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How Motherboards Are Made 141

mikemuch writes "Reporter Mark Hachman recently took a tour of a motherboard manufacturing facility operated by Gigabyte in Taiwan, and has posted a complete slideshow of the process. He was surprised by how much still had to be done by hand, but the company is still able to produce 1.5 million motherboards a month."
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How Motherboards Are Made

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  • Sad truth... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PatrickThomson ( 712694 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @08:21AM (#19531483)
    Sad truth is, unlike car assembly lines (which he mentions), it's cheaper to use trained humans to assemble low-value products like these, especially in a market based almost entirely on price (for consumer items at least).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      1. not sure why you think it's sad, unless you're heartless bastard who would love to fire thousands of workers

      2. low value has nothing to do with the fact that it's cheaper to use humans instead of robot, if robots can make a better product, faster, cheaper then human counterparts, they'll use robots. regardless if the end product is cheaper or not.

    • it's cheaper to use trained humans to assemble low-value products like these

      A very interesting observation, in light of the current expose of child labour being used in factories in China. One has to wonder what conditions exist in factories where people don't get guided tours.

      • Re:Sad truth... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by encoderer ( 1060616 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @12:05PM (#19533143)
        In light of the current expose of child labor?

        You make it sound as though you found yourself at a breakfast table, croissant in one hand, Le Monde in another, with a stunned expression on your face having just learned that all the cheap clothing and shoes and furniture and electronics that we in the first-world just LOVE were manufactured by a bevy of tiny little hands in sweatshops.

        I'm sorry, but wasn't that entirely obvious? Hasn't this issue been on the tip of our humanitarian tongues for at least twenty years? And when you went on to say "One has to wonder what conditions exist in factories where people don't get guided tours" all I could think is "NO! One does NOT have to wonder" because one should already KNOW.

        These conditions are deplorable.

        But the GP said that it's "sad" that human labor like this is cheaper than machinery. Well, perhaps, but I disagree slightly. Until we put all those people to work, until we bring them into the global economy, their situations will never improve. Only after we hire these people will we begin to see upward pressure on wages. Only after this generation--and perhaps the next--work painstaking hours to produce our shiny toys will you begin to see what more closely resembles a living wage in these countries.

        My then-girlfriend did her Graduate thesis in Ecomonics on this 2 years ago and her research led her to believe that in 25 years you'll see the average Chinese worker making $2/hr in 2005 dollars. That would be a stunning change in the world economy, in terms of both cost-of-production and consumer markets.
        • Taiwan isn't China. The average quality of life in Taiwan is much much higher than in China, and I don't think that there are sweatshops in Taiwan. They most just manufacture lots of computers. If you thought the Gigabyte factory was a sweatshop, then you have no idea what a real sweatshop is--watch Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices if you don't understand. There are sweatshops in China because there's lots of low skill cheap labor from the countryside and cheap land for foreign companies to build large
          • 1. I think CHINA would disagree with your opinion that Taiwan isn't part of China. I support your intrepretation (also shared by the US Govt) but it's worth mentioning that it's not quite as cut and dry as you alluded to.

            2. I didn't say anything about Taiwan. In fact, I was addressing the other factories that make our shiny trinkets, not the one featured in the story. I said that.

            3. Taiwan offers a lot better opportunities than the main land does, but you're making it out to sound like Japan. Maybe someday,
            • this article is about a factory in Taiwan run by a Taiwanese company. also, please get a clue about Taiwanese history and its political situation. i happen to be Taiwanese and have lived in Taiwan for many years. i also have a Taiwanese passport coincidentally and have had to travel on it before I received my American passport. i know all about the nominal dispute between Taiwan and China. the fact is they are, and have always been, two completely different political entities and independent societies with

              • 1. I didn't bring up chinese sweatshops. The person I REPLIED TO brought them up. So you've directed your ire at the wrong post, bro. Go back and re-read the thread.

                2. Are you actually suggesting that it's not the official position of Bejing that Taiwan is part of China? You don't have to be Taiwaneese to understand [china.org.cn] the very [chinaconsulatesf.org] clear [people.com.cn] language [iht.com] they've used.
                • i chose to respond to you because your post was a continuation of a false premise laid by the poster before you--i understand that. i figured you and the original poster would both read my post if i responded to you rather than the first post.

                  secondly, the position the chinese government takes on many issues diverge from reality. that was the point i was making.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by be-fan ( 61476 )
        While sweatshop labor is not something that spoiled westerners find particularly comfortable, there is a flip-side to the issue. That flip-side is that at least these people are working, and usually at least making enough to feed their families. The alternatives are worse, to say the least.

