Megger, a global leader in electrical test and measurement in the power industry, has switched to Europlacer placement platforms by selecting two new iineo+ pick & place machines to upgrade its in-house surface mount assembly and replace the functionality of two legacy pick & place machines in one of its lines.
Aware of the need to adapt to market changes, the production team at the world-famous test instrument manufacturer analysed its assembly objectives and scrutinised shortcomings in the older machines, putting flexibility and agility firmly at the top of the agenda for its new equipment acquisition.
Batch sizes at Megger’s UK factory in Dover mean its production facility must contend with up to 16 product changeovers per day on the surface mount lines. Analysis of metrics, such as first time yield on the company’s existing lines, revealed issues that regularly impacted efficiency. It gave the production team yardsticks against which to evaluate how new pick & place machines from several potential suppliers would resolve those issues.
The Megger team visited trade exhibitions and existing users of equipment to arrive at a shortlist of four suppliers. The flexibility to minimize downtime from changeovers was a key metric. An equation based on the total number of components placed per year across the hundreds of boards manufactured for all Megger products determined the placement rate required of any new equipment. The new machine would also need to handle 01005 parts that are increasingly prevalent in the company’s inventory of up to 5 million components per month.
In a consultative process with Megger engineers, Europlacer’s Application Support Manager was able to use real production floor data to provide evidence of the iineo capability and demonstrate productivity increases. “At that point, Europlacer became the top candidate,” explains Ronny Titeca, Manufacturing Director at Megger. “Other placement machines offered higher CPH rates but the iineo+ machines give us the flexibility we need to deal with over 1200 different component types and deliver maximum productivity across our two daily shifts.”
Megger is looking to improve production capacity to allow the business to grow as its global sales increase. That was another key metric in the evaluation process undertaken by Titeca and his expert team. “We did not select the Europlacer iineo platform by accident,” says Titeca. “It was a result of stringent stress testing of the contenders that included visits to equipment users without the suppliers’ sales team present. It’s all about ensuring we maintain the high quality of the Megger brand.”
On one occasion, the Megger team visited a business to investigate conformal coating equipment and discovered it to be a Europlacer customer. “That sort of unbiased insight is invaluable,” claims Titeca, who also believes that it is advantageous to deal directly with the manufacturer. “It shortens the process when issues need to be addressed, which we already witnessed during our evaluation procedure,” he adds.
The two new iineo+ machines were installed at Megger’s Dover facility at the beginning of February. One is the 600th iineo platform to roll off the Europlacer manufacturing line.
The Europlacer Group comprises Europlacer Ltd (UK), Europlacer International (France) and Europlacer Technology Ltd (UK), with regional direct offices in USA, China, Asia Pacific, Germany, Spain and Italy. The primary business focus is on the manufacture of SMT pick & place systems and stencil printers, produced in France and the UK respectively. Europlacer provides full line solutions globally, with local service and support delivered in each region for complementary production equipment including AOI, reflow, PCB handling and intelligent storage solutions.