A Surface Mount Technology (SMT) assembly line is only as efficient as the sum of its parts. Each machine is an essential cog on the line. Some high-volume manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand operate several SMT lines, placing more than one and a half million components per day. Optimal operation and minimised downtime depend on the reliability of each machine on the line. When it comes to sourcing SMT equipment, as the old saying goes you get what you pay for. This article will discuss the four equipment lifecycle stages in advanced SMT manufacturing, spotlighting YAMAHA mounters and how premium SMT machinery and aftersales care lead to long-lasting performance.
Planning For Lifespan
The longer a piece of equipment can be used the better the return on investment. When considering a new machine there must be a balance between planning for current output needs and accommodating for flexibility and growth. Will an SMT mounter for example, still be viable in fifteen years’ time? Premium manufacturing products come into play here because they are known for their superior quality, serviceability, and spare parts. Built to higher standards YAMAHA products are designed to have a longer lifespan and improved ROI. For example, the SMT placement comparison table shows that over fifteen years, a YSM20R SMT mounter could typically have a 36% increase in lifetime production value over another brand. The YAMAHA could be in service for a total of twenty-five years while the other machine had reached end-of-life expectancy in fifteen years.
Tait Communications NZ develops and manufactures innovative digital communications for global markets. The company run three SMT lines placing a million components per day. Recently investing in three new premium mounters, Tait still chooses to run two twenty-year-old YV100X mounters on one line giving them the capability to increase production or switch from one line to the next if they need to. With these premium-quality mounters, the company has reduced the need for early replacements and added value well beyond the initial investment. While mounter placement speed is an important consideration, most manufacturers place a higher priority on flexibility and reliability.
Acquisition and Commissioning
Selecting the right machine for your needs is the first step to acquiring new equipment that will last many years. Hawker Richardson works closely with clients to assess their SMT requirements in the short term and identify solutions for long-term manufacturing goals. Our expert team assess the customer’s product range and needs taking into consideration the maximum PCB size, range of components, shape/surface of the boards and output volume. Buying the right machine adds to the overall productivity and viability of the line.
Premium SMT machinery sourced from a reputable brand such as YAMAHA mitigates risk for the manufacturer. At the forefront of SMT technology, YAMAHA’s track record of delivering world-class surface-mount systems is well known. The quality, performance and flexibility of their mounters extend well beyond the company.
Commissioning new mounters into a production line can be challenging but with YAMAHA’s superior support engineering service teams find the process runs smoothly. During the COVID lockdowns, the Hawker Richardson team together with engineers at Tait Communications successfully installed four new mounters remotely at the company utilising the unique support software solution from YAMAHA. The success of the remote installation enabled all teams to review and improve processes and minimize downtime.
Operation and Maintenance Strategy
Premium products are made from higher-quality components without unnecessary complexity. An SMT mounter needs to be robust to place hundreds of thousands of components during each production shift. YAMAHA mounters are known to be reliable and less prone to failures which translate to reduced downtime, cost of repairs and lost productivity. Manufacturers typically invest in one YAMAHA line, to begin with, and never look back because of the performance and reliability. GPC Electronics, managing director Dr Christopher Jansen, reveals that the YAMAHA’S are “reliable, place very quickly which means that the yield and accuracy of the machines have made it much easier from a process point of view”.
Maintenance prolongs the equipment’s life cycle, minimising downtime, and optimising production. A strategy for maintenance needs to be established early in the product life cycle to reduce disruptions. Premium products are generally well-supported with warranties and spare part availability. YAMAHA’S policy is to guarantee parts for ten years, although the company has been known to supply parts even five years after their guaranteed date. Hawker Richardson’s skilled service engineers have a working knowledge of old and new YAMAHA products, and our after-sales maintenance plans include adjustments, cleaning, calibration, repairs, and replacement. YAMAHA machines that are maintained regularly can continue to be in service long after their expected lifespan has ended.
Planning for Obsolescence
Premium machinery may have a longer lifespan than cheaper alternatives but at some point, every machine becomes obsolete. Careful planning for obsolescence must be initiated long before parts and services are no longer provided by the original equipment manufacturer.
Strategies to identify risks include regular monitoring of the condition of the machine, accessibility of manuals and spare parts and availability of service engineers familiar with the machine. An exit timeline needs to be mapped together with a new machinery plan. Hawker Richardson’s expert knowledge and proactive approach can help the manufacturer make informed decisions before the unexpected loss of a machine has an impact on overall operations and productivity.
While the initial investment in premium manufacturing products may be higher, the long-term cost savings and benefits outweigh the upfront costs. It is essential for SMT manufacturers to evaluate their specific needs, requirements, and maintenance plan with a trusted partner. Hawker Richardson with one hundred years of experience providing cutting-edge manufacturing technology work together with their customers. We provide a cost-benefit analysis for each case, considering factors like usage frequency, expected lifespan, and the impact on overall operations and productivity of the SMT line.
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