Using Data-driven Analytics to Overcome Production Challenges and Enable a Smart Factory


The electronics industry is acutely aware of the manufacturing challenges faced because of a chronic skilled employee shortage. Job hopping and employee misalignment lead to high turnover, which further compounds the challenge. While leading industry organizations like IPC and SMTA are tackling the issue head-on with education programs and training initiatives, it is not enough. Equipment suppliers, including Koh Young Technology need to work diligently to hasten Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication standards to help the situation. Initiatives like the IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) and Hermes Standard underpin the efforts within the industry to develop standards to create a transparent factory floor.

These M2M communication standards, guided in part by Industry 4.0, are quickly altering the manufacturing process by improving metrics like first pass yield and throughput by applying autonomous process adjustments. Far beyond an automatic line changeover, this two-way communication with suppliers will allow the equipment to automatically adjust production parameters to increase board quality and lower costs by eliminating rework and scrap. As part of this mission, Koh Young Technology designed a software suite called KSMART, which is the foundation for its smart factory, while revolutionizing process optimization.

Measurement-based Inspection

Every electronics manufacturer, and most equipment suppliers, including automated inspection providers are looking to optimize the assembly process. However, it is difficult due to the limitations of 2D imaging, the former de facto industry standard. Not only is it difficult for 2D Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) systems to identify defects on curved and reflective solder joints, but 2D AOI systems simply do not generate reliable data. Every aspect of the 2D inspection process relies on contrast – not quantitative measurement. As such, 2D users must either repair or scrap defective boards, which increases costs and eliminates process improvements.

The introduction of 3D imaging to the inspection market solved many of the problems. By measuring components and solder joints, and then offering critical height information to the inspection algorithms, users could identify errors like pad overhang and insufficient solder. However, the validity of the measurement data remained questionable as most of the 3D AOI systems use “blob detection”

to find the component body. This technique is susceptible to external factors like board warp and component proximity. Finding the component body is the critical first step in the inspection process. If inaccurate, it will negatively affect the entire inspection sequence. Koh Young Technology has overcome this challenge by using true 3D technology to extract the component body data. [Image 1] In Zenith Series of 3D AOI systems from Koh Young Technology, a revolutionary parallel-computing engine processes true 3D measurement. While typical 2D inspection technologies combine real-time board warp compensation to increase inspection data accuracy, the Zenith series goes much further. Using patented shadow-free 3D moiré technology, the Zenith provides superior results by measuring every aspect of the component and solder joint, according to IPC-A-610 standards. Koh Young’s ability to generate a significant set of reliable measurement data gives rise to industry-leading, measurement-based KSMART analysis and optimization solutions.

Image 1: Koh Young uses True 3D measurement technology to locate the component body

Ground-breaking Transparency

In this hyper-competitive world, manufacturers place ever-challenging demands on process solutions. Manufacturers want to monitor and adapt the process to achieve zero defects by accessing all the data – anytime, anywhere. They must also cope with shorter life cycles, so inspection solutions should be able to collect and analyze a large amount of data to produce traceable results.

Likewise, the Koh Young KSMART analysis solution collects all inspection and measurement data from all equipment with its KSMART hub, and then provides the data anywhere within the network with an intuitive, web-based user interface. The beauty of this powerful analytical tool is traceability. Big Data is a foundation for Industry 4.0, so advanced inspection systems must evolve from simply judging “Pass/Fail” tools into highly intuitive, dynamic decision-making systems, which emphasizes the need for reliable, traceable data. KSMART ensures the highest levels of transparency by showing the line conditions, including machine configuration and software version, all the while providing the required documentation for changes to the job file, package, part, and more.

Users can quickly verify whether all lines are within the ideal conditions. If a variance occurs, the user can instantly upload optimized programs and inspection conditions using LM@KSMART (Library Manager) [Image 2]. The software module provides a complete central management solution for component libraries, programs, inspection conditions, and more. LM@KSMART combines all equipment into a single centralized library. Managers can trace and control all changes at the user- level. This control allows continuous data analysis and helps guide engineers in the right direction.

Image 2: Examples of the Koh Young LM@KSMART software module web interface

Eliminate the Bottleneck

Of course, maintaining quality, repeatable measurement data is not enough to realize a Smart Factory. The system must also instantly analyze and chart the data with relevant indicators like yield rate, NG (No Good) analysis, PPM analysis, Gage R&R, offset analysis, and more metrics that allow users to compare board performance and identify process deviations. Using real-time SPC@KSMART (Statistical Process Control), users can locate the exact defect origin by checking false calls and NG components from the dashboard, as well as evaluate and optimize default settings.

For instance, if the thickness was the major problem, users can click the component to view the analysis result and identify the root cause. The system will provide a measured component thickness X-bar chart captured with average, minimum, and maximum values, plus tolerance levels. [Image 3] If values often deviated from average values and tolerances are too tight, users can adjust the tolerance levels to minimize false calls. On the other hand, if the process was stable, operators can tighten the tolerance to prevent future escapes. The measurable data helps improve the process.

Image 3: X-bar chart for thickness of R1005 component

In the meantime, operators can review defects with real data from all lines with the OPO@KSMART (Offline Program Optimizer) module. This application simulates the results of any adjustments without disturbing production. Again, KSMART ensures reliability by allowing users to simulate the adjusted setting. Then, LM@KSMART (Library Manager) seamlessly deploys the optimized program(s) and inspection condition(s) to all connected production lines. These iterative actions can achieve continued process optimization based on real measurement data, not merely by user experience. Moreover, KSMART applications show the process improvements with statistics and charts. The benefits are real. With the use of OPO@KSMART, a user could achieve a 98 percent of false call reduction.

