Essemtec’s high-speed Paraquda SMD pick-and-place system and Fino semi-automatic screen printer have recently been installed at the high-end consumer audio company, AVM-TEC, based in Denmark. The company is a small business specialising in top of the range OEM modules, DIY module based plug & play systems and Pre & Power-amp One amplifiers under the brand name Alluxity.
Young electronics entrepreneur, Alexander Vitus Mogensen, founded AVM-TEC after taking over all the SMD production for the family’s high-end audio products business, Vitus Audio. To keep up with imminent surging demand from Vitus Audio and other customers, Alexander sought a new pick and place system and screen-printing solution to fully optimize the flexibility of AVM-TEC’s SMD production line.
One of the essential criteria for upgrading the equipment included reducing the machine set-up time. Commenting on the company’s selection process, Alexander Vitus Mogensen said, “We knew that if we went into in-line systems, it would take away a large amount of the feeder space on the machine, so a batch solution was, in our case, the best solution.”
“After extensive research, we found that a fully automatic screen-printing solution was no more effective than a small half-automatic screen printer and with the upgrade of a pick and place system in mind, we couldn’t justify the expense for an automatic system than for a small half-manual screen printer that kept the quality at a high level. Our focus was now on finding the absolute best in this category and this was the Essemtec FINO with no doubts at all. It not only competes with the quality of bigger models, but the design and the build quality of this small machine is in a league of its own.”
Designed for small to midsize volumes, the FINO makes it easy for the operator to print accurate and reproducible fine structures. Using two vision cameras, stencil alignment is precise and fast, and the system provides easy access to the printing area for effortless changeovers and stencil cleaning. Selecting Essemtec’s FINO also enabled AVM-TEC to make a larger investment in upgrading the pick and place system. In conjunction with the primary criteria for decreasing set-up time, the company also looked for a high speed solution that would deliver high flexibility in component size, a high capacity of feeders and a vast placement area to produce boards with a larger footprint than before. Alexander added, “The selection criteria was essential for AVM-TEC due to the enormous flexibility it would give us and our customers to suit current and future business requirements. It would not only affect production time and ease of use, but also enable us to redesign our whole production, ranging from the types of components used and handling a variety of PCB sizes, to more module-based solutions for our products and the capability to redesign customer PCBs.”
After researching and viewing many systems, AVM-TEC found it hard to find one machine that could handle all these criteria, until the company revisited Essemtec for a solution and discovered the capabilities of the Paraquda. In particular, the Paraquda is able to pick and place components with the dimensions 80x70mm and a height up to 25mm, making it perfectly suited for using the special capacitors AVM-TEC had in mind, as well as the large microprocessors already designed into the control-circuit in the company’s exclusive range of Alluxity branded products.
The decision to install the Paraquda was finalized and Alexander provided feedback on how the new system was impacting on his business, “If you ask us, the Paraquda is in a completely different category than most other machines out there. The fact that you get so much in one machine was the deciding factor for us. The software, user-interface and PCB Visualization feature make it easy to triple-check if everything is as it should be. Everything about the Paraquda is simple to comprehend and implement, it took less than a day of training to get into the software, followed by a couple of days “feature” introductions and we were in production. There are many more details, features and “tricks” to learn but the most important thing was establishing overall production fast. In total, this took one week of installing and training, then our production was back online at much greater speed and quality than the previous week".
The number of feeders was also a prerequisite for AVM-TEC, who looked at upgrading the old machine to a system that would be able to hold at least 30 more 8mm single feeders, largely due to the time it took to set up a new program. The Paraquda holds up to 240 components when 8mm double feeders are used on every feeder space. With the capability of placing over 15,000 surface mounted parts an hour, the Paraquda platform offers the ability to combine placement and dispensing, and processes all types of components, from 01005 to large components or connectors. Unmatched changeover times and a highly flexible assembly are ensured by the highest number of feeder slots per square meter in the market, intelligent, servo-driven kitting without production stop and an intuitive, touch screen-based operation.
Tom Van Tongelen, Managing Director of Essemtec Benelux, said, “We are delighted to have provided AVM-TEC with a precise solution to their screen printing and pick and place requirements. It also proves that small companies can also make the step to invest in cutting edge SMT production to build low volume at high quality. The investment pays off with the company having full responsibility, flexibility, cost control and design control over their product with full support from Essemtec and locally, in AVM-TEC’s case, from HIN in Denmark.”
Combined with first-class support from Essemtec and at local level too, the high quality, flexibility and speed of the Paraquda and Fino undisputedly cemented the beginning of a new collaboration with AVM-TEC. Alexander summarized, “The jump from the old machines to the new Essemtec systems was not a small jump, but it was the right jump. There isn’t anyone else that we’re aware of who has such equipment that meets the requirements of a ‘small’ high-end consumer audio business. It’s certainly a sales factor for us and our distributor can present more to our potential customers.”