By Dan Banks, Technology Lead — Manufacturing Operations, Connect Tech
When off-the-shelf products are not an option, a nimble engineering team steps in. A designer and manufacturer
of computer interface products, Connect Tech specializes in providing these “exact fit” solutions for a wide range of industries. The company continues to build a reputation for manufacturing high-performance, rugged, small form factor solutions.
Connect Tech’s products support a wide variety of industry standards, including COM Express®, SMARC, Qseven, 3U
VPX, and PC/104. Peripheral solutions include managed gigabit and 10Gb Ethernet switches, NVIDIA® GPU solutions, digital and analog I/O, CAN controllers, multiport serial, FPGA, adapters, and power supplies.
Building Customer Relationships
“It is Connect Tech’s goal to continue this tradition in the future development of innovative communication solutions and to exceed the expectations of our customers,” says David J. Worthen, P.Eng, president of Connect Tech. “With more than 30 years of experience, the innovative spirit is still strong, ensuring that the company maintains its well-earned reputation for delivering reliable, high-quality products.”
Connect Tech’s production floor in Guelph, Ontario, Canada
This mission to provide adaptive, cost-effective solutions is built on the company’s expertise in the design and manufacture of embedded technology hardware. However, innovative design is only part of the Connect Tech solution. The company is grounded in the belief that customer satisfaction is as important as quality products.
The company works to build solid relationships with customers by providing support, an excellent warranty, and by partnering with customers to ensure that individual communication requirements are met. Its commitment is to customer satisfaction through fair and ethical relationships with employees, suppliers and customers.
System integrators, engineers and researchers at OEMs and ODMs worldwide choose the company’s communications
products based on their performance, flexibility, quality, and reliability. Connect Tech’s products are suited for a variety of industries, including communications, industrial automation, transportation, government, military and defense, and R&D.
Partnership with Juki
To build quality products, it is crucial that the company choose the best equipment partners. When it came time to upgrade its production floor in 2013, Connect Tech looked to Juki Automation Systems and ran a simulation of most of its products to determine which feeder capacity would best fit its needs, and compared the results with competition.
“Juki did very well here, being able to run the majority of our then-current products on one placement machine,” says Worthen. “As our product line grew to be more complex, we added the second machine to increase speed and capacity. In our initial demo, the software was easy to use and to understand.”
In addition to the successful product simulation, Connect Tech chose Juki systems over the competition for their high levels of support, machine quality, price point, intuitive software, and evidence of long machine life. Based on customer references, as well as firsthand experience, the Connect Tech team visited a location that ran three generations of Juki placement machines daily, using the same feeders and software. Juki offered a comprehensive and long warranty, and its machine capabilities were advanced enough to meet Connect Tech’s needs.
Bringing assembly in-house has allowed the company to expand its product lines.
“We wanted a balance of speed, feeder capacity and changeover speed,” says Worthen. Juki exceeded the company’s expectations, prompting Connect Tech to purchase a Juki GKG GL stencil printer, along with the KE2070 and KE1080 placement machines. Worthen adds that Juki commits significant time to training and machine bring-up on purchase, replacement parts ship quickly under the warranty and the company responds quickly to questions.
At the end of 2016, Connect Tech expanded with a second line, and acquired more equipment from Juki, including the KE3010 and KE3020 placement machines. The company also purchased a Juki CUBE selective soldering machine. Connect Tech’s original line has been in operation every day since it was installed more than four years ago. It has allowed the company to significantly expand its product line, as well as to prototype quickly and meet fast-turn requirements from customers. As a result of bringing assembly inhouse, the company has been able to successfully bid on jobs with shorter deadlines than it could in the past.
The addition of the second production line allows the company to better serve its customers with shorter lead times, not only for new products and prototypes, but also for standard products that can now run in larger volumes and be available to ship. An unexpected benefit has been the growth of the company’s custom product business.
“By combining the growth of our design team with our own assembly capabilities, we have become a more attractive option,” says Worthen.
The company’s goal is to ensure it has as many solutions as customers have connectivity requirements. To meet these needs, Connect Tech offers a large selection of solutions. If a customer cannot find something to meet specific application requirements, the company’s inhouse team of engineers works to develop a custom solution.
“Connect Tech has been greatly aided by bringing SMT assembly inhouse, and we selected Juki to be a part of that,” concludes Worthen. “The process has allowed us to greatly improve our flexibility, time-to-market with new products and standard lead times.”