“Future SMT machines will be an integration of several machines”

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In recent years, the electronics industry has witnessed a remarkable influx of electronics manufacturing services (EMS) companies in India. This has given a major thrust to the sale of surface mount technology (SMT) equipment. The economic downturn in 2008, however, did lead to a marginal slowdown in the procurement of SMT equipment. Nonetheless, industry experts suggest that growth is expected to pick up. Klaus Gross, managing director, Fuji Machine Europe GmbH, who was in India recently, talked to Richa Chakravarty of Electronics Bazaar on the market’s growth, the latest technology trends and Fuji’s expansion plans.

Klaus Gross, managing director, Fuji Machine Europe GmbH
Klaus Gross, managing director, Fuji Machine Europe GmbH

Wednesday, October 10, 2012: EB: What are the latest global trends in SMT technology?

In Europe, 90 per cent of all applications are running with 1005 mm or bigger components. With regard to highly integrated circuits, the pitch minimum is 0.5 mm. Driven by the automotive sector, the main target nowadays is not the newest or the most high end technology, but rather the quality aspects—in pursuit of zero defects.

In the future, we see the next step towards 0603 mm, a pitch of 0.4 mm with flip chip applications. For some special products, we have to adapt our placement process to 3D and pop.

EB: According to you, what will be the future trends in SMT machinery?

To handle smaller components, the machines must have a very high accuracy in X/Y/Q in direction, namely, 30 micron or less. In the medium term, 10 micron accuracy will be required to handle all future packaging. Besides, future machines must be very flexible with regard to modularity,

technology and capacity. Upcoming developments in SMT machinery will be an integration of several machines into one, like the glue paste application, solder paste application, paste printing, solder paste inspection (SPI), placement inspection and all features that lead to zero defect production.

EB: How important is the Indian SMT market for your company?

The Indian market is very important for us because we see that more and more German automotive customers are moving to India and are opening factories for the domestic market. In that regard, we are witnessing globalisation and the world market becoming smaller and smaller. We are cooperating with NMtronics on a regular basis to fulfill our common customer demands.

EB: Please tell us about your expansion plans.

Our future strategy will be to grow our market share and penetrate new market segments. Here, I am thinking about medical electronics, industrial electronics, healthcare, machine tooling controls, electrical vehicles and power driven systems. Further, we will expand our service support and customer care to achieve our ultimate goal of total customer satisfaction. We will also establish a European unit repair centre to guarantee quick repair service for NXT machines.

EB: What was your global turnover in 2011-12? And by what percentage was it higher than 2010-11?

We do not share our turnover figures. But the best performance we ever had was in 2010-11. That was the peak in the history of Fuji Machine Europe. 2011-12 witnessed a drop back to a good normal level. We are satisfied with our performance and look forward to achieving a similar level in 2012-13.

EB: What gives Fuji an edge over its competitors?

Our machine concept is unique and unbeatable. Combined with that concept, our machines still run and produce with the lowest cost of ownership and a minimum time for maintenance. Also, our technology is continuously being improved and we are ready to provide a complete all in one concept that will satisfy our customers over the next 10 years.

EB: Which are the countries you are focusing on presently, and why?

As I have the full responsibility for the European market, we are concentrating on Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the whole East European market. Besides, we support Turkey, the Middle East and Africa, as well. We are very successful in those markets and we still work hard to gain a higher market share. In most of the countries, we are No. 1 among SMT placement machine suppliers.

EB: What is your typical customer profile?

That is a very interesting question. Our smallest customer in Europe has five employees! Our biggest customer has a few hundred thousands. With those figures you can see that we are active in all directions, in all market segments. We are very strong in automotive, communications, industrial and EMS. Unfortunately, consumer durables and mobile phone manufacturing moved out of Europe a few years ago. Therefore, we are concentrating on the above mentioned customer segments.

Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine

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