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OptoFidelity Blog

5 min read

A buyer’s guide to production measurement automation

By Jere Paloniemi on 12/15/19 7:21 PM

Production is the key process in bringing the end user products into the market. For our customers, this involves production technology validation, traveling to the factories, meeting tight line ramp-up deadlines and ensuring that production costs are within the business case for the product. In a later phase, the focus moves into production line efficiency improvements and maintaining the systems. Equipment vendor capabilities and level of experience has significant influence on the level of required effort. This blog is outlining our experience for how to create successful projects, a checklist for the key ingredients.

Saying "Well planned is half done" makes perfect sense in measurement automation. In fact, the key for successful projects is to understand production automation targets, measurement, interfaces and delivery logistics. When setting up the project, this understanding provides a solid starting point for the project.

In general, production automation aims at generating value as improved compliance, cost level, quality of results, yield and overall efficiency:

  • Compliance: the key target of production measurement and calibration is to ensure that the manufactured units meet the product specifications, i.e. the product quality.
  • Cost level: automation provides tools for improving the line throughput and reducing the labor costs. Typically performance metrics are units per hour (UPH), resource level and CAPEX costs.
  • Quality of results: automation provides both enhanced accuracy and repeatability when compared to a manual or a semi-automated process, measured by Gage Repeatability & Reproducibility (GRR) metrics or similar.
  • Yield: test automation provides the data for the yield improvement (percentage of non-defective items of all produced items).
  • Overall efficiency is a combination of the above mentioned items, measured typically with Statistical Process Control (SPC) for continuous monitoring and development.

Successful projects have typically well-defined targets for the automation. The production automation targets provide priorities which have a big impact on the technological choices used in the station design. This target setting also enables possibly needed priority discussion already at the concept design phase to find the correct balance e.g., between UPH, measurement accuracy and cost. Having these discussions and setting achievable targets is important - no surprises should occur in the later phase of the project.

Measurement definition provides the purpose for the test system. This is typically defined in the form of a test list. A test list is created to establish understanding about the relevant phenomenon to be measured, the necessary measurement data for the test result (e.g., to define pass/fail thresholds) and a necessary level of test configurability. The test list is examined hand-in-hand with the production automation targets and performance targets such as the measurement accuracy, resolution and repeatability requirements. Measurement definition makes it possible to create a system concept:

  • To find and select the best-suited measurement method and sequence, the key operating principle for the measurement.
  • To screen and select the measurement instruments (e.g., camera, optics, illumination, and other sensors)
  • To define the actuators providing the required performance (e.g., motion accuracy)
  • To develop mechatronics 3D illustration about the system (including moving axis, measurement sequence)
  • To create concept description including functions of sub-modules and their interaction as a complete system

Interfaces define how the test system is operated and what the sequence of actions in each interface is – for a production line station the interfaces include:

  • Operator interface – how the operator interacts with the system, including system safety
  • Physical interfaces – including cabinet size and shape as well as electrical, pneumatics and data interfaces
  • Material handling - the way to move and physically interact with the device under test (DUT)
  • DUT communication - identify and interact with the DUT software or firmware
  • Measurement instruments and actuators – the equipment for control, actuation, sensing and data acquisition
  • Data analysis – analyzing the raw data to produce the measurement results
  • Reporting – providing the measurement results for the host system, e.g., factory data management or manufacturing execution system (MES)
  • Configuration – toolset for setting up the system, making calibrations and configuring the test list, pass/fail criteria and system parameters
  • Test sequence – the procedure to carry out the measurement sequence using all the interfaces

Well-defined and designed interfaces enable validation of system parts and the system as a whole. Having a well-thought-out sequence of actions is important for system reliability. Parallelism enables improved UPH e.g., by completing the analysis of previous DUT in parallel with measuring the next DUT. System level design is an area where the experience is very valuable; this enables performance, innovative designs, maintenance and use of proven technology platforms.

The purpose of delivery logistics is to create the demand-supply network for the station which is suited for the needs of factory locations and processes. Work at the factories is typically split into three phases: pre-production, line ramp-up and sustaining-mode production. Defining the delivery logistics to meet the demands in each phase is important – making it possible to meet the schedules and produce good quality prototypes and products. Delivery logistics involves:

  • Station manufacturing – parts lead times and availability, incoming quality check (IQC), assembly quality control, burn-in, testing and outgoing quality check (OQC), packing
  • Shipping – lead time for shipping and customs, delivery term used, cost level of tariffs, factory incoming shipments procedures
  • Pre-production builds – arrangements for tools, resourcing and access rights, on-site work for installing, setting up and calibrating the stations, developing the best fit test sequence and pass/fail thresholds, validating the station accuracy and repeatability
  • Production ramp-up – similar to pre-production but without development, focus on GRR for the stations to ensure station to station variations are within limits
  • Sustaining production – OSS including on-site and off-site support, station performance monitoring and improvements, spare parts, repairs, maintenance and periodical calibrations

Work at the factory is fast-paced. This is the point where everything comes together – including the product hardware and software and the stations in the production line. Experience in the delivery logistics helps quite a bit in preparing, making things run smoothly and dealing with unexpected changes.

