Supplementing your production capabilities with flexible circuit laser processing can pay big dividends. It not only enables you to broaden the set of services you can offer your customers, but it also extends your reach into additional markets you might not otherwise be well-equipped to serve. Employing laser technology is one of the best ways to stay current in PCB processing, since it enables you to process more accurate and smaller features than what is possible using mechanical processing.
In a previous installment (part 3) of the “Stepping Up to Laser Processing for Flex” series, we discussed the most critical issues related to ensuring that your factory is prepared for implementation of your new laser processing system. With your factory now prepared, let’s review the issues associated with getting your new system installed and running properly, so that you can start processing your first runs. This time we’ll focus on installation best practices, system verification testing, training and the safe operation of your system.
There As with any large piece of manufacturing equipment, just getting it onsite can be the first challenge. Your system supplier should be able to help coordinate transportation of the system to your facility. Working together with your supplier, your shipping/logistics partner and, if necessary, a local rigging company will ensure a smooth delivery and setup process. The International Commercial Terms (Incoterms) associated with your system purchase will outline the tasks, costs and risks associated with the system’s shipment. It’s a document that provides details regarding the location to which the system is being delivered and includes the point at which final transportation and any associated insurance become your responsibility.
Due to liability concerns, you will typically need to take responsibility for movement of the system once it reaches your facility. Unless you can provide your own in-house rigging, it is a good practice to stage the equipment at your lo cal rigging company’s facility. This is especially beneficial if multiple systems are expected to arrive at different times. This will minimize the production interruptions typically associated with systems being repositioned on the production floor. Such off-site staging is also useful if you do not have an interim storage facility that meets the system storage environmental requirements. For instance, laser systems can become damaged as the result of being exposed to conditions such as high humidity and extreme temperatures or—even worse—being stored outdoors in pouring rain!
Editor's Note: To read this entire article, which appeared in the November 2016 issue of The PCB Magazine, click here.