Just three years since it embarked upon a significant strategic investment in a full SMT assembly line solution from Blakell Europlacer Distribution, Chesterfield-based Contract Manufacturer, Kingfield Electronics Ltd, has repeated that process. It has added a second, almost identical, SMT line, this time supported by intelligent automated storage systems as it responds to increasing customer demand and looks to expand.
Kingfield’s original assembly line acquisition in 2014 comprised a Speedprint screen printer, twin-turret Europlacer iineo II placement machine, TSM reflow oven, Aleader AOI and a Eunil conveyor system. It was part of a much larger round of investment as the company fitted out and moved into new bespoke premises in Chesterfield. Since then, Kingfield has added prestigious accreditations, including AS9100, and enjoyed growth as a result of its investment.
“That led us to review our growth strategy and choose to accelerate it by adding a second SMT line to deliver the extra capacity we knew we needed,” explains Kingfield Operations Director Dave Bailey. “The decision was pretty easy, as our experience of the original full line solution from Europlacer was excellent, especially in the support provided, which exceeded our expectations.”
Bailey and his operations team specified a new line that is “more or less a duplicate of the first one.” The notable exception is the addition of two of Europlacer’s intelligent Lzero3 storage towers. These smart line-side units provide automated storage and retrieval of tapes and reels to rapidly match a bill of materials without errors, while optimising the kitting process by presenting devices on a first-expired, first-out (FEFO) basis to manage expiry dates and enhance traceability.
“Repeat business that comes straight to us and essentially mirrors a previous order is perhaps the best accolade you can receive as a supplier,” says Andy Jones, UK Sales Manager at Blakell Europlacer. “It’s even more rewarding when that order includes additional product investment, like the Lzero3 towers. There’s no doubt that this is a testament to our customer service and justifies our commitment to support: we receive industry awards for this but the ultimate honour has to be customer satisfaction that leads directly to more business.”
The second SMT line at Kingfield is itself part of a larger investment in capital equipment at the company. It provides a base from which Bailey and his team can further enhance Kingfield’s offer and grow further. Full compatibility between the two lines also delivers the flexibility required to handle higher volume manufacturing as well as NPI work. “This is aided by the Lzero3 storage systems which shorten equipment set up times and deliver confidence, to us and our customers, in the optimum selection of parts as well as total traceability,” Bailey adds.
The Blakell Europlacer Group comprises the Speedprint Technologies, Europlacer, and Blakell Europlacer Distribution business units. All three are active and pre-eminent in the electronic circuit board assembly sector with advanced product and service solutions for electronics manufacturers in the UK and globally. Speedprint Technologies is a provider of screen printing equipment used in surface mount assembly processes. Europlacer is a provider of surface mount component placement equipment. Blakell Europlacer Distribution augments the provision of screen printing and pick & place platforms in the UK with a range of associated equipment, including AOI, reflow and PCB handling.