RFID Technology Used to Reduce Error Rates in SMT Production

Electronic technology and equipment developer, HARTING, has introduced a new RFID based SMT solution, that allows an SMT production line to communicate with Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) to store all relevant production data. The Auto-ID RFID-4-SMT solution reduces error rates, radically simplifies the duties of documentation and is the basis for automated PCB production runs into lot size 1.​

When producing the raw printed circuit board, a small UHF RFID chip is installed in the blank or mounted on the component later. As of now, production data can be written and read on the RFID chip in the production process at every station. Special events, such as malfunctions within a production machine, can also be stored.

HARTING uses UHF RFID technology to make this possible. Implementation is easily possible thanks to the coaxial cable based Ha-VIS LOCFIELD antenna and the flexible UHF RFID Reader Ha-VIS RF-R350 based on the MICA platform. The antenna array follows a coaxial conductor and enables communication at full production speed with multiple PCBs in a single PCB de-paneling process.

The reader and antenna can be easily integrated into new and old systems. The compact design and the high degree of protection IP67 also makes it easier to retrofit. Full technical integration of the data into the production facilities is possible at any time but is not absolutely necessary.

Thanks to the modular and open software architecture of the UHF RFID reading and writing device Ha-VIS RF R350, the data can be preprocessed directly in the reader. Data management complies with the ISO standards and the GS1 standards established for goods traffic in trade. This includes not only the ID of the PCB itself, but also the process and production data which is stored in the so-called user memory of the RFID chips. Everything is transparent and is therefore easy for third parties to use later as well.

Using the ID Characteristics of the PCB in the Complete Production Life Cycle

Once a printed circuit board has been equipped with the UHF RFID technology, it can be used for the whole service life of the PCB. The possibility of group capture of multiple circuit boards at once even without visual contact, i.e. capture through foils and cardboard packages also predestines the technology for warehouse and logistics processes. Moreover, the information can be retrieved even after the circuit board is already in the application. Provided the enclosure is not completely made of metal and certain physical basic concepts are adhered to, the information contained in the RFID chip can be used and updated. The UHF RFID technology is available up until disposal of the printed circuit board and can be used to make and improve many applications.