An interview with COO, Mr. Graham Shaw on closing the gap between technology advancements and capabilities.
On June 15th, 2017, SMS – Smart Made Simple (www.smartmadesimple.com), hosted a grand event to celebrate the opening of their dedicated in-house Product Development Centre. The event was attended by executives from Mycronic, their Capital Equipment Supplier and their developmental customers, Nu Instruments and Star Leaf.
In an interview, Mr Graham Shaw, COO, SMS, detailed the reasons why SMS decided to make such a vast investment in technology to support the front end of the product lifecycle, from concept to creation.
“SMS recognised that there was a gap in the market for product development services and the need to improve this crucial front-end service. Through our investment, we can demonstrate several improvements.
Firstly, we can validate that we can not only assemble the printed circuit boards but also provide our valued customers with the feedback on where performance improvements can be made. This collaborative process highlights, for our customer, how to effectively Design the product for Manufacturing, DFM, Manufacture for Cost, DFC, and Manufacture for Test, MFT, which enables the board to be developed faster, with no inherent quality issues or risks and, therefore, speeds up the entire process.
Secondly, as we continuously listened to our customers and activated a critical assessment and audit with aerospace, defence, avionics and medical customers within the high-reliability sector, we had a need to have a secure and separate area. That is why we have created private and dedicated spaces for Analysis, Development, Test, and Stores that are all key coded for restricted and authorised only access.
Thirdly, over the past six years, we at SMS have made significant steps and investments to improve our capabilities in printing processes, vapor phase, and AOI. Why AOI in a prototyping environment we get asked? The answer we give is, even if you take away all the capacitors and resistors, we can automate the process simply, then all the development team need to focus on are the unique parts. Our investment in the Mycronic MY600 Jet Printer and the Mycronic MY200SX Placement is another example of our continued investment in making our operations smart.
And lastly, we didn’t want to only have the capability to assemble printed circuit boards. Our market intelligence indicated that there was a need for strong analytical capabilities. The traditional method being for the customer to highlight a quality issue, or for a third party to test on behalf of the customer and manufacturer. At SMS, we didn’t feel comfortable with these options as we strive to simplify the entire product lifecycle for our customers. This is why, we invested our resources into creating a dedicated Analysis Laboratory to complement our Development Centre, whereby a product that is developed within our centre, will automatically flow through our process stream into the analysis lab. This is where we can go into the detailed examination, even as far as deconstructive testing to reduce our customer’s overall risk and build their confidence in our overall manufacturing capabilities. This process also provides us with valuable data, educating, informing and advising us, keeping us within our continuous improvement roadmap.
So, we feel confident at SMS to state that, through our analysis, development and test investment, we can consult our customers on the right strategy for their product introduction. Whether they are an existing blue-chip OEM or a start-up, we can share best practice from not only a PCBA perspective but including system assembly, analysis, DFM, DFT and test development. This is only part of our solutions knowledge network, to ensure our customers get the highest level of service in the market today. SMS are passionate about investing in the right technology and talent to make sure our customers maintain their competitive advantage.”