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TPCA promotes PCB-ECI standardization

The production and equipment of the PCB lack a unified communication format, which has been the bottleneck of the industrial intelligence, and the Taiwan Printed Circuit Association (TPCA) established in 2015, reference to SECS/GEM which has been in the semiconductor industry for many years as the basis for communication. After six expert meetings, it was simplified to PCB-ECI, which meets the needs of the industry, as a format for two-way communication between PCB board plants and equipment.

In 2016, the Automation Committee was established under the International Association of Semiconductor Equipment and Materials Industry (SEMI) to make PCB-ECI internationalization efforts. After three standard proposals and technical defenses, it finally passed the global technology voting in 2018 and became the official standard document of SEMI in September this year.

At the launch meeting of the PCB-ECI equipment networking demonstration team at the beginning of this year, TPCA said that at present, 85% of the PCB operators are in the state of single machine automation, in which most of the equipment production materials of large PCB factories are connected, but the state of isolated islands are still between the various processes. Small and medium-sized PCB factories are willing to invest in intelligent manufacturing, but do not know where to start, or worry that the cost is too high and prohibitive. So TPCA hopes to make it easier for Taiwanese PCB operators to enter smart manufacturing through the launch of the PCB-ECI device communication agreement.

It is understood that in the past, PCB production was manually used to set schedules and change lines, the equipment utilization rate was low, and the production materials were all manually copied. The abnormal situation analysis was difficult, and the correctness of the problem detection could not be ensured. From the perspective of equipment, the abnormality of the machine can not be discovered in the first time. Only when the product is detected back can the problem be known, resulting in too long a line stoppage, which causes cost waste and capacity drop.

In addition, the circuit board processes are complicated and the device networking specifications are different. The data of each process production and machine can't be integrated, and the data analysis of the single point device can't show its value. After importing the production equipment that can be connected to the network, the future production data can be recorded and monitored in real time, pay attention to the production status and automatic line change reminder at any time, and diagnose and warn the equipment abnormally in advance, and prepare the materials in advance to ensure the production capacity is maintained high dynamic rate.

TPCA hopes to accelerate the upgrade of smart manufacturing in Taiwan PCB industry through the standardization of PCB-ECI communication protocol, and it can also arm and seize business opportunities ahead of the upcoming 5G field. TPCA also expressed the hope that through this standardized communication framework, the communication costs between board manufacturers and equipment manufacturers will be reduced, and the semiconductor industry will be used as a teacher to accelerate the progress of intelligent manufacturing in the industry.