RFID Technology for Circuit Board Manufacturing

NBS Corp, a manufacturer of circuit boards located in Santa Clara, CA, has started to use RFID technology in order to track which components are installed on each board. By monitoring this information using RFID, NBS Corp is able to ensure that each component is being installed successfully and store the data regarding each circuit board in the event that a component fails or is recalled.

When components arrive at the assembly plant, they are packaged in a “tape and reel” format, with the reel resigned to feed the components to the automated placement machine that places them on a circuit board. Their system uses RFID to verify that all feeders and reels are in correct position so that the proper operation of the boards is ensured.

Each tape feeder is identified with a serialized bar-code label, and has a low-frequency (LF) 125 kHz RFID tag. When the reels are loaded onto the feeders, the operators utilize a handheld device to scan the bar-code labels on each reel, as well as on the feeder, to link them together in the database. When the feeders are loaded on a trolley, their tags are read by an RFID reader by mounted on the trolley. The RFID reader interprets the tags unique ID number, and then sends that information to the software in the company’s back-end system, which determines which slot the reel has been placed, based on the location of the antenna that reads that tag’s ID number.

By using RFID Technology, NBS Corp. was able to work more efficiently and accurately.