        Bleeding-heart westerners often this ridiculous notion that workers should be treated well everywhere in the world. This is an idealism that does more harm than good. It is far preferable to have 100 workers working for a
        • > While sweatshop labor is not something that spoiled westerners find
          > particularly comfortable, there is a flip-side to the issue. That
          > flip-side is that at least these people are working, and usually at
          > least making enough to feed their families.

          How horrid it must be for people earning $0.10 a day(!) to find that some Westerners (such as yourself) deem it acceptable to purchase things made by people earning so little for their effort; while those same Westerners would not even get out of bed
          • Cost of Living, dammit! Yes, someone who earns an average of $0.10 a day here is independently wealthy, or living in a cardboard box. But that's livable money there. I go through this same argument with a friend of mine on a regular basis, only that one's about Wal-Mart in India. First, it costs a lot less to live there than it does here. Second, unemployment is huge, so if every worker in the factory died of a heart attack Friday night, the factory could easily be fully staffed by Monday.

            You want to k
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              > I go through this same argument with a friend of mine on a regular
              > basis, only that one's about Wal-Mart in India. First, it costs a
              > lot less to live there than it does here.

              Sorry - wrong.

              A person in China wanting to purchase a CD (from for example, Amazon.com) would not be able to afford it - because that CD would still cost the same US$$ to purchase from China/India/Fiji/Indonesia that it would to purchase it from the UK or from the USA.

              What you are actually advocating is that people in the "
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by be-fan ( 61476 )
            Why shouldn't I find it acceptable? Out of a sense of guilt for being born into a different class of society? Where is the rationality in feeling guilt for the workings of random chance? Is it fair that I make more in an hour than a Bengali textile worker does in a month? No, but that's just the nature of the world. There is no point in pretending that the world can be some sort of utopian place where the efforts of all are rewarded on the same level. By sheer bad luck, many people in the world will get a v
    • Wrong. It is currently cheaper in the short to medium term to continue to use humans instead of investing in research to create a machine to do the job.

      A better example than motherboards is clothing. Take T-shirts for example. The textiles industry was historically the first to become industrialized, yet here we are 250+ years later, and there are still people in sweatshops making the simplest items of clothing. Why? Because it's technically too difficult to automate clothing manufacture? Whatever.

      The reality is that no motherboard, clothing, or any other company is willing to actually spend money and innovate. Find ways of making basic items by the millions, quickly, reliably, cheaply. And the reason they're not willing to do it is because they can still find cheaper and cheaper sources of labour. On China, they're current strategy when wages on the east coast get too expensive, is just to move 100km inland, rinse and repeat.

      There is lack of innovation in the manufacturing sector. It's caused an oversupply of cheap labour. Simply put, there is no pressure on factory owners to continue the industrial revolution, and human progress. Instead there's an incentive to use quasi, and what the hell, full blown slave labour [bbc.co.uk].

      I harp on China, but it's happening all over. It's happening a lot closer to home than you think [bbc.co.uk]. Our society is back-peddling, and it's down to the fact that rabid (no so)free market capitalism has become the dominant ethos of our politics and media, where it is assumed that no matter what the issue problem or injustice is, the omnipresent "market" will find a solution to all our ills.

      I'm not some fanatical anti-globalisation, anti-capitalism protester. I just think that too much power, not money, power, is being concentrated into the hands of private companies. I don't like big government either, but I still think that corporations should be reigned in. If we don't, your children or grandchildren could find themselves like those Chinese brickworkers, force to work at the barrel of a privately owned gun.

      P.S.
      I believe in a free and fair market. Why should workers here have to compete against countries with lower standards?
      • So let me get this straight, you're slamming capitalism for giving people too many jobs?

        When you say everything can be automated, I think you overestimate the state of robotics.
        • by Sj0 ( 472011 )
          When you say everything can be automated, I think you overestimate the state of robotics.

