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Best Practice: Kitron UAB

Yes, Kitron can!

EMS service provider places its trust in Ersa selective soldering technology

Kitron operates worldwide as an EMS service provider and can boast the most modern production sites in Norway, Sweden, Germany, China, USA and Lithuania. With over 50 years experiences and comprehensive competence in the sector, the 1,450-strong team around the world contributes to quality and efficiency in all the product lifecycle stages. The Kitron subsidiary in the Lithuanian city of Kaunas, in particular, impresses with astonishing results in terms of output and quality – thanks, among other things, to Ersa selective soldering technology.

It is just 17 years since Kitron UAB commenced production in Lithuania, with 30 employees, today this figure is 750! On a current production area of 11,000 m2, the Lithuanian EMS production has grown by 30 % for the third year in succession. “We are proceeding on the assumption that our development will continue at this high level, and are therefore working hard at finding a suitable site for expansion,” says Kaunas Production Manager Daumantas Barčas. “At the beginning of the year 2000, Kitron produced mainly cable harnesses and simple electronic components. Hardware and equipment came in from other Kitron sites in Sweden and Norway – an outstanding starter kit for our subsidiary here in Lithuania,” reminisces Senior Soldering Technologist Kęstutis Žukauskas. Within the shortest space of time, Kitron set up clean processes in Kaunus, and achieved good results, so that Kitron was able to build up its own customer base. Today, the proportion of direct customers for Kitron UAB – predominately from the Baltic, Scandinavia, Europe and the US – is over 90 %!

Power start in Lithuania

Within just three years of the start-up on Kaunus, Kitron placed the management of the subsidiary completely into Lithuanian hands. In the following years, Kitron was one of the fastest-growing companies in the region, since 2008 the company is focussing increasingly on Lean Management. The best preparation for the dramatically-growing electronics manufacturing sector – be it automotive, electromobility or smart home. “At the forefront of our activities are top quality and development expertise – customers want to know: How can this be turned into a competitive product? Customers commission us with the provision of a fully manufactured product and require a partner on an equal footing,” explains Kitron Production Manager Daumantas Barčas. In this context, Kitron UAB benefits from the connection with the Kitron headquarters in Norway and the comprehensive experience in the sector – this is discussed at global level and finds its way, for example, into site-spanning audits leading to standardised processes and standardised equipment.


Careful fitting out as an important element in the overall soldering process
Careful fitting out as an important element in the overall soldering process

Quality first as a motto

Because, in addition to output and productivity, the Kitron team places enormous emphasis on quality – where possible as so-called “one piece flow” – the Lithuanian production management introduced selective soldering technology eight years ago. The Scandinavian Kitron colleagues had been availing of this for years, in the form of two Ersa VERSAFLOW B machines. Three years ago, the Kitron machine pool in Kaunus was expanded with the addition of an Ersa ECOSELECT 1 – the greatest capacity on the smallest footprint. The enquiry about a high-volume product followed one year later – definitely a candidate for inline selective soldering. Kitron asked two companies for support and suggestions on how the product could best be manufactured – back then, the contract went to one of Ersa’s competitors.


The next high-volume product followed one year later; once again a selective soldering system was required. In the meantime, Ersa had launched the VERSAFLOW 4/55 with VERSAFLEX. “In addition to the performance of the VERSAFLOW 4/55, our decision was based on the extreme flexibility of the VERSAFLEX selective soldering module, which allows us to run the current high-volume production,” says Senior Soldering Technologist Kęstutis Žukauskas. “For the current generation of our selective soldering systems, VERSAFLEX gave us the revolutionary vision of being able to position the pots completely flexibly. Because the life cycle of a product can deviate from the service life of the machine – and what then? No problem thanks to VERSAFLEX,” says the responsible Ersa Area Sales Manager, Tobias van Rossem.


Required cycle times in optimum quality

The VERSAFLOW 4/55 was calculated by Kitron UAB for a certain product – why the changeover to selective soldering for a comparatively simple, one-sided board with ten connectors? With wave soldering, the quality was not as high as desired; further treatment would have been required. The process was expanded towards selective soldering, in order to permit error-free soldering. And what do you know? During the process, the Lithuanians got exactly what they expected in terms of cycle time, process and quality. The decision to go with the VERSAFLOW 4/55 with VERSAFLEX was then only a matter of form – this was undoubtedly also based on the training in the Democenter in Wertheim, where exhaustive testing was carried out before the order was placed. “With the investment in the Ersa VERSAFLEX system, we achieved the required cycle times with optimum quality – the feedback from our customers is also very positive. We are highly satisfied with the Ersa systems and the technical support,” says Daumantas Barčas. No matter what the future demands may be in terms of soldering technology – Ersa’s response will be: Yes, we can!


Tailored to efficiency yet still lots of fun (from left): Kitron Production Manager Daumantas Barc?as, Kitron Technologist Kestutis Žukauskas and Ersa Area Sales Manager Tobias van Rossem
Tailored to efficiency yet still lots of fun (from left): Kitron Production Manager Daumantas Barc?as, Kitron Technologist Kestutis Žukauskas and Ersa Area Sales Manager Tobias van Rossem

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