Ion Science ( – leading manufacturer of advanced gas detection instrumentation for global occupational health and environmental monitoring applications – has invested some £500,000 in a new state-of-the-art Europlacer iineo pick and place machine to increase the capacity and efficiencies of its MiniPID PCB assembly process.

The MiniPID is a simple plug-and-play sensor able to deliver a dynamic and dependable response to thousands of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) across many diverse applications.

Fully automated in process quality control and on-the-fly visual component checking ensures the correct value component is being selected before placement onto the PCB. Component value testing is also integrated into the system with the in process Electronic Component Testing. This has enabled Ion Science to reduce any extra cost of rework due to operator errors and incorrect components being placed on the PCBs.

Optimisation of the component setup has allowed Ion Science to increase component placement capacity from 2,500 CPH (components per hour) on the old system to 20,000 CPH which will allow faster assembly times. With its Smart component feed system, Ion Science can keep track of the component inventory levels for our stock control.

The Speed print in line solder paste printer is fully automated and has its own print inspection to check for solder bridging and solder coverage via an integrated camera 2D inspection system which has removed the risk of short and open circuits due to solder paste errors. Now a PCB panel can be placed into the Speed Printer which will then automatically align and position it under the print screen. The previous system used a manual load and inspection system which was vulnerable to user errors.

Accurate temperature profiling is critical for the PID PCB due to the flexibility and thickness of the material. A TSM reflow oven allows Ion Science to set the temperature profiling to its specific requirements to optimise the reflow temperature for each PID and the flexibility to change between PCBs without delays with improved soldering results and PCB reliability.

The Europlacer iineo pick and place system allows Ion Science to place package sizes of down to 01005 and mini BGA (Ball Grid Array) devices.

Duncan Johns, Managing Director at Ion Science comments: “This represents a significant investment for Ion Science but the new pick and place machine will give us the accuracy and flexibility required for the increased volume and product variation going forward.”