SMT, PCB Electronics Industry News

SouMac Opens New Factory in Portsmouth

Sep 06, 2012

In 1992, Mike Souter and Tony Mack founded SouMac Electronics Ltd. test and repair service. Due to high precision, fast turnovers and an eye for detail, their company quickly became well known through the industry. In 2003 seeing a need to complement the existing business model, SouMac Assembly was founded, with Steve Wood’s expert knowledge this has gone from strength to strength. SouMac offers electronics assembly services using machines from Swiss machine manufacturer Essemtec.

SouMac prides itself on providing precise work and full identification of its clients’ problems. This way of doing business has earned the company a positive reputation and it now serves customers from countries all over the world including the U.S., Europe and Japan. Among them are SMEs as well as large international companies. Recently, SouMac expanded its production line with a state-of-the-art Paraquda pick-and-place machine. In April 2012, SouMac relocated into a larger facility in Portsmouth that suits its continuous expansion. It all began 20 years ago with a test and repair service.

The Test and Repair Specialists
Originally, the company specialized in industrial test and repair services for electronics assemblies and modules. Within a short time, their services were recognized around the world for their quality, quick turnover and professional on-site support.

More than others, SouMac analyses the complexity of electronic circuits. The specialists examine faulty boards, establish problems and determine the causes. SouMac uses product-specific test methods and custom test setups. If documentation of an assembly is not available, engineers can create diagrams directly from the module by means of reverse engineering technologies along with their long-term experience.

Providing Better Boards
When analysing faulty electronics from clients, the engineers realized that the cause of the errors typically were found in the manufacturing process. SouMac wanted to provide higher quality for their customers and, as a result, started its own electronics assembly service.

SouMac’s success factors are high quality, reliability and flexibility to provide quick responses to customer requests. The new electronics assembly service also fulfils these rules. Because of these high requirements, SouMac decided — with the help of Key Production Equipment Ltd. — to collaborate with Essemtec, Switzerland, as the supplier for its electronics production machines.  

In 2003, when the first machines were installed, Essemtec was the leading manufacturer for highly flexible pick-and-place machines. Furthermore, Essemtec was the only supplier that could deliver a complete production line from one source, including printer, reflow oven, process knowledge and training.

The machines from Essemtec enabled SouMac to meet its customers’ requirements. The production volume has been growing continuously and additional Essemtec machines have been purchased to meet the demand. In 2011, SouMac invested in one of the most cutting-edge pick-and-place machines, the Paraquda.

Flexibility and Speed
Essemtec’s Paraquda is a highly flexible, fast SMD pick-and-place machine. It features placement speeds up to 15,000 components per hour and a feeder capacity of 240 reels. The machine’s technology provides leading placement precision, quality assurance, flexibility, ease of operation and ergonomics.

A wide component range can be handled from 01005 up to 80x70 mm with components up to 25 mm in height. The advanced Cognex SMD4 vision technology allows the detection and alignment of all components, even odd-form parts. This allows for the universal use of the machine for all types of electronics.

Changeover from one job to another is extremely fast and secure on the Paraquda. All the feeders are intelligent and electrically-driven. Additionally, they can be exchanged during machine operation and feature a programmable feeding pitch. The Paraquda’s ePlace and eMIS software supports the operator to achieve the minimum changeover.

Since the concept of the Paraquda, Essemtec has considered customers that have existing Essemtec pick-and-place machines as well as an investment in feeders. The Paraquda can utilize the existing feeders, which protects the customer investment.

User Interface
Paraquda is operated and programmed with ePlace, the intuitive graphical user interface developed by Essemtec. The software simplifies control of complex machines and avoids user entry errors. Tooltips help menu and integrated training lessons can help answer any question the user may have.

Working with ePlace requires neither mouse nor keyboard ― the software is directly controlled via a 19" wide ergonomic touch screen. The screen can be adjusted vertically and angled into a position that is the most convenient for the user. ePlace also supports users with unlimited zooming functionality and optimizes views for less scrolling and clicking.

Short Response Times Are Important
In addition to its excellent performance and new software, the machine provides another feature that supported SouMac’s decision for the Paraquda: The compatibility of existing feeders. SouMac can use the same feeders on its existing pick-and-place machines as well as on the new Paraquda, saving money and simplifying logistics.

Mike Souter is satisfied with the performance of the new Paraquda pick-and-place machine. He also recommends the collaboration with Essemtec and its local distributor Key Production Equipment Ltd. He especially appreciates Essemtec’s rapid response time because this is exactly how SouMac deals with its clients.

SouMac’s strategy is successful, allowing the company to continuously expand. On June 28th 2012 SouMac celebrated their official opening of a much larger production building, providing more than 8100 sq ft of space that suits its expansion plans for the future.

The Swiss machine manufacturer Essemtec is a market leader in manufacturing flexible production systems for industrial users. Essemtec has been developing, manufacturing and marketing equipment and machines for all processes in the electronics industry since 1991: printers, dispensers, pick-and-place and soldering systems. Manual, semiautomatic and fully automatic systems are available. The range of products also includes transportation and storage systems, as well as software solutions for planning, simulation optimization and documentation of manufacturing. All Essemtec systems are optimized for maximum flexibility. Users can switch from one product to another quickly, making maximum use of available production capacity.

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