By: Nick Jones, Sales Manager, Wilson Process Systems

At Wilson Process Systems (WPS) we recently announced a major investment of £500,000 to upgrade our SMT assembly facilities in the UK.  The investment increases our production capacity and gives WPS the capability to automatically assemble boards up to 1.3m long, which are often required for the fast expanding display and lighting markets. 

The upgraded WPS line can manufacture boards up to 1.3m long x 0.6m wide, for any application including the growing opportunity in retail displays, LED lighting and digital signage. It is the first line in the country that can manufacture such long boards fully automatically, including the critical screen printing stage.  As well as larger dimension boards, the line will also be used to manufacture boards of more standard dimensions for many different applications. The investment increases our assembly capacity to 140,000 components per hour.

“This investment supports our continuing growth. Customers find that we can match the factory gate price of Far Eastern manufacturers, and offer much higher quality and more flexibility,” commented, joint Managing Director Tim Wilson. “As a result, new markets are opening up all the time – we currently see demand in LED lighting and in displays from the retail and other sectors. Our new line greatly expands our capacity generally, and has been equipped specifically to address this demand.”

He continued, “UK technology companies are increasingly appreciating the value of a short supply chain, and are bringing back manufacturing from overseas to UK companies with the right approach to service, quality and price. We now have the capacity to exploit this opportunity.”

A major part of the investment has been for a custom made LEDPT2/3 screen printer from Folungwin of Hong Kong.  The ultra large sized, fully automatic, in-line solder paste printer offers a print area of 1300mm x 600mm mm and features patented dual camera vision technology with automated mark navigation and alignment to ensure speed and accuracy every time.

The new line alone can assemble 25,000 components per hour raising our total assembly capacity to 140,000 per hour.  To achieve this we have installed a Universal Fuzion XC2-37 placement machine distributed by Anglo Production Processes.  The ergonomic design makes replenishment and board change-over twice as quick, ideal for our high mix environment with frequent changes of board. This versatile platform combines high-speed chip placement with the ability to handle the latest tiny 01005 chip passive components as easily as 150mm connectors. 

This is the first Fuzion machine installed in the UK and is a significant investment, giving us the flexibility to utilize the large 1,300mm x 610mm board format. Our customers will soon benefit from the low set up times enabled by the 272 feeder locations plus the capability to handle 01005 passives up to 150mm square devices as well as odd form components needing placement forces up to 5kg.

The UK EMS sector is beginning to see an upturn as many companies start to appreciate the benefits of a short, flexible supply chain. The investment in new production equipment puts WPS in a strong position, enabling us to support our customers with their growth targets.