Practical insight: future-proof investment in new production line


Practical insight: future-proof investment in new production line

The criteria for investing in new manufacturing systems at EMS are many and varied, ranging from manufacturing flexibility and cost optimization to sustainability aspects - a successful project example in the shadow of Corona.

Perhaps there is a better time to invest in a new ASM production line than in November 2019. November 2019, because that is when elektron systeme und Komponenten GmbH und Co. KG expanded its production capacities with a new assembly line, including various transport systems and a reflow soldering system.

"Whether we would have carried out this expansion if we had known what would happen to Corona in 2020 is questionable. However, it is indisputable that the line helped us to supply our customers quickly and reliably during the Corona period."

The company's order situation was - and still is - good, and so the new production line quickly proved its worth. In contrast to other lines of this size, the required plant capacity and familiarization were less of a challenge during the implementation phase. Rather it was and is - as is now the case everywhere - the component supply that causes headaches from time to time. elektron systeme today not only assembles printed circuit boards in SMD and THT technology on a production area of 2,300 m², but also produces complete electronic device units and is thus affected by current supply problems like any other EMS provider.

Irrespective of these special conditions, the EMS provider was not only concerned with expanding its production capacities, but also with increasing the flexibility of its production. Both are key future-proofing aspects for the company. Another aspect in the system decision was also to expand production with proven systems. With this in mind, the company opted for a three-module Siplace SX line, including a DEK NeoHorizon03iX stencil printer, and a VisionXP+ nitro reflow soldering system from Rehm. The assembly transport as well as the loading and unloading of the line are handled by modules from Asys. The Siplace SX assembly system allows the highly flexible electronics production envisaged. The three placement heads cover all current component shapes and sizes from 0201 metric. A total of max. 86,500 components/h can be placed with the placement machine. These are made available to the machine with up to 120 8-mm feeders. Components can also be loaded with belts, trays, bars and bowls. Special and THT components can also be reliably fed. Because of the longboard option used, the maximum PCB size is 1,525 × 560 mm.

The NeoHorizon 03iX stencil printer meets the requirements for high flexibility and quality while minimizing costs, e.g. for maintenance. The printer is designed for a wide variety of production philosophies, whether high-speed production, highly flexible assembly of the smallest batch sizes, pin-in-paste, the smallest components and finest apertures, stepped stencils, regular use of bottom-side cleaning, printed circuit boards for special substrates, or a wide variety of paste types. It is modular in design and can be upgraded or retrofitted with various clamping and transport options, sensor and camera systems or the latest version of the DEK ProFlow ATx printhead system, depending on the electronics manufacturer's requirements. With core cycle times of 8 s and repeatability of up to 25 µm @ >2 Cpk, the printer meets the high demands for speed, efficiency and accuracy. Furthermore, the printer is operator and service friendly as all interventions for operation and maintenance can be done from the front of the machine.

The line is rounded off by the VisionXP+ nitro reflow soldering system Among other features, the reflow oven is equipped with a medium support system, an O2 analyzer, a nitrogen control system and an external water recooling system. With special attention to energy efficiency, reduction of emissions and operating costs, EC motors were integrated in the VisionXP+ nitro, which allow significant energy savings. This sustainability aspect was an important reason for choosing this system. This system shows that the most diverse requirements of modern electronics manufacturing can be reconciled.

And another aspect is important to Walter:

"We need production lines with which we can react to all changes in the market and our customers' wishes. We have seen - especially in the last twelve months - what that can mean."

Publishing date

25 June 2021

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  • Industry 4.0
  • Placement machines and assembly stations
  • Screen and stencil printing systems