Selecting the right equipment for printed circuit board assembly has some obvious and not so obvious considerations. In the world of electronic manufacturing services, the obvious goal is to respond to and meet the specific needs of each individual customer. In order to provide quality products to a vast variety of customers, manufacturing equipment and processes require flexibility and leading-edge capabilities. There are many important factors such as accuracy, repeatability and speed, but some considerations are not so obvious; such as efficiency and process refinement tools. These less common considerations can weigh heavily in providing an EMS provider with a competitive edge.
Efficiency equates to maximizing the utility of equipment and people, which in turn means lower cost of manufacturing and improved delivery on-time. Many of today’s newer generation SMT equipment offers advanced offline programming software, on-the-fly optimization and fast changeover capabilities. Fast and accurate are important, but mean little if the equipment is idle due to issues such as long setup and changeover time, machine failure and repair, and lengthy preventive maintenance. Advancements in SMT equipment have led to a greater focus on machine uptime and overall efficiency.
Process refinement is a necessity for today’s manufacturers to improve efficiency, but more importantly to improve quality. Older generation screen printers, pick and place, reflow ovens and optical inspection equipment offer no or little process data collection or product traceability. Statistical process control software is a critical tool in examining processes and determining the cause of variation. Collected data gives us the ability to achieve conforming products with maximum utilization of resources.
There are many considerations when choosing equipment for printed circuit board assembly and every EMS provider will choose equipment to meet their individual needs and requirements. Our goal in selecting manufacturing equipment is to develop processes that are geared to provide the highest possible flexibility, quality, and efficiency to meet and exceed customer requirements.
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