GPAX, Inc.  | Value-Added Packaging / Feeding for Automation Value-Added Packaging / Feeding for Automation


About GPAX, Inc

 

Stitchlock diagram

The Company

Columbus, Ohio based GPAX Inc. is a leader in custom tape and reel packaging format. Delicate, Odd-Form and specially coated or finished parts are packaged in protective tape that is used in automated assembly. GPAX designs, manufacturers and markets its custom tape, loaders and feeders that are used as feeding solutions for small parts assembly. All product design and manufacturing is performed at the company's facilities in Columbus, Ohio.

HISTORY

The company was founded in 1988 to offer solutions for feeding electronic Odd-Form Components to automated assembly cells. GPAX pioneered commercialization of its patented mechanically interlocking Stitchlock™ tape and reel technology as an alternative to pressure (PSA) or heat sensitive cover tape. GPAX’s interlocking tape eliminates typical adhesive cover tape pit falls such as too much or too little adhesion and tearing of cover tape on assembly floor. GPAX interlocking cover and carrier tape is mechanically stitched after the part is loaded and is not reliant on adhesive consistency or weather elements such as heat/humidity the tape may experience in transit or storage. Factory floor testing with applications in electronics and mechanical parts handling was developed over the next several years.

Since then, GPAX has packaged parts for automation and for protection during shipping and handling in industries such as electronics, automotive, medical, dental, telecommunication and consumer products.

Today, GPAX remains one of the leading companies in the field of custom designed feeding and protective packaging.


PRODUCTS

GPAX has three major product lines: custom tape, tape loaders and tape feeders. Tape is made in accordance with industry standards and are custom designed depending upon the needs as defined by the end-user. Tape is staple spliceable, very low cost and may facilitate multiple parts per pitch when volume requirements dictate larger inventory on assembly line.  This both increases throughput and reduces labor costs. GPAX StitchLock cover and carrier tape is mechanically interlocked on GPAX loaders after each part is loaded and remains attached until unstitched by GPAX feeders at a pick point for assembly. The process of loading parts in the tape can be a manual or automated process. The objective is to provide a seamless standardized tape and reel feeding solution to the customer base from part packaging through presentation. The tape feeders may interface with automated cells or work in stand alone mode.

Tape
  • GPAX ThruPAX tape is a flat Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) carrier, pre-punched with holes to accommodate parts which contain small protrusions that are used to securely seat a part in tape or for lead pattern used to package through-hole components.
  • GPAX Pocketed tape can be partial or full pocketed to allow for a large selection of unique parts. The partial pocketed carrier tape is designed for a part to sit below the surface of the tape and extend above the surface when the part may be too tall to fit completely below the surface. Full pocketed tape is designed to allow the part to sit completely below the surface of the tape. The size of the part and the project requirements determine which design is applied.
  • GPAX SnapPAX carrier and cover tape is used to package ultra-thin parts which otherwise would "shingle" between pockets. Tabs are created to hold parts securely in place until arriving at automated pick point. Tabs have also been used to hold certain parts in position not in a pocketed tape.
Loaders
  • The GPAX Loader can be semi or fully automated advancing taping machine used to tape components at speeds up to 4,200 indexes per hour. The taping machine can be loaded through automation or manually.
Feeders
  • The GPAX UltraFlex™ tape feeders are of a generic design which can be customized to integrate with the placement equipment to which it is to be mounted on. Feeders can interface with equipment or work in a stand alone mode. Standard equipment include ready light, part sensor at pick point, low supply light, maintenance light and manual advance.

BENEFITS OF GPAX TAPE PRODUCTS

  • Custom designed tape-
    • Protective features are designed in pocket to support and give added protection
    • Tape design allows use with gripper or vacuum nozzles
    • Repeatable part presentation accuracy within ± 0.0001”
      • Eliminates need for vision system
    • Design features eliminate tape loading error
      • Polarity placement
      • Part Orientation
    • Long shelf life (interlocking tape eliminates adhesive degradation)
    • Tape is recyclable
  • Multiple parts per pitch-
    • Allows gang picking which reduces cycle time
    • Kitting of different parts per pitch
    • Reduces per part packaging cost
    • Increases inventory on production line
    • Larger inventory on fewer reels to manage
    • Less labor
      • Receiving
      • Production line resupply
  • Replaces tube & tray feeders-
    • Greater inventory on-reel eliminates constant re-supply and supervision
      • Lower Labor costs on production line
      • Reduces staff needed on production line
      • Frees up associates to handle additional responsibilities
  • On-feeder reel splicing-
    • No downtime
    • No Peel Force testing required as with PSA and Heat sealed cover tape

STRATEGY

The GPAX strategy is to provide industries with a standardized tape and reel solution needed for the handling of parts and components in automated assembly. Bulk shipments of parts are packaged in trays, tubes and bags which are primarily "least cost" shipping containers as opposed packaging for automation or protection. Due to the wide variety of shapes and sizes of the parts and the absence of a consistent and acceptable method of component delivery to automatic placement equipment, the need for a reliable standardized component packaging and feeding methodology is invaluable.

GPAX mechanically interlocking tape and reel technology is produced in accordance with the industry standard developed by the Electronic Industries Alliance (E.I.A.). This facilitates component manufacturers and end-users ability to automate the assembly of products, increase quality and reduce cost by implementing a flexible and most importantly, a robust and reliable parts handling methodology that is also an Industry Standard.

SALES AND SUPPORT

GPAX sells and supports its international and domestic customers, both end-users and component manufacturers, through personnel operating out of the Columbus, Ohio headquarters.

GPAX has developed OEM relationship arrangements with major global placement equipment manufacturers. These companies have extensive exposure to the multinational users.

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