Europlacer Based near the picturesque Cambridgeshire village of Hemingford Abbots, PCB assembler Circuit Solutions has seen steady year-on-year growth of its contract manufacturing business.
Growth has been so strong that additional surface mount placement capacity was required to augment its existing SMT equipment; however, a decision about which direction to take was needed before selecting the partner.
The management team comprising Owners Brett Milborn and Dick Greenwood, Internal Sales Manager Neil Monington and Manufacturing Manager Paul Edmondson all were involved throughout the machine evaluation process, and there were numerous potential solutions. “Due to the increase in demand from our customers, we could see that we required higher volumes, while at the same time being able to offer the flexibility that the contract manufacturing market demands,” commented Monington. “For this reason, one of the machine vendors we evaluated was Europlacer.”
Initially, Europlacer proposed a combination of three of its XPii machines, which would have considerably increased output and also given a small footprint of less than 4 m, high feeder count of around 300 x 8 mm feeders and the ability to place 01005 to 50 x 50 mm devices.
After considering all the options available from the various machine suppliers, a decision was made that the Europlacer concept was the way that Circuit Solutions wanted to move. “We were aware that many UK contract manufacturers have introduced Europlacer SMT equipment, and we could see the benefits of the platform,” commented Milborn. “However, we considered moving from our existing machines to Europlacer as a slight ‘risk’ (in that we had all the training and knowledge based around our existing machines) and so we discussed with Europlacer how we could address this concern.”
It was decided that a Europlacer XPii machine would be brought in to the facility on a trial basis, to run in line with the existing equipment. At that time, Circuit Solutions employed a new General Manager — John Tutt. With many years’ experience within the SMT industry, Tutt was keen to see what the Europlacer equipment could offer CSL and its customer base.
“I was impressed with the capability of the Europlacer XPii machine, but could see that on its own, it was not completely practical,” commented Tutt. “It needed to be joined to the larger Europlacer iineo system in order to provide the most flexible combination of machines.”
An iineo I machine was purchased to be placed in line with the XPii machine, offering nearly 370 x 8 mm feeder positions, speeds up to 38,000 cph, intelligent feeders, PCB sizes up to 700 x 460 mm and the ability to place 01005 through to 70 mm2 devices.
Tutt summarised, “This is now one of the most flexible lines I have ever seen. The transition from our previous machines on to the Europlacer platform has been easy and we are already seeing the benefits of Europlacer’s flexibility. From building NPI products through to high volumes, our new line allows us to offer a superb service to both our existing and potential clients.”