Friday, May 25, 2018
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Computrol: On-Time Manufacturing Services
Programming the autoplacer.

Founded in 1984, Computrol has a long history of providing electronics contract manufacturing services and support to blue-chip customers ranging from military and medical electronics to telecommunications and computer peripherals. The company continues to build on its core services and capabilities by investing in versatile, high-speed manufacturing equipment and technology, as well as ongoing training programs for employees.

The company provides a multiple plant footprint with facilities in both Orem, Utah and Meridian, Idaho, which helps the company to better serve customers by allowing it to broaden the geographical area of served markets; it can do business with a wider range of customers and expand its customer base. In addition, it enables the company to have more flexibility in terms of meeting production demands by sharing some work between plants. It has increased the company's technical knowledge database; through daily interactions, the plants benefit from each other.
ACE KISS 103 selective soldering system.

But more than just the plants benefit from this setup. Customers do as well. The plants are designed to be as identical as possible with only slight differences. The company provides services that a single plant could not. For example, the Orem plant now offers cable and harness services to existing customers because the Meridian plant has that capability. Simultaneously, Meridian is able to compete for higher volume business because that is a capability that the Orem plant has.

Vested Interest
Computrol knows that the people behind the company are a large part of what makes it successful. Its training programs and employee retention play a significant part in Computrol's success. One way this is done is to give employees a vested interest in the success of the company. This vested interest involves several incentive programs, rewards and employee benefit programs. Employees feel that their part of the job is to make their company successful. The company has come to call this the "Spirit of Intrapreneurship".

In addition to the highly rated employees and training sessions, Computrol focuses on using only the most advanced, highest-technology equipment available. It recently installed a PVA650 Robotic Dispenser and two KISS 103 Selective Soldering Systems. The PVA650 is the first fully automated conformal coating and dispensing system at the Meridian plant. Orem already has two similar systems from PVA as well. This system helps the company achieve two main objectives — automated conformal coating dispensing with high repeatable precision and minimal masking prep work, and adhesive and potting material dispensing in extremely tight geometries. Both capabilities give a technologically competitive edge, while reducing production cycle time.

The two KISS 103 selective soldering systems were installed in Meridian to handle larger board formats up to 18 x 24-in. (457 x 609mm). The systems can handle smaller boards as well. Similarly, the selective soldering systems allow Computrol to reduce cycle times while increasing quality and repeatability, allowing the company to rely less on hand soldering because masking and hand soldering the boards are no longer required. The production of boards that required skilled employees to hand solder/fountain can now be run on the KISS 103, allowing them to focus on other, higher-level work. Significant improvements in time standards and consistent quality of boards moved to the KISS 103 have been achieved.

New Reflow Oven
Recently, the company also added a new Heller Mark III reflow oven, replacing an older Conceptronics oven. Computrol is constantly trying to stay technologically current by replacing aging machines. The Mark III is the new generation of the 1809 model with 18 independent heating zones capable of reaching 350°C. With precision temperature control, this is the ideal oven for larger mass PCBs requiring lead-free solder reflow.
Coating system from PVA.

Having the most updated equipment helps Computrol solve assembly challenges. Some of the most common include increases in layer count, which poses new challenges for all soldering processes, including SMT and through-hole. Due to restricted geometries, PCB layouts constantly are pushing the limits of what is optimum. Everything seems to be operating close to the edge of the process window, rather than in the middle, which would allow better consistency and repeatability.

Over the past couple of years the company has invested heavily in state-of-the-art equipment designed to deal with PCB size, layer count and component size challenges. The process does not really change much — only the operating parameters. They need to be dialed in accurately with minimal room for fluctuation. Ten years ago, you could get by with three different reflow profiles (small, medium and large). Today, every assembly has to be profiled and dialed in uniquely.

With its two-location domestic footprint, Computrol continues to upgrade and update production hardware and software to keep ahead of the growing demands of its clientele.

Contact: Computrol, 499 E. Corporate Dr., Meridian, ID 83642 208-887-1000 fax: 208-887-2000 Web:

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