Over the last year, Abrel has made a multi-million euro investment in new plant and equipment to improve operational efficiencies and optimise the production capacity. Here Declan Brosnan (M.D. Abrel) outlines the manner in which production was re-organised, the key pieces of equipment purchased and the benefit for customers.
“The first thing we needed to do was to separate out the two sides to the business, so we secured a second unit next door to facilitate this. This meant we could isolate the equipment manufacturing process from the PCB production line. And although every job is customised, we’ve been able to automate about 90% of the operation by streamlining the production lines”
The company invested in a number of pieces of equipment to help automate the manufacture of Burn-in Boards and related products. These included;
- A Screen Printer
- A Pick and Place Robot
- A Reflow Machine
- An AOI System from Cyberoptics (Automated Optical Inspection)
- Automatic Stencil and Solder Wave Equipment
This comprehensive and on-going programme of capital investment cements Abrel’s position as an industry leader globally in terms of reliability testing for the Semiconductor sector.
But how does this new level of automation benefit customers?
Production Line Automation and AOI Installation
Declan outlines some of the many advantages that the new production lines have delivered. “One of the main benefits is that the business can now facilitate larger orders. No-one wants to turn down an order but occasionally we just didn’t have the capacity to take certain jobs on. With automation bigger volumes are easier to handle so now we welcome larger orders, and we can turn them around quicker as well.”
Clients have also benefitted from improved levels of accuracy. “Now we can do fine-pitch PCB assembly and other builds where accuracy is critical. And the introduction of the AOI system means that products are inspected automatically instead of manually. So, if we’re doing a large batch of boards, we can deliver the same level of consistency across all of them – that means a better quality product.”
The AOI system installed was supplied by the world-class leader in its field, Cyberoptics and it’s a comprehensive solution with tools that cover Automated Optical Inspection (AOI), Solder Paste inspection (SPI) and co-ordinate measurement inspection (CMM).
The Vision – ISO 14001 – Environmental Management
Obviously, sustainability is on the top of everyone’s mind these days when it comes to long-term investment, and this is particularly true for Abrel – as the business is planning to secure accreditation with ISO 14001 which relates to environmental responsibilities.
While there is plenty of preliminary work to do in advance of securing certification, Abrel took this standard into account throughout the capital investment programme. When the new premises was being re-fitted, for example, an energy efficient Air-to-air heating system was installed and the lighting was switched to LED bulbs. The CO2 footprint was also considered in terms of the equipment purchased and an efficient waste water management system was implemented across the facility. Declan says “We have become very aware of our CO2 footprint and we’ve already taken a number of steps to address that. But the next move is to cement that awareness into more action, through the framework that ISO 14001 offers. We look forward to doing that.”
If you operate in the semiconductor sector and have requirements in relation to Burn-in Boards, Burn-in Board testers or related products, we’d be delighted to organise a tour of the new production lines.
Or simply call to discuss your needs.