Critical Manufacturing’s vision is ‘making Industry 4.0 a reality for all manufacturers,’ which means delivering the most modern, connected, and flexible manufacturing execution systems (MES) in the marketplace. This helps manufacturers easily adapt and optimize their operations in an era of constant and permanent change and future-proof their business against technology changes and changing customer demands. It scales to users’ business needs and growth, gives clear insight and guidance on any desktop or mobile device, drives visibility of production and its costs across the supply chain, and is easy to implement on existing infrastructure. As a result, Critical Manufacturing’s state-of-the-art products and services enable customers to drive down cost, flexibly meet market demands, and ultimately achieve greater agility, visibility and reliability.
“Our customers in complex, high-tech industries understand that MES is a long-term investment and that success depends on implementing the most modern, configurable solution that will scale with their business while delivering on the vision for the smart factories of the future,” said Chris Parsons, VP, Marketing. “Our continued success is driven by equal measures of passion and dedication to develop cutting-edge, industry-specific solutions that address the most urgent industry challenges and provide our growing list of satisfied customers with superior industry 4.0 capabilities and the highest business value to meet their current and future needs with confidence.”
Critical Manufacturing’s success is rooted in the inspiration and experience of an executive team of internationally renowned industry experts. With headquarters and main technical center in Porto (Maia), Portugal, the company’s rapid global growth has led to the establishment of subsidiaries in key regions for electronics and semiconductor manufacturing in Dresden, Germany; Suzhou, China; Austin, TX; and in Taiwan.
The headquarters and main development center in Portugal comprises almost 2,000 square meters in the Science and Technology park TECMAIA, at Maia's industrial zone. This is where Critical Manufacturing develops products and services for advanced manufacturing markets, including the new generation Critical Manufacturing MES. The proximity to the University of Porto Engineering campus provides a crucial link to R&D centers and facilitates the engagement of skilled human resources.
Connections with ASMPT
In August 2018, Critical Manufacturing announced a strategic investment by ASMPT, the global technology and market leader for cutting-edge solutions and materials for the semiconductor assembly and packaging industries and surface mount technology (SMT) solutions that are deployed in a wide range of end-user markets including electronics, mobile communications, automotive, industrial, LED and alternative energy.
Critical Manufacturing has significant expertise in the integration and networking of SMT machines and systems, as well as IT systems and cloud solutions. This strategic investment is designed to accelerate ASMPT’s efforts to build a portfolio of Industry 4.0 solutions and will boost ASMPT’s software competence in enabling smart factories.
Günter Lauber, CEO of ASMPT SMT Solutions Segment and serving concurrently as an Executive Committee member responsible for ASMPT’s software solutions, explained the rationale behind this strategic investment: “We want to focus more on comprehensive software solutions to help customers improve their quality, flexibility and efficiency with smart factories. Initiatives like The Hermes Standard and ADAMOS already represent major steps in this direction, but we want to speed up our integration and smart manufacturing capabilities and extend our reach beyond hardware solutions.”
Francisco Almada Lobo, CEO of Critical Manufacturing, also commented on the strategic investment: “We are extremely pleased to be integrated into ASMPT and have access to its vast resources and customer/support networks. We share the same vision and a common focus on delivering the most advanced Industry 4.0 solutions to enable the digital world. The significant advances in automation and equipment technologies mean that equipment is now generating huge amounts of data. Critical’s modern MES is ideally placed and designed to transform that data into intelligence to advance everything from product innovation, efficiency, productivity and quality across lines, factories and global factory networks. Our combined knowledge and resources will accelerate our roadmap to bring strong business value and competitive advantage to our current customers and innovative manufacturers across our industry segments.”
