Industry 4.0 enables continuous traceability of product development for customers of special-purpose machine builders, if possible fully automated and with minimum operator intervention.
Werner Lieb GmbH & Co. KG in Roedental supplies custom engineering ranging from simple manual work stations to fully automatic machines with robotics, automatic part feeding and packaging in appropriate means of transport.
"The success of our customers is our demand - in everything we do". This maxim has been valid at LIEB from day one until today.
The industry is no object here - LIEB plans and creates automation systems for the automotive and plastics industries, cosmetics and medical technology, right through to the electronics and semiconductor sectors. Systems that perform their work under the most adverse conditions up to fully automated machines that transport and test sensitive electronic- and semiconductor components in clean rooms.
The high vertical range of manufacture enables LIEB to cover the majority of technologies "in house".
LIEB systems start with simple manual work stations, through test cells for quality assurance to complex assembly and handling systems (robotics). In-house developments for the semiconductor industry such as special end effectors, end effector changing systems, prealigner and loadports in different designs complete the LIEB portfolio.
Increasing importance of the electronics and semiconductor industry
The past few years have shown that the expansion of renewable energies and electromobility is making the electronics and semiconductor industry increasingly important, which in turn is raising the demand for special solutions. For this reason, LIEB has increasingly penetrated these new markets over the last 6 years to supply them with customer-specific special solutions.
It has become apparent that new technologies such as eWLB (Embedded Wafer Level Ball Grid Array) make it necessary to handle heavily faulted wafers. For this purpose, LIEB develops special end effectors, which are modulated together with the customer to the corresponding wafer types. Therefore, an automatic end effector changing system has been developed, which allows to place several different end effectors in one process equipment, so that a specific end effector can be selected depending on the characteristic of the wafers. The information is transmitted via the HMI (Human-Machine-Interface) by recipe parameters or from the host via SECS GEM. Furthermore, LIEB offers loadports for 4"-8" cassettes and SMIF POD loadports as own products, and can integrate FOUP-Loadports with E84 interface for OHT-connection. Times of economic growth and the resulting delivery times with supply bottlenecks have moved LIEB to rely more and more on own developments to counteract these challenges and to bring the added value into their own house. For this reason, LIEB is currently working on the development of own SMIF POD loaders and wafer prealigners, which will be offered for integration soon.
Industry 4.0 in special machine construction
The "Industry 4.0" trend is also taking hold in special-purpose machine construction, in order to enable continuous traceability of product development for their customers, as fully automated as possible and with minimum operator intervention.
In 2018, this has led to a renowned, globally operating company for semiconductors and electronics finding the right concept for a test cluster at LIEB. From this rather coincidental meeting a trusting cooperation has developed in the meantime.
Solution-oriented cooperation in the interest of the customer
During the planning and development of the first test cluster, it turned out that sub-projects could not be realized at LIEB in the planned time frame. The search for a competent partner for implementing the SECS GEM host connection and the corresponding SEMI HMI adaptation was necessary. Since 2004 LIEB has been cooperating with PVA SPA Software Entwicklungs GmbH. Here they found a cooperation partner with appropriate competence. For over 30 years, PVA SPA has been developing interfaces and machine connections for well-known semiconductor manufacturers worldwide and offers OEM partners a modern and flexible SECS data gateway to meet today's requirements of Industry 4.0.
LIEB's equipment and control concept turned out to be a very good overall package. This concept ensures the operation and complete control by Siemens components for a process-safe and future-oriented automation, in combination with the interface of PVA SPA via PC to the operator (HMI) and the equipment. The end customer was more than satisfied. This prompted him to order a second, far more extensive system, even before the first one was completed.
In the test cluster, a total of 11 servo axes work hand in hand in a space of around 5x3m to ensure flexible processing of up to 20 components on workpiece carriers. An interesting aspect of this project is the feeding of the workpiece carriers into the system. For this purpose, welded carriages are used, which are manually inserted into the system and then hooked up. By means of a laser-based scanning technology, the individual pickup positions (up to 54 pieces) are scanned by two servo axes with a travel range of approx. 2x1m and a subsequent creation of a mapping matrix. The same is done at the end of the process during automatic ejection of n.o.k. parts and the finishing of the good parts back into the output area of the system. In order to meet customer requirements and standards, the visualization and operation is PC based and implemented by PVA SPA. Here both companies rely on the standardized and widespread interface OPC/UA. This division of the areas of responsibility allowed both companies to play out their strengths and to concentrate on their core competences.
Such projects show how important creation networks and co-operation are to act economically and solution-oriented. Often it is better to work together than to lose some projects through pure competition. The cooperative partnership with PVA SPA Software Entwicklungs GmbH has been going on for more than 16 years and countless joint projects have been realized. None of the two companies would be situated at their market position today without this co-operation.