LoctekMotion lifting columns and desktops combine to create some of the highest quality standing desks on the market today. But have you ever thought about what gives the lifting column its lift? It all starts with our printed circuit board (or PCB) – a vital piece of almost all electronics. Modern manufacturing of PCBs incorporates surface mount technology (or SMT), which offers a lot of power in a small package – but is also especially vulnerable to dust. How do we ensure our PCBs stay protected from particles? Today we’ll explore yet another avenue LoctekMotion has taken to refine our manufacturing process: the creation of an SMT dust-free workshop.
PCB and SMT: Learn the Letters
Printed circuit boards (abbreviated as PCB) are thin boards made of materials such as fiberglass or composite epoxy with conductive pathways printed or etched on to the surface. These pathways connect the board’s components – pieces such as transistors, resistors and integrated circuits. PCBs are used in almost every modern electronic device – including LoctekMotion lifting columns.
Traditionally, additions to a circuit board were attached manually with components and pathways threaded through holes on the boards. With the rise of manufacturing automation, this assembly method was difficult as placement needed to be precise to fit with the holes, and often human intervention was needed, slowing down the process. However, printed circuit boards are now the standard, so component leads don’t have to pass through the board – everything is soldered to the board surface instead. This newer system is known as surface mount technology (abbreviated as SMT). SMT allows for incredibly small components, which in turn lets PCBs themselves be even smaller than before. Components using SMT also offer better performance and are much easier to manufacture automatically. Occasionally human intervention is required but is needed less and less as machines can handle the precision work – raising efficiency and lowering costs.
The rise in the smaller, more advanced electrical components with SMT means that the manufacturing environment is more important than ever in ensuring product quality. A little bit of static discharge or a speck of dust can cause a component to fail, in turn impacting use of the entire finished product. This is why the proper manufacturing conditions are more vital than ever, and why LoctekMotion has implemented a clean room – a dust-free workshop – into our manufacturing process.
LoctekMotion’s Dust-Free Workshop
When people and objects enter the clean room area, they first enter an air shower which serves multiple purposes in creating a dust-free workshop. One, it blows dust off anyone or anything that enters the air shower. The clean, purified air sprays from multiple directions and dust particles are filtered out of the room. Two, it serves as an air lock (similar to the pass box for the LoctekMotion static-free workshop) that blocks sources of dust and unpurified air from entering the workshop. Only one set of doors will open at a time – either the entry from the non-protected area or the exit to the workshop – which helps to keep dust from making its way in. Air inside is purified through a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter to reduce contamination and optimize airflow.
The workshop itself includes an automatic SMT machining center where machines do much of the physical work of assembly. However, humans also play an important role in the functioning of the workshop as well as in critical portions of the assembly process. Employees wear specially-designed clothing, head covers and face masks to avoid accidental dust or moisture making contact with boards and components.
One area where man and machine work together is through our online automatic optical inspection for PCBs. A computer screen provides a look at the board as a whole, as well as options to zoom in and examine different parts of the board at a close-up level. Our employees are then able to use their judgment and expertise to determine whether each board passes our rigorous inspection criteria before it makes its way into a lifting column.
Our dust-free workshop is just one more way that LoctekMotion demonstrates our commitment to product quality. From design innovation to the highest standards in our manufacturing process, we are continually evolving and adding new ways to ensure our products lead the market in value and longevity.