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A Manncorp Success Story: Critter & Guitari Switches to an In-House PCB Assembly Line

The local music company Critter & Guitari has decided to take on their own PCB production and it is changing their process of creating and selling products for the better. Manncorp got the chance to interview Designer and Founder of Critter & Guitari, Owen Osborn, and he has provided some insight into beyond-the-purchase effects of bringing production in-house.

Critter & Guitari's new in-house PCB assembly line

The Equipment

Before making a purchase, BOM’s from Critter and Guitari were first evaluated by an experienced technician to determine the best manufacturing equipment for making their musical synthesizers. Equipment expert, Chris Ellis can help any new customer with this process, ensuring the correct machines are chosen for each application.

Critter & Guitari is currently running the Manncorp 5500 Stencil Printer, MC-389 Pick and Place Machine, and CR-5000 Reflow Oven. When asked about this set up, Osborn said, “This mix of equipment provides us with a small-footprint PCB assembly line. It really only took a few days to setup and it is easy to get up and running each day.”

Updating the Process

For many companies, the number of steps between idea conception and holding a physical product in hand is far too many. Reducing that number of steps to as few as possible was a driving force for Owen Osborn at Critter & Guitari.

In regards to their new process, operating on their own Manncorp equipment has helped them reach their goals: “We wanted to be able to print out our ideas,” explains Osborn, and it is now possible.

“It was a bit of a learning curve getting setup with our own SMT line,” Osborn told us. As soon as they were up and running, the COVID pandemic hit. “We have only been able to have one person operating the equipment at a time since March.” Despite some challenges, Osborn and the team still find having production in-house preferable to the risk and uncertainty of having to rely on a separate supplier for PCBA who might be facing further delays.

What are the Benefits of Owning Equipment?

Critter & Guitari have felt relief since switching to their own equipment for manufacturing their instruments, like The Organelle®. “With our own SMT line,” he says, “we can continuously iterate our designs without having to constantly pause while we wait for someone else to do the builds.”

They also don’t have to do runs of a huge amount of PCB assemblies at once; “we can just build what we need, and if something needs adjusting, we are not locked into having just ordered 1000 assemblies.” Also, stocking their own parts makes prototyping easier and less expensive.

Critter & Guitari OrganelleWhat is The Organelle®?

“The Organelle is our current flagship. It is a multipurpose computerized musical synthesizer. It provides an artist or music producer a little bit of everything: sampling, sequencing, effecting.”

Critter & Guitari use Manncorp equipment to build the circuit board assemblies inside The Organelle®.

Has Manncorp Helped Improve Operations?

Bringing production in-house has made it much easier for the team at Critter & Guitari to adapt designs or production levels according to demand. This flexibility is saving the company from wasting time and resources. Plus, overall costs have been lowered, since they are now stocking their own parts and do not have to pay for costly prototype runs.

“The support and service from Manncorp have been excellent. Someone is always around and ready to help. This is our first SMT equipment of any kind, so having this support was crucial.”

The Manncorp team is proud of the role they have played in expanding operations at Critter & Guitari; everyone is happy that Osborn has found the increased support services to be helpful. The backbone of Manncorp is built on attention to detail and strong customer service practices. We find this to be especially important during this difficult time caused by the pandemic.

Final Takeaways from Critter & Guitari

“To think of musical instrument interfaces and then build the circuitry in the fewest number of steps possible—having our own equipment is vital for this. In short, Manncorp has provided quality machines and responsive and helpful support services.”