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Despite the continued uncertainty surrounding the future direction of the country and a contracting manufacturing market, Newbury Electronics bucks the trend by generating record sales and continuing to invest in its facilities and services to meet stringent demands from clients and to accommodate technological advances. The first capital investment is the installation of a new selective conformal coating line. A thin layer of a polymeric film is applied to the completed boards to provide extra protection against chemicals, dust, moisture and extremes of temperature. Without this additional protection, boards being utilised in a more hostile environment would be prone to far higher levels of failure.
John Rowley, managing director, said; "Previously we have had to outsource any conformal coating requirements but this new equipment enables us to deliver the coating to a high technical level of tolerance and precise coating thicknesses. It will also reduce delivery time but at no increased cost to customers. The new service, which will be carried out on a PVA Delta 8 machine which also incorporates stackers, conveyors, a UV inspection station and a curing cabinet. A new working area has been created to house the equipment, as this process requires a clean environment. "Customers will be able to order boards with this coating via Newbury's online ordering facility, PCB Train, from January 2020.
A second area of investment is a nickel-gold plating line for the company's PCB fabrication service. This investment is in line with the company's desire to maximise on opportunities in advanced technology markets such as the aerospace and military sectors, where gold finish is preferred for many boards. "Gold is non-reactive flat finish which has a longer shelf life so is specified for many boards in these key markets. Whilst silver is robust and we do offer a free re-plating service, it does oxidise over time;" explained Rowley. "Alongside this investment in equipment comes a requirement for additional staff so we are actively recruiting for a range of new positions for people to work in both these new areas and the existing areas of the business."