SMT, PCB Electronics Industry News

Great Lakes Engineering Licenses DEK VectorGuard® Technology

Aug 03, 2011

Recognizing the benefits of DEK’s award-winning VectorGuard® stencil technology, Great Lakes Engineering today announced that it has signed a licensing agreement with DEK which will enable the Maple Grove, Minnesota-based stencil manufacturer to supply VectorGuard products to its customer base. 

“VectorGuard is an incredibly unique design and the best I’ve seen in the many years I’ve been in this business,” explains John Carr, Director of Sales for Great Lakes Engineering.  “Unlike other interchangeable foil-frame systems, VectorGuard does not rely on an air bladder for tensioning and, therefore, maintains robust tension over time.  We are delighted to be able to offer this technology to our customers.”

Nearly ten years since its introduction, VectorGuard has become the premiere interchangeable foil stencil system for the surface-mount and semiconductor packaging markets.    The extruded aluminum edges of each foil ensure safe operator handling and simple placement of the foil into the frame.  Tensioning of the foil is fast, automatic and accurate with virtually no training required.  In addition to its ease-of-use and fast changeover capabilities, VectorGuard also delivers the advantages of reduced storage requirements and environmental responsibility.  When VectorGuard foils are stored in their protective cassettes, storage space can be reduced by as much as 75% as compared to traditional stencils.  What’s more, the reusability and recyclability inherent with the VectorGuard design ensures an assembly operation that is green and cost-effective.

Though DEK developed the technology, the company firmly believed VectorGuard should be available to any assembly firm that wanted to enjoy its advantages.  “Early on we recognized the significance of VectorGuard and the importance of making it easily accessible to manufacturers around the globe,” comments DEK’s PSP Global Operations Manager, David Byrd.  “Strategically licensing the system to leading stencil manufacturers was the obvious answer, as it enabled assembly specialists to source the technology from their local stencil supplier and avoid supply chain complexity.”

Concurring with Byrd’s remarks, John Carr says that the expansion of Great Lakes’ portfolio is already delivering results.  “With the addition of VectorGuard, we now offer stencil and screen solutions for just about any application,” says Carr.  “Our customers in 32 states and three countries have access to the market-leading interchangeable foil technology as an option and they appreciate the convenience that brings.  Plus, VectorGuard has provided sales opportunities to Great Lakes that we likely wouldn’t have had otherwise.  Licensing such an effective technology with the world-renowned DEK brand behind it was hands down one of the best decisions we’ve made.”


DEK is a global provider of advanced materials deposition technologies and support solutions including printing equipment platforms, stencils, precision screens and mass imaging processes used across a wide range of applications in electronics pre-placement subassembly, semiconductor wafer manufacture, and alternative energy component production.

Founded in 1986, Great Lakes Engineering is a manufacturer of surface mount stencils, precision laser cut parts and photo chemical machined parts for the defense, medical, electronics, aviation, energy, telecommunications, and computer industries.  With a world-class engineering team, 24-hour turnaround and the ability to manufacture multiple stencil and screen types, Great Lakes delivers the advanced technology modern electronics firms require.

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