Bürkle Discusses Cycle Time in PCB Lamination Systems


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At the recent HKPCA & IPC APEX Show 2015 in Shenzhen, China, I interviewed Stefan Roller, sales manager at Bürkle Process Technologies, about the innovations happening in Bürkle, as well as cycle times in PCB processing equipment. He also talked about the current market landscape and the opportunity for growth in the industry.

Stephen Las Marias: Stefan, let's start by you telling us more about Bürkle and the company's activities.

Stefan Roller: I think the most important point for the show here is the PCB part, which is only one part of our business. We produce presses and machines for PCBs, but we are also big in photovoltaics and the wood industry.

Las Marias: How has your PCB business performed so far this year?

Roller: This year has been quite good. We won a lot of new projects. It could have been stronger, for sure. That's always our effort in sales. But it was a good year.

Las Marias: The market or business climate has been pretty challenging in the second half of 2015, especially in this region. What can you say about that?

Roller: That’s true, it all cooled down a little bit. Demand is not as strong any more.

Las Marias: With regard to your PCB customers, what are their biggest challenges when it comes to technology?

Roller: I think the biggest challenge at the moment is that prices went down for PCBs, and we have a lot of manufacturers, so I think the capacity is bigger than the actual needs on the market.

Las Marias: Would that be considered over supply?

Roller: Maybe not over supply, but we have a very high capacity to produce PCBs, and the needs went down a little bit.

Las Marias: What can you say about the latest innovation in technologies for your PCB equipment that are helping your customers address their challenges?

Roller: Actually, we are working on a few things to improve our product, but we do not have big changes on the pressing technology itself. Our machines are on such a high level and the only thing we are working on is the energy consumption and the speed.

Las Marias: You mentioned speed, which is interesting because we recently did a survey regarding cycle time reduction. According to the results, one of the bottlenecks that are being pointed out by PCB fabricators when it comes to speed is the equipment. What can you say about that?

Roller: We see that as well. The challenge is that we can't really increase that speed because we need to have heat through the whole product, and that needs a specific time. That's something you can't increase. The accuracy through the whole product needs to be there.

Even on the cool down process, there are given speeds where the material is not allowed to cool down more quickly, because it will be damaged.

Las Marias: How does Bürkle stay ahead of the competition?

Roller: We are one of the technology leaders and we are known for the highest quality machines and good service, which we always try to give in order to support our customers. We have our headquarters in Germany, supplying for all of Europe. We have a North American office and we have one factory in Shanghai, China. We are located close to our customers and we can quickly react.

Las Marias: Do you have any new technologies in the pipeline?

Roller: Yes, we have. We are working on a few things that will definitely improve our machines, but they are not ready to be presented yet.

Las Marias: Do you think the market will pick up next year?

Roller: One can hope, but actually I think it will not increase that much and it will stay on a similar level.

Las Marias: Stefan, is there anything that you would like to add?

Roller: We are known as a good, high technology brand. We are always trying to improve business worldwide and remain close to our customers regarding sales and service needs.

Las Marias: Thank you very much, Stefan.

Roller: You're welcome.

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