“Incredible Level of Support Provided During Product NPI”
Contract Electronics Manufacturer Speedboard receives an Outstanding Customer Service award for its role in the launch of Vicon’s latest high-tech camera, Vantage
Speedboard Assembly Services has been presented with an Outstanding Customer Service award in recognition of the level of support it provided to motion capture specialist Vicon Motion Systems leading up to and during the launch of a range of high-tech cameras earlier this year. Speedboard supported the launch of Vicon’s Vantage range through its bespoke New Product Introduction (NPI) assembly model, rising to both technical and logistical challenges. Specifically, the cameras’ circuit boards required leading-edge assembly techniques and, when demand for Vantage far exceeded expectations, Speedboard coped with a last-minute 50% increase to already demanding launch quantities.
Imogen Moorhouse, Vicon’s CEO, comments: “The level of support provided during the introduction of our Vantage range was incredible. We could not have asked for more.”
Why was this NPI So Complex?
A Vantage camera comprises three circuit boards, all of which presented a variety of manufacturing challenges. For instance, the camera’s processor board is very high density and both solder paste application and component placement activities require extreme accuracy. As for the camera’s strobe board, it is a metal-backed substrate – thus ruling out the use of a traditional convection reflow oven for fear of damaging some of the more heat-sensitive electronic components. Here, Speedboard’s solution was to use its Vapour Phase oven, which is ideal for assembling PCBs with areas of widely varying thermal mass.
Lastly, the camera’s sensor board is a complex mixed technology PCB. It is dominated by a high-end, through-hole sensor device with several hundred pins and a tight pitch. In order to meet IPC Class 3, which demands that hole-fill be a minimum of 75%, it was felt that even the most experienced operators could not hand-solder the device and guarantee consistent hole-fill. Speedboard researched and subsequently invested in a Selective Soldering machine.
Strength Through Collaboration
Speedboard’s relationship with Vicon dates back to 2011, when it took over the manufacture of PCBAs for Vicon’s Bonita range of cameras. Now, with the introduction of Vantage, Speedboard is – bar for a few low volume sub-assemblies – responsible for manufacturing all of the PCBAs for Vicon’s products.
Moorhouse notes: “Whilst outsourcing so much to a single CEM may seem risky to some, we enjoy a particularly open and trustworthy relationship with Speedboard and we have a variety of jointly-developed business risk reduction measures in place that enable both parties to focus on their key areas of expertise. During the development of Vantage, we were able to treat Speedboard as if they were our own shop floor, and we do not believe any other CEM could have supported us in the same way.”
The Outstanding Customer Service award recognises how the close collaboration between Speedboard and Vicon made possible the on-time and increased volume launch of Vantage, one of the most advanced motion capture products on the market today.
Pictured above, Vantage is the latest camera from Oxford-headquartered motion capture specialist Vicon. Combing high resolution with a high frame rate, the Vantage range comprises three models, the circuit boards of which are manufactured and supplied in sets by Speedboard Assembly Services. The Vicon Vantage camera comprises three PCBAs, namely: a Processor Board (16 layers, circa 800 PTH vias and 6,500 blind / burred vias and 31 BGA devices), a Sensor Board (12 layers, nine BGAs and circa 800 PTH vias) and a Strobe Board (a metal-backed single layer substrate).