Europe’s high-tech manufacturers are thriving by taking advantage of the latest industrial technology to maximise their technical capabilities, flexibility, quality and productivity. Launching into this competitive environment, new UK-based startup HBS Electronics has built its brand new SMT line with high-specification Yamaha equipment to secure a leading position.

HBS Electronics is a new division of successful aerospace equipment innovator MEL Group. Having identified the opportunity for advanced and flexible SMT assembly in the south of the UK, MEL Managing Director Gary Harvey moved quickly to get the people he needed to start the company. First choice was Dave Carroway to lead the venture, tasked with starting up from an available unit in Medstead near Winchester, Hampshire.

Dave Carroway shows off the new SMT line at HBS Electronics in Medstead, Hampshire.

Since commissioning its new premises, HBS Electronics has successfully delivered first prototypes of an advanced noise-cancelling aircraft headset for a government defence project. A production order is expected soon. “We finalised the prototype design here using our in-house CAD facilities. It’s more technically advanced and better priced than headsets currently in service, and the fast turnaround we can deliver on production orders should give us an extra edge over competing bids,” says Dave Carroway.

One reason for his confidence is the brand new Yamaha SMT line that he can see on the other side of his office window in the new factory. “As a startup with few restrictions and no legacy equipment to influence our decisions, we were free to choose the best possible equipment for our requirements,” he explains. “When it came to the SMT equipment, we studied all the available options and chose Yamaha for superior performance, advanced capabilities and line-wide integration.”

The Line in Detail

On the pristine factory floor at HBS Electronics, a high-specification Yamaha YSP printer with PSC (Print Stability Control) and full vision inspection feeds a combination of YS12 and YS88 mounters that give placement capacity of up to 44,000 cph. This should deliver enough throughput to meet the needs of HBS’s target customers, who are OEMs in sectors such as aerospace, automotive and high-end industrial with low- to mid-volume requirements and a demand for advanced assembly capabilities, short delivery times and fast, flexible response.

With 108 feeder positions for the YS12 mounter, plus up to 60 feeders on the YS24 with an extra 30 tray feeders to handle odd-form components, HBS has the flexibility to build assemblies that have high component count and contain a wide range of component types. The high feeder capacities also allow faster product changeovers. The Yamaha machines feed a 10-zone Electrovert Omni 10 oven at the end of the surface-mount line.

The YSP printer at the head of the line has Yamaha’s 3S (Swing Single Squeegee) head and vacuum stencil alignment, which together help ensure optimum repeatability under all manufacturing conditions. In addition, the print stability control (PSC) monitors and dispenses solder paste automatically to maintain condition and ensure consistent paste-roll volume for optimum aperture filling. In addition, integrated full vision inspection helps operators identify and fix the causes of any print defects quickly and economically.

The HBS team is also considering adding a YSi-12 inline inspection station for post-mounting inspection. The YSi-12, which has visible-light and infrared inspection as well as a laser for z-axis measurement, provides defect-detection data for Yamaha’s QA Option software. QA Option compares inspection results with the mounter output files to provide real-time alerts with rich diagnostics that can pinpoint the causes of any defects, such as a blocked nozzle or incorrectly loaded feeder.

Making it Happen

The YSi-12 is an option for the future. Dave Carroway’s primary concern has been to get the new line up and running as productively as possible, and he has been delighted at the commitment from Yamaha to help achieve it. “Over the course of the project Yamaha has made three field engineers available to us, to help install and commission the line, and provide training including how to get the best from the software,” he says. “We have also received valuable help to choose the right feeders for our needs.”

All the Yamaha machines in HBS’s line are run and coordinated by Yamaha’s P-Tool data-programming software, part of Yamaha’s modular Factory Automation Software suite. P-Tool enables offline programming of the entire line, and interacts via a single user interface that is convenient and easy to understand. “Offline programming helps minimise changeover times and reduce setup costs, and is a key factor enabling us to offer very competitive pricing for customers,” says Gordon Traviss, Production Manager at HBS. “The CAD-BOM data import is smooth and accurate, and the setup optimisation tools are very easy to use,” he adds. P-Tool features a visual editor that provides virtual sticky tape functionality, and also includes line-balancing utilities for factories with multiple Yamaha SMT lines.

The Factory Automation suite also contains optional modules for real-time line monitoring and reporting (M-Tool), setup navigation (S-Tool) and traceability to lot, unit and component levels (T-Tool).

Looking Ahead

In addition to its automated SMT line, HBS has invested in even more equipment to support a full range of services including through-hole assembly, manual visual inspection, conformal coating, wiring and box build. The new company can also deliver PCB design and Design for Manufacture/Test (DFM/DFT) services, and has its own in-house software development expertise.

HBS is able to leverage its links with MEL Group to maximise efficiency and productivity. Leveraging MEL’s group-wide quality-management system provides the benefits of AS9100 certification as well as extensive American and European defence-procurement endorsements. The central MEL procurement system handles purchasing and kitting, and ships completed kits to HBS ready for production. “This allows us to stay lean, and focus on our core activities, which ultimately delivers great value for customers,” says Dave Carroway.

“With Yamaha’s help, we were able to get the factory up and running from a standing start in less than eight weeks. We are already working on improvements for the future and planning to expand the factory into the adjacent unit. I’m looking forward to having Yamaha’s support to make the next phase of our evolution as successful as the first.”

About Yamaha Robotics SMT Section
Yamaha Surface Mount Technology (SMT) Section is a subdivision of Yamaha Motor Robotics Business Unit in Yamaha Motor Corporation. Yamaha surface mount equipment is highly acclaimed in the market for their “module concept” that enables them to keep pace with the trend toward smaller and more diverse electric/electronic parts being mounted on circuit boards.

Yamaha SMT Section has created a strong business in the surface mount industry that enables design and engineering, manufacture, sales and service to be conducted in one comprehensive system. Furthermore, the Company has used its core technologies in the areas of servo-motor control and image recognition technology for vision (camera) systems to develop solder paste printers, 3D solder paste inspection, 3D PCB inspection machines, flip chip hybrid placers and dispensers. This allows Yamaha SMT Section to offer a full line of machines for electric/electronic parts mounting and propose optimum production-line makeup to answer the diversifying needs of today’s manufacturers.

Yamaha SMT Section has sales and service offices in Japan, China, Southeast Asia, Europe and North America provide a truly global sales and service network that will safeguard best in class on-site sales & service support for clients.

Contact info

Oumayma Grad
Marketing Communications Manager

Hansemannstraße 12
41468 Neuss

Office: +49 2131 2013 538
Mobile: +49 1517 0233 297
Fax: +49 2131 2013 550