Fully Automated Material Management for Building a Smarter Factory, Today

By Shirley Segev

As your manufacturing operation is moving to high-mix, low/mid volume with smaller and smaller lots while the cost of materials in your PCB assembly is rising, do you feel that your material management practices are holding your operation back, still stuck in old and slow technology? At Valor, we are aware of this challenge, which is why, as part of the Siemens Opcenter Execution Electronics solution, Valor is taking PCB manufacturing full-speed into the automated and digitalized factory era—now with paperless, fully automated material management.

Valor Material Management software seamlessly integrates with Inovaxe Smart Storage Solutions to automate and optimize storage and retrieval of materials across the factory. The reel-storage system automatically detects when reels are added or removed. It incorporates light-up alerts using sensors and LEDs deployed at every location, so that operators can proactively know when parts are required for retrieval. With the Smart Storage Solutions, hundreds of reels per square foot can be stored and accessed for parts in seconds. Reels are automatically retrieved in less than 4 seconds and returned in less than 8 seconds. This reduces kitting time from hours to minutes.

Each smart location is configured to perfectly fit a desired reel size, allowing factory managers to use every cubic inch without wasting any space. One controller unit can operate multiple carts or racks, allowing automated materials management to expand and increase capacity as needed.

Valor Material Management is also integrated with another innovative solution presented by Cybord. Cybord protects companies from infiltration of counterfeit or malicious hardware-cyber components into their products by using big-data, AI and in-line image processing on all the assembled components. Estimates are that 5 to 10 percent of components are counterfeit components. Cybord’s technology enables companies to test 100% of the components and gain an unparalleled level of quality, security, and reliability, reducing the return merchandise authorization (RMA) of products by more than 30%.

Cybord’s algorithm uses images taken by the pick-and-place-machine vision system and classifies them using advanced deep-learning methods. The algorithm is taught to detect forensic features in each component based on millions of images. It then authenticates them and assures they are malware-free.

Smart electronics shop floor - Fully automated material management

These new Industry 4.0-ready solutions add value to the industry leading Valor Material Management solution, which has been providing factories with just-in-time (JIT) material replenishment to lines for years. JIT enables significant reduction in inventory and costs compared to Kanban solutions.

Valor is the PCB industry’s end-to end software solution, covering the whole electronics enterprise from product design to the manufacturing shop-floor. Valor software covers all phases of PCB manufacturing from new product introduction to assembly and test.

We invite you to a demo with our partners Inovaxe and Cybord, and find out how Siemens brings PCB and electronics manufacturing into the digital age. Come visit us at IPC APEX, Hall D Booth #3223!

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at