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Radio Frequency components used in the Wi-Fi hotspot on the Fan Mile in Berlin

September saw the start of the pilot phase of a public gigabit Wi-Fi access point on the famous Fan Mile in Berlin, Germany. HUBER+SUHNER is providing Wi-Fi antennas and coaxial cables, thus playing its part in enabling users in the area to surf, chat and stream for free for 30 minutes.


HUBER+SUHNER has been finishing mass parts for radio frequency connectors at its in-house plating facility in Herisau since 1980.

Since 2003, following the greenfield site construction of a new plating facility, HUBER+SUHNER AG has operated one of the most state-of-the-art facilities in the world. Two fully automated plating systems featuring drums, racks and vibratory plating units permit the optimal, targeted finishing of even the most sensitive and complex parts. Article-specific production means that all relevant parameters can be assigned to the article. All important chemicals and additives are metered automatically and the individual steps, including cleaning, metal precipitation and post-treatment, are analysed regularly according to a specifically defined plan.

Some capacity is also made available to external customers. With our fully automated small-parts warehouse, we control processes throughout the entire supply chain from plating through to on-time delivery.
Quality / Environmental
We are committed to our ‘quality first’ philosophy and have fully embraced the path of continuous improvement. At our plating lab, we optimise existing processes and develop new procedures. We understand quality in its broadest sense and strive to attain top quality in all our processes and services. Throughput time, adherence to deadlines and other indicators are recorded fully automatically and all relevant processes are monitored using SPC. All critical components in the process baths are metered online and analysed at regular intervals using the latest procedures. A large equipment fleet is available for monitoring product quality; from the salt spray test chamber through to solderability measurement. We take responsibility for the environment and the health of our employees, customers and the public. We are aware that the natural and artificial resources are finite. In view of this, we optimise our processes to ensure the best possible use of resources and minimum waste. We consistently implement ISO 14001.
We pursue a philosophy of quality first and are fully committed to continuous improvement. As such, we are dedicated to ensuring the optimum control of all of our processes along the supply chain. We have been using barcodes for decades, for example. Motivated, well trained employees and a high level of automation are key to optimum process control. The customer is our focus. We work with our customers as partners based on a relationship of trust, honesty and transparency.
LEAN production – 5S in action
The lean initiative was launched in 2013 with the implementation of 5S for our plating business. 5S has already become an integral, fully established part of our processes. All areas have been streamlined, decluttered and cleaned up and are based on standardised processes. Our department managers regularly conduct internal audits to ensure that the 5S method is being fully implemented and observed. Spurred on by the success of the first phase, we began implementing the next steps – shop floor management and Kaizen (continuous improvement). Shop floor management (SFM) aims to continuously improve production processes at the place of added value through the presence and active involvement of managers on site. Under this efficient form of leadership, deviations from the standard can be identified immediately and, thanks to fast decision-making processes, any necessary adjustments can be implemented swiftly. In the case of Kaizen or continuous improvement, the aim is perfection, which is something we Swiss are known for. Whilst we have always pursued a lean approach, today we use different tools to ensure its consistent implementation.

SUCOPRO plating consists of a thin layer of gold plating over a nickel-phosphorus underlayer. In addition to offering equivalent or better functionality than conventional gold plating, it also offers a major cost advantage, being significantly cheaper to produce on account of the different gold layer thicknesses. The impressive properties of Sucopro plating include exceptional wear resistance and solderability, good crimping suitability as well as low and stable contact resistance.  Sucopro datasheet
Sucoplate consists of a copper-tin-zinc alloy and offers beneficial electrical properties, good corrosion protection and an attractive appearance. Hardness of 600 to 700 HV as well as good abrasion resistance and ductility prevent damage even under mechanical stress from friction or bending. Its high electrical conductivity and low coefficient of friction ensure good electrical contact. The non-magnetic alloy also offers low attenuation at high frequencies. Sucoplate datasheet
Sucodur plating is an electrolytic nickel-phosphorus plating with a minimum 10.5% phosphorus content. It has similar physical properties to electroless nickel plating, offering good wear and corrosion resistance. Plate hardness is between 600 and 1000 HV. This plating is ideal for components requiring constant contact resistance and optimum corrosion resistance.
Gold is an extremely robust precious metal which is resistant to both acids and alkalis. Although one of the most expensive metals, its properties make it an indispensable precious metal for electronics and many other applications. This plating offers exceptional electric properties and is widely used in the radio frequency range in particular.
In addition to being an exceptional contact material, this shiny precious metal is also used for many other applications.
Nickel has good mechanical and corrosion-resistance properties. Nickel is a contact allergen. Sucoplate® is a good alternative..
Christian Rehm
Dipl. Ing. FH

+41 71 353 4551