          By using the word robotics, I'm lead to think you're completely unqualified to make any statement regarding the state of industrial process automation.
      • What you just admitted is that capitalism creates jobs and makes people more wealthy. So wealthy in fact that companies have to move to find cheaper labor. Eventually that means everyone will be rich and able to demand a high wage. Richer people demand more services since they're kids will be better educated they can invest and contribute to a vibrant economy (increased demand and supply capability of cars, housing construction, health care, recreation crap, transportation infrastucture, energy, and mining
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Alioth ( 221270 )
      But most of the assembly IS automated, that's what the pick-and-place machines are for, and the reflow ovens.
    • Re:Sad truth... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @11:06AM (#19532525) Homepage

      It's discouraging. I've watched America go from robotic car washes to "100% hand wash" over the last 25 years.

      The assembly line for the Macintosh IIci was more automated than this one. Back in the 1980s, when consumer electronics came from Japan, the Japanese makers were frantically trying to automated enough to keep their labor costs down. Seiko and Sony developed some beautiful technologies for making small consumer electronics items untouched by human hands.

      Now everybody has those long lines of low-paid women in some low-wage area.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        >> Back in the 1980s, when consumer electronics came from Japan, the Japanese makers were frantically trying to automated enough to keep their labor costs down.

        >> Now everybody has those long lines of low-paid women in some low-wage area.

        First, it's not a bad thing to provide employment for people. You might recall the auto unions terrified that robots would replace workers. So using people to assemble things is not a bad thing.

        It's actually pretty difficult to make an automated machine that c
      • > It's discouraging. I've watched America go from robotic
        > car washes to "100% hand wash" over the last 25 years.

        That's because hand-washing a car generally does a better (and gentler) job of washing the grime off your car, and you employ a few people to do that while you're otherwise shopping and needing to have your car parked somewhere.

        Prior to the robotic car-wash facilities your only choice was to wash it yourself, or to get a family member to do it for pocket money.

        Now you can actually give a le
      • by NateTech ( 50881 )
        Wage slaves are sometimes cheaper than machines. That's why the legal limit on usury keeps going up.

        Best to keep the masses in debt up to their eyeballs, chasing after that $1000 HDTV... otherwise they might not want to work!
    • The REAL sad truth is that they visited a Gigabyte factory. Given the ridiculously poor quality control that company is known for, I think it's safe to assume that more reputable manufacturers like Asus and MSI have more advanced facilities and refined processes.

      Just because you know how a McDonalds burger is made, doesn't mean you know how Hard Rock Cafe makes theirs.
    • by mcfedr ( 1081629 )
      Yea, its sad because it is possible to pay people so little...it would never be cheaper to do in america because you would have to pay people a real wage, these people probably live of less than $100 a month...probably alot less also, yea it give the person a job, but what kinda life is it to spend all day everyday sticking some component on a board so that some rich american can spend all day playing counter strike
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Torvaun ( 1040898 )
        Is it a better life to die of starvation because some machine took away that money you were living on?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ChrisMaple ( 607946 )
      What's so sad about repetitive hand labor like placing components on a PC board? I've done this sort of stuff, and it's some of the easiest, most absorbing and satisfying work possible. At the end of the day, I went home happy and energized, ready to tackle the real problems in my life, or play, or relax.

      This is not physically strenuous work. It won't cause poisoning or RSI or heat stroke. There's no high likelihood of disease or injury. The main downside is that it doesn't pay well.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by bdjacobson ( 1094909 )

        What's so sad about repetitive hand labor like placing components on a PC board? I've done this sort of stuff, and it's some of the easiest, most absorbing and satisfying work possible. At the end of the day, I went home happy and energized, ready to tackle the real problems in my life, or play, or relax.

        This is not physically strenuous work. It won't cause poisoning or RSI or heat stroke. There's no high likelihood of disease or injury. The main downside is that it doesn't pay well.

        You need to stop kidding yourself. I've worked at McDonalds for a year. Nothing energizing or satisfying about doing your best for $5.50/hour only to be turned down a raise after a whole year of work. Why should they give me a raise? They can just get rid of me and hire the next person that applies for the same $5.50.

