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Interview With Mr. Vincent Tang, Regional Vice President of Asia in Epicor

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Mr. Vincent Tang, Regional Vice President of Asia in Epicor on his views on Industry 4.0 megatrends in Southeast Asia.

1. In your opinion, what are the top three megatrends that are shaping Industry 4.0 in Southeast Asia?

Industry 4.0 is a hot topic in Southeast Asia, North Asia as well as regions outside of Asia such as the U.S. The term originated in Germany and is known by different names globally. For example, in China it is known as “Made In China 2025” and in the U.S it is known as smart manufacturing.

The trends shaping Industry 4.0 does not just involve ERP systems, it involves manufacturing execution systems, the extraction of data and its translation into meaningful information, big data, product lifecycle management (PLM) and the integration of robotics into processes. This means that Industry 4.0 is a long journey and companies begin their journeys at different points. For example, some companies may begin first with the implementation of an ERP system while others may not.

In Southeast Asia, Industry 4.0 is encouraged by government support through means such as grants and funding. This has allowed the region to advance in terms of the manufacturing technologies.

2. What are the key challenges that prevent manufacturers in Southeast Asia from digitalising and integrating artificial intelligence as well as data science into their manufacturing processes?

Retaining and attracting talent is the top challenge that prevents manufacturers from digitalising. In factories that are not fully automated, factors such as the increased amount of paperwork and high surrounding temperatures and harsh external environments may contribute to staff turnovers.

Additionally, the integrated implementation of automation is a challenge to some manufacturers in the region. This can occur because manufacturers may implement automation as a phase by phase process instead of as an integrated solution. For example, the accountancy department may be automated first before the inventory control department is automated.

Finally, manufacturers may find it challenging to successfully implement ERP systems. This could be because the successful implementation of ERP systems involves more than one key user, as it is a team effort. One that involves more than monetary investments and individual contributions. For mid-market companies, they possess limited ERP resources and budgets for ERP implementation and also require ERP systems to be installed in a short period of time – typically within six to nine months. These companies also tend to require flexibility.

3. How do you suggest that the above challenges be solved?

Departments can be integrated to increase the opportunities for rapid decision making and for different issues to be highlighted.

Productivity can also be increased due to the shortage of labour globally, especially in China which is also the largest manufacturer in the world. Although labour costs in China used to be lower, factors such as the one child policy has caused labour shortages and increased labour costs. While in Southeast Asia labour shortages are less severe and labour costs are cheaper, as in the case of countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.

Overall, the solution that is applied needs to be an integrated end to end solution. For example, processes that range from manufacturing to scheduling to finances have to be integrated. The solution that is applied has to also be multi-dimensional, multi-language based and focused on multi-localisation. This is because of the differing regulations in different countries that would require localised solutions to cater to it.

4. In 5 to 10 years time, how do you think the manufacturing industry in Southeast Asia will evolve?

The industry will continue to grow. This is because of the China-US trade war, as a lot of manufacturing companies are considering subcontracting their manufacturing operations to countries outside of China, such as Vietnam, to overcome restrictions when it comes to exporting to the U.S. This can be seen in the case of South Korean manufacturer, Samsung, which has moved its operations to Vietnam.

Thus, in Southeast Asia, manufacturing will continue to grow and this will be facilitated by Industry 4.0 and infrastructural developments such as the Belt and Road Initiative that will connect Bangkok and China via a high speed train.

5. What are your thoughts on the Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific event? Do you think this is the right time for an event like this?

The event occurred at just the right time. Different countries are at different stages of their development and the delegates that attend the event are keen to find out how they can engage in Industry 4.0 and where they are in their journeys towards Industry 4.0.

The event has also attracted over 1,800 registrations and I am able to meet a lot of individuals from Indonesia, Thailand and China. Everybody is working around the concept of industrial automation and it involves areas such as PLM, big data, manufacturing execution systems (MES), robotics, ERPs and integrated solutions.

