X-ray inspection system delivers improvements

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The Electronics Group chose to buy a new Nordson X-ray inspection system from Cupio because of the company’s service quality as well as the machine’s capabilities, a decision that proved to be well-justified.

The Electronics Group is an IPC & Electronics Training Centre that also offers technical inspection services for the electronics industry. Launched in 2003, the Group has been an Authorised IPC Distributor since 2016 and has had X-ray inspection capability since 2008.

The Electronics Group provides IPC and bespoke electronics training to companies of all sizes throughout the UK and abroad. Courses are offered at its Leeds training centre, as well as remotely and on customers’ premises. The company’s expert team provides technical inspection services, including X-ray and BGA rework, specialist electronics recruitment, and supplies IPC Standards, workmanship kits, and CQI credits.

X-ray inspection capability has always been an important part of the Group’s offering. However, its incumbent machine was becoming increasingly unreliable and expensive to operate. Dan Bloyce, General Manager at The Electronics Group, estimates that repair costs exceeded £50k over recent years, so a new system was essential.

Choosing the Quadra 3

About four years ago, senior Group members visited Cupio’s Basingstoke facility, where MD Andy Bonner demonstrated the Quadra 3 X-ray inspection system and discussed its potential benefits. More recently, after comparing proposals from Cupio and the existing X-ray inspection system supplier, Dan spoke to Fermionx Ltd – a contract electronics manufacturer who also owns and operates a Quadra 3 – which not only recommended the Quadra 3’s capabilities but also Cupio’s training and service quality. Accordingly, Dan decided on a Quadra 3 system from Cupio.

“Even the best technology will never be entirely free of issues,” Dan commented, “What matters is how the supplier supports us when problems arise. After getting good vibes from our discussions with both Fermionx and Cupio, I believed we had found the right product and the right supplying partner.”

Productivity and quality benefits

The Group’s subsequent experience has fully justified its decision. From the outset, Cupio ensured that the Group rapidly benefited from the new system’s capability. After full installation and commissioning, Cupio provided on-site training. This went quickly because The Electronics Group already understood X-ray inspection – it simply needed to appreciate the specific features of the Quadra 3. However, the comprehensive instruction allowed the trainee, in turn, to educate the Group’s four specialists who would be providing student training.

“Since installation, we have already seen huge benefits,” Dan added. “A large regular customer sends us typically 12,000 boards per shipment, arranged on trays of about 30. Previously, it would take about 90 minutes to inspect each tray. Conversely, the Quadra 3 took about 15 minutes to set up, and then the runtime for inspection was about 10 minutes – a huge productivity and timesaving benefit. We can just load and run a tray without the need for supervision, so we can perform other tasks. Previously, we had to use contractors to operate the machinery and manually inspect everything.

“The new system also offers significant business development advantages. We can complete inspections much more quickly, enabling us to offer more attractively-priced proposals – and when customers see the results, they are more inclined to provide repeat orders.

“This highlights how the Quadra 3 offers greatly superior quality and productivity. Customers have already commented on the image quality, which they regard as a vast improvement over that of the previous machine.

“We also believe we are enjoying these benefits at an optimum price point. We considered the more powerful Quadra 5 and Quadra 7 systems but decided their capabilities are surplus to our requirements; we are not a full production facility regularly processing thousands of boards. The Quadra 3 handles all our needs and more, at a price we are happy to pay.

“The machine will contribute significantly to The Electronics Group’s strategy as we expand our market and seek new business. Additionally, we know we can rely on Andy’s advice to help us along. It has always been straightforward, unambiguous and truthful, whether the situation is good or bad.”

www.cupio.co.uk

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