Prefeasibility study on the State of Electronics Manufacturing and Assembly in Ghana

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The focus of this thesis is on the prefeasibility study on the state of electronics manufacturing and assembly in Ghana. The awareness of surface mount technology (SMT) and component miniaturization by selected electronics manufacturing and assembly companies in Ghana, selected departments in Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology was investigated as well as the practice of SMT soldering techniques by the selected companies and the viability of setting up a laboratory for research in electronics manufacturing and assembly at KNUST. The views of Government Policy Makers about electronics manufacturing and assembly were also sought. Electronics manufacturing and assembly is electro-mechanical engineering process used for constructing electronic circuits either by Through-hole technology (where the components with wire leads are fitted into holes on the Printed Circuit Boards) or by SMT technology (where surface mounted components are mounted directly onto the surface of printed circuit boards). The prefeasibility study was carried out by sending a set of questionnaires to rlg Communications in Ghana, KNUST students at College of Engineering and Departments of Physics and Computer Science (sample size of 275) as well as Government Policy Makers. The survey reveals that rlg imports SMT components such as Flat Chip Resistors (eg. MELF resistors), ceramic SMD capacitors, electrolytic SMD capacitors for SMT assembly and carries out soldering work using both hand and automation. Infra Red Reflow Soldering technique is used for the automated soldering whereas rework is done by hand soldering. For a sample size of one hundred and twenty-five (125) students from College of Sciences interviewed on the awareness of SMT, 67.2% were aware of SMT and component miniaturization whereas 32.8% were not aware. Out of a sample size of 150 students from College of Engineering interviewed on the awareness SMT, 68.7% were aware of SMT and component miniaturization whilst 31.3% were not aware. One hundred and twenty-two (122) stated the practical knowledge it will impart to students in different ways, one hundred and one (101) students mentioned economic benefit due to the fact that electronic products assembled on campus will sell cheaper than outside. Two hundred and seventy three (out of 275) students are in support of the idea of fusing electronics manufacturing and assembly module with some of their courses. Responses from policy makers indicate that if electronic products are assembled in Ghana it should be made to suite the weather conditions in Ghana and should be affordable. This will require research work into the thermal challenge of the solder joint (solder joint integrity). Other responses from policy makers indicate the fact that local assembly of electronic product will help accelerate Ghana’s economic development. This study is part of a wider programme of work on the development of electronics manufacturing and assembly at KNUST for building capacity towards Ghana’s economic development.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering