Manufacturing our electronic products begins with the purchase of the printed circuit boards and all the required components. We purchase our printed circuit boards from a company in China that ensures a uniformly high standard of quality due to its modern, fully automated production facility. Components that we do not have in stock are sourced worldwide.
We produce samples from the materials, which we then check and, up until now, have taken to an EMS service provider close to our location, along with the SMD components and printed circuit boards. We receive the completed assemblies after 4 to 8 weeks.
After a final, visual inspection, the assemblies are installed in the devices and the completed products are subjected to various tests.
Approximately one year ago we decided to change this process by purchasing an SMD placement machine.
One major reason for this decision was our quality standard. By assembling the boards ourselves we can monitor the entire production process, which means we can optimize it, which in turn leads to a higher standard of quality for our products.
An EMS service provider’s employees manufacture a vast range of assemblies each day, which is not always possible without faults creeping in. A lack of knowledge about the units that are to be manufactured can lead to bad decisions, as in our case, when sensors were recently destroyed by cleaning fluid after a rework-process.
A second point supporting the decision to purchase an placement machine is the EMS service providers’ long lead time. By placing the components ourselves, we can react to orders far more quickly.
Furthermore, automated SMD assembly is commercially viable even in small numbers and we can thus implement our customers’ requirements more freely.
And now the moment has finally arrived: The placement machine is in our production. We decided on an Autotronik machine. Some key data of the device: 4,500 components per hour at an accuracy of 0.01 mm and a resolution of 0.005 mm.
But first we faced a slight problem: The placement machine did not fit through the door. So we hired a telescopic forklift and an experienced forklift driver lifted the machine, along with a stencil printer we purchased at the same time, into our production area through a window. The following pictures will give you an impression of the process.