South African EMS specialist, Jemstech, has expanded its SMT capacities with two of ASM’s SIPLACE SX2 placement machines forming a separate production line for high-mix applications. The result is maximised performance, improved quality and rapid product changeovers.
While one of the machines is designed for high performance with two SpeedStar placement heads, the second delivers extensive flexibility and capacity for larger components and OSCs (odd-shaped components) thanks to its SIPLACE MultiStar and SIPLACE TwinStar heads. In the first seven months of operation, the new ASM line has already processed more than 30 million components and improved the first-pass yield rate to more than 99%.
“Jemstech has grown continuously for many years. New customers, new products and growing deadline pressures due to many new orders made it necessary for us to invest in more performance and functional flexibility,” explains Jemstech’s technical director, Jacques Klopper. “Jemstech has for many years had a very close relationship with ASM. In two of our lines, we depend on DEK Horizon8 stencil printers, which have never disappointed us in terms of performance and quality, both of which were critical factors when we decided to invest in new equipment.”
The South African company was founded in 2005 and is today located centrally between Johannesburg and Pretoria in Centurion. As a provider of custom-tailored electronics manufacturing services, Jemstech has for more than 15 years served OEMs with the highest requirements regarding quality and delivery reliability. More than 50 employees work and produce in a space of roughly 4500 square metres for customers from sectors like industrial electronics, telecommunications, aerospace and defence.
The manufacturing operations meet the requirements of IPC Class II and IPC Class III and are certified as per the IPC-J-STD-001, IPC-A-600, IPC-A-610 and IPC-J-7711/7721 standards. In addition to traditional services, Jemstech offers customers a wide range of value-added services such as kitting, new product introduction (NPI), supply chain management, purchasing, inventory control and material requirements planning (MRP).
After a thorough decision-making process, ASM convinced across the board. Jemstech took all the time it needed to arrive at its decision. For more than a year, the company visited trade fairs in Singapore, India and Germany to compare the machines of international vendors in extensive benchmarking. “We were deeply impressed by ASM’s roadmap from the start. The extensive portfolio of solutions, with its focus on the integrated smart factory, convinced us. But decisions on investments of this size cannot be made on the basis of glossy brochures,” reports Klopper.
“After discussions at ASM’s Centre of Competence in Singapore in 2019, we decided in favour of systems from ASM. The extensive demonstrations of the SIPLACE SX2 confirmed what we had already learned. The high-speed placement and its precision, the high-tech vision system, the rapid product changeovers and the uncomplicated offline programming convinced us across the board.”
A major obstacle
Jemstech had made its decision, the contracts were signed and the machines were ready – after which the world plunged into the coronavirus crisis. The question was: Can the project be carried out successfully if ASM experts cannot support the installation and commissioning of the new machines due to travel restrictions?
“That’s when it became apparent that ASM was the right partner for us. The inclusion of ASM sales partner Priben in Johannesburg, with its outstanding expertise in ASM systems, overcame this obstacle. Priben had already provided excellent service in advance, for example, by accompanying us on visits to production sites with existing ASM installations,” Klopper recalls.
Since no ASM service technician was able to travel to South Africa, Priben handled the entire hardware installation at Jemstech. The systems were then connected to ASM’s global service network via ASM Remote Smart Factory. The ASM specialists could access the Jemstech systems and carry out all installation and setup steps. “The interaction between ASM and Priben was impressive. Both parties did excellent work and completed the process successfully and on time without any limitations whatsoever,” adds Klopper.
The two SIPLACE SX2 placement machines open up new opportunities for Jemstech’s SMT production. The two SpeedStar heads in the first machine offer placement capacities of up to 86 500 components per hour with a component spectrum ranging from the smallest 0201 metric form factor to sizes of 8,2 by 8,2 mm.
In the second machine, the MultiStar switches between collect-and-place, pick-and-place and mixed-placement modes as needed, based on software commands. With the TwinStar as the second head in the second machine, Jemstech places large components and OSCs that are up to 200 x 125 mm in footprint and up to 50 mm tall – and it does so with impressive precision.
“We produce with a level of speed and quality that used to be unachievable for us. More than 30 million components placed speak for themselves,” Klopper continues. “The high-performance vision system of the SIPLACE SX2 allows us to inspect components and processes with exceptional precision, which is particularly critical for the smallest 0201 components, which we place in large quantities. As an EMS provider, we manufacture a high mix of products. The quick and easy product changeovers made it possible with the new machines to eliminate many of our previous bottlenecks with flying colours.”
More productive and more efficient
“The ASM Works smart factory suite is another gain for us and makes us even more efficient,” explains Klopper. “The software infrastructure solution gives us far-reaching integration possibilities as well as extensive reporting capabilities, for example, for our purchasing and production operations. This kind of transparency solves problems with shortages we used to have in the past. Thanks to the extensive programming options, family setups are now much easier for us. In connection with the ASM Line Monitor, we also achieve seamless and transparent traceability to meet the requirements of our quality management system in accordance with ISO 9001.”
A glimpse of the future
Since Jemstech was so thoroughly impressed by the capabilities of the ASM Remote Smart Factory maintenance solution during the installation of the new systems, the company is considering installing the system permanently. “The capabilities regarding THT components are equally impressive. The clinching option for the SIPLACE SX2 and the extensive OSC package may be possibilities for us,” says Klopper.
Other possibilities in the next five years may include improving the company’s printing process with the ASM ProcessExpert, the world’s first self-learning inline SPI expert system, as well as storage upgrades with the automated and MSD-capable ASM Material Tower and the extensive robot-based automation of material logistics with autonomous intelligent transport vehicles (AIVs).
An all-round successful project
“For Jemstech, the introduction of the two new placement solutions was a total success and we are completely happy with our new equipment,” summarises Klopper. “ASM and its local partner, Priben, brought the project to a successful conclusion despite all the difficulties caused by the coronavirus. Today, Jemstech benefits from significantly increased output, new high-mix manufacturing capabilities and an entirely new level of quality.
“Our ASM systems thus play a big role in our ability to secure and expand our competitiveness. In addition, ASM’s broad portfolio of options and solutions for the integrated smart factory deliver a high level of investment security for us. We can gradually expand the systems and adapt them to future requirements as and when needed.”
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