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Z-AXIS, Inc. has upgraded and expanded its production lines for through-hole and mixed-technology printed circuit board (PCB) assembly at its contract design and manufacturing center near Rochester, NY.
The newly-revamped production line features 30-foot adjustable extruded aluminum board handling rails, custom LED task lighting, CAM software with electronic assembly instructions for each station, and a conveyor to transport boards through inspection after wave solder and depaneling.
The upgraded production line supports a single-piece flow of PCB assemblies through component insertion, wave solder, in-line inspection, depaneling, QC, testing, and burn-in. Single-piece flow is an alternative to the common practice of running batches of boards through the individual steps, sometimes days apart. Single-piece flow allows Z-AXIS to note and implement corrections or process improvements immediately, rather than on future batches.
Through-hole components are essential in many electronic products, such as high-power boards.
“At Z-AXIS, nearly 75% of the boards we run are mixed-technology, with both through-hole and surface mount technology (SMT) components,” said Michael Allen, President of Z-AXIS. “While many contract manufacturers consider through-hole assembly to be a distraction from their SMT business, we continue to invest in both areas. This enables us to produce mixed-technology PCB assemblies, at reasonable cost and high quality, in the USA.”
Earlier this year, the company announced a million-dollar investment in SMT assembly equipment, creating two identical high-speed, high-mix SMT lines and a separate SMT new product introduction (NPI) line.