Author Topic: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine  (Read 15112 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline KL27x

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2523
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #125 on: March 30, 2018, 10:18:55 pm »
I have happened to notice that every one of the tiny SMD components I have ever used can be picked up with a magnet. That is one way to clean out a connected array of trays.

I'm sure you can come up with a better tool for your specific tray sizes, but the ghetto version is to just wrap a strong magnet in a plastic film, dip it in the tray to lift out the parts, and then unwrap the plastic film over a container which you can now pour back into a storage container.
 

Online Kjelt

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4902
  • Country: nl
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #126 on: March 30, 2018, 10:56:54 pm »
If that is true an electromagnet would be ideal.   :-+
 

Offline KE5FX

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 894
  • Country: us
    • KE5FX.COM
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #127 on: March 31, 2018, 07:47:40 am »
Tray picking has some other challenges as well: dust, hairs other contaminations.

I don't see that as a problem at the 0402 level and up, because (once again, sigh) I'm not Foxconn, and no ISO9000 auditors are inspecting my prototypes and pilot builds.  Close the trays when not in use, or simply cover them with a tarp.

Quote
The order of the trays for each setup is also costing time.

The gantry should have enough reach to cover many dozens of trays.  Set them up once, refill them when necessary, otherwise forget them.

My biggest concern is that whatever picks up the parts had better be perfect, or it will occasionally drop them inadvertently.  If there's even a small possibility of dropping a 1M resistor into a neighboring compartment full of 100 ohm resistors, that would be annoying.  The whole compartment would have to be tossed out.
 

Offline jmelson

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 738
  • Country: us
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #128 on: March 31, 2018, 08:08:18 am »

My biggest concern is that whatever picks up the parts had better be perfect, or it will occasionally drop them inadvertently.  If there's even a small possibility of dropping a 1M resistor into a neighboring compartment full of 100 ohm resistors, that would be annoying.  The whole compartment would have to be tossed out.
An EXCELLENT point!  My P&P machine is pretty reliable, and tries to dump all parts with weak vacuum into the dump bin.  But, still, when I get done with a modest build run, there are a few parts strewn here and there on the machine.  With tape feeders, it is VERY unlikely any dropped parts would end up in the right spot to be picked up.  I can really see it happening with loose part trays.

Jon
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 11415
  • Country: gb
    • Mike's Electric Stuff
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #129 on: March 31, 2018, 08:18:44 am »
Tray picking has some other challenges as well: dust, hairs other contaminations.

I don't see that as a problem at the 0402 level and up, because (once again, sigh) I'm not Foxconn, and no ISO9000 auditors are inspecting my prototypes and pilot builds.  Close the trays when not in use, or simply cover them with a tarp.

Quote
The order of the trays for each setup is also costing time.

The gantry should have enough reach to cover many dozens of trays.  Set them up once, refill them when necessary, otherwise forget them.

My biggest concern is that whatever picks up the parts had better be perfect, or it will occasionally drop them inadvertently.  If there's even a small possibility of dropping a 1M resistor into a neighboring compartment full of 100 ohm resistors, that would be annoying.  The whole compartment would have to be tossed out.
If you have vacuum sensor you could at least detect this and stop. However once it's picked, it's unlikely to drop, especially as it's already used vision to make sure it's picked centrally 
Youtube channel:Taking wierd stuff apart. Very apart.
Mike's Electric Stuff: High voltage, vintage electronics etc.
Day Job: Mostly LEDs
 

Offline rx8pilot

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3336
  • Country: us
  • If you want more money, be more valuable.
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #130 on: March 31, 2018, 11:39:15 am »
So back to the Open Placer.....

I looked at the feeders and have some practical comments. My opinions are not random - they are based on actual experience of assembling boards manually and with P&P as well as designing and CNC machining my own cut tape holders over the past few years.

 It appears there are small dovetails that wedge the tapes in place. While this is a clever and low-cost design, it will have a critical flaw  - stability. Tapes are all thicknesses and have variations in width. This scheme will nearly guarantee that the tape will be very tight or too loose for many tapes. When the tape is too tight and the user is struggling with it, it is VERY easy to bump all the parts out of the other tapes. Any user will have to load a single lane while not disturbing the others and this is not easy after the cover tape is removed.

