A Look at Saki’s Approach to 2D, 3D and X-ray Technology

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Koike: Often, it is.

Matties: Do you give a warranty for a period of time without the service contract, or do they pay from year one?

Koike: Basically we offer one year for free, and we support direct on that term.

Matties: Where is your equipment manufactured and where is your R&D center?  Is that all in Japan?

Koike: Basically, all of our R&D is in Japan, and we manufacture in Japan and Taiwan. But to support our products, we need software engineers to actually cope with all the demands that our customers request. So we also have engineers in China and in the Czech Republic, to give faster and more efficient support.

Matties: When your machines go into the factory environment, I assume they're all connected by Internet so they can download software and do trouble-shooting remotely. What sort of data do you glean from this?

Koike: Right now we are trying to further develop this process technology. Yes, our machine is an inspection machine, so we get all the data from what the customer is producing. Once we get the basic data overall, we are thinking we can link it to printers and link it to pick-and-place. But the ultimate thing is we need to analyze the SMT line itself and feed it back to the customer’s ERP system. So that's what we are aiming for and that is the fundamental development that we need.

Matties: How many people are in your organization?

Koike: One hundred forty.

Matties: How long have you been COO and how long have you been with the company?

Koike: For two years as COO and seven to eight years overall. I started with the company in corporate planning.

Matties: Now you are really in charge of strategy for the company, so when you look at that strategy, what inputs do you look at to say, "This is the path we need to go down?"

Koike: We are an inspection company, so we have all the data from the line—that's our biggest strength. The reason why we have all these lineups in 2D and 3D and AXI is because we want to create solution with the data our machines receive.

We need to use that data to make sure our customers are satisfied about improving their product quality. So that's the ultimate goal. Looking towards the future, everyone is starting to talk about the IoT, the industry of 4.0. I think that is definitely the trend that we need to go after because in the future everything will be automated. Every customer will want to have automation, but if the production quality is no good, that automation is useless. So they need to use our data to improve their quality and at the same time automate it. To do that, they need this kind of measurement technology. Abstractness will always remain in inspection.

Matties: But with every inspection, whether it's bare board or assembly, aren't manufacturers keenly aware of that?

Koike: I believe a lot of people are.

Matties: So then it becomes a choice of what company you really want to do business with. What I'm hearing from you is that you're bringing this bundle of technology, 2D, 3D, and X-ray, and that's the advantage for the customer.

Koike: That's right. Many pick-and-place manufacturers are starting to align everything, and they will, in the end, need inspection data. We are ready to provide the data to them. There is a lot of development needed before we can realize 4.0. To do that, we provide customers very accurate data that they can use to improve their line.

Matties: This is really interesting. I'm glad we had a chance to talk today. Is there anything else you want to share that people should know?

saki01389.jpgKoike: There is still development to be done, but I think the basic part of all the inspection is that we need to bring it to the measurement. That's our philosophy. That's the added value that we can create. Right now there is a lot of technology starting to be in the market, 3D, AXI, etc. We acknowledge that we do have some technology that is ahead of our competitors and at the same time behind our competitors. But the important part is to have consistent solutions and not to give up the best quality inspection or measurement that is available in the market. Even though it’s not the demand that is the trend right now, we aim for three to five years later when this is going to be the trend.

Matties: You are looking ahead.

Koike: Yes, we are looking ahead. Our customer base, especially in the 3D inline AXI, is not the biggest demand. But we focus on the very top customers so we have been providing to airline companies, satellite companies, automotive companies, etc. What we aim for is that we want to level up our technology so that in the future we can go along with the complete automation and the complete quality.

Matties: What sort of growth goals do you look at in 2–4 years? Do you have a number in mind?

Koike: Once we cope with the technology and the technology enters the market, we need to put it into the inline so that everything can be automatic. Once we realize that, I think 100%, even 200%, is very feasible.

Matties: That's fantastic. It's been great talking to you. I really appreciate you coming by.

Koike: Thank you.


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