Tilo Brandis, head of Siemens L&A’s Electronic Assembly Division, wasn’t restrained in his comments on the new Siplace X-series at its first rollout in the Munich headquarters. “As the innovation leader, we will set a new standard in the electronics industry with this intelligent machine platform”. To satisfy all requirements, the platform includes dual, triple and even four-gantry versions along with many head configurations. Substantial performance improvements, lower placement costs, high modularity, reliability and ease-of-operation are the key results.
The Siplace X-series (see cover features on page 20) is said to be the product of intensive, joined development activities. It involves key customers from a wide variety of industry segments, so apparently the platform will closely meet the demands. Thanks to its modularity and proven options, the machine is ideally suited for virtually any kind of application. For maximum placement performance, up to four collect&place heads with 20 nozzles can run in one machine simultaneously. Each head placing up to 20,000 components per hour (cph), the high-speed model with four of those heads can thus handle up to 80,000cph with an accuracy of 55µm at 4-sigma. The processable component spectrum with this head ranges from 01005 to parts of 6 x 6 x 4mm, covering 95% of all parts used in electronics manufacturing.
A newly developed vision system and intelligent feeder modules support the advanced placement head. The digital vision system supports super-fast cycles which the 20-nozzle head, and extremely reliable recognition of all components. Robust program algorithms provide maximum processing speed. The latest generation of feeder modules also contributes to the speed of the X-series machines. They allow very fast changeovers without the need to interrupt operations, and have a robust construction, simple handling, single-track design and automatic data communication. All these attributes aid in easy integration into existing logistics concepts, and ensure process’s traceability. Product manager Hubert Herzberg pointed out that, “The full performance of the Siplace X-series really becomes apparent looking at entire SMT lines. By combining the different Siplace X-4, X-3 and X-2 versions and deploying combinations of four available placement heads, the users can cover virtually any requirement in the industry, from maximum performance to maximum flexibility”. By the way, the number stands for gantries.
According to Tilo Brandis, the recently completed fiscal year 2003/2004 was pleasing, and the situation in the electronics industry improved significant worldwide. “But while the market grew at 20%, the Siplace business rose by 40%. We continue to invest a lot of money in R&D to further increase the distance to our competitors”. The Siplace market share got up from 27.2% in 2003 to 33.1% in the year 2004. The company has until now installed more than 13,000 units at more than 1,600 customer sites. The Americas and Europe, representing a more flat market this year, will grow again soon. But Asia will be the engine for even higher demand on manufacturing equipment, consuming about 50% of all machines. From the technology side, for the different placement requirements, the portfolio will be even more fragmented. “One size fits all does not work anymore”. The next large Siplace equipment introduction is already scheduled for Productronica in November this year.
Group VP Dr. Peter Drexel, explaining the automation solutions: “Thanks to our experience in logistics automation and our specialized knowledge of placement technology, Siemens is able to provide customers with more efficient systems than the competition, and meet any specific customer requirement. The machine technology is mature and highly efficient. The next step, namely to integrate the entire production process into the manufacturing and logistics environment, has already been taken. There is wide scope for improvement in the manufacturing environment, particularly in the areas of material and inventory management, as well as process controls”. As he further underlined, the Logistics and Assembly group has a staff of about 10,00 and generated a turnover of euro 2,338bn which is dispersed into six business units. Peter Drexel, his credo being customer benefit, sees quality as the prerequisite for this. “We have to create value for our customers,” he pointed out.
The Siplace X-platform is already installed at some pilot lines for field-testing. The company starts those partnerships at a very early R&D phase of a new machine generation. In combination with these extensive tests, Siplace will continue to develop innovations that set standards.
Gerhard B. Wolski
EPP EUROPE 401