Handling high-density boards that feature exotic components

Investing for the future in Haaksbergen is paying off

Back in 2014, Netherlands-based contract manufacturer, Global Electronics made the decision to invest in surface mount assembly technology that would give capacity it didn’t need to meet its customers’ requirements at that moment. Instead, the decision was based on a forward-looking philosophy to position the company for the “right kind of business” in the future.

For Global Electronics, that future has since arrived, and it turns out to be a bright future. The company, based at Haaksbergen in eastern Netherlands just a few miles from the German border, celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. In that quarter-century, it has seen its business proposition broaden, its customer profile change, and the complexity of its customers’ products escalate. Some of the boards it now manufactures are valued up to € 50k each – which is the business the company sought.

In the four-year period since its investment decision, the company has evolved from a conventional EMS provider into a complete fulfillment partner. More than assembly, they deliver downstream resources including box build and shipping logistics, and upstream support to manage supply chains and procurement, and to offer strategic collaboration during product development.

Surface mount assembly remains a core operational function. In order to focus on its broader aims, the company first needed to ensure that this production process ran flawlessly. And that it could address the high-complexity, high-value board business it wanted to target. The decision to invest in progressive manufacturing technology was the outcome. After evaluating the market, the company selected Europlacer placement machines for their technology and quality capabilities. „Having built up a good relationship firstly with SMANS, our local distributor, and then with Europlacer directly, we had the confidence to make this investment,” explains Jeroen Schuiling, Head of Sales at Global Electronics. „They are one of the few brands that can comply with our requirements to handle high-density boards that feature exotic components. That was the ‘right kind of business’ we wanted to attract.

At the time of the evaluation and acquisition, Schuiling was the Production Manager. From that vantage point, and with 20 years of experience, he knows the right decision was made by investing in two XPii platforms and a twin-turret iineo machine. In addition, the company had an older Vitesse machine on its factory floor; this was upgraded to full iineo specification. „It was a more cost-effective path than purchasing a second new machine, and we ended up with the same capability,“ he explains.

The company’s surface mount operation is split into two distinct functions: NPI/prototype work; and complete production for medium-volume, high mix products. „The machines can address both sets of unique requirements with a single platform,“ says Schuiling.

With its assembly function optimized, the company has been able to attract premium ultra-high-tech work from discerning OEMs (Schuiling refers to boards for the EU Supercomputer 2020 Project that require techniques available on the high-tech assembly lines).

Other high-value assemblies include Zero-flux PSUs destined for the particle accelerator at Cern where faultless high quality is expected. „We also deliver advanced products to Cern for high-speed data collection, as well as to other customers in demanding telecoms and photonics markets,” says Schuiling, adding: „And we also manufacture an ingenious agricultural product for monitoring livestock – that brings things back down to earth, though it is a very serious and demanding electronics application.“

The next step in continuing its growth is to offer high-volume manufacturing, supported by the company’s end-to-end infrastructure resources, from procurement to direct-to-customer shipping. „With the platforms, we already have the capability and capacity,“ claims Schuiling, pointing out that it‘s been proven with some recent projects, featuring consumer products ripe for production in Asia. „But we were smart enough to invest in the tooling to address the volumes the customer required. Our per-unit pricing came in just € 1 more than the cost of assembling abroad – a negligible amount given the value of the PCBs and all the attendant advantages in communications and quality that come from manufacturing in Europe,“ he states.

There is another agenda coming into play in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands. Something that the company intends to capitalize on, which is having the ‘Made in Holland’ stamp on products. „It is an increasingly desirable label for our local and regional customers, and even for those beyond our borders,“ Schuiling explains. „It portrays top quality, focus and attention to detail, and we are very happy to be seen as the providers of that quality.“

SMT Hybrid Packaging, Booth 4–251

www.europlacer.com; www.global-electronics.nl


Zusammenfassung Résumé Резюме

Ein in den Niederlanden ansässiger Auftragsfertiger hat vor wenigen Jahren in Bestückungstechnologien investiert, die weit über die damaligen Kundenanforderungen hinaus gingen. Denn die Bestückung ist das Herz einer SMT-Linie und benötigt innovatives Equipment. Durch diese vorausschauende Entscheidung konnte sich der EMS Dienstleister ständig weiterentwickeln und ist heute ein kompletter Fulfillment-Partner mit Produkten Made in Holland.

L‘assemblage est le cœur d‘une ligne CMS et demande d‘avoir des équipements innovants. Il y a quelques années, un fabricant basé aux Pays-Bas a investi dans des technologies d‘assemblage, qui allaient bien au-delà des exigences de l‘époque. Grâce à cette décision tournée vers le futur, le fournisseur de services EMS a pu constamment évoluer et maintenant est un partenaire à part entière dans l‘exécution avec des produits ‘Made in Holland’.

Один голландский контрактный производитель несколько лет назад инвестировал в технологии установки навесных элементов на печатную плату, которые на тот момент значительно превосходили требования клиентов. Установка навесных элементов на печатную плату — это сердце линии поверхностного монтажа, требующее использования самого современного оборудования. Благодаря этому дальновидному решению разработчик микроэлектронных схем смог развиваться дальше и превратиться в полноценного партнера-соисполнителя, предлагающего продукты „Made in Holland“.

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