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Nordson YESTECH Helps Keep GMI’s Cornerstone Values of Quality & Reliability Strong

By Jay Handley

Headquartered in NC, GMI has provided high-quality, reliable products and services for the past 35 years.
Since 1980, General Microcircuits, Inc. (GMI) has been providing simple solutions for electronic circuit board manufacturing. The company continually launches new products and refines existing ones, supporting the entire process from concept through production, and serving a wide range of markets including industrial, commercial, telecommunications, medical and defense. Its headquarters and domestic manufacturing facility is located 20 miles north of Charlotte, in Mooresville, NC. The company also has manufacturing facilities in Costa Rica and Asia.

At GMI, the goal is to provide customers with the highest quality, most reliable products – at the lowest possible cost. VP Global Operations/CTO Nick Harris attributes the company’s electronic manufacturing services success to numerous factors including long tenured, empowered employees, innovative equipment and strategic partnerships. These areas of commitment benefit customers by providing dependable, responsive, customer-focused teams, as well as products at the forefront of technology and effective, efficient, economical solutions.

One such strategic partnership is with Nordson YESTECH. GMI has worked with YESTECH and its automated optical inspection (AOI) solutions since 2010. Harris added, “As a leading EMS business, our mission is to provide high-quality manufacturing services for our customers. I estimate that approximately 98 percent of all the components we install on a printed circuit assembly go through our YESTECH AOI machines. You can’t do what we do without a solid AOI partner.”

Over the past five years, GMI has purchased four FX AOI machines and an YTX-3000 X-ray machine. The FX AOI machines replaced its three previous-model F1 machines and BX machine. Harris said the company chose to stay with YESTECH as its AOI solutions provider due to equipment reliability and excellent support. “The equipment has had little to no service issues. The machines just do not break. In our five years I think we have had one service visit. However, we have had several visits for applications support and training. YESTECH has provided us with world-class applications support.” He added that several years ago GMI hosted a workshop in which local OEMs and other EMS providers learned about YESTECH. Harris is hoping to host another workshop in the near future.

GMI’s Nick Harris said that Nordson YESTECH solutions help the company succeed.
Nordson YESTECH’s FX AOI systems are with advanced 5 megapixel color camera imaging technology offering high-speed PCB inspection with exceptional defect coverage to inspect solder joints and verify correct part assembly, enabling users to improve quality and increase throughput.  With one top down viewing camera and four side viewing cameras, the FX Series is configurable for all line positions. Additionally, the systems are equally effective for paste, pre-/post-reflow and final assembly inspection. Off-line programming maximizes machine utilization and real-time SPC monitoring provides a valuable yield enhancement solution.

The YESTECH equipment has provided numerous benefits for GMI during their time on the shop floor. Harris said, “A very important key performance indicator for us is plant defects per million opportunities (DPMO).” The company’s target plant DPMO is 232 or 5 sigma. For the past two months, the number has been 112. Harris cites the YESTECH systems for that low number: “Our YESTECH AOI machines are where a lot of this data is captured and they have to be able to talk with Aegis reliably. The performance of our AOI machines is critical in keeping DPMO levels low. If we have defects that make it past AOI, they would show up at QA verification and test.”

YESTECH delivers equipment reliability and excellent support. GMI’s four FX AOI machines and YTX-3000 X-ray machine provide the performance and value that the company needs to deliver products to customers quickly.
GMI uses Aegis software solutions to track, analyze and improve the manufacturing process. Benefits include documentation control, paperless factory, inventory and WIP tracking, process route control, data collection and mining, TLA serial # to PCB serial # linkage, and traceability. Nordson YESTECH’s AOI systems communicate effortlessly with the software to keep the process running smoothly.

GMI offers extensive printed circuit board assembly capabilities and expertise, custom box build designs from simple to complex, new product introduction services including hand and machine built prototypes, engineering, and fixture design and development via its in-house model shop. Additionally, the company offers package on package (PoP) configurations for increased component density, lead-free wave solder or selective solder processing on pin-in-hole (PIH) systems, and handles both RoHS and non-RoHS projects. Consistent assembly, inspection, test and packaging combine to ensure high-quality products and services for customers. YESTECH’s technology helps GMI deliver these services quickly and reliably because, as Harris said, “Customers want it right and they want it quick.” He added, “YESTECH has great performance and value, and the company continuously improves its tools. In this business, you cannot afford to make mistakes when it comes to equipment selection. We have not been disappointed with YESTECH.”

GMI adds value throughout the product lifecycle and partnering with YESTECH helps it to do so quickly and reliably.
GMI has been providing box build services to customers for decades. Whether the design requires a simple, straightforward box build or a more complex assembly, the company has the expertise, equipment and experience to meet customers’ needs. Strong supply chain relationships are critical to GMI’s ability to offer alternative sourcing solutions in low-cost geographies. The company strives to achieve the most highly effective supply chain management in the industry and its processes are carefully developed and closely monitored. The result is reliable inventory, overall bill of material cost improvement, smooth process operation and decreased time-to-market. Box build/assembly services include product assembly (sub-level and system-level), functional and final test, software loading, product configuration, packaging/labeling/bar coding, electronics integration technology (EIT) built products such as aftermarket service and depot repair, and warehousing (order fulfillment and traceability).
Another important facet of GMI is its new product introduction (NPI) services. The company works with customers during all phases of a product’s life cycle. However, in most cases, GMI initially engages with a new company during a new product development and innovative growth phase. Frequently, time is the critical factor during product launch. GMI has a proven track record in supporting NPI, and is involved in the following:

• Concept Design and Refinement
• Production Proposal Development
• Prototype Creation
• Testing and Modification
• Production Process Planning – Design for Manufacturability (DfX)

“At GMI, we don’t just make circuit boards,” concluded Harris. “We make them better by adding value throughout the product lifecycle.”