Assembly in Action: Software Speeds Up Process Documentation
Like many manufacturing companies, the company needs to translate new product designs into prototypes quickly. One of the major factors that can slow down the design-to-product cycle is process documentation--the specific instructions detailing how and where to place parts during assembly.
Until recently, process documentation at Analogic consisted of hand markups or manually created documents with word processing or spreadsheet software programs. The company needed a way to speed up the process, so it turned to Tecnomatix Technologies Ltd. (Portsmouth, NH), which offered Unicam software.
"Two of the biggest challenges for our printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing group are delivering timely documentation and creating machine programs," says Vincent LeBlanc, manufacturing engineer. "This software allows us to meet both of those challenges with automated documentation and programming software--ultimately speeding up our manufacturing process."
Unicam is an off-line engineering tool used to create programs for automated, semiautomated and manual assembly processes. In addition to generating machine programs, the software assists in creating documentation to support assembly processes on the manufacturing floor. It provides the manufacturing engineers and technicians with an automated process to import and verify computer-aided design (CAD) and bill of material (BOM) files received from the design group. During the BOM verification process, Unicam compares CAD and BOM files, and inconsistencies are identified and reported.
Once the design information is imported, the manufacturing group uses the Unicam shape and part libraries to prepare the job for program generation and documentation. The Unicam libraries save information specific to the manufacturing process and simplify processing of jobs.
With the job prepared, the manufacturing group determines the correct sequence of production processes needed to manufacture the printed circuit assembly. The production process is input by the user into the line definition. Using the line definition, parts are assigned to the appropriate manufacturing processes. Within each manufacturing process, the software balances the production on the available stations. Once the stations are balanced, programs can be created for each station defined in the line definition.
Documentation is created using the defined manufacturing line and stations. For each process and station, custom, color-coded documents are generated detailing the work to be performed at that station. Each document can be produced using templates that provide uniformity and speed to the documentation procedure. The templates can have additional features like imported graphics, pictures and custom tables detailing the assembly process.
In addition to creating process documentation and machine programs, the company uses the software to track PCB quality throughout the entire manufacturing process. The software solution automatically notifies an engineer or manufacturing supervisor with an alarm if there is a problem in the assembly process. The software then monitors and records any repairs for future reference.
"Since we began using these tools, we are experiencing a significant reduction in costs due to better overall quality of our products," says LeBlanc. "We are also experiencing an increase in productivity among our engineers and technicians because they can create more documentation in a shorter time. They can also identify potential manufacturing problems prior to production."
For more information on Unicam software, call Tecnomatix at 603-431-9411, visit www.tecnomatix.com or Reply 7.