Unitron invests in new Europlacer iineo+ placement machine
Dutch manufacturer Unitron Group has selected Europlacer’s flexible iineo platform as the centrepiece of a new SMT assembly line located at its European HQ and manufacturing centre in Poperinge, Belgium. The company chose the iineo+ placement machine after a detailed comparison of equipment vendors and support levels across the market.
Having initially considered outsourcing its electronics manufacturing while maintaining its older SMT line, Unitron took a strategic decision to keep the assembly process in-house to preserve product quality and control. The company defined its global requirements and conducted online research to draw up a shortlist of placement equipment that would function at the core of the new line.
Following contact with potential suppliers, Unitron’s procurement team scrutinised placement platforms at exhibitions and conducted visits to existing users of the equipment for extensive demonstrations. The outcome reduced the shortlist to two candidates.
After further evaluation, Unitron selected the Europlacer iineo+ platform, based on tangibles such as its high feeder count, overall flexibility and the advantages of Europlacer’s proven turret placement head. Other less-tangible considerations also played a part, including the customer-centric approach of the Europlacer organisation and its Dutch distributor, SMANS.
“Electronics manufacturing is a key element of the total solution we offer our customers,” says Ard-Jan Hamelink, Director of Operations at Unitron Group BV. “Most of our customers are active in the medical sector, so quality and traceability via validation of our production process is imperative. We decided we could manage this best in-house, which led to the need for a placement machine for the new SMT line. In the end, the capability of iineo+ and our positive experiences in dealing with Europlacer and SMANS made that an easy decision.”
The new Unitron iineo platform was installed in March. The company opted for the iineo+ I model, a machine that comprises a single turret, with this upgraded to Europlacer’s ultra-flexible Tornado head that features 12 nozzles.
“Our new SMT assembly line has been operational for just a few months and we are nearing the end of the process validation stage. However, it’s still a little early for definitive statements,” says Hamelink. “However, what we can report is that our expectations of the speed and flexibility of the iineo+ machine have certainly been fulfilled. The improvement over our old line is dramatic. Better yet is that our operators are particularly enthusiastic about the user-friendliness of the iineo+. It’s clear that we made a good strategic decision,” he adds.