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Improved NPI service thanks to fast and flexible configuration of the SMT line

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Challenge

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The context in which MW.FEP operates is known as "high mix-low volume", which means a large variety of products to be manufactured in small series. It is a trend that is very common today and is characterized by a strong demand for product customization from the market and from final consumers. The demand for quality is very high and delivery times are becoming ever tighter. The manufacturer is required to bring new products to the market, which must be immediately ready for mass production, avoiding multiple prototyping cycles.

From a production engineering point of view, this has several consequences:

  1. The need to acquire all necessary materials by means of computer tools.
  2. The digital processing of technical documentation, with output to SMT and AOI machines.
  3. The possibility to use the same software developed for prototyping also in production series and to do it in a compatible way  with any machine vendor.
  4. The possibility of transferring the same programs from one line to another and from one production plant to the other.
npi success story
MW.FEP Success Story

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CHALLENGES

Given the high mix-low volume environment, MW.FEP's main need was to identify a software solution that would have allowed  them to quickly manage the introduction of new products (NPI), using libraries containing the variety of components available  in the market today. This would have allowed them to offer to their customers a fast prototyping service, without spending time in non-value added activities.

Defining their plan for the digitization of their production engineering, MW.FEP's management had to take strategic decisions in two different areas:

  1. To change only a few aspects or to completely overhaul the process? Rather than intervening on just a few lines, to maximize the benefits of the investment they decided to digitize all available lines. It would have granted to their final customer both a faster service and a cost saving when moving from prototyping to production series.
  2. Treat the whole process as a whole or differentiate the prototyping part? They decided to dedicate a part of the production plant specifically to NPI. This would have made it possible to better manage the most critical part of the process in terms of preventing problems and additional loads. All this, of course, for the benefit of the final customer, especially in the perspective of the transition to production series.
npi success story

FAST AND FLEXIBLE LINE CONFIGURATION

At MW.FEP, whose facilities include 12 lines in 2 plants, 400 km far from one another, they opted for Valor Process Preparation (from Siemens Digital Industries Software). The lines are equipped with different platforms: Mycronic, Yamaha, Juki. Based on the need to easily switch from one line to another without having to readjust the program each time, Process Preparation was  the right solution for them. The portability of programs from one line to another allows engineers to prototype on specific lines and easily switch to better performing ones for mass production. It is also possible to fine-tune the programs independently of the plant where production takes place.

Valor Process Preparation is "machine agnostic", which means that it allows the development of neutral programs that can be used interchangeably on different lines.

Also, in combination with the Valor Parts Library, the tool allows machines to recognize any type of component, even if it is not present in the library of the individual machine. This optimizes setup costs by avoiding machine downtime and minimizing the amount of work required before production starts.

npi success story

BENEFITS

MW.FEP is a company that offers comprehensive services to its customers, covering the whole range of activities, from design to production. Thanks to Process Preparation and the work carried out in collaboration with Cadlog, it was possible to develop a very specific and complete offer for the introduction of new products. The customer is now being supported  through high technical skills for both industrialization and testing.

In addition, MW.FEP's design services use ODB++ as output format. This helps to ensure a right first time result in the NPI phase.

"Cadlog is a partner for us, rather than a supplier," says Luca Pittano, head of engineering at MW.FEP. "The relationship we have built with them, both for R&D and production, is something that can only evolve over time. You can't buy professionalism and reliability: you either have it or you don't. This makes Cadlog the ideal partner for us; the most obvious choice."

MW.FEP Success Story

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Improved NPI service thanks to fast and flexible configuration of the SMT line

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