Elexon Electronics forges future in Defence

Published 5:00am 30 May 2022

Elexon Electronics forges future in Defence
Words by Jodie Powell

Innovative Brendale electronics manufacturer Elexon Electronics has enhanced its manufacturing capabilities, acquiring six new state-of-the-art machines for its Industry 4.0 manufacturing facility as part of its Defence-readiness program.

Elexon Electronics CEO Frank Faller says automation and interconnectedness have been the primary goals for the company in developing the facility, which offers unparalleled precision and manufacturing standards.

It’s the latest in a series of achievements for the company, which was named last year’s Business of the Year and won the Advanced Manufacturing Excellence Award at the Moreton Bay Region Business Excellence and Innovation Awards

Nominations for this years awards are open until July 17. To enter, click here.

Frank says in the past 16 years Elexon Electronicshas established itself as a global electronics player, pioneering highly innovative and commercially successful products for industries such as mining, pathology, automotive and defence.

He says the leading difference for Elexon lies in its ability to design, engineer, prototype, test and manufacture complex electronics in-house, from high-precision custom PCB boards assembly to software and final assembly.

“Today, Elexon is a trusted supplier of electronics for world-class companies such as Rio Tinto, Newcrest, Volvo, Aurizon, Aim Lab, Agilent and EM Solutions,” Frank says.

Defence-readiness investment

Elexon Electronics has spent the past year working on its Defence-readiness plan, which consists of four key areas; Cyber Security Uplift, Quality and Management Systems, Team development and upskilling; and Manufacturing Equipment Upgrades.

“To become a valued Defence supplier, Elexon Electronics was committed to ensuring its quality and security systems exceeded industry standards,” Frank says.

“Following engagement with the Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC), Elexon received government support for its Cyber Security Uplift, ISO 14001 and AS 9100D management standards installations.”

To implement environmental management standards ISO 14001 and aerospace quality standards AS 9100D Elexon upgraded its physical and cyber security to protect intellectual property - both Elexon’s and that of its Defence partners.

Government support a boost

Frank says government support, first with a “Made in Queensland” grant three years ago, and more recently the SICP grant, allowed Elexon to invest almost $4 million to boost its design, prototyping and manufacturing capability, with a strong focus placed on Industry 4.0 interconnectedness and automation.

The early procurement of high-precision automated surface-mount technology (SMT) equipment from European producers allows intelligent material handling, solder paste jetting, vacuum vapour phase soldering and X-Ray inspection, he says.

The addition of intelligent production and inspection and testing machinery has enhanced the quality standards achievable at Elexon’s Industry 4.0 facility, which now offers 3D automated optical inspection, dual-side flying probe testing, selective soldering, PCB cleaning, and high-precision conformal coating.

Naval connection

The development of the production facility has already resulted in Elexon securing a project with Tier 1 Australian Navy supplier EM Solutions (EMS), delivering RF PCB assemblies for their marine Satcom terminals, which deliver communication signals.

A milestone achievement for Elexon within the Defence space is being approved as a supplier for Rheinmetall Group after successfully bidding for work on Land 400 Phase 2 and 3 projects.

“Defence is a sector well suited to Elexon’s capabilities as an electronics manufacturer, even more so following our Industry 4.0 facility investment,” Frank says.

“Elexon is no stranger to high-precision, high-durability electronics, with its suite of wireless sub-surface mining solutions built to withstand the harshest of environments.

“The latest round of Industry 4.0 upgrades allows Elexon to produce extremely precise, durable, and meticulously tested electronics faster than ever before.”

Industry 4.0 manufacturing facility

The Koh Young Technology Zenith2 is one of the most advanced true 3D AOI machines and another exciting addition to the Elexon Electronics facility, combining advanced vision algorithms and high-resolution 3D optics.

A major benefit of the Zenith2 is simplicity of use with AI-driven programming, offering up to a 70 percent reduction in programming time.

The SPEA 4060 S2 Flying Probe Tester was bought for component testing, offering dual-side flying probing, as well as the option to use fixed probes.

The 4060 S2 can test large boards weighing up to 20kg with high accuracy and rapid test times.

Precision work

An Inertec CUBE.460 selective soldering machine allows the company to move from manual soldering to precise machine automated selective soldering; reducing costs and guaranteeing quality.

Precise cleaning requires high-quality equipment and Frank says that’s why Elexon recently invested in an MBtech NC25E PCB cleaner to enhance and automate PCB cleaning capabilities.

“A patented filtration system provides precise and efficient cleaning of the PCB’s after reflow, and the use of an aqueous solution makes it possible to separate residues, ensuring a 100 percent closed-loop cleaning process to meet environmental demands.”

Elexon Electronics has also acquired a Mycronic MYC50, replacing existing coating methods with a high-speed, high-precision solution.

“All of the recent upgrades come together to form the backbone of Elexon Electronics’ Industry 4.0 manufacturing facility - a move made to prepare for a serious push into the Defence manufacturing sector,” Frank explains.

“We already have arguably some of the most advanced manufacturing capabilities within Australia, but we are constantly striving to improve and stay one, or even two steps ahead of the competition.”

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