        I've talked with some [engineering] friends who have worked the assembly line at GM. Open chassis, insert part, close chassis. For 8 hours. The only people I know that would call that absorbin

      • I worked in a small pcb factory one summer and it was mental torture after a few weeks. Only people who can shut their brains off can stand it. The workers who chatted while they did it usually had too many product defects. I can see someone appreciating a job like this in a country where most jobs are dangerous, exhausting, or simply don't exist but I sure as hell wouldn't call it energizing.
    • Re:Sad truth... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Ozan ( 176854 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @06:37PM (#19536269) Homepage
      The market being based on price has little to do with it. It is simply not feasible to use highly integrated automation with products with lifecycles of 6-12 months max. Setting up the automatized process is costly and needs well trained workers, and any revision requieres it to be done again. Plus it is not easily adaptable to changing demand, whereas with manual labor you just shift your workers.
  • by 6Yankee ( 597075 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @08:22AM (#19531489)
    "Well, first the grandfatherboard and the grandmotherboard have to love each other very much. And then they have a very special cuddle, and the grandfatherboard puts his pin into the grandmotherboard's socket, and then there's a motherboard."
    • Awww, damnit man! Have some decency there could be children reading this!!!! Won't somebody please think of the children [ I assure you, I only say that to prevent someone else from doing it after].
    • by solafide ( 845228 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @08:34AM (#19531549) Homepage
      And then the motherboard meets a fatherboard, and the result is a board.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Chronowerx ( 662092 )
      That about sums up the reporters knowledge of the process - why they didn't send someone with an ounce of insight into the process escapes me!
      "I don't know what this machine does, maybe it makes the boards" - it's the damn screen printer that pastes the solder onto the board, and the woman isn't "removing the edges" she's stuck in a tiny booth all day removing flux from the through hole components.
      I can think of heaps of peole, myself included, who would have loved a trip like this, and could have made a
      • by ultrasound ( 472511 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @09:12AM (#19531723)
        There was a much better slide show [hardwarelogic.com] on /. last year. The pictures and descriptions are far more detailed and the guy actually knew what he was looking at.

        Also there was much more detail on the ATE and soak testing.

        • Wow, thanks for that. I've never thought highly of ECS boards... but that slide show seems to show they have a more modern production facility than Gigabytes. Although their facilities may be more modern and that doesn't relate to the features of the board, the two companies quality assessments may be completely different. I've personally never had any problems with Gigabyte and from the main posts sideshow they appear to have a fair bit of human-in-the-loop to pick up on quality issues.

          I'll maybe consi
        • ultrasound writes: "There was a much better slide show [hardwarelogic.com] on /. last year. The pictures and descriptions are far more detailed and the guy actually knew what he was looking at." A way more detailed and explained article than the original one. The ECS facilities seemed a little more organized and neater than gigabite's. Thanx for the link, i too would buy one of this boards, I don't know why I tended to think ECS boards were not very good (probably because they sell cheaper at my local Microcenter), after thi
        • by Prune ( 557140 )
          Comments like these: "Although it may seem odd, passive components (resistors, etc.) are shipped to companies like Gigabyte in what are essentially tape reels." make me astonished at his ignorance of what he was seeing. This guy knows absolutely nothing of what he was seeing. The last person that should have been touring an electronics manufacturer.
          • I assume those "tape reels" are ribbons of components for feeding into the componet placing robots (sort of like machine gun belts)?
            • by Prune ( 557140 )
              Anyone that's ever ordered electronic components knows that small ones always come in tape reels. I've yet to place an order from Digikey from example for surface mount stuff that doesn't send me cuts of tape reel, even if I order in small quantities (say 5x).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Odiumjunkie ( 926074 )
        > I can think of heaps of peole, myself included, who would have loved a trip like this, and could have made a detailed write up
        > that made sense, and did justice to the hard work and conditions those people work in.

        So true. If I was forced by circumstance to work for pennies a day dully repeating the same task over and over again like a soulless automaton, breathing in noxious vapours and having nothing to look forward to in my working life but countless hours of soldering, I know that my biggest
    • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @08:48AM (#19531617) Homepage
      Technically speaking, the result is a Baby ATX....only later does it grow up to become a full-grown motherboard.

    • Butbutbut... I was told they came from the motherboard stork...

      -Stephen
    • "Well, first the grandfatherboard and the grandmotherboard have to love each other very much. And then they have a very special cuddle, and the grandfatherboard puts his pin into the grandmotherboard's socket, and then there's a motherboard."

