Fascinating Opportunities in Flying Probe Testing

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Pete Starkey visits with Peter Brandt, director of sales, Europe and Japan for atg Luther & Maelzer, who reflects upon joining the Mycronic group, discusses market and technology trends in testing, and what to expect from atg at this year’s productronica. 

Pete Starkey: Recently, atg Luther & Maelzer was acquired by Mycronic. How will atg Luther & Maelzer will integrate into the Mycronic group?

Peter Brandt: As of June, atg became a member of the Mycronic shareholding group headquartered in Sweden and we are now part of this big European technology company. Mycronic was our first choice during the transfer process. We talked to several potential buyers, and in the end, we were very lucky to be acquired by Mycronic because they are a technology leader in the assembly and loaded board business. They produce pick-and-place systems, bonding systems, and digital mask writers. They know exactly how it works in the world of investment products. It’s nice that we are talking about the same issues when doing a forecast for the next year or when you need capital equipment.

You don’t always know; do you sell this machine, do you get the order next year, or it is canceled? We have more or less the same base market, but we can keep atg Luther & Maelzer as our own complete sales channel because Mycronic is located in the assembly and loaded board industry, and we are in the bare board industry. This means with our supply and our supporting chain—like our agents, distributors, and our complete service and sales organization—we keep it like it is. We are part of a technology company, but we can transfer our production, sales, and service; everything else stays the same because there is no actual consolidation process.

The size of Mycronic in relation to atg is also very good. We are approximately 10% of the revenue of Mycronic, which provides us with a strong financial background when we must finance machines, need bank warranties, or something like this. On the other hand, we are already a significant part of the business unit of Mycronic.

Starkey: Could you comment on global and regional trends you are seeing in the market as they relate to testing?

Brandt: We see an improving market in the package and substrate business. This is mainly an improvement in the Asian markets, like in China or Korea, and partially in Japan, which is for our flying probe. There are big challenges regarding accuracy and measurement methods for our flying probe. But this is a high-volume business. This means we only participate in smaller production quantities, because you can say 99.9% of this market for electrical testing will be covered by dedicated testers, using high-density, and high-cost fixtures. This technology is a market driver in the case of fine pitch density, and we see that this technology will jump step by step into the regular PCB market, not just the short term. But we see more and more substrate applications in PCB. We call it substrate-like PCB products (SLP). Our standard PCB high-volume flying probe for machines is a growing business.

To read this entire conversation, which appeared in the November 2021 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.


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