PCB industry is a labor intensive and capital intensive industry. However, under the circumstances when the advantage of large population is lessening coupled with the continual rising of labor cost and downturn of the economy in China, there is no doubt that it is a good breakout for the domestic enterprises to achieve transformation and upgrading through robots in order to increase the factory’s automatic production capacity, reduce labor cost and increase production efficiency and product quality.
Ever since the first unmanned factory was born 30 years ago in Japan, unmanned factories are becoming more and more common across the world. In the north American regions, full automated production line for PCB is developed to meet the needs of small-scale production. By adopting digital ink-jet printing machines to replace the traditional formation of image with light, consuming time is greatly reduced and the cost of raw materials & labor are also cut down, which is also in accordance with the requirement of green manufacturing. By entering digital ink-jet printing machines from the CAM file of PCB, it only takes five minutes for the formation of PCB prototype’s image to the following carving or coating process, which is very flexible. Nevertheless, there is still gap between the PCB manufactured by employing spraying printing technology and the PCB manufactured with the traditional method on the basis of optimal image, metal plating and carving in terms of electrical specifications, which is therefore, needs further improvement in the future.
Meanwhile, PCB Quote factories in China are not resigned to playing second fiddle. There is one factory who has reduced the number of workers working in the intelligent workshop from 1500 to 350 while raising the work efficiency by 48% approximately with each month saving by up to RMB 3.8million without having any impact on the annual output value of one billion after the intelligent workshops are put into production. Besides, the factory also invested into RMB 0.35 billion into replacing workers with robots, increasing the value of the company by 30%. In the old saying “You can use robot to replace workers if there are not enough ones”, this kind of replacement is given new meanings. It is never a matter of replacement but a kind of improvement and innovation, which is clearly advantageous to mass production though there is still some gaps need to be bridged in terms of automatic applications in some working procedure.
In addition to reducing labor cost, to raise the automatic production capacity of the PCB factory can also shorten production time and speed up lead time. Adoption of mechanical arms and digital processing in the real manufacturing process, such as, laser drilling, laser direct imaging, ink-jet printing, flying probe testing, can achieve production without illuminating photographic plate and work fixture, so that production cycle is shorten to meet the demands of customers and gain more competitive advantages.
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