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By Jenny Yuh, Marketing Assistant, Koh Young Technology and Brent Fischthal, Sr. Manager, Americas Marketing, Koh Young America

Maximizing your Productivity with Smart, Data-driven Analytics

The electronics industry is acutely aware of the challenges manufacturers are facing due to a chronic shortage of workers with the necessary skill to fill needed manufacturing positions. Job hopping and employee misalignment lead to high turnover, which further compounds the shortage challenge. While leading industry organizations like IPC and SMTA are tackling the issue with education programs and training initiatives, it is not enough. Equipment suppliers like Koh Young Technology are working diligently to expedite the adoption and implementation of communication standards between equipment suppliers to help the situation.

The machine to machine (M2M) communication standards, guided in part by Industry 4.0, are quickly altering the manufacturing process by improving metrics like first pass yield and throughput by implementing autonomous process adjustments. Far beyond a simple product changeover across equipment in the line, this two-way communication with suppliers allows the equipment to automatically adjust production parameters to increase board quality and lowers costs by eliminating rework and scrap. As part of this mission, Koh Young Technology dedicates to its newly developed smart factory solution suite called KSMART, which is revolutionizing process optimization.

Equipment suppliers like Koh Young Technology are working diligently to expedite the adoption and implementation of communication standards between equipment suppliers

Measurement-based Inspection

Process optimization is desired by every manufacturer, as well as equipment suppliers, including automated inspection providers. However, it has been difficult to realize due to the limitation of two-dimensional (2D) imaging, which was the de facto standard for the past 25 years. Not only it is difficult for 2D Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) systems to identify defects on curved and reflective solder joint, 2D AOI systems do not generate reliable data. Every aspect of the 2D inspection process relies on contrast, not quantitative measurement. As such, 2D AOI users must either scrap or repair defective boards, which increases costs and eliminates process improvement opportunities.

The introduction of 3D imaging to the inspection market solved some of the problems. By measuring components and solder joints, and then offering critical height information to the inspection algorithms, users could locate errors like pad overhang and insufficient soldering. However, the validity of the measurement data remained questionable as most of the 3D AOI systems use “blob detection” to find the component body; however, this technique is susceptible to external factors like board warpage and component proximity. Since finding the component body is the critical first step in the inspection process, it can negatively affect the whole inspection sequence if inaccurate.

Koh Young Technology has overcome this challenge by using true 3D technology for all component types to extract their bodies. In the Koh Young Technology Zenith 3D AOI, true 3D measurement is processed by a revolutionary parallel computing engine. While 2D inspection technologies are combined with real-time PCB warp compensation to offer accurate inspection data, the Zenith platform goes much further. Using patented shadow-free 3D technology, the Zenith provides superior results by measuring every aspect of the component and solder joint in accordance with the IPC-A-610 standard. Koh Young’s ability to generate a significant set of reliable measurement data gives rise to industry-leading measurement-based KSMART analysis and optimization solutions.

Pictured above: Fig. 1, Koh Young’s approach to mapping body by using
true 3D measurement technology

Ground-breaking Transparency

In this hyper-competitive world, manufacturers place ever-challenging demands on process solutions. Manufacturers want to monitor and adapt the process to achieve zero defects by accessing all the data at anytime, anywhere. They must also cope with shorter life cycles, so inspection solutions should be able to collect and analyze of a large amount of data to produce traceable results.

Likewise, the Koh Young KSMART analysis solution collects all inspection and measurement data from all equipment with its KSMART hub, and then provides the data anywhere within the network with an intuitive user interface on a web-based application. The beauty of this powerful analytical tool is traceability. Big Data is a foundation for Industry 4.0, so advanced inspection systems must evolve from simply judging “Pass/Fail” tools into highly intuitive, dynamic decision making systems, which emphasizes the need for reliable, traceable data. KSMART ensures the highest levels of transparency by showing all conditions of the lines, including machine configuration and software version, while providing the required documentation for changes to the job file, package, part, and more.

