Author Topic: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine  (Read 16593 times)

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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #75 on: March 29, 2018, 03:27:10 am »
Pick and place is not a machine - it is a process. It is a process that is intended to automate a manual process that can be done by a person. The only reason to have it is to save time.

The only reason to have it is to save time.
The only reason to have it is to save time.
The only reason to have it is to save time.

The decision is not like a soldering iron, oscilloscope or CNC machine. For 15 years, I used a Weller WES51 soldering iron which is entry level and limited performance. Still, it was vastly better than using a match to solder wires and components. A cheap CNC machine, with all of its limitations, is vastly better than a chisel or Dremel tool. An entry-level oscilloscope is vastly better than just guessing what signals are in a wire.

The point is that those processes cannot be done at all without a minimum tool present designed for the job. In PCB assembly - you can do it by hand with very basic tools. You can speed up the process considerably with cheap additions like a stereo microscope, vacuum pen, parts trays, etc. You can speed it up further with organization and process planning. The next jump is to add a pick and place machine which, on the surface seems like it would amplify you speed dramatically. The problem is that the process is complicated and fiddly - it takes it's own time to accomplish. In general, it takes a lot of time to setup and verify. If you skimp on this process to save time - you will end up with wrong values and backward diodes that have to be re-worked by hand. Every minute that you spend goofing off with the P&P system is a minute that you could have been manually placing boards.

In my world, even with experience, it can take 4-5 hours to get a PCB setup and ready to roll. It may take 30min per PCB to hand assemble them with an hour to set up. So, in 5 hours I could hand assemble 8 PCB's or I could setup the machine and have 1 PCB. If I only needed 4 PCBs the P&P is CONSUMING time, not saving it. The time starts coming back after making 10-12 PCB's for most of what I do. If you have a slow machine with other limitations that only allow half your PCB to be assembled - you may never save any time at all. There are, the human factors that can be helpful. It is tedious work making 10 PCB's where the machine will offload the tedium.

A person is a pick and place machine, if you are going to buy a mechanized version just make sure it is actually better than you are.

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Offline IconicPCB

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #76 on: March 29, 2018, 07:41:50 am »
Can a human pick and place for four hours straight?

Adhesive is a MUST  in wave soldering of SMD assembly.

Wave soldering is an order of magnitude faster than reflow process.
 

Offline girts

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #77 on: March 29, 2018, 08:24:23 am »
The only reason to have it is to save time.
The only reason to have it is to save time.
The only reason to have it is to save time.
Time is money, money is the only reason why to go to job, no reason to waste time if nobody pays for it, only reason why we are making electronic stuff is money...

Definitely not right! (may be except United States). May be... some of us are doing all this just for fun?

Difference between child and adult is only one - cost of toys.
About OP promoted in 1st post - it's a toy. Like railway models, RC drones etc.
For educational purpose, to understand how steppers and machine vision works, what is SMT, how PCB's are assembled etc.
Nothing more.

Can a human pick and place for four hours straight?
Really no problems. With average speed of 500cph using manual placers mentioned some posts before.
Automatic PnP machine always has some limitations, manual PnP is much more flexible and covers all remaining components and demands. It is much better for prototypes or small batches.

Anyway, if somebody is going to load strip feeders into "automatic" PnP machine, reason is very questionable. Because it is much faster to place these components directly on PCB using manual placer.


 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #78 on: March 29, 2018, 08:58:04 am »
Can a human pick and place for four hours straight?
Yes, but they probably wouldn't want to
 
Quote
Adhesive is a MUST  in wave soldering of SMD assembly.
Quote
Yes, but who does that apart from consumer stuff with lots of through-hole ?
Can you wave solder BGAs, or DFNs, or even 0.5mm QFPs ?
Wave soldering is an order of magnitude faster than reflow process.
Soldering speed is rarely important as production rate is usually limited by pick & place.
 And reflow ovens are pipelined.
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Offline Koen

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #79 on: March 29, 2018, 09:01:30 am »
I feel sorry for the bad reception this is receiving. It's nice, it's cheap, it's convenient and it's a solution to some. At the very least, it would be a great starting point for the OpenPNP beginners.

