"A Basis for the Next 15 Years"


WEY Elektronik AG increases production with the new Cobra pick-and-place from Essemtec.

Four years ago, Markus Portmann, Production Manager at WEY Elektronik AG in Switzerland, was asked to describe his ideal SMD pick-and-place machine. His input influenced the development of Essemtec's new Cobra Pick-and-place. Today, he is testing the new SMD placement system in production.

The WEY group offers integrated solutions and special applications for trading rooms, security centres, hospitals and the infotainment environment. The Swiss company develops and produces full-matrix switches and remote solutions as well as multifunctional and customized keyboards. WEY's customers include banks and financial institutions, command and control centres and hospitals around the world. Clients have high expectations with regard to quality, reliability and adaptability. WEY evaluates its production machines and partners in accordance with these standards.

New SMD Pick-and-place based on User's Experience
Four years ago, Essemtec, the Swiss manufacturer of production machines, began developing the new pick-and-place machine that today is known as the Cobra. Rolf Hochstrasser, Project Leader, interviewed several electronics manufacturers to find out what their ideal machine would be like. One of the users interviewed was Markus Portmann, Production Manager at WEY Elektronik AG.

Portmann had nine specific requests; nine requirements, specifications and possibilities that he missed from placement machines available at that time. These were requests relating to feeder capacity, accuracy, changeover speed, component teach-in and the user interface.

Because WEY places high demands on themselves, their partners and their machinery, Portmann's input significantly influenced the objectives of the new placement machine. The first prototype of the Cobra already included eight of the new requirements. Then, at SMT Nuremberg in May 2011, Essemtec introduced the new Cobra Feeder with an integrated tape cutter. This was the final point on Portmann's wish list.

Cobra Defines State of the Art
Linear motors, real-time bus system and signal processing, carbon fibre parts, and cast polymer chassis are just a few of the many technical highlights that make the Cobra today's most modern SMD pick-and-place machine.

The Cobra is the first machine to combine the advantages of a highly flexible placement machine (240 feeder slots, changeover during operation) with the throughput of an 8-axes assembly machine (IPC-9859: 20,000 cph). Four components are picked-up simultaneously and each axis can assemble all components from 01005 up to 80x70 mm.

The machine operates using ePlace, the intuitive user interface from Essemtec. ePlace makes programming of complex machines easy and actively prevents false inputs. The software reduces training time as well as operation and programming costs, and it increases the productivity of the machine and the quality of the manufactured products.

Portmann says that ePlace operation is similar to the operation of his Smart Phone: The instruction manual is short and clear, and the rest is self-explanatory.

Machine in Practical Beta Test
WEY uses the Cobra in its electronics production and tests the machine intensively as a beta tester. The decision to do this beta test was well considered, but was still an easy decision. The expansion of the production capacity was planned and the Cobra was a perfect fit within the WEY corporate strategy.

"The identity is a match," said Portmann. What he means is that WEY's customers expect quality, reliability and advanced technology, and these match the characteristics of the Cobra. "The design and technology of this machine is impressive. We can build upon this basis for the next 10 to 15 years," he added.

WEY's Keyboards Increase Safety and Efficiency
WEY's multifunctional and customized keyboards are used worldwide, primarily at workplaces where important decisions based on a lot of very detailed information must be made quickly. Some examples are bank trading floors, hospitals, police and fire brigade command centres, and control rooms of power plants. More than 30,000 keyboards are implemented globally at such critical points.

One keyboard can operate multiple computers and monitors, and can also control building automation if required. Whereby once six or seven keyboards crowded a table, now a single WEY keyboard is enough. This dramatically increases the safety, efficiency and ergonomics of a workplace.

WEY also specializes in other keyboard/video/mouse (KVM) solutions including transmission lines and switch matrices which display and control different systems and platforms. All solutions are customized which requires a high flexibility of the development and production facilities. Production lots typically are series of only 100-300 boards. "With the Cobra we can produce such series efficiently and quickly," said Portmann. Due to the high feeder capacity he can leave many components on the machine and change the product-specific components during the production process.

"We Are Taken Seriously"
Beta testing poses a risk for both tester and manufacturer, but it also presents an opportunity. "I can influence the machine directly," commented Portmann. For this, he is willing to accept a certain amount of "growing pains". The installation of the Cobra pick-and-place was straightforward, however, and after a few hours, it was installed and set up.

WEY has worked with Essemtec machines for several years. "As a manufacturer of quality products, we find the price/performance ratio of Essemtec's machines ideal," said Portmann. He also praises the company's customer service and support. His problems and recommendations are always taken seriously.

WEY produces Swiss products on Swiss machines in Switzerland - quality and precision through and through. "We find that our customers gain confidence in WEY during our tours through production," said Anette Eldevik, Marketing and Communication. The new Cobra with its remarkable design simplifies selling. "Customers realize that we stand fully behind our products."

About the company:
The Swiss machine manufacturer Essemtec is a market leader in manufacturing flexible production systems for industrial users. Essemtec has been developing, manufacturing and marketing equipment and machines for all processes in the electronics industry since 1991: printers, dispensers, pick and place and soldering systems. Manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic systems are available. The range of products also includes transportation and storage systems, as well as software solutions for planning, simulation optimisation and documentation of manufacturing. All Essemtec systems are optimized for maximum flexibility. The user can switch from one product to another in no time, thus making maximum use of the available production capacity. Essemtec - Be more flexible.

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