Global Automotive Leader AW Europe Invests in Class-Leading Yamaha Solder Paste Printing Capability


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AW, part of the global Aisin Group, researches, develops, and manufactures cutting-edge automotive infotainment systems and electronically controlled automatic transmissions. The company serves major European and Asian carmakers that place extremely high requirements on every unit produced by their partners.

Today’s car drivers interact with their vehicles extensively through the infotainment system, including configuring the many preferences and settings, and receiving navigation and driver assistance continuously while on the move. Electronic automatic transmission control units (ATCUs) must deliver driver satisfaction as well as controlling emissions. Both types of systems are critically connected with the vehicle-ownership experience, demanding not only advanced design but also faultless production quality and reliability.

AW Europe, located in Braine l’Alleud (Brussels) for development and administration, builds the electronic control boards for the systems in-house using state-of-the-art surface-mount assembly lines in its Baudour plant (Mons) where most operational activities are based. Production quality meet stringent customer specifications while business pressures also demand high productivity. To be sure of the best results from the very beginning of assembly, the company installed two Yamaha YSP solder-paste printers, aided by Theo Loohuis and his team at Europe-SMT, Yamaha’s appointed sales representative for Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. After experiencing excellent results, including the outstanding speed and accuracy of the on-board 2D inspection system, the team purchased two more YSP printers for other lines in the factory.

New Investment for Quality and Productivity

“Our surface-mount assembly capabilities significantly influence the quality of our products, so we simply must have the best,” comments the team of AW Europe operations improvement and manufacturing engineers. “We need flexibility and fast product changeovers, to handle anything from prototype requirements from our R&D department, to rapid NPI, and full production. The Yamaha YSP printer has delivered superior ease of use, speed, repeatability, and automated features that save time setting up and programming the machines. It is also extremely reliable.”

The Yamaha YSP printer contains advanced features to assist setup and enhance process control. Leveraging graphical base layer alignment, the stencil and board are quickly aligned within ± 10µm (6σ) for perfect paste on pad. The unique 3S Swing Single Squeegee head attack angle setting ensures the perfect filling of stencil apertures and excellent paste-volume repeatability. Automatic detection of remaining solder-paste quantity enables fast and easy refill by the Print Stability Control (PSC) system to ensure constant paste volume for excellent repeatability and minimise paste loss. In addition, automatic stencil cleaning at the optimum interval keeps the stencil surface clean and apertures clear to deliver perfect printed boards every time.

Printing Quality Control by 2D Inspection Camera

The Yamaha YSP printer contains a 2D inspection camera with a large field of view (30mm x 22.5mm) that can inspect the complete printed board with minimum impact on cycle time. With fast image capturing methods that leverage unique Yamaha inspection technology, the complete printing cycle time including inspection is faster than the mounting cycle times in each line. The inspection camera has a LED dome containing three annular rings at different angles, each containing LEDs of two different colours, to illuminate the complete board without shadows. At every view it captures two images with one top light and one side light. This gives a 2.5D inspection result due to excellent contrast between the solder paste, the board surface, and the solder pads. Comprehensive inspection modes include paste positioning, paste volume, bridging, and excess paste on pad.

By testing the Yamaha YSP built-in 2D inspection capability against the inline 3D SPI machines already in place, the team at AW Europe confirmed the performance is just as fast and thorough as a dedicated standalone inspection system. This gave them confidence to rely on the Yamaha YSP printer’s 2D camera and inspection system, and save the burden of running additonal SPI machines in the lines.

“2D inspection with the Yamaha YSP printer delivers the same high level of solder-paste inspection capability as we had before, allowing us to provide the same, excellent quality assurance,”agrees Ludovic Anciaux, Senior Operations Improvement Engineer.

Easy Access to Superior Capability

Impressed overall by the simplicity of the acquisition process, supported by Yamaha and Europe-SMT from the first equipment evaluations and help to choose the most suitable features and options, to delivery, setup, and operator training, he adds, “The service and support has been excellent, the equipment was installed and ready to use extremely quickly, and the machines are so reliable and intuitive that we have become highly proficient and productive in a very short space of time. Every experience has confirmed we made the right decision.”

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