      And when the motherboard is mated into a system she also gets a daughterboard.

    • by fonetik ( 181656 )
      "...grandfatherboard puts his pin into the grandmotherboard's socket, and then there's a motherboard."

      You missed a perfect opportunity to point out that the grandmotherboard has a ZIF [wikipedia.org] socket.

  • Cheaper by hand (Score:5, Informative)

    by denoir ( 960304 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @08:28AM (#19531509)
    Many of the things don't have to be made by hand, but it is simply cheaper. And it's not just in Taiwan.

    A few years ago I worked on a project at ABB Robotics (largest maker of industrial robots) and had the chance to often see their production lines. Once upon a time their assembly lines were automated to a large degree, until they realized that their throughput wasn't big enough to benefit from robots doing the work. People were cheaper and needed less maintenance. When you built a new robot model, you could use the same people - with little extra education required. Robots on the other hand required expensive reprogramming and testing for each small change.

    When I was there they were just dismantling the last robot in the line - the one that painted new robots. Instead they outsourced it and now three guys in gas masks spray paint them manually.

    • ....Oh... I think recent news on "Skynet" http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/ 10/1337226 [slashdot.org] freaked out the industry of building robots with robots...

      Or maybe programmers are just charging to damn much....
    • by ikea5 ( 608732 )
      Maybe Gigabyte only produces small number of high-end boards and/or pilot production broads in Taiwan. Therefor automation doesn't make it any cheaper nor fixable. The boards for the masses would be made in China where giant machines and endless lines of (mechanized) workers cranking out those $39.99 newegg specials. Think Rolls-Royce and Chevy.
    • Smarter automation (Score:3, Informative)

      by Animats ( 122034 )

      Painting robots are getting smarter. I've seen some R&D work where a LIDAR scanner looks at the thing to be painted, the software builds a 3D model, a painting plan is generated, and a robot paints the thing, moving around to get all the surfaces and crevices. You just hang whatever needs to be painted on a conveyor chain going into the paint booth, and the robot does the rest.

      We need more technology like that to stop the downward wage spiral.

  • In this case, the Wikipedia fabrication article [wikipedia.org] is rather useful. And as for the images from the article, it would be especially nice if we could do tagging in order to identify the machinery. What are they using? And how can we design similar machines?
  • funny..... my gigabyte motherboard just died.
    • by aonifer ( 64619 )
      Yeah, did the show the part where they make one of the USB ports not work, like my first Gigabyte MB? How about the part where they make the memory controller really flaky and crash all the time, like my second Gigabyte? That one I bricked trying to upgrade the BIOS in the hope it would fix the memory controller. Apparently I had the right model, but the wrong "revision". Yeah, I think I'm done with Gigabyte motherboards.
  • The unknown steps (Score:5, Informative)

    by Poingggg ( 103097 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @08:45AM (#19531599) Homepage
    An educated guess at what the two unknown steps in de slideshow were:

    I think the first step where the author did not know what happened showed a machine for applying the glue for the surface mounted devices on the pcb. This step comes before the smd's are actually placed on the board. The glue keeps the components in place until they are soldered. I believe the glue is removed afterward, but I'm not sure.

    The second 'interesting looking' thing looked like a device for transferring BIOS-IC's from plastic, tube-like containers to tape-rolls for the pick-and-place machines.

    • by Alioth ( 221270 )
      Probably solder paste too - I'd imagine that the application of the solder paste is automated.
  • by Mike1024 ( 184871 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @08:54AM (#19531647)
    This article isn't very impressive in terms of research, spelling or photographic quality. This is slashdot though, so I guess I can't complain.

    When the author says "To be honest, I'm not sure what this machine does", from what I can see of the tiny photo, he's looking at a machine which stencils solder paste onto the exposed pads of the PCB.

    When he says "The adhesive needs to be hardened, so the components won't fall off" he means the solder paste is melted then allowed to cool with the components in it, thereby attaching the components to the PCB electrically and mechanically.

    When he says "BIOS Taping Area, I'm not quite sure what went on here" I would guess they are writing the BIOS code into the flash memory.

    As he doesn't really explain, the reason people are putting connectors on the board manually even after the automated component placement stage is because the plastic connectors would melt in the heat of the oven, before the solder melted. So there are two processes: first the small, high tech chips are put on and soldered in the oven, then people manually insert the funny-shaped easy to melt parts, and they are soldered separately.

