As part of the continuous improvement work, Optronic has invested in a new screen printer for one of the PCB lines. The choice fell on a premium model from Ekra, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of screen printers.
“It has extremely high precision. A major quality aspect is that we do not have to add extra solder and glue by hand, now everything happens automatically,” says Samuel Westermark, Production Manager for electronics production at Optronic.
There are some significant differences between the previous screen printer and the new more modern model the Ekra Serio 4000 compact.
“It has a much better camera that scans the entire card, which gives an increased ability to align the PCB towards the stencil compared to previous screen printers. Another great quality aspect is that we do not add extra solder and glue by hand, now it happens automatically in the printer. This means that we always get the same amount in all places and the right amount, and it is also a health and safety issue for our operators who do not have to get in touch with the agents,” says Samuel.
Investing in a combination machine that both contains screen printers and dispensers felt obvious. A dispenser allows you to experiment to achieve exactly the right amount of glue.
“That possibility has not existed before. Instead, we have had a separate handheld dispenser which was not optimal. Now we chose one that can dispense both glue and solder to be as flexible as possible,” he says.
The screen printer has an important function in the circuit board process as it lays the foundation for all components. Of the errors detected by Optronic’s AOI (Automatic Optical Inspection), most of the errors can be attributed to the fact that the work of the previous screen printer was not 100% efficient.
“If the screen printer does the right thing, there is a good chance that it will be good all the way,” says Samuel.
Optronic’s quality work has increased along the entire production line and three years ago a new AOI was also invested in. Since then, there has been a lot of focus on detecting the right kind of errors and bringing down the amount of false indications.
“It has never worked as well as it does now. We have two motivated operators who constantly optimise and improve the AOI together with a German consultant that we bring in at regular intervals. We have made great progress over the past year and strive to be below two false indications per panel that we run and we have already reached that goal on the cards we manufacture in higher volumes,” says Samuel.