Sealevel’s SMT Process & Future Growth

June 14, 2022

Sealevel’s printed circuit board assembly process is driven by a state-of-the-art Surface Mount Technology (SMT) line. SMT manufacturing is the use of automated machines to assemble electronic components, followed by through hole assembly and testing.

Sealevel’s SMT Process

Sealevel Receiving & Quality Inspection

Our Receiving team operates within our Quality department and is subject to standards under ISO 9001:2015 as well as additional procedures developed in partnership with our in-house engineers. They utilize software and detailed processes to verify drawings and dimensions upon initial receipt. Methodology is also in place to maintain parts traceability for continual identification and tracking.

Automated Screen Printer with 2D Inspection

Relying on the programmed stencil for solder paste printing (unique to the product design), our automated screen printer applies solder paste to the printed circuit board (PCB) as specified.

High Speed SMT “Pick-and -Place” Machines

Following the application of the solder paste, PCBs are conveyed to our series of three High Speed SMT Machines.

  • 30-Spindle High Speed SMT (34,500 CPH Placement)
  • 7-Spindle High Speed SMT (16,500 CPH Placement)
  • 7-Spindle High Speed SMT (16,500 CPH Placement)

Commonly referred to as “pick-and-place” machines, these robotic devices individually select each specified component, rotate it to the correct orientation, inspect the component to verify with the database, and place it on the circuit board. Initial setup and configuration for a product can take several hours but this process allows for quick, consistent placement.

10-Zone Forced Convection Reflow Oven

After SMT placement is complete, the boards are conveyed to our convection reflow oven. The oven consists of preheating, soaking, soldering/reflow and cooling zones: each zone’s temperature can be controlled independently.

5-Camera Automated Optical Inspection

Immediately after the reflow oven, the PCBs are conveyed to our Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) chamber. AOI provides complete visual inspection of the boards to detect any potential dimensional or surface defects, ensuring reliable performance for the highest quality critical communications electronics.

Sealevel’s SMT Line

The Future of SMT at Sealevel

As our opportunities continue to grow, Sealevel is expanding our existing SMT line. Our team is currently evaluating a new Fuzion XC2-60 High-Capacity SMT Platform. This SMT machine has dual placement heads with 30-spindles per head and the potential to increase board output by 80%. Not only will this addition increase our production capacity, but it will also allow for greater flexibility and efficiency as we configure our SMT line for products.

Our team currently employs methods for defect tracking and trending, route verification, feeder verification and real-time process alarming. Most recently, we have improved our parts traceability through software integrations and process refinements. We continually re-evaluate our equipment and methodology to best serve our customers:  the addition of a new high-capacity SMT machine is the next step in furthering our legacy of world-class manufacturing.

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