OptoFidelity can deliver turnkey production measurement and calibration systems – this statement is backed by 100+ different purpose-built systems that OptoFidelity has developed for volume production. Our systems are designed to fulfill the customer-specific measurement needs and used by world-leading manufacturers of smartphones, tablet computers, AR/VR devices, laptops, vehicle infotainment systems and industrial smart machinery.

Based on several years of experience, OptoFidelity has developed standard products and technology platforms to efficiently combine software, robotics, camera technologies and sensors to create demanding test systems. This gives a head start for the projects as the OptoFidelity platform frequently provides a large part of the needed overall implementation.

We at OptoFidelity are always trying to find ways to improve our working methods to support our customers’ needs – we have built our expertise and capabilities since 2005. Currently, OptoFidelity provides operations and service support for an installed base of 5,000+ pieces of measurement equipment in China, Vietnam, Taiwan and the USA. Our philosophy is to work close to our customers in both R&D and production, and we have design teams in the USA, Finland and China who are easy to work with. OptoFidelity provides delivery logistics with test equipment manufacturing in China and Europe. As a team, we have special expertise in mechatronics, optical metrology, signal processing and software as well as system design for production equipment. Together with special application expertise for measuring smartphone sensors, AR/VR technology, displays and touch UI, we can provide unique value for our customers.

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4 min read

Experiences from the reverse logistics of smartphones – Second-hand smartphones are a safe buy, test system provider OptoFidelity verifies

By Ilmo Lounasmaa on 2/10/19 9:00 AM

Is it safe to buy a refurbished smartphone? This is one of the most common questions written to Google when a consumer is considering buying a used smartphone. “Are they any good?” “Will they function well?” “Can I trust that it works?” The answer is a resounding “Yes,” if you ask OptoFidelity. “Based on our experience from the reverse logistics of smartphones, the quality of second-hand phones for sale is excellent, especially if you buy them from established suppliers in the business,” Hans Kuosmanen, SVP from OptoFidelity, confirms.

OptoFidelity is a well-known automated testing solution provider for smartphone manufacturers, providing various smartphone test solutions for more than ten years. Likewise, OptoFidelity is as experienced in the reverse logistics of smartphones, partnering with leading companies in the business, such as FutureDial. OptoFidelity™ Fusion has already been in operational use in reverse logistics of smartphones for two years. The test solution automatically recognises over 100 different smartphone models from most of the globally known brands.

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4 min read

Reverse logistics of smartphones – our experiences in refurbished smartphone testing

By OptoFidelity on 8/30/18 4:26 PM

Refurbished smartphone testing is not possible with traditional testing approach. Novel technology and thinking is needed in order to overcome the challenges. Especially you can see the problem, when you are trying to automate Android functional testing for refurbished phones.

There are 2.3B Android smartphones in use globally (*). And more and more smartphones are getting a second life as well. This means reselling the phone to another user when the primary user wants to get an upgrade. This reverse logistics business requires testing as well. If you want to sell it with a good price, the phone must work well.

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3 min read

Smartphone testing solutions by OptoFidelity

By Ilmo Lounasmaa on 8/13/18 4:20 PM

We have been delivering smartphone testing solutions for years. It has been part of our company offering from day one. The testing of smartphones includes quite a lot. In this blog I will showcase some of the most important areas where we are the best in the world.

First of all, I believe it might be good to split the value chain of the smartphone business a little bit. In our company we are defining four major segments in the smartphone business: 1) Component validation, 2) Product development, 3) Manufacturing and 4) After-sales.

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3 min read

A new product launch and how to be proud of your accomplishment

By Ville Wallenius on 5/3/17 3:39 PM

Creating a new product concept from scratch is like a thrilling voyage. It’s  at least a combination of a vision of the destination, good itinerary, guts and good luck. And the final result, alive and kicking product, can be as rewarding as the dream journey. When developing and launching one of our latest products, OptoFidelityTM Fusion, I really thought it was like winning the Amazing Race. And that’s a lot to say – for a Finn.

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