Interview: Brian D’Amico, President, MIRTEC USA
We have some really superb technology and software at MIRTEC. Let’s start with the MV6 Omni. It is fitted with a tri-sensor, tri-view system. Can you explain a little about what that is?
At MIRTEC, we pioneered what is called a digital multi-frequency moiré. What that has is two different frequen-cies and those two frequencies are used to characterize devices that are zero to five millimeters tall. Well, the industry is not that perfect. There are devices that are taller as well. As devices get more and more dense, the taller devices are closer to the smaller devices. So what we configured the systems with what we call the digital tri-frequency moiré. It’s an industry first. What this allows us to do is make each one of our projectors capable of projecting up to three frequencies, which allows us to characterize from any angle from zero to 25 millimeters tall.
So can it scan in three different directions to capture every component?
It’s not so much the directions, because when you are talking about frequencies, it’s a frequency pattern that we are putting out. It is basically a line pattern we are using to characterize devices. The closer the lines are together, the smaller the device you can charac-terize with that line pattern. As you start expanding that line pattern, you can characterize larger devices. Each one of the projectors has low-, medium-, and high-frequency. On our four projector system, we are capturing 48 images, which is a lot of data. We did just intro-duce a prototype system, the Omnivison 2.0 Head. We always want to be the most technologically advanced company out there. This machine blows the doors off everyone else. It is the highest-spec system in the world. This machine has eight projectors with three frequencies per projector. We can capture up to 96 images, which is a lot of data for charac-terizing a PCB.
It must require a lot of power to crunch that data?
It does. A lot of power. The lights may dim a bit, but it works very, very well [smiles].
The other machine here is the Intelli-Pro System, which is a brand new system for automatically teaching boards.
That’s very exciting. Tell us about it?
Intelli-Pro is intelligent-programing. It is our automatic program generating software. What this allows us to do is take the Gerber information and marry it with centering information. From there we basically program the PCB automatically. It is a prototype system that will proba-bly be available in the third-quarter this year and it will enable us to minimize programming time. Once you are able to program the board, you can then move onto debugging. To give you a demon-stration how this works, we have our demonstration board here with probably 20 different types of components. So now we will turn on our automatic program generation software. This is using ATT, which is our standard programming software. We bring in the XML file we got from the Gerber information. It then scans and characterizes each component.
So is it identifying these against your components library?
No, its looking at each component and finding it in 3D. It has no idea what the component type is. Once it sees the com-ponent, it locks in on it. It now knows the length, width, height. It setup co-planarity automatically, solder automatically and it does this for SOTs, SOT 23s, SOICs. It is programming the board autonomously.
Is there a limitation on component size or device?
No, not at all. As long as it is within the FOV, it is going to be able to program it. This board, which normally takes 40 min-utes to program, took under two minutes here. [continues demonstration] We’ve actually taught all these devices. We’ve automatically built a library of compo-nents from the 3D information. Again, this is a prototype system, so there is a lot more to be done with it.
I think it is really important that customers understand that when you are buying a machine, you are buying a relationship with an organization. I think it is key that you have a very clear insight as to the technology road map the company is going to be providing. We’ve always had the best sensor technology, the best hard-ware, the best software out there. It’s always a good idea to show customers where the business is going because, quite frankly, you’re starting a relationship that is going to last five to 10 years. With this Intelli-Pro software, I believe it’s a game changer in the industry and it is my pleasure to show customers where we are going with this.
Just to round off the portfolio, you’ve got your Intelli-Sys system, which is really for your smart-factory, Industry 4.0 control. Can you tell us a little about how that works?
Intelli-Sys, which is actually our Intelligent Factory Automation System. It is an all-encompassing system, a
suite of software we use. We also use Connectivity. Connectivity is between not only our AOI systems and suite of soft-ware, but also pick-and-place machines, screen printers, and ovens. The whole goal to Industry 4.0 is it starts out with connectivity – you need to connect with all the different parts of the SMT line. From there, we need to get data from these machines. There are some data we are going to be able to use, some data we don’t use. By gathering the data into our intelligent factory automation solutions, our goal is to maximize the efficiency of the SMT line, give customers a clear window into their process, and help them build boards with higher quality.
We’ve always had the best sensor technology, the best hardware, the best software out there. It’s always a good idea to show customers where the business is going because, quite frankly, you’re starting a relationship that is going to last five to
Are you bringing full-traceability of the line or defects or any bottlenecks in the line?
Absolutely. What you can do once you have all the data from the SMT line, you can look at your efficiency, you can find out where your weaknesses are. We’re talking border line A.I., artificial intelligence, the more data we collect, the more intelligent the system becomes. The whole goal here is for the entire industry is using big data. Big data means you are collecting a lot of data from customers – globally. This maximizes your A.I. capability. The more information you have, the more the system can actually learn from things. Once you know where your fall backs are – where you are losing efficiency – that should be glaring to the manufacturing engineer, as to where the process broke-down, what needs to be done to maximize your efficiency. Once again, it comes down to data. That’s the first step, getting all the data. The second step is trying to make intel-ligent, actionable data out of that. And do it in such a way that the operator can really understand it.
Absolutely correct. [smiles] You’ve done this before, I can tell.
It is almost impossible to keep up with the amount of changes that is going on out there in this industry at the moment. It is also happening at a time when the industry is on a real high. It’s fantastic. Brian, it’s been a pleasure as always. Thank you for joining us. –TREVOR GALBRAITH