Final assembly encompasses operations that integrate or assemble electronic subassemblies with other electronic, mechanical and optical content. As the last step in manufacturing, final assembly often involves product configuration, test/inspection, and country specific packaging and labeling. Each item must also be scanned for proper identification, inventory control, and measurement before shipping.
Trends impacting final assembly include: continued reduction in final product assembly costs, continued reduction in final assembly procurement cycle time, and traceability for products imported into specific geographic locations.
Lack of Common Industry Strategies and Solutions for Final Assembly
The diversity of final assembly processes, applications, and implementation strategies has left the electronics industry without any basic standards or standard equipment and process solutions
Use of Design for Assembly/ Manufacturability Tools
Design for Assembly (DFA) and Design for Manufacturability (DFM) are key enablers to developing effective final assembly solutions. Often this process is unsuccessful.
Advancements in Human Centered Automation
There is a need for better integration of automation and human skills. This is especially important in high labor rate regions.
Increasing Product Traceability Requirements
Quality, reliability, environmental as well as import regulations, and liability concerns are all key drivers in the growing requirement for product traceability. Product traceability includes both the assembly process metrics and a hierarchal record of subcomponent assembly as well as geographic fulfillment location.
Development of Product Design Standards
A systemic issue within the electronics industry has been the lack of product design standards within the industry. This inhibits the development and use of standard processes and equipment.
Quality Improvement - Test and Performance Metrics
A common problem within final assembly is the inability to test and measure success of the operation. The absence of metrics makes process and quality improvement an impossible task.
Product Customization and Design Postponement
Successful implementations of Configure to Order (CTO), Build to Order (BTO), and Mass Customization (MC) are rare. In order to use automation in a practical, cost-effective manner, a partial standardization of design is required. A similar challenge regarding the standardization of design is posed by Design for Postponement (DP).
Assembly Process and Technology Divergence
The combination of product miniaturization and integration of an ever widening variety of component types creates increasing diversity in assembly processes and technologies. This divergence will make the goal of assembly process standardization more difficult.
Pressure to Reduce Final Assembly Costs
Final assembly costs, as a percentage of total product cost, are relatively low, but as companies continue to drive lower total enterprise cost, final assembly will be required to keep pace.
The critical issues facing final assembly are basically strategic and implementation challenges. However technology needs and gaps exist within the various final assembly processes. In general the technology needs fall into a couple of categories: 1) lack of adequate assembly process control, monitoring, and verification and 2) lack of adequate and economical assembly solutions.
Gaps and Showstoppers
Lack of Definitions / Standards
It is unclear that the current final assembly market is sufficient to cause the development of standards for base cells, process modules, and development tools. Without these standards, it will be impossible to achieve the projected cost reductions for a “tooled and functional” cell.
Lack of Standard Process Metrics
The lack of standard process metrics also causes problems in measuring and comparing “conversion costs” for final assembly processes. Financial support for new final assembly approaches is unlikely to occur without a business case that shows the direct benefit (ROI).
Extended Deployment Time
Shortened time to market and supply chain cycle times also put pressure on manufacturing system deployment times. While a deployment time of two to four months is achievable for an individual cell, large lines and systems can often take longer to deploy and reconfigure.
Process Monitoring and Verification Gaps
As quality, reliability, and product traceability requirements continue to increase so will the demand for process monitoring and verification within final assembly.
The 2015 Roadmap was developed by five Product Emulator Groups (PEGs) and 19 Technology Working Groups (TWGs). The TWGs responded to the inputs and requirements outlined by representatives of OEMs in the five Product Emulator Groups (PEGs). These groups included more than 500 direct participants from over 280 private corporations, consortia, government agencies, and universities in 20 countries.
The iNEMI Roadmap has become recognized as an important tool for defining the “state of the art” in the electronics industry as well as identifying emerging and disruptive technologies. It also includes keys to developing future iNEMI projects and setting industry R&D priorities over the next 10 years.
The roadmap identifies major trends in the evolution of electronic asembly technology, with an emphasis on identifying potentially disruptive events (business and technology). It provides the information needed to identify critical technology and infrastructure gaps, prioritize R&D needs to meet those gaps, and initiate activities that address industry needs.
Through its roadmaps, iNEMI charts future opportunities and challenges for the electronics manufacturing industry. These widely utilized roadmaps:
• Help OEMs, EMS providers and suppliers prioritize investments in R&D
and technology deployment
• Influence the focus of university-based research
• Provide guidance for government investment in emerging technologies
The complete report provides a full coverage of emerging and disruptive technologies across the electronics industry: Order 2015 iNEMI Roadmap today.