Inside the Gigabyte Nan-Ping Factory
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 06/10/2009 01:00 PM [ 0 comment(s) ]
All your Gigabyte boards are belong to us
We were taken upstairs to the conference room where we have been shown a company video and explanation of what is happening inside the factory step by step. And exactly that process we'll follow with a photo-shoot.
Here's where the making of a motherboard begins in the Nan-Ping facility, basically Gigabyte receives printed circuit boards (PCBs) in a semi-prepared state. What that means is that the primary traces and drilling are already accomplished on the PCB. To explain the production procedure let's walk through the four stages of product development inside this factory from that blank PCB to the final product:
- SMT stage - At this first stage solder paste printing is applied to very bare PCBs, component placement like the motherboard chipset or GPU and smaller SMD parts are mounted. Followed by reflow soldering and then test and inspection. There are 11 SMT lines available. This is the stage where pretty much all the really tiny stuff is managed.
- DIP Stage - At this stage the semi-prepared PCB now manually gets the somewhat bigger components inserted (like PCIe slots, resistors, chokes etc), followed by wave soldering of these components. Then final non surface mounted components are applied like heatsink assembly etc, and then again a test inspection. There are 4 DIP production lines inside the factory with six test lines. Two motherboard production lines, one VGA production line and one server line.
- Final Testing - At this stage the product is finalized. Each component will get a manual test, that means each motherboard is tested within the quality control baseline. After a function test, the components will receive a burn-in test. In the last phase another manual inspection is applied before going to the fourth and final stage.
- Packaging - The quickest part of the process, each SKU will receive packaging, bundling and then is boxed and trayed.
For an average motherboard to go from stage 1 to stage 4... accumulated will take roughly 15~20 minutes per motherboard. Let's enter the building. So in the reception area of the factory there's a nice mockup to see what the building looks like from the outside. Oh and take a close look of what the mockup is made off ;)
The factory is up and running 24/7. Employees are segmented in three shifts. Each shift is eight hours, and there are three shifts per day in rotation. According to a staff member this plant has roughly 1,200 employees.
Before we can enter the SMT factory hall we need to pass through an air shower, not that we are entering a clean room though.
It's like sitting in the biggest hair dryer you can think of. Of course this prevents dust particles from entering the facility, especially in the more fragile SMT stage of production this is very important.
In this unique article we'll follow the design stages of a motherboard and VGA card inside Gigabyte's Nan-Ping factory located close to Taipei. We had an all-access pass and a photo-camera to shoot what you always wanted to see... the creation of a motherboard and graphics card.