Double-sided would be easily solved by replacing the flat tray on which the PCBs currently sit by two rails.

Hang in there Furkan, it's nice and it has a market. A few clients sharing their experience with it would probably help most.
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #80 on: March 29, 2018, 09:46:30 am »
Time is money, money is the only reason why to go to job, no reason to waste time if nobody pays for it, only reason why we are making electronic stuff is money...

Definitely not right! (may be except United States). May be... some of us are doing all this just for fun?

I think you are missing the point. If you pretend that you have an ideal pick and place system you will quickly learn that to save time, you have to make a lot of boards. If your machine is slow or unpredictable - you have to make a ton of boards to get your time back (if ever). If you are hoping for a fun project just to see if you can sort out a P&P system - great, this is perhaps a good option. I am not being difficult I am being realistic based on actual experience building a small business out of thin air and no money. I have been down this road with the blood, sweat, and tears to prove it. If I did it all over again and did not have the rare opportunity to get a commercial system - I would be looking at the manual assist systems or building my own manual assist system. That way I could earn enough money to buy a more or less professional system and then still have a nice manual setup as well.

How many hobbyists out there build so many PCB's that they would justify the complexity of introducing automation? It really has to be a LOT of PCB's before it makes sense from a time perspective (which is the only thing a P&P system does - it buys time). The only people I have met that can justify the time and money needed are the ones that have turned their hobby into a business. Even a small business like mine can justify it, but once you are in business - your perspective changes rapidly. Time becomes money.

All this is to say, that the market is tiny overall in my opinion. If I wound the clock back, I would probably buy something like this just for the challenge. I like messing with automation ideas for fun without regard for practicality. Not sure there are a lot of folks that have automation hobbies though, lol.

I feel sorry for the bad reception this is receiving. It's nice, it's cheap, it's convenient and it's a solution to some. At the very least, it would be a great starting point for the OpenPNP beginners.

Double-sided would be easily solved by replacing the flat tray on which the PCBs currently sit by two rails.

Hang in there Furkan, it's nice and it has a market. A few clients sharing their experience with it would probably help most.

I don't feel sorry for anyone.....the OP is getting a TON of feedback for free. That is hugely valuable.
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Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #81 on: March 29, 2018, 10:07:05 am »
I feel sorry for the bad reception this is receiving. It's nice, it's cheap, it's convenient and it's a solution to some. At the very least, it would be a great starting point for the OpenPNP beginners.

Double-sided would be easily solved by replacing the flat tray on which the PCBs currently sit by two rails.

Hang in there Furkan, it's nice and it has a market. A few clients sharing their experience with it would probably help most.
It's called constructive criticism. I at least am just contributing comments based on my experience of running a low-volume pick & place setup for several years.

IME most people who have not used a P&P system have unrealistic expectations of how useful it will be in practice, and little understanding of what factors make it more or less useful.

For the record I'd love to see a viable system with low entry cost and good software ( in particular that streamlines the setup process) ,  realistic specs ( i.e. forget 0201s) that can be upgraded as required to be more capable  (proper feeders, decent assembly area size), and not a dead-end that only serves a small sector of a small niche market.





 
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Offline ar__systems

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #82 on: March 29, 2018, 10:08:53 am »
Quote
Really no problems. With average speed of 500cph using manual placers mentioned some posts before.
It depends. If I have to place 100 boards, 10 parts per board, and BOM of 5 lines, sure. I'll do that manually in a couple of hours.
If I have to place 5 boards, 200 parts per board, and BOM of 50 lines, of which 40 are 0603 - no thanks. I'll load up an SMT, even if it take more time place. At least I'll know that every resistors is there it was supposed to be.
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #83 on: March 29, 2018, 10:18:26 am »
If I have to place 5 boards, 200 parts per board, and BOM of 50 lines, of which 40 are 0603 - no thanks. I'll load up an SMT, even if it take more time place. At least I'll know that every resistors is there it was supposed to be.