Manufacturers can also monitor line performance in real-time using RTM@KSMART (Real-time Monitoring). The software module tracks the machines in the factory, with metrics like the best performing machine yield and top five defects, plus charts reflecting yield, availability, X-bar, and sigma all in one page, manufactures can easily monitor line performance. For example, RMS@KSMART has significantly reduced false calls and eliminated unnecessary handling, while allowing one operator to monitor multiple lines with dozens of machines. Operators can focus on other critical line tasks.

Connecting Big Data

A single inspection system has limits and cannot manage and optimize a complete line in isolation. Knowing this consideration, Koh Young Technology has been working with printer and mounter partners to achieve total communication and streamline the surface mount line for a zero-defect future. Working with its KSMART partners, Koh Young has leveraged the true power of connectivity. Its M2M connectivity solution optimizes the process by exchanging real-time SPI and AOI measurement data with other machines in the production line. Koh Young systems feed real measurement data such as offset, volume, height, area, and warnings to other systems, while analyzing trends to optimize the process and identify trends. Combining KSMART modules gives unsurpassed performance. For example, when the system combines Link@KSMART and M2M@KSMART, the connected inspection systems automatically define correlations between the processes. [Image 4]

Image 4: Koh Young KSMART uses true 3D process measurement data to help realize a smart factory

Using this advanced communication, the Koh Young Zenith 3D AOI can feed corrected mounting position values to mounters, which ensures the pick and place machines mounts the components in the correct position. This feature improves process repeatability by automatically adjusting placements and identifying trends to make further positional corrections. Koh Young is aggressively working with other industry leading printer and mounter suppliers to empower connectivity and realize a smart factory.

Autonomous Process Optimization

Understanding the increasing importance of networked intelligent systems in the Smart Factory, Koh Young has been continuously testing its modular platforms with its KSMART partners. As such, it designed the modular platform for future growth and expansion. When Koh Young releases new software modules, a manufacturer can implement the upgrades as needed. Harnessing the power of the Koh Young Intelligent Platform (IP), KSMART extends beyond automated adjustment towards a comprehensive infrastructure for autonomous process optimization. Indeed, a Smart Factory is within reach with the Koh Young KSMART solution.

KSMART Process Optimizer (KPO) is a key deliverable from the collaborative projects with its KSMART partners. The software suite includes interlinking modules that exercise complex algorithms to develop closed-loop print process recommendations. Powered by its Intelligent Platform (IP) for adaptive learning, KPO has evolved far beyond its roots as a closed-loop print process tool to continuously monitor and adjust the process.

The enhanced KPO solution combines real-time print process data with SPI measurement data. There are currently three modules. Print Advisor Module (PAM) automatically performs DOEs designed to perform a detailed SPI result analysis using advanced diagnostic algorithms and noise filtering models, and then recommends the ideal print parameters. Printer Diagnostic Module (PDM), the second module, uses multiple anomaly detection algorithms to actively optimize the print process and further reduce false calls. The final module, called POM (Printer Optimizer Module), uses the Koh Young adaptive learning engine to generate models and fine-tune parameters. While each module provides inherent standalone process benefits, the combined power of the three modules ensures the highest process reliability and production flexibility without dedicated resources and expertise.

Increased Efficiency, Reduced Costs

There is always a drive to improve profitability. Manufacturers can eliminate the associated scrap or repair costs from defective boards by identifying the root cause and implementing process improvements with KSMART solution. Manufacturers can further reduce the return on investment (ROI) when LM@KSMART deploys stored programs and eliminates the fine-tuning typically required when changing over to a new product. Moreover, since operators do not fine-tune or monitor the process, managers can deploy them to other production areas. For example, instead of five operators running five SMT lines, one operator can handle all five lines using RMS@KSMART remotely. KSMART offers tangible benefits that satisfy real-world businesses need.


While the lack of skilled labor remains a challenge, Industry 4.0 and its associated benefits will help advance the industry. Koh Young Technology is focused on developing KSMART as a primary vehicle to enable the future of electronics manufacturing.

As the absolute No.1 market and technology leader, Koh Young is using its IP (Intelligent Platform) to achieve its vision with a focus on next-generation cooperative efforts that expand process capabilities and factory performance. To this end, the company has set up additional R&D centers worldwide to facilitate rapid progress and maintain its technological leadership and competitiveness. Koh Young can apply the IP to its current areas of expertise while paving the way into new markets and industries beyond SMT.

About Koh Young Technology Inc.

Koh Young Technology Inc., the leading 3D measurement-based inspection equipment and solutions provider, performs an essential role for quality control and process optimization across a growing set of industries including printed circuit board assembly, machining, semiconductor manufacturing, and various medical fields. In addition to corporate headquarters in Seoul, Korea, Koh Young has established sales and support offices in Germany, Japan, Singapore, China, and the United States. The local facilities ensure Koh Young maintains close communication and support, while providing a global network to support its customers.

For More Information

Koh Young America, Inc., 6150 W. Chandler, Blvd, Ste 39, Chandler, AZ 85226 +1.480.403.5000

Koh Young America Editorial Contact Brent Fischthal (Senior Manager, Americas Marketing & Regional Sales) +1.704.651.2860