Shoich Rashid, Sales Director at Mek (Marantz Electronics), shares his insights in the latest Circuitnet Viewpoint on 2023/2024 trends in AOI and the broader electronics manufacturing industry.
“2023 has been a good year for the sale of Mek AOI systems within THT assembly lines. Inflation, rising wages and higher interest rates meant some negative effects on the higher end AOI systems but less on the entry level AOI systems. Surge in demand for power electronics has led to a proportional increase in selective soldering systems, driving up the demand for AOI in this process.
Our comprehensive range of THT AOI solutions, including manual assembly/guidance AOI and bottom up soldering inspection, were ingredients for Mek’s success. At Productronica we launched the new 3D SpectorBOX X-series with post soldering bottom-up volumetric solder joint measurement as well as pin height measurement which was extremely well received.
Certain challenges continue, notably with logistics; Longer delivery times are the norm. Operator cutoff times are longer, averaging 2 weeks, with more efficient container filling contributing to the delays. Low water levels in the Panama Canal present a persistent issue, and this is unlikely to change in 2024.
Recruiting qualified engineers is also a mounting challenge, but that is partly tackled by broadening the search area internationally for high-quality applicants.
Despite these logistical & recruitment hurdles, the introduction of Mek’s 3D THT AOI machines, growing number of THT production lines and investment in production capacity, means we expect our success to continue in 2024.”