Exactly. I can't reiterate how many times I swear when I have to hand place something like this board full of SOD882, 0402 and a few damn bloody SOT883 and a boat load of 0.5mm QFN/DFN, totally ~45 lines:



I've made 2 revisions of this board, each time 2 copies, and every time I PnP this, I want to kill the fwit who designed this board, which happens to be myself.

PS. Bonus point if you can find the obscenity.
 

Offline Koen

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #84 on: March 29, 2018, 10:27:48 am »
I don't feel sorry for anyone.....
Ho how fast people change. People feeling sorry for you is the only reason you won an extra scope. Think about it.

It's called constructive criticism.
No it isn't. You two are simple on repeat about how it doesn't suit *your* needs and might as well be considered useless to everyone.
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #85 on: March 29, 2018, 10:59:54 am »
I don't feel sorry for anyone.....
Ho how fast people change. People feeling sorry for you is the only reason you won an extra scope. Think about it.

I feel sorry for people that are faced with an unfortunate problem. The OP is getting real feedback from at least two people that have gone down this path. That is a very fortunate place to be.
On the scope contest, I was faced with an unfortunate problem and many people, including Keysight clearly had some sympathy. I have been extremely grateful ever since. I have not changed at all, but rather used the result of that sympathy to rapidly grow my business.
The OP has the option to listen to a couple of real-world professionals to adjust their approach or not.

It's called constructive criticism.
No it isn't. You two are simple on repeat about how it doesn't suit *your* needs and might as well be considered useless to everyone.

Yes, it is. Neither Mike nor myself are saying this is useless for everyone, just pointing out some critical points that can be used to analyze the market size and reception. To get this feedback is hugely beneficial to someone creating a new product. If the OP thinks that the market is bigger than reality - this is the time to learn about that. If the OP is unrealistic about capability, now is the time to discover that. The more criticism the better. If the OP cannot process constructive criticism, they are not cut out to bring a new system to the market.

Lots of companies pay a lot of money to get market research.
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Offline girts

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #86 on: March 29, 2018, 01:21:01 pm »

Yes, it is. Neither Mike nor myself are saying this is useless for everyone, just pointing out some critical points that can be used to analyze the market size and reception. To get this feedback is hugely beneficial to someone creating a new product. If the OP thinks that the market is bigger than reality - this is the time to learn about that. If the OP is unrealistic about capability, now is the time to discover that. The more criticism the better. If the OP cannot process constructive criticism, they are not cut out to bring a new system to the market.

Lots of companies pay a lot of money to get market research.
Discussion is a little "out of bounds", not only OP related.
OP is most likely a  good starting point for a little money. Just to understand what's really necessary in somebody's garage. Because main problem in this market is that most of things isn't possible to see and test in real life before they are already purchased and arrived. Of course, lot of them are useless ...
BTW - don't know any person who started his way with Lecroy 50GHz scope.
 

Offline girts

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #87 on: March 29, 2018, 01:47:03 pm »
It depends. If I have to place 100 boards, 10 parts per board, and BOM of 5 lines, sure. I'll do that manually in a couple of hours.
to set up 5 feeders and load BOM for 10 components takes 1/2 a hour with some coffee breaks. To place 1000 components with PnP machine takes another 1/2 of hour.

If I have to place 5 boards, 200 parts per board, and BOM of 50 lines, of which 40 are 0603 - no thanks. I'll load up an SMT, even if it take more time place. At least I'll know that every resistors is there it was supposed to be.
Same 1000 components, but must set up 50 feeders, most of them for 5 unique parts which are not in reels but strips instead... Ohh.. I would prefer manual placement instead. Or combined, because most likely design consists of a lot of 0.1uF capacitors and some basic resistors already loaded into PnP.  Of course, if there are only 5 boards necessary, not more in far or near future.
And... most likely this design is not for single PnP, you will need a line of 2 except if you already have TWS with more than hundred reels loaded (but missing tray exchanger and conveyor..).
 |O
What if you place wrong reel into feeder? 50 feeders, very simple to make mistake.
0603 is not a problem for manual PnP with camera. Smaller ones are.
 

