Integration issues in the development of a modelling and simulation tool for low volume high-complexity electronics manufacture

In order to design and implement the information systems and modules that could comprise an “industrial strong” knowledge-based tool, links to shop floor systems containing real-time production data and PCA customer information (e.g. bill of materials (BOM), CAD drawings) are required. Details of the issues of implementing the tool in an industrial organisation and the integration of various data sources (e.g. “in-house” developed systems, enterprise resource planning systems, ad-hoc developed databases, machine data and CAD data) are presented in this paper. The application of the CLOVES system in an industrial setup highlights the difficulties in integrating information from design as CAD data and shows how these setbacks could be overcome if the electronics industry were to adopt a common CAD assembly information exchange platform. Hence, this paper concludes that existing automation tool manufacturers should focus exclusively on developing generic connections by adopting industry standards that can facilitate the deployment of “plug and play” tools. This standardisation could in turn help software developers, to provide the electronics industry with more integrated systems that communicate better among loosely coupled information systems and avoid depending on extensive time consuming manual data input.