Interview with Tim Cappoen, Branch Manager & ATE Account Manager, at Seika Machinery, Inc.: Article

Tim Cappoen, Branch Manager & ATE Account Manager, at Seika Machinery, Inc.Seika Machinery, Inc. is the U.S. subsidiary of Seika Corporation in Tokyo, Japan, and a member of the Mitsubishi global corporate group. The company specializes in the distribution of machinery, equipment and materials for the electronics assembly market with engineering services provided worldwide.

Q. Tim, we understand that you are the Account Manager for HIOKI ICT and Flying Probe Testers, and the Anritsu 3-D Solder Paste Inspection System. Can you tell us a bit about each of these manufacturers and their products?

A. Both of these products represent some of the best available in their respective markets. Both Hioki and Anritsu are top-tier Japanese manufacturers with an outstanding reputation for reliability, quality and effectiveness. First, the Hioki ICTs and flying probe testers offer numerous advantages for end-users. As an example, the Hioki 1240 flying probe tester is believed to be the fastest in the market at up to 40 test steps per second execution. Typically, flying probe testers cannot be used in production line environments, but only offline due to slow tact times. That is not the case with Hioki because its testers have proven to be fast enough to meet strict tact time requirements in actual SMT production line environments. Anritsu offers a plethora of products with proven track records and its latest generation 3-D Solder Paste Inspection (SPI) system is one of them. Anritsu has implemented extensive experience and know-how with its patented sensor technologies that subsequently have provided the core to its new SPI. In fact, the technologies implemented are patent-pending and provide unmatched performance.

Q. What makes the HIOKI Flying Probe Tester a cost-effective way to efficiently and quickly assess any circuit board?

A. The Hioki Flying Probe Tester is a cost-effective test solution in a number of ways. First, it allows the customer to test for and detect manufacturing defects on printed circuit boards quickly and effectively because it uses four high-speed independently moving probes. This is particularly effective and efficient with high-mix prototypes that may otherwise require very expensive test fixtures in conjunction with a bed-of-nails tester.

Designing and manufacturing test fixtures may require weeks to deliver, whereas the Hioki flying probe tester can virtually be ready to test from day one because its inspection programs are generated with software. The key difference between the Hioki flying probe tester and a bed-of-nails tester is the fact that the flying probe tester does not require fixtures. With a bed-of-nails tester, some fixture designs may require up to thousands of stationary probes. So, as the number of probes increases, the chances of false failure due to pin contact errors increases as well. This is minimized with the four independent probes that also are designed to make contact at various angles, as opposed to a strictly vertical approach offered by bed-of-nail fixtures. This, in-turn, provides better access to components on high-density boards that often can give better test coverage as a result.

Q. Seika provides the option of computer-aided conversion software for the HIOKI Flying Probe. How does this option making analyzing data even easier?

A. Seika partners with Siemens PLM, the provider of a very popular software application used with the Hioki flying probe tester, called Test Expert. This is an industry leading test engineering solution that allows for quick-turn testability analysis. This software can be, and is, used by hundreds of different customers globally in many different manufacturing environments. Specifically speaking, in conjunction with the Hioki flying probe tester, it provides support to the end-user in automating test program creation. By automating this process, hours if not days of labor can be reduced, depending on the complexity of the board assembly.

Q. The Anritsu has a reputation for providing easy programming and maintenance. How is this accomplished?

A. Anritsu has developed a 3-D Solder Paste Inspection (SPI) system that is easy to use and maintain. All the customer needs is the stencil Gerber data to generate an inspection program. An inspection program used to cover 100 percent of the solder pads typically can be generated in about five minutes. The beauty of this SPI is that it requires no debug after completion of the program. Additionally, the Anritsu Sollead SPI features automatic calibration, which eliminates the need for manual intervention, hence reducing the customer’s required hands-on time with the machine. The user interface is very intuitive and easy to learn, which helps accommodate a quick turnaround time when training customers. Standard preventative maintenance (PM) will suffice with the Anritsu Sollead SPI. Basically, taking good care of the machine will ensure that it lasts for many years to come.

Q. Is it true that SPC software is included as standard for detailed analysis and traceability on the Anritsu? Please explain the benefits of this feature.

A. Yes, this is true. Anritsu provides advanced tools that the customer will need and appreciate in order to get the maximum capabilities out of a 3-D solder paste inspection system. The Anritsu Sollead SPI comes fully equipped with statistical process control (SPC) software that enables the customer to improve their first run rate and increase yield. This is achieved by including functions that allow complete monitoring and feedback of all printing process parameters, such as solder paste height, volume and shift limits. Having powerful SPC tools will help the customer optimize their process and, in-turn, result in reduced costs and increased profit.

Q. We understand that Seika imports both the HIOKI ICT and Flying Probe Testers, as well as the Anritsu 3-D Solder Paste Inspection System from Japan. What are the advantages of importing your machinery from Japan?

A. We feel we are in a position to offer the American market products and services that are unique and unrivaled in terms of quality, reliability and performance. Our company works with several top-tier manufacturers in Japan. Hioki and Anritsu are two of them. Seika has many years of experience seeking out and identifying manufacturers and service providers in Japan that have cutting edge products and are at the forefront of their respective markets, primarily the electronics manufacturing industry. We feel that sometimes customers become used to buying equipment that is not always the most reliable or robust, hence requiring significant maintenance and servicing. Seika has specifically selected high-quality and reliable products that oftentimes will outlive its competing counterparts and remain relatively maintenance-free. Japanese manufactured machinery is built to last and its reliability is outstanding.

Q. What changes can we expect to see from Seika Machinery in the coming year?

A. Seika is constantly looking for products and services that continue to provide benefits to a myriad of customers across multiple industries. Much of our focus has been on the SMT industry; however, we are not foolish enough to think one market can be sustained without a series of ups and downs. In fact, because Seika is so diversified, it has kept us afloat while many other companies have folded due to severe economic pressures. If you take a look at our corporate company Web site, you can see the wide variety of products and services we currently offer. We are very excited to be debuting two new products that are classified as part of the “Green Technology” movement. In these tough times, customers are looking for solutions to help them save money and perhaps play a part in protecting the environment. View Green Technology Details.