GPC recently invested in three Yamaha YSM20 pick and place machines from Hawker Richardson.
Interview with Christopher Janssen, Managing Director.
1. Tell us about your business – who is GPC Electronics?
We manufacture electronics equipment for a range of applications including: equipment for agriculture, sport, medical devices, automotive, defence, communications, and other industrial applications.
2. When was GPC established?
GPC electronics was established in 1985 where we started making some small batch products for local customers and we looked at how we can grow it from there. The business has come a long way since we started it.
3. Who is your core clientele?
Leading global corporations like Harris-Stratex (now called Aviat), Toshiba, Nortel, Alcatel, Siemens, NEC, Thomson, Aastra and others.
4. Why did you choose to invest in x5 Yamaha YSM20s?
We’ve been working with Hawker Richardson on the supply of a range of products. The advantage in locking-in good suppliers of equipment that understands out business, helps to ensure the products perform to our needs.
Initially we invested in one Yamaha line with three machines and that was a couple of years ago. What we’ve seen is that we are delighted with the performance of them and as our volumes in the factories have grown too, we then invested in another line here with another three machines.
5. Were you experiencing any particular challenges?
At GPC we have to look at both our challenges today and potential challenges for the future. Focusing on how we make that transition requires a framework of processes and the investment in the equipment to support them and us for the next 10-20 years.
6. What sort of quantities do you produce in PCB board production?
Typically, in a plant like this we’ve been processing 10-15 million components a month. We probably produce in the order of 20-30 thousand assemblies a month as well.
7. What solutions have the new YSM20s delivered?
The machines we are buying from Hawker Richardson are cutting-edge. We compete in the global market place and it’s important that we are able to provide both good quality products buy also at a competitive price.
8. Discuss how upgrading your equipment has opened new opportunities/markets?
Yamaha machines are so much faster than the machines we were running before. They place at about five times the rate of what we had before. The yield and the accuracy of the machines has made it much easier from a process point of view.
When I talk to customers in North America and ask them what they’re expectations are of defects per million, we typically are five times better than what they were looking for. They’ve been a dream to work with - they run very quickly and very efficiently, they’re very reliable, and so they are very good. We are able to process the throughput with two lines, but with the previous equipment we might have had to run five or six lines to use in the past.
9. What was the process like with installing the equipment? Did it go smoothly/was it efficient etc?
Hawker Richardson’s been a very good company in terms of supporting us in the both acquisition of equipment, and making choices and understanding how it is/works , as well as how it can perform. With the range of equipment available, it meant that they could look at the whole process from beginning to, and therefore look at how all of it fits together. They have a real understanding of the industry - they have been in the electronics industry a long time.
10. What has been your experience with HR service and support?
Hawker Richardson has always been a good supporter of equipment. They have staff who are very knowledgeable in terms of the different sorts of equipment they provide and so if we have a problem, they’re very quick to respond. Anything which is urgent has always been addressed very quickly and they have always been available when we need them.
11. Would you recommend Hawker Richardson to anyone else, based on your experience?
We have always recommended Hawker Richardson. They’ve been a very good company and they have supported us well. We partnered with Hawker Richardson from the beginning, so I think we grew together and I think they also learnt from the processes and saw what was happening in technology.