Community Spotlight: Jon Oerth from AerifyDigital

This month, we talked with Jon Oerth from AerifyDigital. It was great seeing how the LumenPnP has helped his company start scaling up manufacturing as it is growing. We have been getting to know Jon and can happily say he is a delight to talk to. We hope you enjoy his Community Spotlight as much as we do! 


Tell us a bit about yourself and what you make.

Hello, my name is Jon Oerth, and many usually just call me Squid. I run a small company called AerifyDigital, at which I do research and prototyping of circuits/PCBs that I have designed. We have a website for anyone interested to see more of the work we do. I do this mostly as a business and then for hobby/fun projects too of course.

I further my ventures and knowledge of the field all the time. Additionally, I do circuit design by contract, and then SMT assembly of those designs, for a local semiconductor fab that I have worked with for a while.

I have been working in the electronics field since right out of high school, starting as an operator in a factory, and eventually moving into the engineering areas, both software and hardware. Eventually started my own thing and have been taking up design work here and there since 2015.

What are you building with your LumenPnP? 

Many varying types ranging from small ones with only a handful of parts, to bigger ones, some with over 300 SMT components. Sometimes it’s fun to do the smaller ones where the lead time from design to a finished board is quick. Then the satisfaction when a bigger board finally is done is great too, as mentioned before.

I’m doing boards both on contract and for hobby projects as well.
The current board that has been a big focus recently, and will be running jobs of, is a digital PID controller, for use with reflow ovens or other such heating elements.

This board and another design, which is a lot more complex (300+ parts), have been the main focus and need for a PnP.

Did you build or buy a LumenPnP? Have you made any modifications from the original build?

I bought a LumenPnP machine to save myself time by not spending a lot of it messing with and assembling something from a collection of parts. The mostly pre-assembled build was perfect for what I needed; something quick to set up without a lot of messing around.

Everything was quick and easy from what I can recall, which makes me recommend the pre-assembled for those who need to get started quickly and have a great result.

The only modifications I have done so far on my machine are the feeders upgrade. I have 25 8mm feeders, fully loaded with reels. This was before the 12mm feeders were out which I plan to upgrade to in the future.

Also, one of the key reasons I purchased a LumenPnP, was due to everything being open source and community driven. I am keen on open source projects and I really do enjoy reading the discord and seeing what everyone has come up with, especially the modifications some have done to streamline their productions.

How many boards a month do you produce with your machines?

It varies a lot at the moment, as most of the builds are small batches for prototyping. 

In the future, as I move out of the prototyping phases for a couple of pending projects, the amount of builds done in a month will increase.

For now, there is room for contract jobs on quick notice if needed but I expect to soon be running at least several jobs a week.

How were you building these boards before the LumenPnP?

Tweezers, and I was not even using stencils for the solder paste at one point, just some 3D-printed tools. It is amazing that some of the board builds have over 300 SMT components on them.

I’ve made a lot of progress in improving my assembly processes over the years. A lot of things are of course limited by budget, so I have to work with what I have at times. I’m flexible and always coming up with some solutions to get the results.

The addition of a PnP machine has improved things drastically though, especially quality-wise. Who knows hopefully we have a queue of jobs on the machine and even better add a second one.

What is the single most important piece of advice for running an SMT line?

Automation helps to save a lot of time, and experimentation is key to learning and refining processes.

What's your solder paste of choice? Any advice for others?

I would have to see which exact kind, but as long as it is lead-free, silver, and no-clean flux, we are good to go.


You can find Jon's company, AerifyDigital, at their website.  
Jon's side project can be found here.