    And now you know!
    • I too was apalled that the reporter didn't do *any* research to find out what the various steps of the process were. It seems that the advent of desktop journalism has produced a caliber of journalist that doesn't even realize that an informative article full of "I don't know..." is not good.

      You are right about the solder paste squeegee machine and the soldering oven (the "adhesive" is solder) and BIOS programmer and hand-stuffing of connectors. The automatic assembly only works for brick-shaped surface mo

    • This article isn't very impressive in terms of research, spelling or photographic quality. This is slashdot though, so I guess I can't complain.


      Oh, you can complain. Just don't expect anything to be done about it.

      Well, OK that's not entirely fair... you'll get modded to 5, but that's about it.
    • by dovgr ( 935487 )
      Indeed, the technical quality of the slide show is really low.

      I personally had a good laugh at the picture at:

      http://www.extremetech.com/slideshow_viewer/0,1205 ,l=&s=1670&a=209248&po=9,00.asp [extremetech.com]

      which says "Motherboards are made from printed circuit boards (PCBs), which, as the name suggests, need to be printed or etched. Here's where that happens.", and an unknown machine is shown. No, that's not where the PCB's are made. The PCB construction is a very complex and accurate chemical process that in
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 1gig ( 102295 )
      Lets see if I can shed some light on this process. First off I'm an ex process Eng. that worked in a contract SMT manufacturing facility here in the US before every thing moved offshore. Actually started at Compaq the Motorola then did a stint with a little contract house then moved on to one of the big contractors. So what all this means is I know what I'm talking about.

      1) The above poster is correct in that the first pic we have is a Screen printer. It's function is to apply solder paste to the PCB. The m
    • >When he says "The adhesive needs to be hardened, so the components won't fall off" he means the solder paste is melted then allowed to cool with the components in it, thereby attaching the components to the PCB electrically and mechanically.

      This is a late reply, but one interesting thing about the pick-and-place machines is that they're putting several G's of acceleration laterally on the boards when they're placing components. What this means is that even though the board has solder paste on all the p
      • I'm surprised he didn't point out the wave solder machine. Those things are extremely sensitive temperature wise.
  • by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @08:58AM (#19531665)
    We all know that long ago in the Garden of Silicon the Divine Circut created the first FatherBoard in his own image. Then because the FatherBoard was lonely the Divine Circut took a rib logic gate from the FatherBoard and used it to create a MotherBoard to be the FatherBoards companion. Now MotherBoards can only be created within the sanctity of a Printing Process approved by the Holy Surface Mount Church.
  • ... as seen here [pcstats.com]. Used this last year as part of a presentation at uni (I was given PCB production), or as I like to think of it as "How many of you can use the internet the night before this needs to be presented" test.

    More indepth for those who care. The flowing solder is (to me) th emost interesting and sparse par however, though AMD (did) have a few interesting articles on how mass automated soldering is done.

    • by itwerx ( 165526 )
      Been done before...

      And the article linked to in the parent's comment is much more detailed and informative! This is what should have been submitted instead!
  • I love it, a dude who doesn't know what a PCB is trying to explain how they are manufactured. Articles like this constantly lower my opinion of the slashdot crowd...
  • Last picture (Score:4, Interesting)

    by adenied ( 120700 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @09:19AM (#19531751)
    The last picture is possibly the best... "Nutrition Carrier egg yolk pie"?!? That sounds simultaneously disgusting and wonderful.
  • I thought it was common knowledge that motherboard were made in Anduril, Flame of the West, and forged from the shards of Narsil. And there is only one power supply, secretly forged in Mount Doom, to control all others.
    • I thought it was common knowledge that motherboard were made in Anduril, Flame of the West, and forged from the shards of Narsil.

      Well, the Elves were whispering about unionizing so it got outsourced.