An Extensive Experience in IT Technologies
Critical Manufacturing’s growing staff has been carefully recruited to apply their extensive experience in IT technologies, automation and integration, architecture and development processes in the context of advanced manufacturing environments. The full team embraces the challenge of making Critical Manufacturing the premier solution provider for high-tech manufacturing. Each of the company’s founders has more than 15 years of experience as software solution providers to the semiconductor industry. Along with a group of top analysts and developers, the team has a strategic focus on the following high-tech discrete manufacturing industries:
Electronics Assembly: Digital transformation means electronics use is growing in established and new applications, and customer demands are ever-changing. Changing costs, tariffs, and varied options for OEMs to outsource to electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers, joint design manufacturers (JDM) and original design manufacturers (ODM) poses both opportunities and risks for everyone in the electronics assembly supply chain. To remain competitive, anyone assembling SMT printed circuit boards, sub-assemblies and box builds must produce short runs and make inline changes, maintaining high quality while lowering costs.
Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) & IC Substrates: PCB manufacturing companies are under pressure to innovate at a breakneck pace. Customers want ever smaller, denser and more powerful products for handheld, wearable and mobile electronics, as well as new applications in IoT, communications, automotive, medical and aerospace. Opportunities for SMT, BGA, flip chip, and high-density interconnect (HDI) designs are growing but bring manufacturing challenges that can be addressed with Critical’s MES Solution.
Semiconductor Manufacturing: Customers are increasingly using semiconductor products to transform their products, production methods and business models and those who make these products must keep pace. Driven by the IoT revolution, 5G wireless, artificial intelligence (AI), automotive, and augmented reality (AR) both opportunities and pressures on semiconductor makers are growing.
Medical Device Manufacturing: Medical device and diagnostics manufacturers must continue to introduce new products using specialized product technology, all the while complying with ever-shifting worldwide regulations. Pricing and margin pressure from reimbursement and purchasing practices are driving companies to seek new ways to become more efficient, speed innovation and decrease costs. With the European Union’s Medical Device Regulations (MDR) taking effect, and the FDA’s cybersecurity and shift from QSR to ISO 13485 and ISO regulations, companies must do all of this within stricter guidelines.
Critical Manufacturing MES
As discrete products are transformed into intelligent products and services, companies must ensure their manufacturing operations are equally modern. Most companies’ history with traditional MES does not help them envision a way to build the plant digital twin and move into smart manufacturing.
Critical Manufacturing specializes in delivering a comprehensive, modular Industry 4.0-ready MES built from the ground up to accelerate digital transformation across complex discrete industries.
Critical Manufacturing MES provides manufacturers in demanding discrete industries with a platform for Industry 4.0 success. It delivers reliable access to detailed and timely operational information with full context and intelligence for fast, confident decisions and profitable action. “Whether plants use traditional technologies or Industry 4.0 distributed intelligence, the Critical Manufacturing MES is ready to quickly foster progress and improvement,” added Parsons. “Users can readily configure, distribute and use workflows and build complex GUI’s without code or the use of IT resources.”
Inherently designed to accommodate the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), mobile devices, automation, sensors, Critical Manufacturing MES is the foundation of industry 4.0 strategic initiative. This augmented MES offers not only advanced analytics and continuous improvement tools but also a manufacturing digital twin and quick, intuitive looks at performance.
Critical’s MES provides the most innovative software platform with a deep set of modular applications that provide manufacturers in complex industries with maximum agility, visibility and reliability. The flexibility, sharp graphics and user configurable GUI makes Critical MES easy to use. The unique versatility of Critical’s MES allows manufacturers to easily configure complex processes across industries and manufacturing types such as complex discrete, repetitive, batch, hybrid, process and mass customization.
In the rapidly-growing MES market, Critical Manufacturing features five unique differentiators that stand out from other MES companies:
- Industry 4.0 Readiness
- Single Platform Solution
- Broadest Functionality
- Integration and Automation
- Flexibility and Ease-of-Use
These differentiators help position the company to become the standard MES in the electronics assembly and high-tech discrete industries. Parsons concluded, “Critical Manufacturing is building to become the leading ‘out-of-the-box’ electronics and SMT MES solution that will scale multiple types of equipment and other electronics assembly operations.”