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Handling high-density boards that feature exotic components Investing for the future in Haaksbergen pays off
Back in 2014, Netherlands-based contract manufacturer, Global Electronics made the decision to invest in surface mount assembly technology that would give capacity it didn’t need to meet its customers’ requirements at that moment. Instead, the decision was based on a forward-looking philosophy to position the company for the “right kind of business” in the future.
For Global Electronics, that future has since arrived, and it turns out to be a bright future. The company, based at Haaksbergen in eastern Netherlands just a few miles from the German border, celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. In that quarter-century, it has seen its business proposition broaden, its customer profile change, and the complexity of its customers’ products escalate. Some of the boards it now manufactures are valued up to € 50 k each – which is the business the company sought.
In the four-year period since its investment decision, the company has evolved from a conventional EMS provider into a complete fulfillment partner. More than assembly, they deliver downstream resources including box build and shipping logistics, and upstream support to manage supply chains and procurement, and to offer strategic collaboration during product development.
Surface mount assembly remains a core operational function. In order to focus on its broader aims, the company first needed to ensure that this production process ran flawlessly. And that it could address the high-complexity, high-value board business it wanted to target. The decision to invest in progressive manufacturing technology was the outcome. After evaluating the market, the company selected Europlacer placement machines for their technology and quality capabilities. “Having built up a good relationship firstly with SMANS, our local distributor, and then with Europlacer directly, we had the confidence to make this investment,” explains Jeroen Schuiling, Head of Sales at Global Electronics. „They are one of the few brands that can comply with our requirements to handle highdensity boards that feature exotic components. That was the ‘right kind of business’ we wanted to attract.
At the time of the evaluation and acquisition, Schuiling was the Production Manager. From that vantage point, and with 20 years of experience, he knows the right decision was made by investing in two XPii platforms and a twin-turret iineo machine. In addition, the company had an older Vitesse machine on its factory floor; this was upgraded to full iineo specification. “It was a more cost-effective path than purchasing a second new machine, and we ended up with the same capability,” he explains.
The company’s surface mount operation is split into two distinct functions: NPI/prototype work; and complete production for medium-volume, high mix products. “The machines can address both sets of unique requirements with a single platform,” says Schuiling. With its assembly function optimized, the company has been able to attract premium ultra-high-tech work from discerning OEMs (Schuiling refers to boards for the EU Supercomputer 2020 Project that require techniques available on the high-tech assembly lines). Other high-value assemblies include Zero-flux PSUs destined for the particle accelerator at Cern where faultless high quality is expected. “We also deliver advanced products to Cern for high-speed data collection, as well as to other customers in demanding telecoms and photonics markets,” says Schuiling, adding: “And we also manufacture an ingenious agricultural product for monitoring livestock – that brings things back down to earth, though it is a very serious and demanding electronics application.”
Source: EPP EUROPE May 2018