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Siemens Partners With VinFast To Develop First Made-In-Vietnam Automotives

Siemens Partners With VinFast To Develop First Made-In-Vietnam Automotives

Siemens has announced that VinFast has selected a suite of tools from its PLM Software to help realise their plans for next-generation automotive and transportation design. Siemens will be providing a digitalisation solution across the entire automotive OEM value chain, which can help enable VinFast to meet the company’s goals of creating the first Vietnam-made automobile and eScooter brand, and promote the development of the industrial and manufacturing sector in Vietnam.

Through Siemens’ software, VinFast is intending to take advantage of a connected digital twin across both design and manufacturing. The company also plans to use an integrated digital platform including the Teamcenter portfolio for digital lifecycle management, including the Teamcenter solution for product costing to support cost and value engineering, and the Tecnomatix portfolio, the industry-leading digital manufacturing software, combined with SIMATIC IT UA for Discrete Manufacturing covering the MES (Manufacturing Execution System) layer. Teamcenter connects the digital twin with a consistent digital thread, which can help VinFast increase speed and flexibility in product development, optimise manufacturing processes and use the insights gained from product and plant operations to improve future performance.

“Using the combined power of both product lifecycle management and manufacturing operations management technology is a key part of our digitalisation journey,” said Jason Buxton, chief information officer at VinFast. “To drive innovation within the automotive industry, it is essential to have the right technology in place. We feel that Siemens’ best-in-class solutions can empower automakers and the vehicle electrification supply chain to reduce development time and deliver high-quality solutions, with the ability to adapt to changes easily at every stage of the process.”

VinFast recently announced to the market that the company is also launching the first Vietnamese electric car. Using a connected PLM and MES digital enterprise solution will prove to be critical to achieving this goal. By creating a digital enterprise, VinFast can take advantage of new and disruptive technology across each phase of their operation to reduce cycle time, increase yield and foster new business opportunities.

“Siemens PLM Software is proud to form this excellent partnership with VinFast in the first national car project in Vietnam to help VinFast accelerate its innovation cycle,” said Alex Teo, managing director and vice president of Siemens Industry Software for South East Asia. “The vast portfolio of Siemens solutions that VinFast plans to deploy is a demonstration of the trust our customers place in our proven capabilities in taking products from the digital world to the real world.”

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Addressing MEMS Challenges (Part II)

Addressing MEMS Challenges (Part II)

Part II: DRC Challenges Of Curved And All-Angle Geometry

Similar to IC layout, MEMS layout must pass DRC to minimise manufacturing risks and improve yield. In addition to regular DRC concerns, curved objects that are common in MEMS layout impose some unique challenges to the DRC process.

The biggest challenge is the generation of false DRC errors because the DRC rule does not handle MEMS layout well. Most DRC engines and most DRC command files are designed for IC geometry, which is mainly orthogonal, and are not intended to handle all-angle or curved geometry.

Standard rules that work fine for checking orthogonal geometry may generate many false errors when run on all-angle geometry. A few false errors can be quickly reviewed, but if there are hundreds or thousands of false errors, it is easy to miss true DRC errors especially across multiple DRC runs.

MEMS is integrated with a hierarchical DRC engine called Tanner Verify that can help filter out some of these false DRC errors. To show the challenge of false DRC errors, a simple extension rule will be used as an example.

An extension rule states that an object on one layer has to extend out of an object on another layer by at least a specific distance. The extension rule is measuring the distance from the external side (outer) of an edge of the layer 1 object to the internal side (inner) of an edge of the layer 2 object. Typically, this type of check ignores edges that intersect or edges that intersect at a 90-degree angle, as seen in Figure 4.

The false DRC errors are generated when curved edges are approximated as multiple small all-angle edges, by breaking a long single edge into multiple small edges as seen in Figure 5. This makes it impossible to ignore intersections because the single curved edge on Layer 1 that intersected Layer 2 is converted to three edges, with one of the edges not intersecting a Layer 2 edge.

This is not because the DRC engine cannot how handle this issue but because the rule was written and optimised for orthogonal geometry and needs to be modified to handle the curved edges.

One trick to help filter out many small edges due to curve approximation is to only check edges if they project onto each other by at least a specific amount. The projection of an edge onto another edge is a perpendicular projection from the reference edge to the edge being projected onto.

