Founded in 2002 by Kris Townsend, general manager, and Wayne Townsend, co-founder, and based just outside Boise, Idaho, Silicon Mountain Contract Services has grown steadily over the past 12 years.
The company began with the premise that contract electronic manufacturers (CEMs) based in America could specialize in and provide custom work-cell manufacturing designed to meet all requirements – internal and external – that are necessary to provide customer satisfaction without going overseas. Using this model, the company has been going strong and growing consistently.
As part of its mission, the company only uses state-of-the-art equipment with good business sense. Its team has decades of experience in manufacturing, quality and supply chain management platforms that its customers use to successfully meet the goals of their competitive markets. “Silicon Mountain’scurrent production volume requires five production SMT lines to be run 24 hours a day, five days a week,” said Curtis Thompson, Process Engineering Manager. “We have a number of active customers that we have partnered with for many years.” Thompson has dealt with machines and processes since 1993.
To keep up with its production pace, the company must use top-rated, current equipment from technologically-advanced manufacturers. One of these is Speedprint Technology, an award-winning company delivering comprehensive SMT screen printing solutions with a focus on value, flexibility and low cost-of-ownership for the SMT and semiconductor industries.Silicon Mountain started working with Speedprint when Thompson and a fellow engineer looked into replacing an aging screen print machine in February 2013. They attended the IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego and were introduced to the company and the screen printers.
“While attending the February 2013 APEX EXPO in San Diego, we were able to compare all of the major screen printer brands side to side, and several things really stood out to us as we were evaluating printers,” added Thompson. He said that Speedprint’s machines are simple and straightforward, making them much easier to work on than other printers. He also said that they use many off-the-shelf parts that are not custom, allowing them to be easily serviced for years to come. The SP710 printer that Silicon Mountain purchased offered all the high-end features that the company was looking for: 2-D inspection, board support placement location, program creation from Gerber files and a flexible platform with a glue dispensing option – all at a significant cost savings.
Silicon Mountain currently has two Speedprint systems in use on its floor – the SP710and the SP700, which it purchased in September 2013 – and is running one on each of its two fastest production lines. Each line puts down 7+ million placements a month. Thompson said that the company strategically placed them on these lines because they have so little downtime and work around the clock. He added, “We have plans to eventually replace other aging printers on other lines as they get harder to find parts for and fix. We have been impressed with Speedprint’s quick response time and its engineers’ ability to help diagnose and solve any possible issues remotely since these printers are networked for remote access.”
Silicon Mountain is a smaller CEM but Thompson said that the company runs high-volume, high-mix manufacturing so it needs printers that are easy, fast to set up and run with very little downtime. “These printers do all of this for us,” Thompson confirmed. Speedprint also strives to provide the best customer service possible for all of its clients, regardless of size. Thompson said that uptime is crucial in Silicon Mountain’s business and that with a single phone call to Speedprint he can have his factory technician remote into the machine and can have answers to any questions within minutes.
Thompson also added that Speedprint is the most responsive machine manufacturer with which the company has dealt. With other vendors, he said, it can be hours or even days before he receives a concrete response; however, with Speedprint it is only minutes. Because of this and Speedprint’s other qualities, he said, “I give Speedprint five stars for service.”
Speedprint products combine its commitment to high performance and reliability with all the necessary features for processing the most complicated assemblies. The systems are designed to cope with the rigors of high-volume SMT production while incorporating the flexibility needed in high-mix, quick product setup and changeover environments. Speedprint takes a unique approach that is defined by its commitment to quality, design simplicity, long-term reliability and low operation costs. The company’s commitment to quality is exemplified by the many important process control features that are standard elements of every Speedprint machine. The design simplicity means low maintenance costs and being free of expensive OEM service contracts. Additionally, the solid state components used in its products results in long-term reliability and greater customer choice.
Silicon Mountain originally chose Speedprint over any competing companies based on four reasons: the printer itself, the design, the function and the pricing – with service being the icing on top. Thompson added, “Our technicians had been trying to service and repair older printers that were unnecessarily complex and difficult to repair. When we saw how simple and straightforward the design was on Speedprint’s printers and the features they had, we were sold, and the pricing sealed the deal.” Now, more than a year later, the company continues choosing Speedprint as its screen print platform because “it brings the best of everything to our floor at a reasonable price and they just plain work day in and day out.”
This is all-important to a busy, family-owned CEM that has big plans for the future. In an industry full of midsize CEMs, Silicon Mountain stands out from the others because of its “keep it at home” mentality. As a smaller family-owned business, the company strives to make the most of every capital dollar it spends, and the return on investment (ROI) has been good, not only providing a moderately priced machine but also resulting in a significant improvement in uptime that has translated positively to Silicon Mountain’s bottom line.
“As a family-owned and operated company, we strongly believe that our national heritage and our future rely upon having a strong economic base generated from a reliable and viable manufacturing foundation,” Thompson concluded. “We are part of that foundation and welcome you to join with us in bringing more jobs home to the United States.”
Original Article Published by Electronics Production World in July 2014.
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