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Suzhou, PRC Facility Adds an SMT Line and Focuses on Zero Defects

SigmaTron International’s Suzhou, PRC facility has installed a second SMT line in the 15,000 sq. ft. environmentally-controlled production area expansion that was completed in Q2 2017 and is part of the 202,000 sq. ft. factory. The area uses HEPA filtration in addition to air conditioning to control temperature and air quality, and is segregated from the rest of the production facility.

The line includes a DEK screen printer, an inline Koh Young 3D solder paste inspection (SPI) station, Panasonic and Universal machines and a TRI Automatic Optical Inspection (AOI) station, mirroring the equipment in the first line.

The facility included 3D SPI on the first line to enhance quality on finer pitch components.

“Accurate solder paste deposition is critical in achieving high yields on fine pitch parts. In this case, the products being built on the line were Bluetooth modules with 0201 components and a 0.40 mm BGA that had an electromagnetic interference (EMI) shield, placed inline with a Universal Multiple Function Machine. Once the shield is in place, the modules are difficult to rework so yields must be high,” said Hom-Ming Chang, Vice President China Operations.

The installation of the 3D SPI station and the AOI station improved yields dramatically by eliminating a tombstoning issue that had been occurring with the 0201s. It has also enhanced yields on the BGAs.

“We are now getting 100% yields in xray inspection of the BGAs,” added Hom -Ming.

The second line was added to support anticipated business growth. One industry the sales team is targeting is automotive customers.

“In talking to automotive customers, 3D SPI is considered critical to their process control since their focus is on Zero Defects. Our earlier success with the first station and automotive requirements drove our decision to include an 3D SPI station in the second line configuration,” said Hom-Ming.

SigmaTron Sponsors MPO Summit

SigmaTron International was a Silver Sponsor at the Medical Product Outsourcing (MPO) Summit in San Diego on Oct. 18-19th. The event is a two-day conference discussing trends in the medtech industry featuring speakers from major medtech device manufacturers and industry consultants. Some of the key topics this year included looking at the make or buy decision, best practices in leveraging global supply chains, risk management and original equipment manufacturer (OEM)- supplier partnerships.

“The value of an event like this is that we get to hear the voice of the customer and understand their perspectives relative to outsourcing relationships. And because this is a very focused event with a small number of sponsoring companies, we are able to network with attendees and speakers between conference sessions. In addition to building new relationships, it helps us better strategize the mix of services we provide to this industry,” said Curtis Campbell, VP of Sales, West Coast Operations.

SigmaTron continues to increase its focus on the medical sector. Its Union City, CA; Elk Grove Village, IL; Tijuana, Mexico; and Suzhou, China facilities are all registered to ISO 13485:2003 and will upgrade to the 2016 revision of that standard next year. Both of the US operations have established flexible box build cellular production areas designed to meet the needs of medical customers with medium volume, variable demand. SigmaTron has also won several supplier awards from its medical customer base. “Medical is a growth market with significant requirements for superior quality, traceability and value for price. Our systems strength, Lean manufacturing philosophy and partnering approach align well with this market’s requirements,” added Curtis.

Robotics Used to Optimize High Volume Test

SigmaTron’s facility in Suzhou, PRC is using a robot arm to optimize a functional test that tests eight Bluetooth modules simultaneously. The arm loads the modules in the test fixture, minimizing handling of the modules and increasing throughput. All test data is automatically recorded in SigmaTron’s system. Following test, the modules are loaded into trays or converted to tape-and-reel, and shipped to their customer’s end markets. “In our high volume production and test operations, automation is critical in achieving required throughput and quality levels,” said Hom-Ming Chang, Vice President China Operations.