IN THE KNOW | Manufacturing & Mounting Technologies
Mass Production Changes Course of Mounting Technologies
The popularity of smartphones has become a turning point for the transition to higher-speed, higher-density mounting technologies. Today, with the adoption of smart factory, more changes are expected to occur.
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ith the advent of the 1990s, new digital devices, such as audio-video (A/V) and communication devices, appeared on the market. This prompted the start of mounting technology evolution. More notably, the emergence of cellular phones and the spread of mobile devices, which have evolved into smartphones and tablets, have revolutionized the surface-mount technology (SMT) industry.

Beginning 2008, there has been an increasing demand for higher-speed and higher-density mounting technology, which enables volume production of devices. With the increasing adoption of high-speed mounting machines for the mass production of smartphones and tablet PCs, high-speed machine models that can mount 33 components per second have also appeared. Over the years, as faster mounting speed becomes standard, several factors in mounting technologies were also given weight, like increase in the number of heads and of nozzles, reduction of weight of the head, use of a linear motor in an XY robot and a motor drive feeder, and improvement in the speed of recognizing and processing boards and components.

Typical mounting line in year 2008
Photo 1: Typical mounting line in year 2008
The proposal of smart factory by mounting machine companies will widely spread
Photo 2: The proposal of smart factory by mounting machine companies will widely spread, bringing cutting-edge mounting technology to the global market.

Advancement of 0201-Size Components
The increasing functionality of smartphones has led to high-density mounting of boards. In 2014, Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. developed the smallest 0201-size (0.2×0.1 mm) chip inductor. Following its mass production, 0201-size components became very popular and module components became diverse. Mounting machine companies made it possible to install them by developing dedicated heads.

Reorganization of Mounting Industry
Over the years, the reorganization of the mounting industry has also progressed. In 2011, ASM Pacific Technology Group (Singapore) acquired the mounter business of Siemens AG. In 2015, JUKI Corporation and Sony Global Manufacturing & Operations Corporation, a subsidiary of Sony, integrated their respective industrial equipment businesses that produce mounters and established a new company JUKI Automation Systems (JUKI Corporation).

Meanwhile, in addition to the acquisition of the group I-Pulse, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. accepted the transfer of assets related to the mounter business from Hitachi High-Tech Group. In Korea, Hanwha Group, a Korean chemical manufacturer, took over Samsung Techwin.

Trends in miniaturization of components
Figure: Trends in miniaturization of components

Creation of Smart Factory
Starting from the fourth production revolution “Industrie 4.0” advocated by Germany, interests in internet of things (IoT) in the manufacturing industry has rapidly increased since 2013.

From there, types of production became diverse due to the high quality mounting requirements in the computerization of automobiles, spread of mobile devices, expansion of the demand for industrial equipment for production automation, shortening of the product cycle due to the diversification of consumer needs, among others. As a result, new functions have also become required in manufacturing technology and equipment.

The concept of smart factory has been pushed forward by mounting machine manufacturers, and has now become a key pillar in business strategy of each company. A smart factory realizes efficient and economical production lines and factories by connecting the equipment of the mounting line and creating visual data. At the same time, it has become necessary to establish an open connection environment by standardizing the communication rules with other companies’ devices that make up the mounting line. Collaboration with other companies, such as manufacturers of solder printers and printed circuit board inspection equipment, has been expanded.

Mounting machines are in high demand in China, but are expected to become popular in Mexico and India as well. Further expansion is also anticipated. Introducing the latest mounting and manufacturing technologies will become more significant in the days ahead.