Baking ovens are frequently used in printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing, usually after printing, soldering, or coating as a curing process. The semi-finished products are baked at staged temperatures on their length—different products and processes require different baking profiles. Traditionally, a baking process is operated manually by a technician, which means if something goes wrong, it could ruin the whole batch of semi-finished products, and the financial loss could be considerable. Worse still, as traditional PCB baking equipment are not connected to a network and computers, there are no complete records kept on a database for tracking and identifying issues.
The customer in this case is Taiwanese electronic company, who provide OEM services for micro modules and custom semiconductor packages, as well as PCB assembly. Seeking to automate their PCB baking process and improve asset management, they asked for help from the automation company MiRLE, and together they decided to use Advantech’s hardware and software solution in constructing their PCB baking automation and process monitoring system.
Using Advantech’s solution, baking oven operators at PCB production line only have to configure baking profiles and save them in the DB in advance, then use a portable scanner to scan the barcode on each batch of semi-finished boards pending a baking run. The scanning will list corresponding production information of the batch, such as serial numbers and required temperature portfolios, and the system will automatically initiate the baking process and adjust temperatures at different stages according to the corresponding baking portfolio; all without the need for manual operations throughout the baking process.
Each baking oven is controlled and monitored by an intelligent edge server (a compact powerful PC provided by Advantech), which will implement the baking process and keep records of all baking runs and details for future review. The data is connected to a backend server and integrated with the company’s Manufacturing Execution System (MES), making the baking automation and monitoring system an important cornerstone of the company’s efforts in upgrading their operations to an Industry 4.0 manufacturing environment based on IoT-enabled intelligent automation.