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New high-speed, high-accuracy SMT line makes Qualitel competitive with offshore alternatives

SMT line makes Qualitel competitive with offshore alternatives

Everett, WA – Qualitel recently went into production with four Panasonic NPM-W2 pick-and-place machines capable of placing electronic components with the highest speed and accuracy attainable in the industry.

The four new Panasonic NPM-W2 machines have a combined capability of installing up to 308,000 electronic parts per hour, depending on the design of the PCB and the parts required.

While the purchase is part of a commitment to quality through an annual investment in the latest, state-of-the-art equipment, the Panasonic machines make Qualitel more competitive with offshore, high-volume competitors.

Qualitel has the fastest, most precise SMT line in the Northwest

“There’s no need to outsource your mid to high-volume production outside the US when Qualitel can meet your needs with higher quality,” said Qualitel president Tuanhai Hoang.

“We feel there is a need to offer our customers a compelling solution to avoid the need to go off shore, Hoang said. “The new Panasonic SMT production line helps Qualitel be more efficient and competitive.”

The Panasonics are fast and versatile

The Panasonic NPM-W2 has a unique design that delivers speed and versatility. It is no small feat to combine speed, operational flexibility, and high precision in a single machine, but the NPM-W2 systems manage to achieve these objectives through a variety of innovations.

First, speed is achieved through a dual-gantry design, allowing two separate placement heads to operate simultaneously and place up to 77,000 parts per hour per machine. Each gantry can be fitted with any of four different placement heads or a unique dispense head for larger components.

These different heads allow the machines to install the smallest components in the world (0201 Metric which is a third of the size of 0201 imperial).  Most of these parts come on 4mm tape which the Panasonic machines can accommodate. They also can place parts as large as 120x90mm or up to 40mm tall and nearly 6” long (150mm).

Innovations deliver “Any Mix, Any Volume” capabilities with high accuracy

Panasonic advertises these machines as being capable of “Any Mix, Any Volume,” and they achieve this operational flexibility in innovative ways.  Along with the flexibility of interchangeable placement heads, the NPM-W2s are equipped with quick-change feeder carts, auto board support setup, and expanded nozzle capacity with unique nozzle designs. Moreover, the placement heads, components carts, and inspection system can be switched out and reconfigured in 15 minutes, reducing downtime and increasing overall productivity.

Speed and flexibility would be of little interest to Qualitel if these machines were not also capable of achieving highly precise component placement.  To attain that precision, the NPM-Series machines are equipped with another Panasonic innovation – the award-winning Multi Recognition Camera, which combines three separate imaging capabilities into a single system: 2D alignment, component thickness inspection, and 3D coplanarity measurement.

In addition, Qualitel equipped these machines with a PCB warpage scanning option which measures the warpage and height of the PCB surface. Among other advantages, this vision and laser system improves yield by identifying mis-picked microchips, lifted leads and inverted ICs, recognizing missing or deformed bumps, and inspecting nozzle tips to help ensure high-precision placement.

Qualitel added the new Panasonic line in response to customer need for higher volume production without going off shore. The Panasonic line fills this need while providing even more accurate placement of parts.

“We are confident the new Panasonic line will provide our customers with higher volume and higher accuracy without sacrificing the core commitment of producing the highest quality assemblies where component failure is not an option,” said Hoang.