© aydindurdu dreamstime.com Electronics Production | January 15, 2015
HS Elektronik Systeme switches to SIPLACE
HS Elektronik Systeme recorded double-digit growth rates in 2013 and this increased capacity led to HS Elektronik Systeme’s decision to expand the Swabian head office and build a new facility. In this context, HS Elektronik Systeme procured a new SMT line.
”Whether you are on a plane for a business or a vacation trip – it’s likely that your plane contains our technology,” said a proud Josef Maier, managing director at HS Elektronik Systeme in Nördlingen. “Our technology provides the generation or distribution of electric power on most commercial aircraft.” In 2003 the company, which is part of the American company UTC Aerospace Systems, achieved a breakthrough in the aviation industry with the “Chip-onBoard” technology. It recorded double-digit growth rates in 2013 and this increased capacity led to HS Elektronik Systeme’s decision to expand the Swabian head office and build a new facility with offices and electronics manufacturing area. In this context, HS Elektronik Systeme procured a new surface mount technology (SMT) line, and the SIPLACE SX platforms help ensure HS Elektronik Systeme’s future compliance with the industry’s high quality standards and further advance aviation electronics. HS Elektronik Systeme in Nördlingen has approximately 85 employees and is part of the global Electric Systems business of UTC Aerospace Systems, a U.S.-based company with approximately 40'000 employees worldwide and annual sales of USD 13.3 billion in 2013. UTC Aerospace Systems is a unit of United Technologies Corp, which has ~200'000 employees and annual sales of USD 62.6 billion in 2013. Sweeping Technologies Need Reliability and Accurateness Since the 1980s HS Elektronik Systeme has produced power switches for Solid State Power Modules (SPM) used to distribute electric power in aviation applications. To save cost and space on aircraft the company developed a special procedure to reduce SPM size and weight. In the special procedure, semiconductor chips are directly applied to printed circuit boards per SMT placement. With this so-called “Chip-OnBoard” technology, HS Elektronik Systeme won content on some of the industry’s newest and most advanced aircraft. In addition to U.S. and Europe, aircraft manufacturers from Brazil, Russia, Japan, and China are among its end customers. Reliability and precision are important in electronics manufacturing, to meet the industry’s high quality requirements, and opportunities to reduce component weight and size are also coveted. With these requirements in mind, HS Elektronik Systeme started to redesign the Nordlingen facility. After the intensive evaluation by a special project team, the company decided to install a second assembly line, incorporating two SIPLACE SX1. ”The high precision values of the SIPLACE SX were appealing to us. In aircraft, our products need to meet extreme thermal stresses, and we must deliver the highest quality,” Maier explained. Rapid Growth was Responsible for Switching to SIPLACE “Our growth rates were so high in 2012 that the capacities of our previous SMT line were insufficient, which led us to decide to procure a new assembly line,” said Maier. “Now we assemble the up side of the printed circuit boards with the older line, and the more complex down side we cover with firm family setups with the SIPLACE SX line.” According to Maier, the SIPLACE line needs to be retooled a few times each week, as specified by SIPLACE during the evaluation phase. The assembly parts at HS Elektronik Systeme range from the small 0402 to the multipole BGA. Both SIPLACE SX are therefore equipped with flexible SIPLACE MultiStar heads. “This line allows us to cover our entire spectrum with the MultiStar assembly heads without changing the head,” said Maier. The modularity of SIPLACE XS was also interesting to HS Elektronik Systeme; with capacity-on-demand and additional change portals, power and capacity can be doubled within a few minutes. That way the company can switch both SIPLACE SX1 to dual-portal-assemblers and process additional orders during periods of peak production without much additional space or high expenses. “We can also simply rent extra portals at ASM Assembly Systems, allowing us to spontaneously manage peaks and later reduce our line back to normal capacity and power.” Optimal Integration with SIPLACE Software connectivity HS Elektronik Systeme’s production is driven by lean-manufacturing principles. “The new line communicates with our previous assembly machine, enabling us to integrate it into our new shop floor,” Maier explained, “and the SIPLACE Material Manager Software allows us to monitor and coordinate our warehouse stock, for better value to our customers.”