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Publication Date: 2/1/2013

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Training Comes first at STI
Manufacturing is just one of the three divisions at STI.

Is it a contract manufacturer? Is it a school and certification facility? Is it a distributor? The answer is "Yes" to all three questions for Madison, Alabama-based STI Electronics, Inc., a family-owned company that started out as a training and consulting firm. Founded by Jim D. Raby, P.E. in 1982, the company's roots were in training and consulting but quickly expanded to include training materials and analytical lab services.

Today, STI is comprised of three divisions with multiple departments within each. The company teaches and certifies to the IPC and NASA standards as well as providing basic and custom training for customers all over the world.

The company is also a stocking distributor that sells more than 150 different manufacturers' lines of equipment, tools and consumable supplies — sources that include Hakko, OK International, PACE, Excelta, and MicroCare.

Finally, it is an engineering company with capabilities for manufacturing prototypes as well as small-to-medium-volume specialty high-density production runs. It has three SMT lines, including one completely contained in a Class 1000 clean room. The facilities include a full analytical and failure analysis lab as well as various test capabilities.

Proprietary Process
The company has developed a process for embedding active components within a substrate to reduce size, weight and power requirements for electrical assemblies as well as enabling the assembly to operate in extreme, harsh environments. STI termed the technology Imbedded Component/Die Technology (IC/DT®) and owns a patent for the technology. Several military systems currently are being evaluated for redesign using IC/DT because this assembly and manufacturing technology transitions from R&D to a proven assembly process. STI has become a well-rounded, multifaceted company — a product of its desire to provide complete solutions to its customers. With employees and sales offices in Dallas and Warner Robins, GA, the company has customers in all 50 states and in 46 countries. "STI has always been known for training, consulting and a source for technical information, but in the past few years we have strived to round out our product and service offerings. So, at the end of 2008, we made the long overdue move into a new facility that gave each of our divisions/departments room to grow and do their jobs better — and all have done that with exceptional success," said David Raby, President and CEO. "We added experience and knowledge in our inside and outside customer service arm as well as manufacturing and testing capabilities."

More Classes Added
Training classes and additional curriculum development capabilities also have been added. STI and its employees have become proficient at using all available resources and capabilities to engineer and provide workable, complete solutions for its customers.

The company prides itself on being a single-source solution provider, a true "one-stop shop" in electronics manufacturing and related industries. Training classes provide an opportunity for a student to receive certification as an operator (CIS) or instructor (CIT). The company can also assist with design challenges as well as build prototypes for customers' products. STI can provide assistance and guidance in setting up individual processes, the equipment and materials to build product, and the technical expertise for any problems that arise. As an additional benefit, the company is available to simply build the product for customers as a contract manufacturer.

"STI has competitors that are very good at one or two of the above — we are the only company that has the right people and capabilities to help throughout the entire process," Raby added. "STI has intentionally structured the products and services as well as the internal staff and capabilities to be able to change course as technology changes necessitate as well as enable rapid response times to customer needs and expectations. Because of the different areas we focus on, STI's staff consists of a variety of subject matter experts who work seamlessly together for the good of the customer."
An up-to-date production line is designed for short-to-medium runs and quick changeover.

STI also ensures that it works with the best OEMs to provide the most state-of-the-art, technologically advanced equipment available to the market. That is why the company has been partnering with Juki since 1994. Eighteen years ago, STI purchased the KE720 placement machine, which was kept until it was traded in for a machine upgrade to the KE2050.

Pick-and-Place Systems
Currently, the company runs four Juki pick-and-place systems on its production floor: FX-3, KE2080, KE2050 and KE2020. The systems fulfill the needs of a multitude of different styles of the SMT processes from flex to FR4 circuit boards. "Juki equipment gives us the versatility to produce very highly populated assemblies with the utmost accuracy," said Raby. He added that the equipment also provides quick changeover between different build configurations, and he believes that this is the greatest attribute over other placement machine providers in the industry.

Juki's equipment reliability and technical services also are important to STI. Juki continues to innovate solutions that improve machine capability and reliability such as changeover time, placement accuracy and ease of maintenance. These factors combine to keep STI partnering with Juki over any other competing company. This partnership provides highly accurate and repeatable placement accuracy on all types of PCB sets, resulting in high versatility for STI. "Juki's ability to build equipment with precise placement and dependability has made it easy for us to build a consistent product for our customers," added Raby.

Because STI is such a strong believer in service, it is important that any company it partners with also provides solid, consistent support. Raby said that STI receives excellent support from Juki and he feels that the company is an industry leader in both customer service and technical support.

STI also believes it is important to work with industry organizations on multiple levels and has been involved with the IPC and the Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA) for many years. "The IPC created and maintains meaningful industry standards and the SMTA provides learning opportunities and a networking community that are amazing," said Raby. "As a result we can all learn from each other's successes and failures," he said. STI participates in IPC, SMTA and other organizations with speakers (teachers) and attendees (students).

Contact: STI Electronics Inc., 261 Palmer Rd., Madison, AL 35758 256-461-9191 fax: 256-461-7524 E-mail: Web:

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