In our ongoing efforts to deliver more value to our customers CMI has purchased a new Laser Plotter and Film Processor. This new addition will allow CMI to produce its own films in-house, which will reduce tooling charges and shorten lead time.
One of our most pressing challenges has been to reduce tooling charges that customers have to pay at the beginning of a new project. We call these “Non Refundable Engineering” costs (NRE). In the case of CMI’s screen printing process it includes the film/ artwork, the screen and the stencil.
Once we receive the customer design package the first step is to enter the data into our computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) platform and perform a so-called DFM (Design For Manufacturing) check. After a few back-and-forth exchanges with the customer the design is finalized and we move on to the engineering process.
Our products are rarely manufactured as “one up” (i.e. one part printed at a time) but in an array where multiple parts are pooled together to form a larger panel. The role of the engineer is to design the array and maximize the number of parts on one panel.
Once done, the following step is to make a film or artwork to be used in the manufacturing of our stencil.
The process of production of a silver halide film includes:
- Laser plotting: when exposure to the laser beam produces a latent image (invisible)
- Development: a chemical process that convert exposed silver halide grains into metallic silver (image becomes visible)
- Fixation: stops the development and removes the unexposed area.
Until now CMI was outsourcing the production of its films to a third party in Singapore. With this new equipment CMI has now the ability to decrease the overall lead time and reduce the costs to our customers. It demonstrates CMI’s dedication to build a leaner process while providing more value to our customers at a more competitive pricing.