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ASM/SIPLACE Gets New Presence in Silicon Valley
Gathered in front of SIPLACE machine are (left to right) Frank Medina, President of Technica, Jeff Timms, President and CEO of ASM Americas, Sebastian Weckel, Director Marketing Solutions ASM Munich, Mark Ogden, Marketing Manager, ASM Americas, and Thomas Mair, Vice President and CFO, ASM Americas.

ASM Assembly Systems (SIPLACE) has started a new chapter in its book of electronics growth with the official opening of its West Coast Technical Center at new partner Technica USA's facilities in San Jose, California. Technica came on board as the SIPLACE rep organization for Northern California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. But it's much more than a rep organization; it's a service and support center to augment the world-class support from SIPLACE itself.

The technical and demonstration center in Silicon Valley provides a firm anchor for the company's activities in Western USA, an excellent adjunct to the company's North American headquarters in Suwanee, Georgia.

The new West Coast demo center has a SIPLACE SX placement machine with a full range of programming, set up and optimized. It is being staffed by experienced company personnel who live and work in the Bay Area.

Before the ribbon-cutting, Technica President Frank Medina emphasized the importance of ASM's overall management philosophy of bringing value to the customer.

According to ASM CEO Americas Jeff Timms, the company's place in the global market started out with a few frontend and backend businesses based in the Netherlands, then more package assembly in Asia — including wirebonding and packaging, and all the wafer handling associated with it. The next logical step was to annex adjacent technology, in this case SIPLACE in Germany. This was soon followed by opening the company's new Americas headquarters in Suwanee, Georgia, and now the new technology center in San Jose. A major concept introduced by SIPLACE is to keep the customer lines running. This means keeping it running even when changing over the line, performing needed maintenance, dealing with breakdowns, and knowing where and when there's a need for operator assist. One of the groups at SIPLACE is totally dedicated to keeping the line running for its customers.

A Maturing Process
The event was keynoted by special guest speaker Sebastian Weckel, Director Manufacturing Solutions at SIPLACE's headquarters in Munich, Germany. Weckel talked about technology trends in electronics manufacturing, using an extensive PowerPoint presentation. He said that innovation was driving products and trends in SMD and SMT. Such products include mobile devices, cloud technology, autonomous vehicles and the Internet of things. Now that the SMT process has matured, a major element in today's innovation is components that are embedded in the PC board. In the meantime, passive components have become ever smaller, as has the spacing between them and the thickness for silicon capacitors. He cited specifically the evolution of the "PICS" high density trench capacitor and tiny components with bottom side-only metalization. And they keep getting smaller.
Cutting the ribbon for the grand opening of San Jose Technical Center are (left to right) Hans Morkner, Technica, Jeff Timms, President and CEO of ASM Americas, Frank Medina, President of Technica, and Thomas Mair, Vice President and CFO, ASM Americas.

Active components have also grown smaller and their contacts more cramped, down to a pitch of 0.3mm for today's ICs. This has been accompanied by increased numbers of chip embedding and dual chip system-in-package designs.

Odd Shaped Components
The number of machine-placed odd shaped components will grow as manual placement becomes too costly and will not be allowed in certain industries. Concurrently, OSCs will be taller and larger — especially in automotive applications. For shrinking mobile products, OSCs will become smaller and more fragile.

Mr. Weckel said that components will be shifting from mainboards to modules, and these embedded modules will be the basis of new functions. The increasingly complex baseboard placement will trend toward modules, and the accompanying high R&D cost will drive mobile phone suppliers to buy ready-designed modules that include more and more functions.

These trends will in turn place specific requirements on placement equipment, including: 4mm tape feeders, higher accuracy, different flux heights and material, both lower and higher placement force needed (smart placement process) and component heights as much as 40mm. The equipment must in turn be connected to process monitoring and control systems.

Cost Drivers
Production costs start with cost of materials that can vary from 60 to 95 percent of finished product costs — governed by the kinds of production machines that are used, the amount of human labor/intervention needed, and the infrastructure. This in turn is closely related to equipment utilization, the expected quality of the finished product, the company's available assets, and the product turn rate.

Today's trend is to get rid of the large materials buffers — large parts inventories — in favor of a JIT (just in time) Kanban-governed to keep the lines running. Kanban also makes it possible to do fast or on-the-fly product changeovers, with minimum disruption in product flow.
Jeff Timms, President and CEO of ASM Americas, talks about ASM's place in the world of electronics manufacturing.

Further, closed loop communications among the machines in any production facility means that corrections and adjustments can be made as soon as problems manifest themselves, minimizing downtime and rework needed for defective assemblies.

Finally, all of this production is tied in a neat package by strong software support for all customer processes, starting with customer orders that lead to new product introductions. The steps between initial orders and NPI include planning, design, materials and stock, pre-setup areas, prototyping, and production. The software also oversees and schedules regular maintenance and any needed service work on capital equipment.

Production Planning
As a part of production planning, it's important to evaluate your overall product mix once a year. From this review, the next step is to determine the most efficient production cluster — medium volume, low volume and high volume. This leads to development of the best producdtion line concept.

The long term approach by German industry relies on Kanban workflow, so that sub processes in the factory will be connected and the product will control the work flow by itself. This makes manufacturing more flexible, more efficient, while improving the build-to-order philosophy.

Contact: ASM Assembly Systems, LLC, 3975 Lakefield Court, Suite 106, Suwanee, GA 30024 770-797-3000 fax: 770-797-3091 E-mail: Web:

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