  • by mrjb ( 547783 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @09:58AM (#19531983)
    This [ziffdavisinternet.com] made me chuckle-
    1. Be more responsible
    2. Complain less
    3. Be more attentive
    4. Make lesser mistakes
    • That is good advice
    • I know you're trying to be funny, but the statement is actually gramatically correct. You're expecting it to read 'make less mistakes', but the word lesser also makes sense in the statement, changing it to mean 'make mistakes of lower magnitude' rather than 'make fewer mistakes.'
      • by Sj0 ( 472011 )
        If you're going to cock everything up, make sure it's not cocked up too badly.
  • That's a DDR3 board. Also Anandtech has a good article showing the actual assembly a bit better. http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=2080&p=5 [anandtech.com]
  • how much still had to be done by hand, but the company is still able to produce 1.5 million motherboards a month.

    Never underestimate the power of 10 million low-paid Chinese.

    • Taiwanese != Chinese (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      TFA is about a company in Taiwan and Taiwan has about 23 million people.

      I fail to see the relevance of a comment about "10 million low-paid Chinese."
  • with lots of pictures but no real "meat". This one from 2004 [pcstats.com] is far superior; They even have pictures of the solder wave machine which this article didn't even include at all. BTW that first machine that the author couldn't name is a solder paste screen printer. The other machine the athor hinted at (the one with the reels) is apparently a bios chip testing station. Really, for such a good site I'm suprised they bothered to type this one up when it's been done so well before... I think Gigabyte does this
  • Manufacturing. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Saturday June 16, 2007 @11:46AM (#19532941)
    To me this is no surprise whatsoever. I think what would surprise people even more is that a lot of companies in Japan, Europe and the United States still use manual labor. The problem seems to be that when someone mentions manual labor done in Asia people automatically assume people are being exploited. I agree it's a serious issue in China. However, this hasn't been the case in Taiwan for decades now. There are numerous laws in Taiwan protecting workers and they are enforced.

    And in my experience they are very industrious workers. I've heard surveys quotes that Americans are among the most productive works in the World. They work hard, but honestly, I don't believe it. Either other nations don't bother doing adequate surveys or American companies inflate productivity. I did also hear another survey that said American workers were complainers, the French and British are worse. I believe that too. Taiwanese are much like the Japanese. There's a job to be done, they get in there and do it. And they do it quickly. They have an excellent work ethic, and take any job they do seriously. It's why you can walk into a Starbucks or McDonalds in Taiwan and the place is spotless and service excellent.

    It also helps that managers at technology companies there tend to have engineering backgrounds. Unlike American companies where we get stuck with business and marketing idiots making important decisions. I can't count the times I've had to deal with guys here who don't know what they're talking about and end up making fools of themselves in meetings. Even worse, they don't care to learn because they think it's all beneath them. So they end up managing based on emotion, almost like children.

    Not that there aren't problems there. I think Taiwanese in general are underpaid. And there's this ideal there too many people have that once you're in management you basically get to screw around all day. Some managers, especially in office environments, can get verbally abusive with employees. It's the sort of thing that no way in hell would ever fly in the US.

    Anyway, I had the opportunity while working there to visit a few companies, and I got to see some cool stuff. Like I said, it's mostly manual labor. I was disappointed when I first saw that; I was hoping to see these giant robotic arms swinging around, going about their business. But it's not the case. It would just be too expensive to purchase and then set up this equipment. And then having to retool for other products would be another hassle.

    I also did some work for a company that sold and installed semi-conductor manufacturing equipment. That was one business where companies didn't want employees directly handling the product. So business was good for this company.

    Taiwan has two of the largest contract semi-conductor foundries in the world. Now that was impressive. The company I visited a few years ago had just recently completed this new facility in southern Taiwan. This was when companies were first starting to move over to 300mm wafers. So they installed this transport in the ceiling to transport these wafers around from machine to machine. The wafers are carried in this case which is something like 1.5ft all around. It has handles so it could be carried. And people did used to carry them around. But given that a case full of at least 10 wafers can be worth hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars they decided they didn't want to risk having people drop these. Hence the transport system. In fact, the facility had relatively few people there, most were responsible for ensuring everything was running properly or setting up new equipment. All in all, it was impressive.
  • by kbox ( 980541 )
    ...by how much still had to be done by hand. Everything is done by hand in Taiwan.

    Why pay for robots when you have an endless supply of poor people willing to work for 1% of the cost of one mother board a week.
  • So, when is this going to be on "How It's Made," one of my favorite TV shows?
  • by MECC ( 8478 ) *
    Each little capacitor and other widget

    Went downhill from there...

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