Assembly in Action / Columns / Electronics Assembly

Stencil Printer Enables EMS Provider to Increase PCB Production

Terneuzen, Holland-based Dethon Industrie specializes in assembling and testing custom PCBs for telecommunications, LED lighting, industrial applications, and ship-navigation and medical systems. Established in the early 1990s, Dethon Industrie is a government-sponsored company that primarily hires disabled people. It has 100 full-time employees and is the EMS division of Dethon Elektronica.

Recently, Dethon Industrie installed a robotic pick-and-place machine to increase PCB production. The company also needed to purchase a just-as-fast screen printer to replicate the boards. After some research, Dethon selected the Horizon 03iX because of its speed and accuracy.

Made by DEK International, the printer offers process alignment of 2 Cpk at ± 20 microns six sigma, and machine alignment of 2 Cpk at ±12.5 microns six sigma. Its standard cycle time is 8 seconds, but that can be lowered to 7 seconds with an optional high-throughput conveyor.

The printer handles boards up to 508 millimeters square, allows semiautomatic stencil loading and provides post-print verification. Its Instinctiv V9 interface software provides operators with simple commands and on-board video instruction. During inspection, for example, the software displays all paste-on-pad percentages.

“Because we work with 0.4-millimeter chip-scale packages, and 0402 and 0201 [components], the machine’s ability to provide a highly stable process with exceptional tolerances is critical,” explains Gijs van den Berg, managing director of Dethon Industrie. “Also important are the stencils and process support products we use, [including] understencil cleaning chemicals and fabric.”

Van den Berg says the Horizon 03iX has increased production by 20 percent since being installed last fall. It also has performed reliably with no downtime. Dethon’s other equipment includes an air convection oven and a potting machine.

“Although government sponsored, we do compete with the private sector in the electronics industry,” says van den Berg. “Partnering with the right suppliers [is] a huge advantage for our business.”

 Besides making screen printers, DEK provides mass-imaging processes used in electronics pre-placement subassembly, semiconductor wafer manufacture and alternative energy component production. For more information on PCB screen printers, call 901-797-9368 or visit

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