Elancourt-based Airbus Défense & Space, the world’s second-largest space company, has selected Europlacer’s iineo placement platform for its high-mix, low-volume production requirements.
The iineo machine was acquired late in 2016 to undergo evaluation by the engineers at Airbus D&S. The company is delighted to report that the platform passed this evaluation period with flying colours and is now nearing the end of its final acceptance procedure. It will soon be fully deployed in the production of boards across three sectors of the Airbus D&S’ business.
The on-machine component inventory of iineo was a key factor in the Airbus D&S decision. As the company manufactures a large variety of products in very small batches, iineo allows production engineers to load the machine with almost 300 different types of components. This streamlines operation by saving significant time during product changeover. In addition, some products feature extremely technical components that are specific to Airbus D&S.
“After a three-way competitive comparison in 2015, Airbus Défense & Space opted for the iineo platform and submitted it to one of the most arduous benchmark evaluation programmes we have ever experienced,” explains the company’s French Sales Manager, Alain-Michel Ceretti. “The Airbus team from Elancourt visited our factory in Rocheserviere as well as two of our customers’ sites, and turned up with a handful of sophisticated components to test our mettle,” he adds.
Among the challenges set by Airbus for the companies selected for its competitive comparison was a test of placement precision using its complex, non-standard components. “The iineo platform handled all these special parts with ease, and we have since learned that it also delivered the best placement performance,” says Ceretti.
A principle placement parameter focus for Airbus Défense & Space is Z-axis capability. With the nature of its products in the aerospace theatre, the evaluation team paid special attention to the ‘stand-off’ capability, looking for perfect control to sink components into the solder paste with absolute precision and repeatability.
The calibre of supplier technical support was a further element in the Airbus decision. The company has won consecutive awards for its customer service over recent years, and this turned out to be a contributing factor in choosing iineo: “We have known of the Europlacer brand for a long time,” says M. Kacimi, Production Manager at Airbus Défense & Space. “The feedback about support we received from iineo users was highly favourable. It added to our positive experience of the platform’s technical prowess and boosted our confidence in the company behind the machine,” he explains. “Choosing this company was the culmination of a long process that involved and mobilised many people here for two years. We are satisfied with the outcome and know that we would reach the same decision if we did this again.”