Japan is relentless in its implementation of enabling technologies that will allow it to maintain and improve its present manufacturing power in the field of electronics. Key enabling technologies that are being actively pursued by the Japanese to achieve their goal of manufacturing excellence are outlined below.

Computer-Assisted Design and Computer-Assisted Engineering. The implementation of CAD for design is common throughout the industry. The move towards the implementation of CAE is viewed as an important step to achieve successful development of high-value-added products while simultaneously shortening the product development cycle and reducing development cost. Following are three examples of CAD/CAE implementation:

Sensor Technology. Research and development in the field of sensor technology is common throughout the Japanese electronics manufacturing industry. The philosophy is to maximize integration of sensor technology within automated production equipment to increase product yield, quality, and reliability. Process areas for implementation include solder paste circuit pattern inspection, shape inspection for via-hole fillings of green sheets, fine-pitch surface mount component geometry inspection, solder joint inspection, automated color inspection for color CRT displays, and verification and inspection of raw materials and discrete components.

Super Precision Processing Technology. To manufacture complex precise products, it became imperative for the Japanese to invest in research and development of precision processing technology. The following three examples demonstrate their ability to successfully implement precision processing technology:

Published: February 1995; WTEC Hyper-Librarian