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Publication Date: 02/1/2012
Archive >  February 2012 Issue >  Electronic Mfg. Services > 

Meeting Specialty Assembly Needs in Chicagoland
New Juki chipshooter accommodates over-long LED panels.

Located in the heart of Chicagoland, Creative Hi-Tech's goal has been to be able to serve a variety of needs for all of its customers while remaining competitive in the global marketplace. The only way to do this is to have the latest manufacturing technology in place and to have an ongoing capabilities expansion program.

The company started in Elk Grove Village, Illinois in a 10,000 square foot building with only one assembly line. It has since moved into a 25,000 square foot building in Schaumburg, Illinois to accommodate its rapid growth.

Larger Quarters
Now that the company has moved into a larger building and installed a second assembly line, capabilities are definitely expanded, using the most cutting-edge robotics. This is why Creative Hi-Tech always invests in the latest pick-and-place machines as well as wire processing equipment. This includes a recent purchase of the new Juki JX-100LED pick-and-place machine and the HCAP-02 wire crimper by LTL Tooling.

With the rapid escalation of LED production and sales, electronic contract manufacturers are seeing an increase in the number of LED boards they build every year. LEDs are brighter, last much longer, and use only a minimal amount of electricity. But with new technology comes new problems, namely the size of these LED boards. Many LED boards are long strips that look like oversized rulers and many pick-and-place machines are unable to handle such long boards. If you ask the average CM to populate production quantities of a 30-in. (762mm) long board, and they will say that it won't fit in their pick-and-place machines. Creative Hi-Tech had that problem until recently.

Long Board Chip Shooter
The Juki JX-100LED is a 6-head chip shooter, able to pick up 6 different components at the same time and place them within seconds, and although it was build for LED placement, it can even place smaller components down to 0201 size. But most important, this machine can populate a 32-in. (812mm) long board. Many CMs have never dealt with anything that long, mainly because there was no market for them — until now. One would think that a machine with this capability would be oversized but it surprisingly has a very small footprint. This is because it indexes the board into 2 parts and populates one half, moves the board over, and then populates the other half. This way, the machine can remain small and easily fit in-line an existing assembly line.

This amazing piece of equipment can place up to 19,300 chips per hour, and its use has enabled Creative Hi-Tech to expanded its capabilities through state-of-the-art equipment. But this only pertains to circuit board assemblies, but what about wire assemblies?

Many contract manufacturers find themselves in a difficult position when it comes to wire crimping. This is because many still use hand crimp tools and manually process their wire assemblies. This manual labor can be expensive and also take a toll on the operator's hand. Crimping thousands of terminals can cause intense pain and soreness in the hands. While some CMs have automatic crimping presses that do the heavy lifting for them, but this logic falls apart when you consider that each type of terminal that needs to be crimped usually calls for a very expensive die. Dies can cost upwards of $500 and imagine if you had to buy a new one for every part number you had to crimp. Both options have their disadvantages; one is labor-intensive and the other is quite costly. Imagine a solution where you don't need to buy dies and you can use your existing hand tools and turn them into semi-automatic crimpers. This is exactly what Creative Hi-Tech has done.

Improved Wire Crimping
The HCAP-02 wire crimper is a pneumatic press that uses existing hand tools and turns them into semi-auto crimpers. This is a split cycle model that is pedal operated allowing the operator to press one pedal to hold the terminal, and then press a second pedal to crimp it. Not only does this remove the necessity of purchasing dies, but it also provides major cost savings in that it uses hand crimpers that are already on hand. Also, the hand tools can still be used by hand if necessary, allowing much flexibility to the operator.

The purchase of this new equipment is another step forward for Creative Hi-Tech. In order to compete with countries like China, it is necessary to not only improve processes, but also to do it in an economical way. The two machines — the chip shooter and the crimping machine — not only tackle specific problems, but also allow for flexibility and adaptability. The Juki JX100-LED does not have to be used specifically for LED boards, but it definitely provides an advantage in the LED assembly market. The same goes for the HCAP-02. Its flexibility allows it to crimp almost any terminal in one machine without the cost of expensive dies.

Contact: Creative Hi-Tech Ltd., 710 Cooper Ct., Schaumburg, IL 60173 224-653-4000 fax: 224-653-4100 E-mail: Web:

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