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With increasing demand for their products, RØDE Microphones needed a Surface Mount Technology (SMT) solution that was faster, could handle complex designs and could support growth for the next ten years plus.

About RØDE Microphones

RØDE Microphones (RØDE) is an Australian owned and operated audio company with offices in Sydney, Los Angeles,New York, Hong Kong. They specialise in the design and manufacture of a range of microphones and other audio accessories,selling them into markets around the world.

With 30 million dollars of precision manufacturing equipment and over 150 support staf, RØDE Microphones has become a global market leader and a true Australian success story.

New Products, New Demands

In mid-2014, RØDE was busy planning the launch of a revolutionary new wireless microphone. Having received some large preorders for the product and with mid- to long-term forecasts showing strong demand, it was apparent RØDE’s SMT line had to dramatically increase its production capacity to satisfy the market.

After running pre-production samples on the existing YAMAHA YS100 line, it became apparent that although the line could ofer the accuracy and reliability, it would not meet the hotly anticipated production numbers required.

RØDE needed to upgrade its SMT capabilities and fast. Any upgrade to their existing set-up also had to handle the pressures of business growth for the next ive to ten years.

The Solution

Having conducted some initial research into possible solutions, RØDE consulted with SMT supply specialist Hawker Richardson.

After initial discussions and analysis of sales and marketing forecasts, it was agreed RØDE needed to retain their existing SMT set-up and invest in a complete new line. It was suggested that the new line should ideally have YAMAHA machines at its core as RØDE was happy with the ease of use of the YAMAHA operating software.

Having used DEK printers and Heller Reflow curing ovens in the past, RØDE wanted to use the latest models in their new line. For their pick and place machine, a new YAMAHA model called the Z:LEX YSM20 looked to be suitable and after testing in Japan, was the chosen solution.

In it’s entirety, RØDE’s new SMT line consisted of:

• Nutek Triple Magazine Line Loader
• Bare Board Loader
• DEK Horizon Stencil Printer
• YAMAHA Z:LEX YSM20 Pick & Place (x2)
• Heller 1809 Mark III Series Oven
• Nutek Triple Magazine Line Unloader
• Nutek Conveyors
• SMS International SMT Software

Hawker Richardson project-managed the entire logistics, installation and commissioning process, and had the line fully operational within seven days of the machines arriving on site at RØDE. They also developed and delivered a full training program that was conducted by experienced Hawker Richardson staf, YAMAHA engineers from Japan and SMS engineers from New Zealand.

The Results

Since going live in mid-2015, RØDE’s new SMT line has increased production capacity by 500%. While RØDE still has its existing line that delivers 10,000 CPH for lower volume products, the new line provides up to 50,000 CPH thanks to the new YAMAHA Z:LEX YSM20 pick and place machines. The other upgraded machines have proved more than capable of keeping up with the increase in pick and place speed and will ensure RØDE has the ability to continue to innovate and grow in the medium to long pick and place rodes term.

Peter Freedman, Managing Director of RØDE Microphones said: “The new line has allowed us to dramatically increase the quantity of boards that we can make and allows us to match the demands for our global markets. It’s an investment we simply had to make to ensure the ongoing growth of our company and worldwide customers”.





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