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Case Study: Reduced electricity use reduces production cost, lowers carbon footprint
Case Study: Reduced electricity
use reduces production cost,
lowers carbon footprint
by Mike Payne, Delta Group Electronics, Inc., Prairie Grove, Arkansas, USA
Delta Group Electronics, Inc. is a high- to acquire one of those, but we wanted
mix, low-volume electronics manufacturing to verify the real capability of the system
services (EMS) provider that serves the “Introduction of ourselves.
telecommunications, capital equipment,
The first step in our project to measure
defense and aerospace industries. The
a simple process savings in electricity was to hook up a
company’s main focus across its five facili-
power meter to one of our reflow oven’s
ties is to provide cost-efficient, high-quality
power supply. We continued our produc-
assembly for customers.
software resulted
tion run in the reflow oven using the same
The fact that the electronics manufac-
oven recipe that we had always used for
turing industry is extremely competitive
in an immediate
this particular application (“Assembly 1”).
and becoming more so is well established.
A reflow oven is a dynamic machine that
The strategies to not only survive but to
reduction of
automatically turns its heaters on and off
thrive in this environment are less well
to maintain the selected set points; hence
known. One tendency among manufactur- the reflow oven
its power use changes constantly. The
ers may be to spend as little as possible to
meter that we used did not have sophisti-
save oneself to prosperity. Delta Group
electricity use.”
cated analysis capability of the data, so we
Electronics, however, realizes that thrift is
manually recorded its readings in an Excel
essential but not sufficient to succeed in
spreadsheet every few seconds until we had
this industry. We need to invest smartly to
a sufficient number of readings. We then
meet our commitment to our customers for tion. The company’s reflow ovens represent
ran a thermal profile with thermocouples
high-quality and cost effective production. one of the biggest users of electricity in the
attached to our Assembly 1, and we kicked
There is no single magic formula for this factory, so this was a natural focal point.
off the KIC Navigator Power optimiza-
but rather a series of continuous improve- There are several thermal process optimiza-
tion software to search for a more optimal
ments whose cumulative effects make a tion tools on the market to aid manufac-
oven set up. High-quality production is
difference. turers in setting up their reflow ovens in
paramount at Delta Group Electronics.
At the Arkansas Delta Group Electron- the “sweet spot” of the thermal process
Therefore, we set the KIC Navigator Power
ics plant, we decided that one of the steps window. Only one of them, however, ad-
search criteria to find an oven setup with
to further competitiveness was to invest in vertised its capability to include electricity
lower electricity use, as well as one that
technologies to reduce electricity consump- use as an optimization criteria. We decided
would yield a profile deep in spec. The
third recipe search criteria was to con-
sider conveyor speeds above the level at
which the reflow oven would become the
bottleneck. It was an easy task to define
the slowest process in our production line
and to calculate the equivalent reflow oven
conveyor speed.
Once the criteria were set it took only
a few seconds for the software to recom-
mend a new recipe. Since we were using a
software simulation of what profiles each
new setting in the oven would yield, we
wanted to verify the accuracy of the results.
We did this by selecting the new recipe and
waiting for the oven to stabilize. Once the
oven stabilized, we ran another profile of
Assembly 1. Our new profile was actually
far deeper into spec than the original, so
Figure 1. KIC Navigator Power optimization software
we were satisfied that our quality would
28 – Global SMT & Packaging – June 2009
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