When a tape is even slightly loose, the pickup process makes the other parts jump out of their pockets. Hand placing a bunch of parts back into the tape is not productive.

The other major issue is that they are fixed width. The ones I see in the pictures have 10x 8mm lanes. This is great if you have 10 8mm tapes, but the idea quickly becomes a problem if you have 11 8mm tapes. You have to waste a lot of very valuable space with 9 empty lanes. In my experience - many of my boards have a bunch of 8mm (not in multiples of 10), some 12mm, some 16mm, and 1-2 24mm. The feeders really need to be individual lanes to accommodate a practical number of parts.

My first cut tape holders for manual assembly and P&P were fixed groups and the limitation was immediately obvious. I then started making adjustable cut tape trays that are adjusted in 4mm increments and had clamps to hold any tape rigidly. I rarely have parts jumping out and I can mix any width tape either 6" or 12" on the holder. This was a dramatic improvement in how I use my P&P because I can get 20+ unique parts on a single cut tape tray. I have trays for production boards and open ones for prototypes. My machine has room for two trays so I can swap 40 unique parts in a few minutes with any combination of parts. The clamps on top allow tapes to be swapped easily without disturbing the adjacent tapes.

Stability and flexibility of the feeders are a crucial element of success. I have spent a lot of time working this particular problem - cut tape holders for manual and P&P processes. It is not trivial.

On the Open Placer Indigogo - you can see one of the test videos. The system picks up a few parts, and then one jumps out of the tape. These are the things that force an operator to watch the machine and correct issues all the time.

The images show some small parts being placed but the consistency is predictably not so good. You can get away with some misalignment, but at some point, your passives will tombstone. The user either fixes this before or after the reflow - taking time, a steady hand, a microscope. The smaller the part, the more sensitive they are.

So - feeders are crucial. A poor feeder setup can send an otherwise capable machine to the bottom of a river. If you are thinking that you will simply push the GO! button, walk away, and come back to an assembled PCB - you need good feeders.


For the double sided PCB's - It is a fairly simple setup. For irregular shaped double-sided, it requires a bit more consideration. I designed special trays for double-sided single PCB's that are irregular shape. I add a photo of that setup as well.


Factory400 - the worlds smallest factory. http://www.youtube.com/c/Factory400
 

Offline ar__systems

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 446
  • Country: ca
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #131 on: March 31, 2018, 03:40:22 pm »
I'm making a similar concept of strip feeder, but slightly different. You appear to be using 4mm walls separating your tapes. In order to maximize the space usage, I'm using only 1mm walls between the tapes. I originally intended to have it machined but the design was never ready for that, so in the meantime I made one entirely 3d printed. Some improvement is required, but it already works quite well. Due to the high tape density, I can place 30 of 8mm tapes on 1 jedec tray size feeder.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 03:41:59 pm by ar__systems »
 

Offline rx8pilot

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3336
  • Country: us
  • If you want more money, be more valuable.
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #132 on: March 31, 2018, 04:04:41 pm »
The edges of the tapes are separated by 3mm to make room for the clamp screws.

The design has some rotten flaws. While I have sketched out some nice improvements, I cannot find the time to machine a new system.

I would have to start selling them if I put in much more effort. Can you post your design?

Short and misplld from my mobile......

Factory400 - the worlds smallest factory. http://www.youtube.com/c/Factory400
 

Offline ar__systems

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 446
  • Country: ca
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #133 on: March 31, 2018, 04:16:30 pm »
I'll make a pic when I go to the office. I find I need to make the width of the lane slightly larger that 8mm, perhaps 8.15. Due to tapes being not exactly 8.00, it is difficult to slide the tapes into the lanes.
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 11415
  • Country: gb
    • Mike's Electric Stuff
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #134 on: March 31, 2018, 07:30:04 pm »
For strip holders, the super-cheap solution is just thin double sided sticky tape onto a smooth surface. You could print 4mm guidelines and an index grid on the surface ( e.g. make it from a PCB)
Not suggesting this as an ideal solution, but useful as a way to have a minimum entry cost, with strip trays as an upgrade path.
Youtube channel:Taking wierd stuff apart. Very apart.
Mike's Electric Stuff: High voltage, vintage electronics etc.
Day Job: Mostly LEDs
 

