Europlacer was developing equipment for electronics assembly as far back as the 1970s. Initially, the company was known as Numergo, and then Eurosoft Robotique. In the 1980s, it was the first to devise the intelligent feeder concept, and developed a platform that embraced it. That concept is still used today at Europlacer, and has since been imitated but never equalled by almost every competitive pick & place company.
Blakell Systems Ltd was established in 1970 as a general engineering company by the late Pat Kellard. The business manufactured products from traffic lights to fork lift trucks and engine block washing systems before entering the electronics market. Its first product was a light-guided system for semi-automated hand assembly of boards with through-hole components. Blakell Systems acquired Ambotech in 1987. Ambotech designed and manufactured the ‘Robin’ range of fully automatic radial and coaxial placement machines for through-hole assembly. The combination of semi-auto and fully auto insertion technology provided the motivation to expand into the newly emerging Surface Mount Technology sector.
In 1991, Blakell acquired French company Europlacer Industries SAS and became the Blakell Europlacer Group. The Europlacer product team initially developed the 928 platform, which incorporated the now-obsolete ‘moving table and substrate’ mechanism. This is still used by some competitive pick & place companies today. However, the expert Europlacer engineers quickly realised that moving table technology could not meet the greater accuracy and performance demands driven by increasing SMT miniaturisation. Instead, they set about developing a robust X-Y gantry architecture combined with rotary turret technology for its new-generation surface mount placement platforms. It’s a dynamic precision-engineered approach that has underpinned the company’s range of products ever since.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, continuing platform developments resulted in flexible placement systems ideally suited to the high-mix electronics assembly requirements from most OEMs and contract manufacturers. Europlacer products offer a compelling return on investment irrespective of production volume – a fact that has driven significant business growth and secured market share worldwide.
The Blakell Europlacer Group comprises three distinct business units: Speedprint Technologies Ltd, Europlacer, and Blakell Europlacer Distribution. Each is active in its respective market and pre-eminent in the electronic circuit board assembly sector. Speedprint and Europlacer design, manufacture and sell advanced capital equipment products globally, backed by ground-breaking support solutions for electronics manufacturers and multi-award-winning customer service.
Speedprint is a provider of screen printing equipment used in the surface mount assembly processes of electronic circuit boards and other substrates.
Europlacer is a provider of pick & place equipment that automatically places surface mount electronic components onto printed circuit boards and other substrates.
The Blakell Europlacer Group also manages direct distribution initiatives worldwide from the UK, France, Germany, Italy to the US. In these territories it augments its own leading technology brands with a carefully selected range of associated equipment used in the electronics circuit board manufacturing process. Distributed products include Automatic Optical Inspection, X-ray inspection, SMT reflow, PCB support tooling and handling systems. The distribution arm also establishes customer service, support and logistics infrastructure in each geographic region.
Blakell Europlacer Group companies have received numerous prestigious industry awards for innovation, best-in-class technologies and customer service excellence over the years. These serve to highlight the companies’ commitments to continuous improvement, global infrastructure and outstanding support.
Europlacer has a strong installed base across the globe, with notable expansion in North America, Central Europe, Russia, India, and many other emerging markets.
In 2013, Blakell Europlacer was acquired by Parable Trust, a not-for-profit company whose mandate is to develop and multiply talent in the marketplace by distributing funding. Parable Trust is a faith-based organisation that abides by Christian moral and ethical principles. The Trust’s corporate governance focuses on fostering innovation and excellence with unwavering integrity. It deploys profits from its revenues as reinvestment capital in its core companies as well as providing philanthropic funds to support poverty relief endeavours and Christian missions across the third-world, and in Europe and the USA.