Market expansion has always been a priority for Connor Solutions Ltd. So it’s no surprise that in less than 20 years, the Tyne and Wear, England-based company has become one of the largest privately held electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers in the UK. Its customers include both global enterprises and Europen OEMs in market sectors ranging from industrial, telecom and medical, to environmental, audiovisual, aerospace and scientific instrumentation.
In early 2013, Connor began a three-year, $4.65 million plant expansion to increase electronics production. The facility grew by 26,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet, and the company added 60 electronic engineers and assemblers.
Connor also upgraded its manufacturing execution system (MES) to FactoryLogix made by Aegis Software. Craig Bryant, quality and engineering director at Connor, says that the FactoryLogix suite was primarily selected because of its compatibility with all machines in the plant.
FactoryLogix consists of five modules—new product introduction, production, quality, integration and analytics—that enable Connor to seamlessly streamline all of its manufacturing operations, and stay on its schedule for planned growth. The software also easily integrates with the company’s Fuji Aimex surface mount technology (SMT) equipment, Koh Young automated optical inspection system and multiple test platforms.
“This investment provides a powerful platform for new product introduction, traceability, seamless integration to ERP, and in-circuit and functional testing,” explains Bryant. “Also, for key manufacturing processes, it enables real time monitoring, automated analytics and reporting, including first-time pass rates and hot-spot defect analysis.”
FactoryLogix monitors all aspects of Connor’s production, including three SMT lines, a through-hole technology area, conformal coating application and final assembly. The software also tracks in-circuit and functional testing, as well as automated inspection.
According to Bryant, the software increases part traceability. For example, each PCB is laser-etched with a unique bar code for quick identification. No production operation can begin until an operator has signed off the previous process by scanning a bar code. This is particularly valuable to Connor, which offers traceability down to the component level to meet aerospace requirements. FactoryLogix also facilitates more efficient production routing, and allows quick and easy changes by its operators.
With the new product introduction module, engineers define the assembly process, not the physical route. This approach allows them to apply the process across production lines where station counts vary and operations may be performed by a human or a machine. Equally important, each process is easily added to the assembly’s process definition for one or more serialized units.
The software’s production module delivers paperless and process verification through a user-configurable interface. Interactive visual documentation is automatically dispatched to each workstation where and when it is needed.
Connor Solutions was established in 1999 and specializes in low- and medium-volume EMS work. It currently holds ISO 13485 medical, AS9100 aerospace and ISO 9001:2008 quality certifications, and is working towards ISO 14001 and ATEX-directive approvals.
For more information on MES software, call 215-773-3571 or visit www.aiscorp.com.