Offline ar__systems

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 446
  • Country: ca
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #135 on: March 31, 2018, 11:41:08 pm »
For strip holders, the super-cheap solution is just thin double sided sticky tape onto a smooth surface. You could print 4mm guidelines and an index grid on the surface ( e.g. make it from a PCB)
Not suggesting this as an ideal solution, but useful as a way to have a minimum entry cost, with strip trays as an upgrade path.
Yeah, it is super cheap, but it is also super lousy. Probably anybody who wanted a strip feeder tried this :) It is only marginally better than nothing.
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 11415
  • Country: gb
    • Mike's Electric Stuff
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #136 on: April 01, 2018, 01:02:56 am »
For strip holders, the super-cheap solution is just thin double sided sticky tape onto a smooth surface. You could print 4mm guidelines and an index grid on the surface ( e.g. make it from a PCB)
Not suggesting this as an ideal solution, but useful as a way to have a minimum entry cost, with strip trays as an upgrade path.
Yeah, it is super cheap, but it is also super lousy. Probably anybody who wanted a strip feeder tried this :) It is only marginally better than nothing.
I do it all the time whan hand placing, the only issues I've had is the occasional plastic tape with holes in the pockets that can make parts stick. With alignment guides ( maybe use a PCB with holes, so you can pin the strips for alignment) I think it would be useable, even if only as an "overflow" for odd parts when you run out of better tape holders.
 
Youtube channel:Taking wierd stuff apart. Very apart.
Mike's Electric Stuff: High voltage, vintage electronics etc.
Day Job: Mostly LEDs
 

Offline girts

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 28
  • Country: lv
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #137 on: April 01, 2018, 02:49:23 pm »
 

Offline ar__systems

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 446
  • Country: ca
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #138 on: April 01, 2018, 03:37:47 pm »
It is ok for larger machines. The price is outrageous though :)

From my experience it is not perfect. Since the side groves are fixed width, and there is no tape support from the bottom, it can't work for both plastic and paper tapes. Either those grooves are to small to accommodate the paper, or they are too large to hold plastic tapes. 
 

Offline l0wside

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 111
  • Country: de
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #139 on: April 05, 2018, 01:23:55 am »
Adding my 2ct. I am selling small sensor modules (PCB about 2x2in, roughly 30 components), low volume (three-digit-numbers). When I started, I thought it to be a good idea to do the PnP myself and got myself a China PnP machine.

After about two weeks of fiddling, I gave up. The machine was great at placing 0603 passives from cardboard tape. Plastic tapes did not work, as the push feeder simply ripped the feeder holes apart. With the extremely limited space in my basement, I could only barely reach the north side, where the feeders for the larger (and therefore more cumbersome) components are, so fixing a broken cover tape (not an uncommon issue) was a lesson in gymnastics. Placing .5mm components worked so-so. High components (electrolytes) are a no-go, as the feeders do not support them (and Murphy makes sure that when the head picks up the second cap, it will run over the first, already placed, cap). The Chinese SW would stop the PnP process once the bottom camera did not recognize a component.

In the meantime I have sold the machine to someone who already runs two larger PnP machines and wanted a cheap one for sample runs. He claims it works fine for him - gotta believe it.

Bottom line is: with more time, more space and more experience, I might have fared better. But after two weeks of fiddling, my patience started to wear out. I could have placed a lot of samples during these two weeks. Be ready to invest a lot of TLC before the machine saves you more time than it costs you, and expect to do constant babysitting.
If you invest 2k$ (or 2kEUR) in a student from the college next to you, he can populate a lot of boards for you...
 

Offline rx8pilot

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3336
  • Country: us
  • If you want more money, be more valuable.
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #140 on: April 05, 2018, 07:41:52 am »
I had some major challenges with college students assembling PCBs. High marks in class, but still could not figure out polarity on caps or an anode on diodes. None of the 3 that where with us for a summer internship could manage to solder anything without cooking it to death.

Not saying they are all that way, but boy can they do a lot of damage in a short period of time without the same babysitting you would need with a pick and place system.

Short and misplld from my mobile......

