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Micro-Air Upgrades Surface Mount Technology: Now State of the Art

Micro-Air Sales Administrator

The exacting marine and RV parts manufactured by Micro-Air are the product of years of conceptualization, design, testing and construction.  We build our parts right here in the USA and we do it by hand, and on surface mount technology (SMT) machines which produce electronic circuits placing components on printed surface boards.  This year it was “out with the old and in with the new.”  Micro-Air turned to Manncorp to meet its growing automatic assembly and production requirements.   Founder Andy Spaziani sought to increase production speed and efficiency in the now-expansive recreational air conditioning market.  “Manncorp offered us the perfect line to meet our needs in the limited space available.”

Andy Spaziani, founder and owner, with director of operations Russell Buzinski
Andy Spaziani, founder and owner, with director of operations Russell Buzinski

Marine air conditioning was a newborn industry (actually, never before heard of) when a chance encounter led Andy Spaziani to his career.  “It was the damnedest thing.  I was sitting in a bar on the river and a seaplane descended and landed right in front of me in the river! It was nuts. I hustled down to the dock to toss the guy a line to tie up. We talked and became fast friends,” said Spaziani.  Before he knew it, he was helping his pilot pioneer on an installation in New Jersey.  Soon he was flying up and down the East Coast with his new friend.  Not long after that, he was the owner of a regional marine air conditioning distributorship and was keeping busy installing and servicing marine air conditioners close to home.  Later, he invented his own products.

Andy’s interest in SMT production came from his frustration in failure rates of thermostat control switches provided by manufacturers.  “Nothing was reliable.”  Soon he was producing his own for each installation. His Dealer and OEM customers were so impressed with the boards he invented that they eventually asked him if he would consider manufacturing for the industry.  Beginning in 1983 with hand-soldered boards and controls that he and his wife Bette made in his garage, Andy was able to keep up with the demand for his thermostats through sheer determination.  By 1993, however, demand outstripped his ability to produce the control boards.

He upgraded production with a benchtop pick and place with a few feeders and over the years advanced with two Double-Gantry pick and place machines. A wave solder machine helped too.  With the addition of RV air conditioning products to the mix, Micro-Air’s demand again outgrew its ability to produce with its existing technology. An upgrade was imperative to  keep up with demand for its EasyStart 364 and its other parts.  

Micro-Air’s Double-Gantry Quad machine was causing significant delays in production time, bogging down efficiency. “It seemed like every other day that something was breaking and causing back-ups and delays.”  Delays and repair costs led the Company to explore its next option.  It found that many machines were far too large for its facility---and building an addition was not an option.  And of course, the prospect of a hefty price tab for a production machine was a legitimate business concern.  In a final twist, Spaziani found that many of the larger machines sold by competitors were unnecessarily complex for efficient programming at his company. “I was really up against it.”  Manncorp provided the solution.

Micro-Air's new line, featuring an AP430 Stencil Printer, MC389 Pick-and-Place Machines, and a CR-5000 OvenMicro-Air's new line, featuring an AP430 Stencil Printer, MC389 Pick-and-Place Machines, and a CR-5000 Oven.

After a talk with some of Micro-Air’s dedicated engineers and technicians, they determined the best solution for the customer was an Automatic Inline Stencil Printer paired with two new pick and place machines. Micro-Air added a special oven. That combination provided the Company the full production that it needed. The necessary conveyors were included to fully automate their PCB assembly. “Now, we are good to go” said Spaziani. With Manncorp’s help, Micro-Air achieved the production speed expected, all within the allowed space and without sacrificing any of the quality that allows Company products to last up to 30 years in the field.

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