Figure 6 shows an example of the layer 1 edge projecting onto the layer 2 edge and vice versa. A filter length of either ten times the manufacturing grid or a tenth of the measurement distance is a good rule of thumb to use.

Unfortunately, filtering by projection length will not remove the false errors that are due to the curved edges getting approximated as multiple small all-angle edges during the extension rule. The small edges that get created and do not intersect with the other layer can have reasonable projection lengths and as a result, will not be filtered out.

The challenge is filtering out the edges that would have intersected if there was no approximation. The best approach is to rewrite the DRC run to only check the opposite edges and not the intersection. This can be accomplished by doing an extension check and saving the result as a polygon or region, and then performing an internal or width check that checks the spacing between the internal side (inner) of two edges of an object.

Figure 7 shows that when a true error exists, a polygon of four or more vertices is generated during the extension rule check. The extension rule check results in triangles at locations of the false DRC errors that result from a long single edge being broken into multiple small edges. Since intersections are not checked for the width check, these triangles are ignored and are effectively filtered from the results.

Round-off Issues Affecting All-angle Rotation And Node Highlighting

Unlike IC layout, where DRC and LVS rely heavily on CAD tools to find and report errors, MEMS layout designers prefer a more intuitive way to check on the connectivity visually, before running verification tools, due to the intrinsic characteristics of MEMS components and the lack of a schematic netlist with which to compare.

To run node highlighting, the user first defines the connectivity by specifying names of layers that connect to each other. Layers connect if both layers overlap with each other and overlap with a connection layer such as contac t or via (vertical interconnect access) or they can be setup to connect if they touch. Objects are defined as connected, if the AND of objects on Layer 1, Layer 2 and the connection layer results in non-zero area geometry.

If a connection layer is not specified, then Layer 1 and Layer 2 must either overlap or touch to be considered connected. After defining the setup, the user then runs the connectivity extraction engine based on these definitions.

To pick the node to be highlighted, users can either highlight the geometry connected to the selected object, or open a dialog window to specify the targeted node name. Node highlighting works on merged objects on drawn or derived layers allowing the user to create complex connectivity rules. All the merged geometry of a node is highlighted in layout and the node name will be displayed in the status bar.

Multiple nodes may be sequentially selected and highlighted in different colours. When a node is highlighted, all related connectivity throughout the hierarchy will be displayed. When highlighting, if more than one node is located at the cursor location, a list of all potential nodes are displayed and the user will be prompted to pick one.

Figure 8 shows an example of using node highlighting to check the connectivity visually. Two nodes are highlighted in different colours displaying their connectivity so that user can quickly find erroneous connections.

When doing connectivity extraction and node highlighting with an all-angle rotated object, one issue that can arise is unconnected geometry due to round-off which may cause a small gap between objects in a rotated instance.

When rotating an instance by an allangle amount (non-90 degrees), each object is rotated individually and gets snapped to the resolution of the design database which is typically 1 nm. This snapping can cause round-off issues which may results in two objects that touch when they are not rotated becoming separated or not touching (small gap between them) when they are rotated at non-90 degree angles.

Notice in Figure 8 that for node 1, a few of the spokes are not highlighted because small gaps arise during the rotation and snapping to the resolution of the design database. This small gap is hard to see but can be easily detected with node highlighting.

The best way to handle this issue is to either merge touching objects in the cell being rotated or to make sure there is some overlap between the touching objects. Notice that the spokes connected to node 2 are all highlighted because that spoke is a single object and not two objects that are touching.

Conclusion

When doing MEMS design, design tools need features that can handle the challenges of arbitrary shapes and structures. The effects of curved geometry and how it gets approximated affects all aspects of layout from editing to DRC and Node highlighting. The key is having the right tools to efficiently operate on curved geometry and filter out false DRC errors that result from MEMS structures.

With the above features specifically developed for the purpose of MEMS design, a MEMS layout can be accurately verified and sent to fabrication. This makes MEMS-oriented layout tools such as Tanner L-Edit MEMS a necessary assistant to MEMS designers.

Start Here: Part I

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