Factory400 - the worlds smallest factory. http://www.youtube.com/c/Factory400
 

Offline IconicPCB

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 944
  • Country: au
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #141 on: April 05, 2018, 08:06:38 am »
Furkan,

Please check Your private messages.
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 11415
  • Country: gb
    • Mike's Electric Stuff
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #142 on: April 05, 2018, 08:09:57 am »
I had some major challenges with college students assembling PCBs. High marks in class, but still could not figure out polarity on caps or an anode on diodes. None of the 3 that where with us for a summer internship could manage to solder anything without cooking it to death.

In every assembly subcontractor I've ever been to, almost all the assembly workers are middle-aged women.
For routine soldering work, you need someone with good manual skills, not technical knowledge or youthful enthusiasm
Youtube channel:Taking wierd stuff apart. Very apart.
Mike's Electric Stuff: High voltage, vintage electronics etc.
Day Job: Mostly LEDs
 

Offline rx8pilot

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3336
  • Country: us
  • If you want more money, be more valuable.
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #143 on: April 05, 2018, 08:23:27 am »
In every assembly subcontractor I've ever been to, almost all the assembly workers are middle-aged women.
For routine soldering work, you need someone with good manual skills, not technical knowledge or youthful enthusiasm

The local (Los Angeles) assembly shops that I have visited can be described the same way. Dominated by females 30-50 years old.
Factory400 - the worlds smallest factory. http://www.youtube.com/c/Factory400
 

Offline Furkan

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 12
  • Country: tr
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #144 on: April 07, 2018, 11:26:44 pm »
Dear all

The Indiegogo campaign is almost over. We will continue our support from Dallas, TX and TURKEY afterwards. We will keep spare parts and some devices in stock.

There were several critics about Open Placer, which we evaluated intensely. Today we discussed with Kerim and I guess we need to clarify some issues. The majority of the critics were constructive but we do not agree with some of them. And I have to explain some points about double sided assembly and max. component height.

First of all, I have to point out that we were mistaken about double sided assembly. I answered very quickly without thinking much. The distance between the nozzle and the PCB holder is a little more than 22 mm. The 6 mm component height limit was due to the feeders. You can easily place a PCB over 2x3 mm = 6 mm thick Neodmium magnets. The PCB holder is made from steel so the magnets are quite strong to hold the PCB. You can place 6 mm to the bottom side and 6 mm to the top side and still have more than 6 mm distance to bring new components. Today, I would like to apologize about my comment that Open Placer does not support double sided assembly.

Open Placer does support double sided assembly.

Secondly, we never guaranteed 402 and 201 assembly, but we received so many critics about them. During the campaign we tried to prepare a new nozzle for 402 assembly but at the end the video about 402 and 201 assembly was done with our smallest nozzle with 0.8 mm outer diameter. The inner diameter was very hard to measure, but it was around 0.5 mm. The fifth 201 component that couldn't be assembled in the video was due to the impact that removed it from the feeder while picking the fourth component. The picking speed of the nozzle can be reduced to decrease the magnitude of the impact. This can be configured by users.

Thirdly, the bottom camera views a region of 35 mm x 35 mm and its resolution is 640 x 480. So, 201 components occupies only 20 - 25 pixels. It is very hard to determine the occurrence and position with the current camera.

Next, the paper and plastic strips do not have completely straight surfaces. The small stretch on their surface enables tight assembly. The feeder structure of Open Placer works with both thick paper strips and thinner plastic ones, at most of the cases.

Next, the proposed feeder alternatives are not applicable with OpenPnp as much as we now, since the strip holes are blocked by the pieces placed to fix the strips. The setup time for that design should be quite high since the holes are missing which is required to determine the correct position in one of the axis. Using fiducials, small magnets to fix the PCB (for double sided assembly) and defining the components in feeders with OpenPnp seems to be the fastest way to initialize PCB assembly.

We have to invest more to build a machine that supports 201 assembly. At the beginning of the campaign we were expecting proper 603 assembly would be enough for majority, so we didn't make 402 tests. We were busy preparing the machines for May delivery, so we couldn't spend enough time for the critics. We are almost sure that Open Placer supports proper and reliable 402 assembly but we couldn't make enough tests about it. We will wait for the feedback from the ones who purchased it.

The prices will definitely increase after the campaign (The discounts from the list price will be lowered), since we made extremely small profit from this campaign with a lot of effort. I guess we managed to introduce Open Placer to the world.

I even don't like the poor advertising of our campaign but it was our first campaign at Indiegogo and we are engineers. Our marketing capabilities were very limited. We listened the critics and managed to announce our campaign to larger crowds every day.

