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Electronics Production | May 09, 2011

Smyczek grows with Assembléon

Smyczek GmbH & Co. KG, EMS-provider in Verl, produces PCB panels, components and appliances for industrial customers. Founded in 1985, the high-tech company has been using placement machines from Assembléon for over 15 years.
After an intensive evaluation phase, Smyczek decided to once again invest in machines from the Dutch supplier of SMT Pick & Place solutions, to ensure sustainable growth of the company.

Since 1997 the electronic manufacturer from Verl, with more than 200 employees, produces ISO-9001 certified modules and appliances in a 4'500 m² production hall. Their main production consists of products for the automation sector, including Industry PC’s, automation-, control- and communication-modules. A total of 85% is delivered directly to the Beckhoff-consortium, to which the EMS-provider belongs since December 2009.

The remaining 15% consist of products for other industrial customers situated in the same region as the electronics manufacturer.

Since 1995 Smyczek has an annual growth rate of around 15%. In order to make optimal use of the machines and the production space, the company has been working five and a half days per week with a three-shift system for the past six years. On seven assembly lines (one Mimot-line, one Siplace-X-line and five Assembléon-lines) a total number of 300 million components were mounted in 2008. The financial crisis in 2009 caused the output to drop to 220 million. However, from 2010 onwards things should be looking up again.

The project

Due to the different systems the production-line planning with over 1000 different modules was a permanent challenge for Beckhoff. Incompatibility of the tape feeder systems and fundamentally different operating software, turned out to be insurmountable obstacles for higher-level assembly planning. Furthermore a market recovery and thus strong growth of the Beckhoff-consortium initiated an extensive reorganization of the SMT production line at Smyczek. By the end of 2012, the step-by-step restructuring process should result in three identical lines from the same manufacturer.

Encouraged by the Directors of the Beckhoff-consortium, Mr. Smyczek and Mr. Schlegel, both Directors of Smyczek, began by exploring the possibility of extending their existing Siplace-X-line to three machines and setting up two consecutive identical lines by the end of 2012. However, the machine manufacturer couldn’t guarantee the availability of the X-series by the end of 2012, so this option was abandoned. In the final round, the system proposed by the Assembléon engineers consisting of MC-machines (Modular Compact) competed with the Siplace-SX configuration.

The to-do-list

To meet the benchmark data of the project, Assembléon initiated the development of an 88mm tape feeder. Up until that point, this type of tape feeder did not yet exist in the company’s portfolio. The realization of this tape feeder enabled Assembléon to provide Smyczek with their solution in good time.

In order to meet the software requirements, regarding complex family setups, Smyczek and Assembléon partnered with Diplan GmbH, a very competent company from Erlangen. For many years Diplan has been providing highly professional software solutions for set-up strategies and job order planning.

The proposition

The 6,2m long Assembléon Pick & Place line consists of four modules from the MC-series, allowing a placement performance of 86.100 Bt/h in compliance with IPC-9850: One MC-24 module, a chip shooter, followed by two MC-1 modules, universal chip shooter and IC-placer and finally an MC-8 module with an APC and the ability of placing odd-shaped and press-in-components.

With space for a total of 429 tape feeders, Smyczek’s requirements with regard to the tape feeder capacity for every line are more than fulfilled. The spectrum of the components that can be used, range from 01005-Chips (0,4 x 0,2 mm), to quadratic ICs (max. 54 x 54 mm) and odd-shaped-components (100 x 45 mm) with controlled press-in forces.

The advantages

“Our decision in favor of the new Assembléon-concept with the MC-24X, is based not only on the fact that it meets all our requirements, but especially on the cost effectiveness of the solution”, reported Mr. Smyczek. Besides flexibility and a quick changeover, the MC-series from Assembléon offer a lot of other advantages. The complete cost effectiveness – Total Cost of Ownership TCO – encompasses, apart from the initial investment in hard- and software, the operational costs of the machines.

Compared to its competitor Assembléon requested a lower investment sum from its customer Smyczek. It was also important to be able to display advantages in the consumption rate.

With regard to the comparative value the MC-machines of the Assembléon-line only consumed 41% of the electricity and as little as 30% of the compressed air. With a calculated lifetime of five years, an amount of up to EUR 60'000 per line can therefore be saved. For those who anticipate increasing energy costs, this is another big cost advantage.

The realisation

After visiting reference customers, Smyczek decided in favor of the Assembléon solution. With three instantly available demo-machines, a temporary manufacturing solution was installed in July 2010. After completing the line and exchanging the demo-machines with brand new ones, the first of three Assembléon lines were set up at the end of September 2010.

Even before the first line was fully installed, negotiations took place with regard to a second and third line, both of which were bought before the end of last year. Mr. Smyczek explained: “We have years of positive experiences with Assembléon. We are using their machines since 1996 and they have proven to be very reliable, they require little maintenance and are hardly susceptible to malfunctions”.

The economic recovery of 2010 enabled the EMS-service provider from Verl to double its yearly output in comparison with 2009, bringing it up to 450 million components. In 2011 Smyczek plans to reach the 1 billion components benchmark. During a joint party hosted at Smyczek in October 2010, the Assembléon team was pleasantly surprised by the news that Smyczek wished to buy two more lines in February 2011.

“It’s not clear yet whether the investment in Assembléon Pick & Place lines has come to an end with the buying of the February machines,” Mr. Schlegel commented on the current situation at Smyczek. With a wink he added “The end of the economic recovery is not yet in sight!”

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