Cookies Management
We use cookies to provide you with the best site experience.
Cookies Management
Cookie Settings
Cookies necessary for the correct operation of the site are always enabled.
Other cookies are configurable.
Essential cookies
Always On. These cookies are essential so that you can use the website and use its functions. They cannot be turned off. They're set in response to requests made by you, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms.
Analytics cookies
These cookies collect information to help us understand how our Websites are being used or how effective our marketing campaigns are, or to help us customise our Websites for you. See a list of the analytics cookies we use here.
Advertising cookies
These cookies provide advertising companies with information about your online activity to help them deliver more relevant online advertising to you or to limit how many times you see an ad. This information may be shared with other advertising companies. See a list of the advertising cookies we use here.


Overcoming Efficiency Hurdles in Electronics High-Mix Manufacturing with Offline Setup

May 16th, 2024
By Cogiscan's Experts
offline setup validation ems electronics pcba circuit board cogiscan ttc


In high-mix manufacturing environments, where product changeover is high, changeover efficiency is paramount. Each transition can lead to downtime on the line (where time is money), which is why many manufacturers have turned to offline setup as a solution. By moving feeder setup tasks offline and utilizing batch changeover methods with feeder exchange units, electronics manufacturers can minimize both the time and complexity associated with changeovers.

Understanding Offline Setup Control in Electronics (EMS)

The offline setup process is meticulous, involving the careful arrangement of materials into designated feeders and ensuring those feeders are correctly positioned within the specific slots of the feeder banks. Dictated by requirements outlined in the placement machine’s program, operators are responsible for ensuring the correct setup for the upcoming production job or set of jobs. Accuracy at this stage is paramount, as the entire changeover's success hinges on the precision of these preparatory steps.

Missteps during offline setup, such as putting the wrong component into the wrong slot, can have major negative effects during production. These errors can lead to avoidable stoppages in the manufacturing line and, more critically, to defects in the assembly process due to the use of incorrect parts. To avoid these costly errors, setup operators need a comprehensive system that offers clear, step-by-step instructions with validation checks. This control system should
offline setup explanation reels pcba circuit board cogiscan ttc

Enhancing Precision and Predictability with Technology

To streamline the offline setup process and reduce reliance on operator skill, advanced systems like Cogiscan's Setup Control Module are being used by electronics manufacturers for over 20 years. The module validates every element of the setup process—components, tooling, consumables, as well as the machine program— and includes an unified interface that simplifies validation across various machine types and brands.

Step-by-step instructions provide operators with the clarity needed to execute the setup correctly, whether they are working with an empty feeder bank or managing feeders from previous jobs. Standardizing this process also helps in training new operators, further reducing the risk of quality variabilities due to operators with differing skill levels.
operators offline setup electronics pcba circuit board cogiscan ttc

Initiating Offline Setup: Material and Equipment Preparation

At the start of offline setup for a new production batch, an operator will first pinpoint the specific materials, feeders, and feeder banks necessary for the job. Accurate, real-time information regarding the whereabouts of these items is essential, whether they're located in storage, on the production line, or elsewhere within the manufacturing environment. In instances where materials are housed within a storage tower, an automated request system is invaluable in order to seamlessly dispense the required materials. To ensure that these materials aren’t inadvertently ‘stolen’ – taken by someone else for a different production job –it’s critical that these materials are reserved – blocked for use until they are used by the offline setup task.
reels in placement machine offline setup electronics pcba circuit board cogiscan ttc

Guidelines for Precise Material Placement During Offline Setup

In executing offline setup, operators need straightforward visual guides for correctly placing materials. They must be able to easily identify the specific feeder for each material container, and for feeders with multiple tracks, get direction on the correct track for each component. Instructions are also needed for slotting the prepared feeder into the correct position within the feeder bank. Additionally, operators need details about the careful handling of critical components—those that are valuable, uncommon, or tracked for specific reasons, such as moisture sensitivity — to prevent any loss.

However, setup doesn’t always start with a blank slate, or empty feeder banks; existing feeders from prior setups are usually leftover in some of the slots. In these situations, operators need clear instructions to manage these existing feeders: determining whether to keep them in place, transfer them to a different slot, or remove them altogether. Cogiscan’s system achieves this through color-coded signals that distinctly instruct the action required for each feeder.
close up pcba component machine offline setup electronics pcba circuit board cogiscan ttc

Offline Setup Execution & Verification

Operators also need a way to communicate the setup details to the software system by scanning ID barcodes on the part containers, feeders, and their corresponding banks and slots. An ideal solution would be a scanner-integrated mobile app on a PDA as opposed to a PC workstation as a mobile device provides operators with the flexibility to move around freely. Additionally, to ensure the accuracy of the offline setup, it's crucial to perform specific validation checks during the process to safeguard against errors.


In conclusion, overcoming efficiency hurdles in high-mix manufacturing is a complex challenge, but with the implementation of offline setup, manufacturers can significantly reduce downtime and streamline the changeover process overall. Offline setup coupled with technology validation systems like Cogiscan's Setup Control Module, helps to better ensure precision and predictability. This system equips operators with clear instructions, real-time information, and validation tools necessary to execute setups flawlessly. Manufacturers using this system have successfully minimized errors, optimized production flow, and maintained a competitive edge in the dynamic landscape of high-mix manufacturing.
You might also like