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© ASM Assembly Systems Electronics Production | May 17, 2011

Kimball Electronics upgrades with Siplace

To speed up new product introductions and churn out smaller lots with more flexibility, Kimball Electronics recently invested in a new SMT line with Siplace SX placement machines and Siplace CPP MultiStar heads.
Kimball Electronics currently has four Siplace lines in operation. Facing smaller lot sizes, more orders, a growing number of product changeovers and higher demands on placement accuracy due to among other things the rising need to place high volumes of 01005 components, Kimball Electronics decided to add production capacity. By investing in a new line, the company wanted not only to set the foundation for more growth, but accelerate its new product introduction capacity and enhance its capacity for manufacturing small lot sizes flexibly and efficiently.

Intensive evaluation

Kimball Electronics started evaluating solutions form various equipment manufacturers in June 2009. Because of the company’s own quality obligations to its customers, this process is highly structured at Kimball Electronics. A written specification listed requirements regarding quality, product changeover times, 01005-capabilities, floor space capacity and head configuration flexibility as the most important criteria. Based on these, the company wanted to improve its competitiveness as well as its production quality, reduce its cost of ownership and increase its production flexibility.

© ASM Assembly Systems/ V.l. A successful team: Anh Nguyen, Kimball Electronics, Greg Sturgill, ASM Assembly Systems and Harlow Alvarado, Kimball Electronics.

Kimball Electronics was particularly impressed by the Siplace CPP MultiStar placement head:

“We process an extremely broad component spectrum for rapidly shrinking lot sizes. This is where the strengths of the Siplace MultiStar head come to full fruition. Instead of having to deal with cumbersome head changeovers and line reconfigurations, we now operate with a placement head that is nearly as flexible as our production. And since the placement program adapts accordingly, our line is always perfectly balanced – even after product changeovers,” says Anh Nguyen at Kimball Electronics in Tampa about his experience with the Siplace MultiStar.

As a result, Kimball Electronics concluded its evaluation phase in May 2010 with the decision to purchase a new Siplace SX line consisting of two dual-gantry Siplace SX2 machines – each equipped with two highly flexible Siplace MultiStar heads – and one single-gantry Siplace SX1. The latter is equipped with a Siplace TwinHead for the end-of-line placement of large components, connectors and odd-shapes.

Faster NPI processes

The Siplace SX also played out its strengths with regards to new production introductions (NPI) and software features. “We were impressed not only by the quality of the advice we received and the concept of the new Siplace SX, but by the quick commissioning of the new line, which proved once again that the Siplace team is a leader in terms of service,” said Anh Nguyen at Kimball Electronics, about the implementation of the new SMT line. “Our staff was thrilled by the ease with which they can operate the software and the SX machines.”

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