Cupio’s AOI solution brings agility to Purbeck Electronics’ production strategy
Purbeck Electronics is a rapidly-growing contract electronics manufacturer (CEM) based in Wareham, Dorset. After starting up just a few months ago with just three people, they are now in full production with a staff of 18, soon growing to 21. This success owes much to the industry experience and contacts enjoyed by the founders, Pete Lloyd and Paul James, but is also built on consistent delivery of proven quality products. With quality in mind, they believe that the company’s business strength and future development has being significantly enhanced by Cupio’s provision of an effective, state-of-the-art AOI solution.
Purbeck, with ISO 9001 accreditation, has customers from consumer electronics, automotive and safety-critical product markets. These share a demand for complex, densely-populated PCBs on short production runs and often rapid turnaround. Purbeck has always had an AOI strategy, but found their original AOI machine to be unequal to their manufacturing demands.
Long manufacturing runs of a single product were handled satisfactorily, but the machine could not be reprogrammed quickly enough for rapidly-changing production batches. Programming was time-consuming, and a batch would be finished before the AOI could be tuned for optimum performance. Additionally, the machine lacked the camera resolution essential for reading the part number information printed on top of today’s often tiny SMT components.
Many of Purbeck’s staff had experience of AOI equipment gained with earlier employers, and the consensus was that Cupio should be approached. They had an excellent reputation for providing effective AOI solutions with good support. After conducting a market survey to be sure of the current industry offerings, Purbeck invited Cupio to tender. As Purbeck’s need for a working solution was urgent, they appreciated the rapidity of Cupio’s response as well as its suitability. Within two days they were on site demonstrating a Yestech BX AOI benchtop system that offered a compact, cost-effective solution to Purbeck’s requirements.
The BX has allowed Purbeck to implement the AOI strategy that they really wanted. For each batch, first boards can be inspected before soldering to ensure the right component is being loaded into every PCB location. After soldering, boards can be checked again for correct component placement as well as soldering quality. The BX’s camera resolution can easily manage today’s SMT components, while programming is quick and easy, accommodating frequent batch changes.
100% inspection can be achieved without bottlenecks; this improves Purbeck’s competitiveness with automotive and safety-critical customers whose applications carry possibly severe consequences of failure. It also provides confidence to new customers as they gain experience of Purbeck’s capabilities.
‘Cupio’s support has been wonderful’ comments Paul James, ‘after their initial fast response to our urgent enquiry, they then delivered our own BX machine and ensured that we were up and running very quickly. They also wrote and delivered an inspection program based on data we supplied, which was of great help. Next, they gave a training course to three of our technical staff, two who had not previously been involved with AOI. Accordingly, these staff can now program the BX and then instruct operators on how to run the inspection process for each batch type.’
Purbeck Electronics intends to buy a second BX machine in the near future. They also plan to integrate their AOI more closely into their factory network, making inspection records easily available across the company. This is important, given the reliability demands and need for traceability required by many of Purbeck’s customers.
Paul concluded: ‘The BX has always performed as claimed, with consistent reliability. This boosts our business position and customer relations, as we can be confident that we deliver products of proven quality every time.’