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Hong Kong Electronics Manufacturer Increases Efficiency Through RFID

PC Partner is employing a solution that automatically tracks the components used to assemble circuit boards, and shuts down the assembly process if it detects a potential mistake.
By Claire Swedberg
When a specific feeder is loaded into the machine, that machine's reader captures the feeder's tag ID number only when the tag comes within close proximity of the reader antenna. The reader then sends the feeder's tag ID to the TTC software, via a cabled connection to a PC connected to the Cogiscan-hosted back-end server, on which the software links the ID number with data regarding that particular feeder, including which reel is installed within it. The TTC software then triggers a green light on the PC's display screen to validate the feeders and components for the specific order at hand, or issues an alert and a stop command to the production equipment until the feeders can be removed and the correct feeders with the proper reels can be attached to the machine.

In addition, the TTC system software running on the server calculates the quantity of materials being used, based on the feeders and reels plugged into the machines, thereby maintaining an accurate real-time inventory of all components. It also sends warnings if a minimum quantity has been reached, thus enabling operators to prepare new feeders in advance, and to keep machine downtime to a minimum.

To date, PC Partner has used 8,000 tags on its feeders, which are currently being tracked at the machines on all 33 assembly lines.

"Future plans are in place to expand the scope of the system," says Vincent Dubois, Cogiscan's co-president, to use RFID tags and readers to track all materials received, as well as assembled products shipped from the facility.

Other circuit-board manufacturers employing Cogiscan's RFID-based solution include NBS Corp., located in Santa Clara, Calif. (see Circuit-Board Maker Adopts RFID).

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