(image: (c) HighTech communications)
Did you think that a smart, highly automated SMT factory is a suitable concept for big, high volume productions only – but never ever for a single-line high mix/low volume SMT manufacturing company? Did you believe that a complete digitized and seamless workflow from CAD to SMT/THT to testing is a vision for a far-distant future? And has real time visualization of status data from every single station AND every single PCB in production been a dream to you?
If yes, you might understand my excitement after visiting Aros electronics AB in Mölndal (Sweden) early this week. Aros mainly develops and produces advanced electronic control units for drives in automotive or industrial applications – from the first concept to box-built delivery. At Aros a “high runner” is defined by a lot size of several hundred PCB, but most of the products are produced in lot sizes lower than hundred, often lower than ten panels. And it is not just a high mix of products but also on components – that’s why THT and coating equipment for all these big automotive and industrial connectors is added to their DEK/SIPLACE SMT line.
In the past Aros has been famous for its development skills and highly advanced product designs already. About four years ago they developed a new production strategy that should move them into the premium league of manufacturers for automotive components. Its key point: By establishing just one central planning point in their whole workflow they want to diminish all gaps in data flow, any manual product handling and any operator decisions on the shop floor. Then they teamed up with manufacturers like ASM to implement this strategy.
So far for today. I will do some more detailed posts on the Aros visit throughout the next weeks. Next will most possibly be a post on how they use the dual lane transport in combination with a number of very smart setup concepts to ramp up line efficiency. So, stay tuned ….