Users can quickly verify whether all lines are within the ideal conditions. If a variance occurs, the user can instantly upload optimized programs and inspection conditions without fine tuning with LM@KSMART (Library Manager).

The software module provides a complete central management solution for component libraries, programs, inspection conditions, and more. LM@KSMART combines all equipment into a single centralized library. All changes are traceable and manageable by user level Identification (ID). Such controlled data management allows continuous analysis of the raw data and helps guide experts towards the right direction.

Pictured above: Fig. 2, LM@KSMART module on web interface

Eliminates the Bottleneck

Of course, maintaining quality, repeatable measurement data is not enough to realize a Smart Factory. Instead, analyzed data needs to be instantly visualized with relevant indicators like yield rate, NG analysis, PPM analysis, Gage R&R, offset analysis, and more to allow users to compare board performance and identify process deviations. Using real-time SPC@KSMART (Statistical Process Control), users can identify the exact defect origin by checking false calls and NG parts from the dashboard, as well as evaluate, and optimize default settings.

For instance, if the thickness was the major problem in worst case part, users can click the part to view analysis result and find the root cause. X-bar chart of measured thickness of the part will be shown across time with average, minimum, and maximum values, plus tolerance levels.

If values frequently deviated from average values and tolerances are too tight, users can adjust the tolerance levels to minimize false calls. On the other hand, if the process was stable, operators can tighten the tolerance to prevent future escapes. The measurable data helps improve the process.

Pictured above: Fig. 3, X-bar chart for thickness of R1005 part

In the meantime, operators can load and debug identified defects with accumulated historical real data from all lines on OLD@KSMART (Offline Debugging). This application simulates the results of any adjustments without affecting production. Again, KSMART ensures reliability by allowing users to verify if the adjusted setting is “suitable.” Then, optimized programs and inspection conditions are deployed to all production lines seamlessly with LM@KSMART (Library Manager). These iterative actions can achieve continued process optimization based on objective, real measurement data, not merely by a user’s experience. Moreover, KSMART applications shows the proof of process improvement with statistics and charts. The benefits are real. With the use of OLD@KSMART, user could achieve a 98 percent of false call reduction.

The line performance can be monitored in real-time using RTM@KSMART (Real-time Monitoring). The software module tracks various machines in the factory, as well as the best performing machine yield and top five defects list, plus charts reflecting yield, availability, X-bar, and sigma all in one page. As a case in point, RMS@KSMART has helped significantly reduce false calls and eliminate unnecessary handling, while enabling one operator to monitor multiple lines and dozens of machines, which allows operators to focus on other critical line task.

Users can quickly verify whether all lines are within the ideal conditions. If a variance occurs, the user can instantly upload optimized programs and inspection conditions without fine tuning with LM@KSMART (Library Manager).

Connecting Big Data

A single inspection system has limits and cannot manage and optimize a complete line while in isolation. Knowing this limitation, Koh Young Technology has been working with printer and mounter partners to achieve total communication and streamline the surface mount line to realize a zero-defect future. Working with its KSMART partners, Koh Young has leveraged the true power of connectivity. Its M2M connectivity solution optimizes the process by exchanging real-time measurement data from SPI and AOI systems with every machine on the production line. Koh Young systems feed real measurement data such as offset, volume, height, area, and warnings to other systems, while analyzing trends for process optimization and traceability. Combining KSMART modules provides unsurpassed performance. For example, when Link@KSMART, which connects all the inspection systems within a line, is combined with M2M@KSMART they help define correlations between distinct processes.

Using this advanced communication, the Koh Young Zenith 3D AOI can feed correct mounting position values to mounters, which ensures components are mounted in the targeted position. This feature improves process repeatability by automatically adjusting component placements and catching the shifting trend to make further position corrections. Koh Young is aggressively working with others like MPM and EKRA to empower M2M connectivity and realize a Smart Factory.

