Innovative strategies, sensing and process chains for manufacturing optolectronics
Innovative strategies, sensing and process chains for increased quality, re-configurability, and recyclability of manufacturing optolectronics.
Optoelectronics constantly gain substantial popularity with surging applicability to the consumer electronic goods, solar energy, communications, LED, industrial laser, and other field. At present, the optoelectrical manufacturing is facing significant challenges in dealing with the evolution of the equipment, instrumentation and manufacturing processes they support. For example, the volatility of market demands intensified by the industry’s trends of increased customisation and individualisation. Such a trend combined with pressure to harness production costs imply that configurations need to change more frequently and dynamically. Besides, the global optoelectronics manufacturers are concentrated in a handful of countries or regions, such as China, Japan, Taiwan and the USA with the top-five manufacturer occupying around the 48% of the market.
Therefore, the European industry has to become more advanced through efficient and sustainable manufacturing processes in order to stay competitive. The European optoelectronics landscape is dominated by the so called “fabless” companies – no fabrication in-house– which represent around 90% of the industry. Due to the increased customisation requirements, adding to the complexity of planning and control of production systems, the manufacturing is only affordable when performed in many stages and in multiple locations. The designers develop the new products, while the fabrication takes place in another facility. Dr Antoine Muller, the CEO of ALPES, an IQONIC partner, stresses out that “Fabricators being specialised into certain parts is the result of the expensive and precision-demanding manufacturing of opto-electronics. As a result of the increasing market pressure to make significant reductions in the cost of manufacturing photonic components, Photonics Manufacturers are turning more and more to new design approaches, higher levels of device integration and the extensive use of automation for their next-generation device designs.”
It is clear that nowadays the opto-electrical manufacturing should introduce new processes and technologies towards digital, virtual, flexible, and resource-efficient factories. In particular, the introduction of automation typically improves process efficiency and yield, i.e. increase the quality by minimising the generation of defects. Moreover, reduced defects and increased yields, reduce the assembly costs in terms of nonmaterial expenses and scrap and rework costs respectively. Integration and Design for manufacturability techniques will introduce design rules and use of components that are inherently easy to manipulate with machines; reduction in the number and variety of assembly technologies; design for continuous-flow manufacturing; and self-registering components.