Until recently, Nikon Precision, a specialist in manufacturing of lithography systems for use in semiconductor fabrication, was limited in its ability to satisfy the demand in Europe for second-hand equipment as many of the available machines were not certified as meeting European regulatory requirements. Laidler Associates, working in conjunction with its sister company, Safety Systems Technology (both part of the Laidler Group), is providing an effective and efficient solution to this conundrum

Because of their reported durability and performance, second-hand machines from Nikon Precision are always in demand, and the company is happy to offer and support them under its Certified Used Equipment programme. Many machines, however, have only been used outside Europe and do not have the CE Certification that would allow them to carry the CE marking and be offered for sale in the European Union.

For some years, Laidler Associates, which provides solutions for machinery safety including machinery safety legislation and risk assessments, has been assisting Nikon Precision by carrying out risk assessments on second-user machines destined for the European market. On the basis of the assessment, Laidler Associates supplies Nikon Precision with a list of remedial actions needed to allow the CE Certification to be issued.

This did not, however, offer a complete solution. As the machines are sourced from countries around the world, Nikon Precision still needed to find local contractors in each country to carry out the necessary work. Further, Nikon also had to be sure that the work was carried out correctly, and to a uniformly high standard.

Laidler Associates’ sister company, Safety Systems Technology, has now solved this problem by providing a full upgrade service for Nikon Precision machines wherever they are located in the world. Safety Systems not only supplies any necessary safety products, but also installs the products and provides a project management service that looks after the machine through every stage of the compliance procedure. All of the work is carried out on a fixed price basis, with the price being formulated according to the remedial actions needed.

As Laidler Group companies, Laidler Associates and Safety Systems ensure remedial work is exactly as specified, and that the whole compliance process proceeds swiftly and easily.

“The ‘one-stop shop’ service provided by the Laidler Group is an enormous benefit for us,” says William McCafferty, safety and quality manager for Nikon Precision Europe.

“It makes the process of achieving compliance very smooth and straightforward. In addition, we know in advance how much the work on each machine is going to cost, and we know all of the machines will be upgraded to the same high quality, using the same products and methods, irrespective of where they are in the world.

“The real benefit is, however, for our customers, who are now able to stretch their budgets further by buying certified used equipment from us that is warranted to meet all relevant safety standards and also to meet original performance specifications. This budget-stretching option is proving particularly attractive currently.”

The Laidler Group has already handled the compliance process for Nikon Precision machines in countries as far apart as Switzerland and Japan, ensuring, prior to their entry into Europe, the machines are issued with an appropriate Declaration of Conformity, and they have the CE marking affixed.