Pictured above: Fig. 4, The only solution, KSMART, for Smart Factory
realization to all the process information based on the
true 3D measurement data

Autonomous Process Optimization

Understanding the increasing importance of networked intelligent systems in the Smart Factory, Koh Young has been continuously testing its modular platforms with its KSMART partners. The modular platform is designed for future growth and expansion from KSMART. When Koh Young releases new modules, a manufacturer can implement the upgrades within KSMART as needed. Harnessing the power of the Koh Young Intelligent Platform (IP), KSMART extends beyond automated adjustment towards a comprehensive infrastructure for autonomous process optimization. Indeed, a Smart Factory is within reach with the Koh Young KSMART solution


Pictured above: Fig. 5, ROI Cost Savings After Process Optimization with KSMART

KSMART Process Optimizer (KPO) is a key deliverable from the collaborative projects with its KSMART partners. The software suite includes three interlinking modules that exercise complex algorithms to develop closedloop print process recommendations. Powered by its Intelligent Platform (IP) for adaptive learning, KPO has evolved far beyond its roots as a simple closed-loop option that continuously monitors and adjusts processes to maintain a target value.

The enhanced KPO solution, comprised of three interlinking software modules, actively optimizes the printing process by combining real-time printing information with SPI measurement data. Print Advisor Module (PAM) automatically performs DOEs designed to perform a detailed SPI result analysis using advanced diagnostic algorithms and noise filtering models, and then recommends the ideal print parameters. Printer Diagnostic Module (PDM), the second module, uses multiple anomaly detection algorithms to actively optimize the print process and further reduce false calls. The final module, called POM (Printer Optimizer Module), uses the Koh Young adaptive learning engine to generate models and fine-tune process parameters. While each module provides inherent standalone process benefits, the combined power of KPO and the three modules ensures the highest process reliability and production flexibility without dedicated resources and expertise.

Increased Efficiency, Reduced Costs

There is always a drive to improve profitability. For discussion, assume a typical manufacturing scenario produces 1 out of 2,000 defective boards (before line optimization) every day at a cost of $200 per board. The associated scrap or repair costs of $43,200 can be eliminated by removing a certain portion of defective boards after identifying the root cause and implementing process improvements with KSMART solution.

Powered by its Intelligent Platform (IP) for adaptive learning, KPO has evolved far beyond its roots as a simple closed-loop option that continuously monitors and adjusts processes to maintain a target value.

The return on investment (ROI) costs can be further reduced with LM@KSMART as it deploys stored program and eliminates the fine-tuning that typically is required when changing over to a new system. Assume there will be 240 changeovers every year at cost of $300 per changeover (plus 60 minutes of fine tuning per product). LM@KSMART can reduce the $72,000 in changeover costs by eliminating fine-tuning time. Moreover, operators will not be required for fine-tuning or process monitoring each line, and can be reallocated. Instead of having five operators for five SMT lines, one operator can handle multiple lines through the use of RMS@KSMART remotely; which saves an additional $96,000 assuming their monthly salary at $2,000. In total, the company could save more than $134,000 annually with KSMART, which means more than one million dollar to be saved over ten years. KSMART offers tangible benefits that real-world businesses are asking for.


While the lack of skilled resources remains a challenge, Industry 4.0 and its associated benefits will help advance the industry. Koh Young Technology is focused on developing KSMART as a primary vehicle to enable the future of electronics manufacturing.

As the absolute No.1 market and technology leader, Koh Young is using its IP (Intelligent Platform) to achieve its vision with a focus on next-generation cooperative efforts that expand process capabilities and factory performance. To this end, the company has established three additional R&D centers worldwide to facilitate a quantum leap in technological leadership and competitiveness. Koh Young can apply the IP to its current areas of expertise while paving the way into new markets and industries beyond SMT.

The leading 3D measurement-based inspection equipment and solutions provider.