Friday, October 17, 2014

One Piece Flow For Semiconductor Packaging Assembly Process

Can “One Piece Flow” concept applicable in semiconductor packaging assembly process?
To me, there is no “Yes” or “No” answer for this case, it’s very much depend on the nature of product mix.

There are two situation in manufacturing, so to semiconductor assembly industries
- High volume low mix
- Low volume high mix

Its depend on who you ask, the guys from memory, chip card or LED product line may tell you one piece flow is possible, as design of such product line is quite standard and high demand. Therefore they can just load their assembly line with volume and keep their line running for few days without any change over.

I may tell you different story if I have to answer the question. As I come from the environment of producing power semiconductor to automotive industries. It is a high mix low volume business environment in general, therefore, one piece flow to is quite difficult to achieve.

Two or three time line changeover is common in my environment, due to the design complexity and JIT concept emphasis by the automotive customer. Therefore, batch production system still a better way to run production in this industry. Of course, study of optimum batch size is require to ensure high utilization of equipment and human resource.

Over my many years’ experience in this industries, I haven’t see any successful assembly line using the concept of one piece flow. I also see some key equipment supplier trying to introduce the linked line, that integrate various processes through a conveyor system in the early 90’s, but today, they are no longer offer such solution in the newer machine.

Why ?

The main reason is – the conveyor system limit the line flexibility of line balancing.