Unlocking AI Advancements in Manufacturing Inspection: Driving Innovation with Koh Young

Dr. Brian Kang, Head of AI & Software Development at Koh Young Research America Brent A. Fischthal, Head of Global Marketing at Koh Young Technology.

AI Revolutionizing Manufacturing

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a game-changer in various industries, and manufacturing is no exception. With the goal of making machines smarter, AI has found its way into factories, where it promises to revolutionize operations and drive efficiency to new heights. In the Surface Mount Technology (SMT) industry, where skilled labor shortages and the need for increased productivity are pressing concerns, the integration of AI technologies holds immense promise. Inspection companies like Koh Young are leading the charge in leveraging AI to transform manufacturing inspection processes.

Challenges and Opportunities in the SMT Industry

The SMT industry faces unique challenges, including a shortage of skilled labor and the need for increased efficiency and flexibility in production processes. While efforts by industry organizations like IPC and SMTA aim to address these challenges through education and training initiatives, the integration of AI technologies presents an opportunity to automate and optimize manufacturing processes further.

Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication, driven by the principles of Industry 4.0, is playing a pivotal role in revolutionizing manufacturing processes. Inspection companies are using AI to harness the power of large-scale datasets generated by advanced 3D metrology systems. By employing AI algorithms, these companies can derive actionable insights from the data, paving the way for smarter manufacturing processes.

The Value of Accurate 3D Data

Central to the success of AI solutions in manufacturing inspection is input data quality. Inspection companies are pioneering the use of AI to enhance inspection results, applying accurate 3D measurement data alongside traditional 2D images. Unlike conventional 2D Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) systems, which struggle to identify defects on curved or reflective surfaces, modern inspection systems equipped with 3D measurement capabilities provide more reliable data. By combining measurement and process data collected from various sources, inspection companies can develop advanced AI features powered by robust datasets.

Despite the potential benefits of AI in manufacturing inspection, the industry faces challenges associated with small data. These challenges include strict inspection criteria, imbalanced datasets, and the need for adaptable solutions. Inspection companies like Koh Young are actively addressing these challenges by adopting cutting-edge AI technologies and analytical approaches.

Koh Young’s Innovative Solutions

Koh Young has developed several innovative solutions that highlight the power of AI in manufacturing inspection. One such solution is the Koh Young Auto Programming (KAP) system. KAP utilizes deep learning methods based on true 3D data to autonomously propose inspection conditions. By analyzing 3D measurement data, KAP significantly reduces job preparation time by up to 70 percent, making it an ideal solution for high-mix, low-volume, or time-sensitive applications.

Additionally, Koh Young’s Process Optimizer (KPO) offers AI-driven solutions for optimizing printing and mounting operations. The KPO Printer solution includes modules such as Printer Diagnosis, Printer Advisor, and Printer Optimizer, which utilize complex algorithms to develop closed-loop print process recommendations. By combining real-time printing and SPI (solder paste inspection) measurement data, KPO Printer actively improves the printing process, reducing false calls and enhancing process reliability.

Similarly, the KPO Mounter solution includes modules such as Mounter Diagnosis and Mounter Optimizer (Feedback and Feedforward), which identify internal issues and proactively provides optimal offset values to minimize defects. By applying accurate measurement-based inspection data from Koh Young AOI machines, KPO Mounter ensures optimal performance and minimizes production errors.

urthermore, the KSMART solution from Koh Young integrates various AI technologies while managing all incoming and outgoing data to provide advanced support across various manufacturing processes. From production preparation to optimization and maintenance, KSMART enhances system performance and reduces reliance on manual intervention. By using AI algorithms, KSMART enables manufacturers to achieve greater efficiency and flexibility in their operations.

Matric Group Case Study

Matric Group, a leading electronics manufacturer, implemented Koh Young’s AI-driven solutions to enhance its operations by leveraging the right inspection solutions resulting in significant improvements in efficiency, yield, and quality. Matric invested in a comprehensive suite of inspection equipment, including SPI (Solder Paste Inspection), pre-reflow AOI, and post-reflow AOI.

By installing SPI and both pre- and post-reflow AOI on their SMT lines, Matric significantly enhanced its capabilities, pushing yield past 98%. The pre-reflow AOI identifies issues such as skewed or misplaced components, preventing errors before soldering, resulting in significant cost savings. Patrick Stimpert, VP of Operations, highlights the immediate yield improvement, moving from 80-85% to over 98% in final yields and first pass yields. Root cause data from inspection machines helps in the continuous improvement of processes with full traceability, driving quality assurance at every stage of the production line. 

Matric utilizes KSMART process control software for real-time monitoring, optimization, and analysis. KSMART provides a single dashboard accessible from anywhere, allowing a single operator to manage multiple inspection stations and gain insights into the performance of each line. The data collected from inspections allows Matric to determine root causes, driving constant and continual improvement in programming and setting up jobs. This data-driven approach increases overall efficiency in production, reducing the constant percentage of jobs going to rework, thereby minimizing the opportunity for defects. 

Operators appreciate the ease of use and efficiency of the Koh Young machines, allowing easy program retrieval and switching between programs. KSMART software, appreciated by Liisa, allows for the creation of color-coded dashboards that show real-time performance, enabling quick identification of defects or issues. Matric and Koh Young are working together to build a system that aligns with Matric’s vision of “quicker, faster, cheaper, and better, all at the same time!” The investment in Koh Young equipment has significantly improved quality and performance. Through these methods, Matric ensures quality, efficiency, and reliability in their manufacturing processes. By combining data-driven decision-making with advanced inspection technology, they continue to move towards their vision of delivering high-quality products quickly and efficiently. Read more about Matric Customer Success.

Future Prospects

The integration of AI technologies holds immense promise for the future of manufacturing inspection. Inspection companies like Koh Young are at the forefront of driving innovation in this space, leveraging AI to address the evolving needs of the industry. By investing in research and development and fostering global collaboration, companies like Koh Young are poised to lead the way in using AI for transformative change in the manufacturing sector. As the industry continues to evolve, AI-powered solutions will play a crucial role in shaping the future of electronics manufacturing and beyond.