Labtech Microwave, one of the UK’s leading designers and manufacturers of standard and bespoke microwave component technology, has invested in new machinery at its Presteigne microwave printed circuit board production facility, with the aim of improving processes, efficiency and manufacturing capability.

This latest investment consists of a March PCB-1600 plasma treatment system and a Hurco VMX24 machining centre. The PCB-1600 will provide increased capability for producing plated-through-hole Teflon and ceramic substrate PCBs; offer uniform treatments for blind vias, higher aspect ratio holes, and a faster, more reliable removal of residual resin on the PCB surface following laser cutting.

The Hurco VMX24 machining centre’s key features include a CAD/CAM interface, which can reduce programming by up to 50 percent, which as a result, will help Labtech Microwave to reduce lead times. The company’s present product mix is characterized by smaller batch sizes, complex and higher tolerance work. This often requires operator intervention and special programming which can affect run times and impact cutter usage on some jobs. The multi-axis VMX24 achieves tolerances of better than ±0.025 mm and the 24-station automatic tool changer goes from tool-to-tool in three seconds.

Commenting on the investment, Brian Popsys, operations manager at Labtech Microwave, said, “After reviewing the need to meet a more technically demanding product mix, we have decided to add a latest generation machining centre and the March plasma machine. The new plasma machine is much more flexible to use, requires less power and fulfils Labtech Microwave’s goal of reducing our environmental impact. The Hurco VMX24 will enable more efficient production of metal-backed PCBs and boxes for component manufacture.”