Emerson PCBA Redesign and In-Process Programming Station

Faster Production Needed

The Emerson GO product line provides solutions for temperature logging during transport of perishable products. The innovative product line has been successful for years. But recent spikes in demand have driven a need for innovation to speed up production. In-process programming and testing of the GO NFC and GO Wireless products was the primary bottleneck in the production process. Emerson engaged SGW Designworks to develop a new system to speed up programming and testing. The goal was to make this part of the process 10x faster.

More Than Just Process Improvement

As the SGW Designworks team jumped into the project, it became clear that some specific changes to the product itself would be required to be compatible with the semi-automated programming and testing envisioned. In addition, it became clear that the packaging of the product would become a significant bottleneck once the programming and testing speed increased. The project became a triple path effort, with SGW Designworks focused on:

  • Development of a completely unique programming and testing station. The station would need to receive, fixture, program, and test a high volume of GO NFC and GO Wireless circuit boards with minimal human interaction. This required:
    • Complete mechanical / electromechanical design for receiving and fixturing PCB’s
    • Development of the programming and test software, applying expertise in C#, NFC, .NET, SQL, and TCP/IP
    • Definition of the test procedure and process flow
  • Re-design of the PCBA’s in the product itself. Specific changes would be needed for the product to be compatible with the automated programming and test system. This included:
    • PCB layout
    • Board level electrical engineering
    • Consideration for regulatory testing and listing
  • Selection and configuration of a packaging system suitable for the product and target throughput. Focus areas were:
    • Suppler engagement and vetting
    • System comparison and selection
    • Configuration / customization specific to the application

Successful Result

The efforts resulted in a validated speed increase of 12x. Production throughput increased accordingly, allowing Emerson to service increasing demand for the GO Temperature monitoring logger product line.

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