Making Autonomous Factories a Reality: Panasonic Introduces the NPM G Series

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Panasonic Factory Solutions Europe has introduced its NPM G Series, an integrated range of Surface Mounted Technology (SMT) production systems designed to respond in real-time to customer supply and demand changes through continuous, autonomous updates – helping to make the autonomous factory a reality. The Panasonic NPM G Series offers flexibility and customisable options to address production needs and extend automation in manufacturing.

Many production sites still rely on their employee’s knowledge and manpower – the so called 5M (Human, Machine, Material, Method, Measurement) method. The new Panasonic NPM G Series uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automated production to improve the process. The use of the auto setting feeder (ASF), the NPM-GP / L stencil printer and the NPM-GH pick and place machine enables customers to set-up individual, flexible, efficient, and economical production lines.

Automated material supply

Automated material supply is delivered by the ASF smoothly inserting components into the production line, without the requirement for an operator to physically connect the old component reel with the new reel using splice tapes or clips. It automatically peels off the cover tape for feeding surface-mounted components with a width of 4mm to 104mm. The loading unit then automatically feeds the next tape and refills as required. Existing Panasonic machines from the NPM and NPM-X Series can also be adapted and equipped with the new ASF.

High-precision printing and solder performance

In addition, the NPM-GP / L stencil printer offers high-precision printing and solder performance combined with a high degree of integrated automation. Up to 10 masks can be stored and switched autonomously by a mask changer. An automatic solder supply and remove function, in combination with autonomous replacement of the underlay pin that supports the PCB, enables efficient and high-speed production. The printer achieves a printing performance with a mechanical repeat accuracy of ± 3.8 μm and a cycle time of 12 seconds, which includes the cleaning process after each printing operation.

Increased productivity and accuracy

Further in the production line, the compact and lightweight placement head of the NPM-GH pick and place machine delivers high-level productivity (max. 41,000 chips per hour - total number of assembled chips per hour under optimal conditions) with outstanding accuracy of ± 15 μm, as well as optional ultra-precise placement at ± 10 μm. Thanks to simultaneous front and rear operations, operability has been improved. The NPM-GH increases overall quality, output and ultimately boosts automation within the production line.

AI-driven control systems

The entire production process and machines are monitored through feed-forward and feed-back communication technology, called APC-5M. Adaptive Process Control (APC) tracks the correct placement of components based on the solder printing position and transfers feedback to the stencil printer in case of misalignment. APC-5M detects 5M variations as well as line changes in real-time and ensures a smooth production process without downtime. Thanks to AI, the control system improves and specifies detections and feedback after each production process.

The sequential release of NPM G Series has started with additional solutions being released throughout the year.

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