Interview: Clemens Jargon, Mycronic

■ Trevor Galbraith interviews Clemens Jargon at this year’s SMT/Hybrid/Packaging.

Mycronic made news headlines recently with the acquisition of MRSI. This is the latest in a string of acquisitions over the past eighteen months. Trevor Galbraith interview Clemens Jargon, VP Global Dispensing, Assembly Solutions at SMT/Hybrid/Packaging 2018 about the company’s future strategy.

Let’s talk about some of your recent acquisitions starting with Axxon, which was a major acquisition in China. Has that started to bear fruit, and what have you managed to bring out of that acquisition?

Thanks for those questions. At Assembly Solutions at Mycronic, we basically divide the business into three segments, and three divisions, which is the classical SMT business, where Mycronic has grown, the dispensing area, and automation assembly, where the recent acquisition of MRSI that you mentioned belongs. The Axxon acquisition was about two years ago. This was, for us, a major step forward, really to get a good footprint in the dispensing and conformal coating market. You may know already that we have done jet-printing and dispensing on high-speed with our MY700 jet dispenser which is has not been surpassed by anybody. But, for the broad variety of dispensing applications, we needed the competence, and we need the broad portfolio of Axxon which we have since added. Now we are able to address almost all applications in dispensing.

The strength of dispensing companies is really in their valve portfolio. That was one of the thing you got with Axxon, a really strong valve portfolio.

Yes, that is true. On the one hand you have to have a very strong motion control platform, but you have to have a very broad and strong valve portfolio because applications are so different and every customer has a different ways of dispensing material, whether it’s electronic components or electronic applications. With our broad valve portfolio which is an in-house developed portfolio, we can address almost everything. Whether it is auger–valves or needle-valves or piezo-valves, anything for any media that needs to be deposited.

It’s interesting to see how that feeds into your MY700 jet dispenser because there was a recent discussion about stencils and how, really, that is going to be the platform of the future.

Exactly. So we have a high-speed machine with our MY700 and whenever high-speed matters, when you want to, for example, in solder paste jetting you want to replace stencils, you can do this with MY700. When you to do high-speed glue assembly, you want to use MY700. When speed doesn’t matter and the dispensing process is more complex, when you also have to move in a ‘z’ axis, then you go for our Axxon dispensing portfolio.

I think the trend in the industry is for smaller job lots, with more customization, so you’re going to need faster turnover and faster product. You won’t want to wait a day or two for a stencil.

There is a strong trend and 01005’s is a given challenge for all of us. Also, designs in electronic boards is getting more and more complex and you would need to work with step stencils. This is always difficult, it always ties you with design rules. With the jet printer, going into small dots, 210 μm or below, you can forget about design rules and make boards even smaller, you don’t need step stencils, which makes the life of DFM and operation guys easier.

Let’s move on to the next acquisition you made, which is VI Technology. The SPI is a very well engineered system. What has that brought to you?

When we entered very, very early, almost two decades ago, the pick and place market, it was a machine business, but now it’s a solutions business. You need to be able to offer solutions and you need to combine the machines in your portfolio. When you look into Mycronic’s offerings in the SMT area, we now have the jet printer, we have the SPI, we have the pick and place, and we have the 3D AOI. Combine this with the storage towers for materials handling, we can now really offer a complete line solution. This gives us much better opportunities than we had before, for the SPI works together with the jet printer and the AOI works together with the pick and place. The overall system is linked wirelessly with SIGMA Link so that means we can help our customers go for zero defects in the line, to control the process and to control the data that are generated in the production process.

This is very important, of course, everything is getting data-driven these days. Bringing us up-to-date, MRSI is your most recent acquisition which takes you more towards the advanced packaging route. Can you explain the strategy behind that acquisition?

This is a bit of a different area, we call this division assembly automation. We would like to expand our portfolio into areas which are niches, but also with huge growth potential. We want to combine this with our strengths. One of the strengths in the DNA at Mycronic is high-flexibility, high-precision. When you compare this with the AI acquisition, which we did a year ago, for camera module assembly, this is a niche with a huge growth potential and that is the reason we have invested in that.

I am sure you are not finished yet, what is on your shopping list?

Sometimes opportunities come across, you have to pick them. Sometimes you have to focus on consolidation, on doing things right. We are not a company that is always going around shopping. We are a company that wants to focus on strengths, focus on DNA, and be there when there is a potential to increase the value of the company, and to bring some interesting technologies. I wouldn’t say there is a shopping list we are working on from top to bottom. MRSI is something that is a very strong addition to Mycronic. It has a very healthy home market, and optical communication, which is about 70% of the revenue. Big Data is a big trend. We want to join the trend, we want to have that trend here. That is one of the reasons we invested here, not because it is part of a shopping list.

Maybe I was over-simplifying it, but obviously you are trying to round-out your portfolio, so that you have all the parts so you can offer these solutions you referred to earlier. There must be some parts you are still looking for I was guessing. Clemens, I want to thank you for joining us today and for giving us an update on the strategy with Mycronic. Thank you very much Trevor.

–TREVOR GALBRAITH

 

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