover and parts out warnings. This automated warehouse system does more than just stock parts, it also automatically checks out parts when they are required. This means that only the required amount of parts are checked out, reducing the quantity of unnecessary parts and the stock of unnecessary parts remaining at the line side. It also makes it possible to manage the remaining part quantities in storage and the floor life of parts.

Photo 1: Smart Setup Station
Photo 1: Smart Setup Station
Photo 2: sTower II
Photo 2: sTower II
Note: When using smart carriers (based on 7' reels)
Process – do
FUJI offers solutions for automating maintenance and maintaining quality. If reliable maintenance is not performed, equipment will not operate correctly. This will result in short stops to occur, and the operator who needs to respond to such events will not be able to leave the line side. Periodic maintenance has long been an extremely large burden on operators. However, FUJI has developed automation units for the maintenance of heads, nozzles, and feeders. As these units not only guarantee stable work quality and inspect units after maintenance, it is possible for users to check maintenance results and keep a traceability log of the inspection results and maintenance history.
Nexim always monitors the production status, and if the specified tolerance is exceeded, maintenance guidance is provided. By performing maintenance following the provided guidance, production can always be performed with equipment in the best condition and with the minimum workload. FUJI recommends using “Advanced Maintenance” for the benefit of having predictive maintenance based on maintenance history and inspection results (Fig. 3).
Fig. 2: Workload reduction: system-driven management
Fig. 2: Workload reduction: system-driven management
Analysis – see
It is a given fact that defects cause big loss in production. For this reason, the parameters employed by inspection machines are strict, resulting in sacrificing productivity to maintain quality. This puts a lot of pressure on operators who need to run about the line responding to short stops, which can occur for numerous reasons. It also lowers the operation rate. In light of these problems, the solutions for the analysis area include automatic feedback, analysis support, and remote control functions to assist in establishing production lines that do not stop.

With autonomous production as a goal, the feedback of machine data and inspection results, which are output from printers, placement machines, solder paste inspection machines (SPI), and automated optical inspection machines (AOI), is used for automatic correction to maintain quality and prevent errors from occurring. If an error does occur, guidance is provided based on this data to ensure that line stops are kept to a minimum (Fig. 4).

Fig. 3: Automated maintenance to maintain quality
Fig. 3: Automated maintenance to maintain quality
Through the cooperation of FUJI Smart Factory members, feedback control between machines and automatic changeover through the line can be achieved. FUJI will continue to add more members, increasing the choices available for equipment that can be linked to, so that smart factories can be within reach for all customers.

Automation, Labor Saving for Post-SMT Process
Having the flexibility to cater to high-mix, on-demand production in the mounting processes alone is not enough. There is a lot of work involved in the processes after mounting. If these processes remain inefficient, the output of the entire factory remains low, impacting the bottom line. To resolve these issues and proceed further with automation and labor saving, FUJI has developed a compact multijoint robot called SmartWing (Photo 3) that uses the technologies employed by placement machines.

Fig. 4: Automatic feedback through inter-machine coordination
Fig. 4: Automatic feedback through inter-machine coordination
Photo 3: SmartWing
Photo 3: SmartWing
SmartWing is a robot that is easy to set up, quickly starts production, and can be used easily by anyone. By using the same kind of coordinate compensation technology and vision data employed by placement machines, this robot does not require teaching with physical guidance, which is necessary for contemporary robotics systems, when setting up. This can reduce the setup time in comparison to conventional robots by approximately 40 percent (based on FUJI data).

Actual examples that FUJI was able to cite for application using SmartWing include tray conveyance, lining up loose connector parts, tightening screws, sorting, and packing. FUJI will continue to expand the functionality of its multijoint robots to provide low-cost solutions to contemporary issues to support the creation of truly smart factories.

Going forward, FUJI intends to widen its network of FUJI Smart Factory members to increase the choices available for machines that can be linked with. FUJI’s goals do not stop at being a dependable partner that can solve users’ problems when they arise. It is the FUJI’s aim to support highly profitable smart factories.
About this Article
FUJI Corporation provided the contents of the article.