'Unimicron Germany is absolutely ready for future challenges'
"We had to work very hard these past 479 days. We have finally completed the entire rebuild of our Inner-layer factory that was completely destroyed by fire on December 28, 2016.", describes Rico Schlüter, CTO at Unimicron Germany, the emotional rollercoaster.
"We immediately formed a task force to rebuild, what is now, one of the most modern and sophisticated inner-layer plants in Europe. Unimicron Germany was fully supported by our Headquarter in Taiwan. Together, we were able to turned this disastrous situation into something positive in the shortest possible timeframe imaginable." The new facility now stands with maximised automation, 100% traceability and a flexible production capacity that holds a possible 30% increase opportunity. The new machine park, the pride and of Unimicron Germany's CTO, is equipped with - among other manufacturers - Orbotech, Schmid, SAA, Schmoll, Lauffer, ASS Luippold, Print Process, DIS, Hakuto machines. The new factory has 3 parallel production lines, all equipped with 6-axis robot handling systems throughout the factory, giving the manufacturer the flexibility not only to load and unload the material faster, but also to perform various measurements, checks, sorting and mid-air standby tasks. Furthermore, the cleanroom is now fully digitalised, automated and environment-friendly. Unimicron Germany switched to direct imaging, eliminated the liquid photoresist and is now using only dry-film. "This has made our factory completely solvent free", he explains. "We have put a lot of thought into the improvement of the DES lines, now equipped with vacuum etching chambers and modules that can easily be extended or upgraded. In addition, one line has been equipped with additional etching chambers for high-speed etching of heavy copper PCB´s (for renewable energy and automotive ). To build on this efficiency improvement, we adopted a concept that includes AGV´s ( Automated Guided Vehicles ) and WIP ( Work in Progress ) storages. This integration allows our operators to truly focus on process and product controls without having to worry about transportation and storage, as they are now all handled automatically. In our 5S factory, we have now achieved a clean, uncluttered production area without random pallets or trolleys standing around", Rico Schlüter continues. 2D-metrology measurement systems were implemented in the AOI department to - together with fully automated 6-axis robotic arms, AGV’s, WIP storage and DMC readers - optimise production processes. These features were also implemented throughout the plant including the Multibond and PE-Punch lines where robotic arms measure the copper thickness before placing them down in the unloading section. The ML pressing area now sports a Robocut, a machine designed in close cooperation with the supplier to find a solution to "do edge-bevelling, corner-rounding, dry-cleaning and laser thickness measurement in one compact automated system. It is working so well that we have already built a second one". All in all, a 'dream come true' for the CTO working for a PCB manufacturer.