Lean Expertise and Flexible Equipment Help SAI Meet Customer Challenges

Spectrum Assembly, Inc.’s  Mydata MY500 inkjet printer helps it address customer quality challenges “on the fly.” For example, one PCBA had a QFN device that was driving solder bridging. A 2:1 ratio was used across the stencil. Even with adjustments to screen apertures that varied paste deposition by component, significant defects were occurring because solder paste height could not be reduced sufficiently under the QFN. In a panel of 36 assemblies, 26 had solder bridges using traditional screen printing. Utilizing a standard profile, the MY500 reduced solder bridges to 6 per panel. The production team reprogrammed the machine to dispense a smaller amount of paste under the QFN and completely eliminated all solder bridges.

Production did not stop as the machine was adjusted, since “on-the-fly” programming changes can be made quickly. There are significant improvements in setup time over traditional screen printing. Programming with CAD data can be done in a fraction of the time required for mechanical setup of a traditional screen printer. Setup for existing products is a one-touch operation that takes about 10 seconds. And, since the MY500 dispenses solder ‘dots’ directly on the PCBA, there is no screen required. This eliminates the 1-2 days of lead-time required to order a screen.

Changeover from lead to lead-free product is also instantaneous. There is no need to maintain a stencil or stencil cleanliness. There is zero wasted paste and no water is needed in clean-up.

The MY500 is part of a conveyorized line where product travels from printing through oven with no manual handling.

Tools like this have helped SAI support growing customers with changing needs like Baja Designs. The company found it had grown from a supplier of ‘one-off’ customized products to a company with much higher volume production. To solve that challenge, they implemented a two-cycle kanban system patterned off the two-cycle PCBA kanban system set up by SAI.

SAI’s Active Scheduling service package is designed to meet the needs of companies, such as Baja Designs, who have high product mix requirements and/or variable demand schedule changes. A program manager teams with customer to develop a forecasting framework, set material bonds and determine required finished goods kanban. Additionally, SAI’s paperless factory and automated inspection systems help ensure that Baja Designs’ products meet the configuration management and  high quality requirements necessary for high mix product used in demanding off-road applications.

 “Part of the concept of partnership is evolving our manufacturing solutions as our customers’ requirements evolve. We’ve built a business model that thrives on supporting the needs of growing customers,” said Mike Baldwin, Vice President.

Alex Topp