Rapid parts supply for automotive supplier

Paul Boughton

Highly flexible manufacturing techniques and application expertise lie at the heart of a screening can success story for Tecan Components.

The company provided a 'last-minute' bespoke design and delivery service for a major international supplier of electronics systems to the automotive industry, saving money, time and embarrassment following an ordering oversight .

Soon after its normal rapid response to what initially appeared to be a routine quotation request, Tecan received an urgent order for the immediate delivery of 300,000 pairs of small footprint screening cans suitable for automatic pick-and-place surface mounting onto a double-sided PCB (printed circuit board).

Given that the most cost-effective traditional production method for a volume design such as this is punch and press, which takes time due to tooling manufacture, the company faced the problem of how to supply cost-efficient parts while gearing up for punch and press manufacturing. Tecan's response was: ‘no problem’.

Within days, the first parts were delivered as a result of using the fastest technique available - photo-chemical machining (PCM) – and, in accordance with the customer’s wishes, the first few were supplied flat for the end user to perform last-minute development and quality assurance checks. Once accepted, the punch and press tooling was ordered and arrangements were made for the final high-volume parts to be delivered taped and reeled. Nonetheless, this could take up to six weeks.

So to ensure interim volume supplies, PCM production was stepped up, in-house forming was adopted and a contract supplier secured for next-day manual tape-and-reeling. This form of supply provided the customer with the fastest possible delivery, in batches of several thousand parts at a time, for pick-and-place manufacture.

Using these techniques, the company could gradually increase volume to 25 000 pairs per week, leading to a seamless transition once the punched and pressed parts were available to allow the delivery of low-cost parts at the optimum volume production ongoing rate of 30 000 pairs per week.

Although the design was effectively complete when ordered, Tecan was able to offer pad layout and other design enhancements, which, if adopted, could bring re-flow yield benefits and tooling cost reductions for second-generation modules.

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