I would like to thank every one of you for your support and constructive critics.

Furkan
The Open Placer Team





 

Offline rx8pilot

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3336
  • Country: us
  • If you want more money, be more valuable.
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #145 on: April 08, 2018, 07:19:56 am »
Good luck with the endeavor.

Short and misplld from my mobile......

Factory400 - the worlds smallest factory. http://www.youtube.com/c/Factory400
 

Offline jmelson

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 738
  • Country: us
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #146 on: April 11, 2018, 05:17:10 am »
Adding my 2ct. I am selling small sensor modules (PCB about 2x2in, roughly 30 components), low volume (three-digit-numbers). When I started, I thought it to be a good idea to do the PnP myself and got myself a China PnP machine.

After about two weeks of fiddling, I gave up. The machine was great at placing 0603 passives from cardboard tape. Plastic tapes did not work, as the push feeder simply ripped the feeder holes apart. With the extremely limited space in my basement, I could only barely reach the north side, where the feeders for the larger (and therefore more cumbersome) components are, so fixing a broken cover tape (not an uncommon issue) was a lesson in gymnastics. Placing .5mm components worked so-so. High components (electrolytes) are a no-go, as the feeders do not support them (and Murphy makes sure that when the head picks up the second cap, it will run over the first, already placed, cap). The Chinese SW would stop the PnP process once the bottom camera did not recognize a component.
Very useful to hear all this.  I can compare it to my used Philips CSM84 machine.  It will handle parts up to 6.5 mm tall (if you could command the travel path of the head it could do more, but they don't give you that option.)  Of course, 6.5mm parts would logically only come on wider tape, never seen an 8 mm tape with more than about 1 - 1.5 mm part height.  (I'm thinking of SOT23 transistors and some diodes.)  I've almost never seen torn sprocket holes, but then the Yamaha feeders use the return spring to advance the tape.  If something binds up, the feeder just stops advancing the ratchet.  That does happen from time to time.  The only feeder problem that drives me nuts is 0.1uF caps in paper tapes.  These have inconsistent cover tape glue, so there are spots on the tape where it won't advance.  I put one, or even, two, C-clamps on the tail of the component tape to give it more pull.  Ugly, but it works!

Anyway, I do babysit the machine,  I am applying paste to boards, and putting them in the oven, so just constantly circulating around the area and keeping an eye on the machine.

Jon
 

Offline sokoloff

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 716
  • Country: us
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #147 on: April 11, 2018, 05:54:01 am »
We have to invest more to build a machine that supports 201 assembly. At the beginning of the campaign we were expecting proper 603 assembly would be enough for majority, so we didn't make 402 tests. We were busy preparing the machines for May delivery, so we couldn't spend enough time for the critics. We are almost sure that Open Placer supports proper and reliable 402 assembly but we couldn't make enough tests about it. We will wait for the feedback from the ones who purchased it.
Congrats on getting to where you are!

I would think long and hard about whether the investment to get this class of machine (and class of buyer) down to 0201.

How many people have actual money in their hand, ready to give it you, and will do so but only do so if the machine does 0201? My wager is that not many people would even say that they are in that situation and, of the people who say they're in that situation, fewer than 1/3rd of those will end up buying if you deliver 0201. The other 2/3 will forget, decide to not buy anything, balk at the higher price, find another excuse why the new machine isn't good enough for them, etc.
 

Offline IconicPCB

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 944
  • Country: au
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #148 on: April 11, 2018, 06:24:08 am »
Sokolof gives good advice.

Offer a solution which has been clearly identified; forget about the professional tire kickers.

They go telling you what they think, gives them a sense of self importance.

Gives You a feeling of inadequacy and drives you to offer a solution in search of a problem.

A typical trap so many engineers fall into.

I wish You good luck in Your endeavors,
 
The following users thanked this post: mrpackethead

Offline l0wside

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 111
  • Country: de
Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #149 on: April 12, 2018, 12:31:28 am »
I could not agree more. For your target market (somwhere in the blurred zone between ambitious hobbyist and small business), 0603 is likely standard, 0402 happens occasionally, and 0201 completely out of scope. Better get it right for your customers than over-optimizing for something exotic while losing the big picture.
Double-sided PCBs, however, are a must.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf