Being on the cutting edge means more to a California circuit board industry supplier than just developing the latest in technology, reports Lorie Russo.
Since 1987, Tycom Corporation has successfully advanced the understanding and application of cutting-tool technology through partnerships with leading printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturers around the world.
Tycom is the premier manufacturer of carbide cutting tools for the PCB industry, and the leading provider of resharpening and tool-management technologies. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., the company has 17 manufacturing and resharpening operations throughout North America, Japan, China, Singapore and Malaysia. By focusing on process engineering and using experimental techniques, the company has become a leader in the field of optimized cutting-tool designs. It is dedicated to providing the lowest-cost solutions to customers including IBM, Sanmina and Flextronics, and is driven to sustain the improvement of its customers’ process capabilities.
The big news at Tycom is the company’s recent acquisition by Kyocera Corporation of Kyoto, Japan. With the largest share of the North American market and the second largest market share globally, Tycom will help to extend Kyocera’s cutting-tools product segment into the strategically important information and communications sector. Tycom will operate as a separate company under the direction of its existing management team, led by Tycom co-founder Scott Yardley in his continuing role as president and chief executive officer.
Kyocera was founded in 1959 as a producer of advanced ceramics. By combining these engineered materials with metals and plastics, and integrating them with other technologies, Kyocera has become a leading supplier of telecommunications equipment, semiconductor packages, electronic components, cutting tools, cameras, laser printers, copiers, solar energy systems and industrial ceramics.
This acquisition follows a period of steady growth for Tycom that had included the purchase of Precision Carbide Tool Company, Inc., a rotary carbide tool manufacturer based in Niles, Ill. Precision Carbide had been a key supplier to the PCB industry since first opening its doors for business in 1967. The acquisition of Precision Carbide allowed Tycom to expand its industry leadership into the fabrication market, providing additional value to its customers.
Here’s the Drill
For more than 13 years, the world’s leading companies have relied on Tycom products, which include drill bits, router bits, end mills and specialized cutting tools ranging from 0.05 millimeter (0.002 inch) to 6.7 millimeters (0.2638 inch) in diameter, manufactured with the finest carbide grades available.
With a mission to provide its customers demands and needs, Tycom’s worldwide network of engineers is dedicated to working with PCB manufacturers on process improvement, product quality and material development. The company’s product development laboratory continually evaluates new materials for the design and manufacture of optimized cutting tools. Its newest products — the Series 2100 diamond cut and the Series 2300 chip-breaker router bits — offer improved productivity, tighter tolerances and better overall quality, and are already in demand.
A Vision for Innovation
Tycom is the technology leader in microdrills and the world’s largest supplier of repointed drills for the PCB industry. Tycom’s Visionare system (pronounced “visionary”) represents another in a long series of technological breakthroughs that make Tycom customers more competitive. Repointing is the most powerful tool cost-reduction strategy available in the drilling shop.
Using the cost-saving solutions of the Visionare system, Tycom’s customers can apply patented technology to microdrills and extend the life of their investments in CNC drilling equipment well into the 21st century.
The company’s patented processes also include closed-loop feedback controls, geometry recognition systems and kitting automation technology. These developments provide further evidence of Tycom’s commitment to quality, efficiency and the advancement of the customer’s drilling process. By introducing innovations that have improved the life of resharpened tools (Tycom pointing machines, or TPM; the Tycom automated sharp-point system; Visionare and efficient ring-setting systems; Rodica Jr.), Tycom has led the way for invention and quality manufacturing of its products. Since 1990, it has been the largest resharpener of PCB drills in the world.
Tycom also has been an innovator in the area of cost-effective methods for loading tools into the ready-to-use format. The company received a U.S. patent in 1997 for the introduction of a robotic system that loads tools into tool-change cassettes ready for use in the drill room. Tycom operating units load more than 2.5 million tools per month into machine cassettes.
Tycom’s facilities are certified for ISO 9001. Its cellular manufacturing systems and integrated statistical process controls are the foundation of Tycom’s commitment to world-class production. The result is a data-driven manufacturing process, managed by dedicated associates with ownership over the quality and consistency of Tycom products.
The development of advanced automation, vision and information technologies has also enabled Tycom to establish powerful manufacturing and tool-management capabilities. As a result, Tycom’s customers — leading manufacturers committed to the advancement of their interconnect technologies and the reduction of total process costs — have the advantage of a supplier equipped with knowledge, resources and depth of experience in materials and process requirements. Using its manufacturing, tool-management and engineering capabilities, Tycom has provided these leaders with integrated solutions adapted to their highly competitive markets. In its mission statement, the company commits to a high-quality manufacturing environment that allows creativity and encourages resourcefulness and an honest and competitive work ethic.
By building powerful relationships and devising unparalleled solutions for any work situation, Tycom has been able to stay true to its goal of providing customers with the lowest-cost solutions. The company achieves its mission with “integrity and respect for the individual, with a commitment to profitability, to excellence, to be authentic and to have fun.”