Laser cutting is one of the most innovative and advanced methods for separating PCBs today and is changing the way electronics components are being manufactured. Although relatively new to the UK and Ireland, Altus Group, a leading distributor of capital equipment, has been introducing LPKF’s systems to the electronics industry and is seeing growing interest in the process.
With traditional depaneling methods, assembled PCBs are cut out of the panel using a mechanical separation process. The laser depaneling process from LPKF, however, uses a focused laser beam that ablates the material layer by layer. This offers several advantages over conventional mechanical cutting processes including stress-free processing, high quality edge quality and design and flexibility freedom. These are important factors in electronics manufacturing as assemblies become smaller and more complex to produce, and increasingly cost and labour intensive.
Joe Booth Altus CEO said: “Working with LPKF is great because they are by far the best at what they do. This is reflected in their success across Europe. They produce highly capable, well-engineered systems that perform exactly how you would expect a top piece of German engineering to operate.
“We have hit the ground running and the appetite for laser depaneling is growing in the UK and Ireland. Companies care about very accurate break out, with limited stress on their products. In addition, they also buy into the flexibility, as a CEM, to break out flexi-rigid, rigid, ceramic or metal alloy assemblies with a single machine, with some movement on throughput. Laser depaneling is an extremely sellable process due to its unique and highly flexible capabilities. It can be the difference between a CEM winning a project or not.
“LPKF has shown great faith in our partnership by exclusively working with Altus to promote their depaneling solutions. We hope to repay that confidence by growing future business together. I can only imagine that there will be many more LPKF units in the industry as they get budgeted for equipment road maps in the next years. “
Vitalij Wottschel, LPKF Sales Manager added: “Altus is an ideal partner for LPKF as they have an outstanding reputation for customer support. This is an important attribute for us and one which we value highly.
“The UK and Ireland has a great product market fit. With high cost of labour and high value production, but with a higher mix, lower volume scenario, that puts quality above throughput. These are the priciniples which make laser depaneling so attractive.
“With our superior technology, great range of products, and Altus‘ knowledge of the local market and customer base, we have already seen some great success. As the advantages of laser based depaneling becomes more understood and widespread, the momentum and interest in our products are increasing. I cannot wait to see our customer pool grow even further in the region.“