An intelligent approach for improving Printed Circuit Board Assembly Process Performance in Smart Manufacturing

Wah Cheong Vincent FUNG, Kam Chuen Yung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The process of printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) involves several machines, such as a stencil printer, placement machine and reflow oven, to solder and assemble electronic components onto printed circuit boards (PCBs). In the production flow, some failure prevention mechanisms are deployed to ensure the designated quality of PCBA, including solder paste inspection (SPI), automated optical inspection (AOI) and in-circuit testing (ICT). However, such methods to locate the failures are reactive in nature, which may create waste and require additional effort to be spent re-manufacturing and inspecting the PCBs. Worse still, the process performance of the assembly process cannot be guaranteed at a high level. Therefore, there is a need to improve the performance of the PCBA process. To address the aforementioned challenges in the PCBA process, an intelligent assembly process improvement system (IAPIS) is proposed, which integrates the k-means clustering method and multi-response Taguchi method to formulate a pro-active approach to investigate and manage the process performance. The critical process parameters are first identified by means of k-means clustering and the selected parameters are then used to formulate a set of experimental studies by using the multi-response Taguchi method to optimize the performance of the assembly process. To validate the proposed system, a case study of an electronics manufacturer in the solder paste printing process was conducted. The contributions of this study are two-fold: (i) pressure, blade angle and speed are identified as the critical factors in the solder paste printing process; and (ii) a significant improvement in the yield performance of PCBA can be achieved as a component in the smart manufacturing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Business Management
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2020


  • Smart manufacturing
  • k-means clustering
  • multi-response Taguchi method
  • printed circuit board assembly
  • process improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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