7 months ago

EPP Europe P2.2022

  • Text
  • Measurement
  • Assembly
  • Semiconductor
  • Soldering
  • Solutions
  • Manufacturing
  • Components
  • Electronic
  • Inspection
  • Electronics

Source: ED&A The ED&A

Source: ED&A The ED&A site in Kalmthout, Belgium Case study: Ersa soldering systems in practice It all began with a coffee machine… Manufacturer of soldering systems Kurtz Ersa chronicles the history of its customer ED&A, a Belgian developer and manufacturer of custom-made electronic controllers, and explains how the company came to rely on Ersa systems once it started its own manufacturing operations in 2012. For over 40 years, ED&A has been developing and producing customized electronic controllers for consumer and industrial applications. The company, based in Kalmthout, Belgium, is more than just a supplier, describing itself as the “in-house electronics department” for its customers. As part of a recent expansion of its production capacity, the developer has expanded its machinery portfolio with the addition of an Ersa Versaflow 4/55 selective soldering system. Source: ED&A ED&A has been awarded a Factory of the Future designation by Agoria/Sirris for the third time Background ED&A was founded in 1981 by Agnes Francken and her husband Flor D´Handschotter, who was at that point working as a teacher of electronics. The idea to start a company was sparked after a student’s father asked Flor to develop a controller for a coffee machine. Not content with simply saying, “yes, let’s do it”, he seized the opportunity and founded his own business. It took four years before the enterprise hired its first two employees – and both are still within the company. Fast forward 37 years and ED&A employs 110 people (50 in production) and reported a turnover of over 25 million Euros last year. 20% of business takes place in Belgium, the rest is for export. In 2009, Gert D´Handschotter took over management of the business from his parents. Centrally located in Kalmthout with a production area totalling 5,000m 2 , the company’s current focus is on the development and production of custommade electronics for innovative machine and appliance manufacturers, such as makers of washing machines, ventilation systems, heat pumps, coffee, and baked goods machines. In-house production On 8 October 2012, ED&A took the groundbreaking step of opening its own production facility with the help of various systems, including a number of Ersa soldering machines. Having previously outsourced all its manufacturing, mainly to Belgium and Romania, the decision to manufacture its own designs inhouse was made after intensive evaluation and research. The quality of the outsourced electronic assemblies did not always meet requirements and an increasing number of bottlenecks was affecting production capacity. 30 EPP Europe » 11 | 2022

PCB & ASSEMBLY « Source: ED&A Source: ED&A Part of the production opened in 2012: an Ersa stencil printer View of the ED&A production – at the front: the Ersa Hotflow 3/14e reflow soldering system One person was central to the transformation: Eric Vets. Vets joined ED&A in November 2011, and brought with him many years’ experience of electronics production working for a large mobile phone manufacturer where he had become very familiar with Ersa systems (provided via Belgian representative Smans NV). After one day on board, Eric and the ED&A team went to the Productronica trade show in Munich to see the Ersa portfolio up close. Shortly afterwards, they ordered a Hotflow 3/14e reflow machine, a Versaflow 3/45 selective machine, a Versaprint 2 stencil printer and an HR 600 Rework System. Driven by Eric, ED&A went on to invest in a top-class machine park with state-of-the-art soldering systems, which, among other things, enabled full inline X-ray inspection of every PCB and comprehensive digitization of production with traceability down to the component level. “Of course, it was a big challenge to begin an electronics manufacturing operation from scratch – we actually had zero experience until we started production in the fall of 2012,” Gert D´Handschotter recalls. “Eric and his extensive experience in electronics manufacturing were worth their weight in gold for ED&A, it was an absolute win-win situation for everyone involved – otherwise it would have been very difficult to get such a production up and running,” says Tom Berx, Ersa Sales Manager responsible for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg at the time. Eric retired in 2017, but he, together with the ED&A team, had initiated a development that allowed the company to grow to its current size. “The local support from the Smans team, who is not far away with its headquarters in Turnhout, was invaluable, especially at the beginning,” says D´Handschotter. For every machine ED&A has ordered, quality has always been the most important factor. This is where Eric´s expertise came in, as he had had the most experience with high-quality machines. “Our goal with our own production was to become the leader in terms of production quality in Belgium. We succeeded in this, and the Ersa systems we ordered initially and subsequently have contributed significantly to this,” D´Handschotter adds. More flexibility, more speed Since starting its own production line, the company has reduced lead times by more than 60% while increasing product quality by a factor of 10 (compared to its previously outsourced manufacturing model). A few years after starting, the selective Versaflow 3 machine was exchanged for the larger Versaflow 4 model with four solder pots and two flux “After ten years, we have gotten to know each other well, have a stable business partnership and know what our teams and systems are capable of – we are looking forward to the next decade and a strong continued cooperation.” Gert D´Handschotter, Managing Director, ED&A heads (at that time, the first system of its kind in Belgium). The highly modular character of the large 4/55 machine offers a great deal of freedom of configuration and meets high process and qualitative productivity standards. This results in reliably repeatable solder joints, as well as complete documentation of all individual process parameters. EPP Europe » 11 | 2022 31