Implementing Robust Bead Probe Test Processes
Via-In Pad Plated Over (VIPPO) Design Considerations
Screening of Lower Melting Point Pb-Free Alloys
Condensation Testing - A New Approach
Case Study for Improving the PCB Print Process Using Factory Data
DFX on High Density Assemblies
Improved SMT and BLR of 0.35 mm Pitch Wafer Level Packages
Wetting and Solidification of Pure Tin on Polycrystalline Intermetallic Substrates
Latest Industry News
MacBook, iPad Production Delayed as Supply Crunch Hits Apple
Microsoft unveils liquid cooling solution for datacenters
A Theory of (Almost) Everything
Toyota unveils new models in advanced driver-assist technology push
Tech Giants Enter Their Chips in the Race for Self-driving Cars
What will self-driving trucks mean for truck drivers?
4 Great Things That Happened When We Went Remote
iPhone 13 is going to be worth the wait: All the major upgrades we're looking forward to

i4.0, Are We Really Ready?

i4.0, Are We Really Ready?
This paper evaluates SMT production and inspection machines and attempts to define their potential to act as ‘smart sensors’, the first building blocks towards i4.0.
Analysis Lab


Authored By:

Keith Bryant
Keith Bryant Consultancy
Johannesburg, South Africa


The Internet of Things, as a concept, was officially named in 1999. One of the first examples of an Internet of Things was a Coca Cola machine, located at the Carnegie Melon University. Local programmers would connect by Internet to the refrigerated appliance and check to see if there was a drink available, and if it was cold, before making the trip.

The term "Industrie 4.0" was used for the first time in 2011 at the Hannover Fair. In October 2012 the Working Group on Industry 4.0 presented a set of implementation recommendations to the German federal government.

Industry 4.0" refers to the concept of factories in which machines are augmented with wireless connectivity and sensors, connected to a system that can visualise the entire production line and make decisions on its own. Industry 4.0 fosters what has been called a "smart factory". Within modular structured smart factories, cyber-physical systems monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world and make decentralized decisions. Over the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems communicate and cooperate with each other and with humans in real-time both internally and across organizational services offered and used by participants of the value chain.

So, it’s been around for a while and is well defined with the keys being connectivity and ‘smart sensors’ to monitor and feedback data, we also see that this is NOT ‘lights out factory’ as it also mentions communicating and cooperating with humans, but not at what level.

This paper will evaluate SMT production and inspection machines and attempt to define their status and potential to act as ‘smart sensors’, the first building blocks towards i4.0, this will lead to the answer to the question in the title.


While some areas of PCBA manufacture are moving towards i4.0 there are some major obstacles to overcome before we get to a full lights out factory.

By combining In-Line and At-Line inspection we are able to improve first time pass yield and monitor line build quality in ‘real time’, this reduces costs and improves efficiency. However operators and technicians are still required for the process, but they are used very efficiently and make a significant contribution to the cost down.

As there is still a strong drive from the customers and the equipment companies i4.0 will move closer to full implementation, but currently the linking of in-line and at-line technologies gives us the biggest ROI in this arena.

Initially Published in the SMTA Proceedings


No comments have been submitted to date.

Submit A Comment

Comments are reviewed prior to posting. You must include your full name to have your comments posted. We will not post your email address.

Your Name

Your Company
Your E-mail

Your Country
Your Comments

Board Talk
Solder Paste Volume for BGA Rework
Reflow For Rigid Flex
Delay Before Cleaning Partial Assemblies
Problems With Starved "J" Lead Joints
Solder Paste Transfer Efficiency - What/Why
Can a CTE Mismatch Cause Reliability Problems?
Going Beyond Your Solder Paste Work Life
Issues Mixing Silicone and Acrylic Conformal Coatings
Ask the Experts
Bottom Terminated Components and Vias
Is Solder Mask Considered an Insulator
Reduce Glare During Assembly
BGA BAll Sheer Testing
Components Jumping Around During Reflow
Floor Life of MSD Parts
QFN Open Solder Joints
Delamination Causing Scrap