Offline ar__systems

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #88 on: March 29, 2018, 05:58:30 pm »
What if you place wrong reel into feeder? 50 feeders, very simple to make mistake.

You need to realize that "load into the feeder" step is common for both manual and machine assembly. Yes it is an easy mistake to make, so knowing that you devise a procedure following which you will reduce the risk of having an uncorrected error to a minimum.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2018, 06:06:33 pm by ar__systems »
 

Offline ar__systems

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #89 on: March 29, 2018, 06:10:50 pm »
to set up 5 feeders and load BOM for 10 components takes 1/2 a hour with some coffee breaks. To place 1000 components with PnP machine takes another 1/2 of hour.

That's not the point. I never said I'd prefer manual over machine for that kind of job. I just said it is relatively easy to do manually, reliably.
 

Offline ar__systems

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #90 on: March 29, 2018, 06:21:48 pm »
As far as OP goes, one can live without an SMT for a long time. Or forever. Unlike a scope, which you can't live without. For small boards it is easy to make hand assembled prototype, and for any volume it is easier to outsource it. So yeah, SMT equipment falls into toy/luxury category.

It is also need to be understood that you need more equipment to run any kind of mass production: you need a printer, you need an oven, and you need an exhaust ventilation for the oven. You also need space.
 

Offline Kjelt

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #91 on: March 29, 2018, 07:04:43 pm »
grow my business.
The OP has the option to listen to a couple of real-world professionals to adjust their approach or not

Quote
that can be used to analyze the market size and reception. To get this feedback is hugely beneficial to someone creating a new product


No doubt you mean well but you are unable to see the market for this thing because all arguments are made of starting a business, pro machine this, that, stop it already. You clearly suffer from Tunnel vision.

What about grandpa radio amateur from the 60s/70s that loves to start with smt but his hands shake too much to be able to place a 0603 ?

What about the sw dev that likes to play with openpnp but the machines were too darn expensive?

How about the hobbieist that loves to play with toys but $4k or more is not fun anymore he will get arguments with his spouse but $1k would be okish?

You can burn down 60% of all the stuff on this forum with those arguments incl. all Daves products.
Probably we can even criticize your products or are they perfect? If yes then you made them  too expensive.
Let him try to make his market share , this thing has some major selling points like OpenPNP support and unbeatable price. How many millions of times have people asking the Neoden fab to do this? Not going to happen from them, do you burn them to the ground? You should with their cripple sw that is not even protected from using wrong fw for different machines.
 
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Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #92 on: March 29, 2018, 08:10:56 pm »
It depends. If I have to place 100 boards, 10 parts per board, and BOM of 5 lines, sure. I'll do that manually in a couple of hours.
to set up 5 feeders and load BOM for 10 components takes 1/2 a hour with some coffee breaks. To place 1000 components with PnP machine takes another 1/2 of hour.
This is why a good workflow is important. On my machine, to set up a job with 5 BOM lines would take maybe 10 mins at most, including loading feeders. Parts that are already loaded in feeders take near-zero time.

My PCB and P&P libraries are co-ordinated in terms of component rotation relative to the taping, so that for parts I've ever used before, I don't even need to check orientation as I know it's right. I also include "fid" components in the PCB design, so these get auto-imported. The only job setup is to tell the machine where the PCB is on the placement area. I can't emphasise enough how important this is.
Another extremely useful thing I've found is to use a handheld gamepad for machine control while setting up, so you can keep your eyes 100% on what you are doing.

The placement time doesn't really matter, within reason, as long as the machine can be left to get on with it with minimal fiddling, as you can be getting on with other things. This is why it is important that the machine can deal sensibly with feeder errors by carrying on with as much as it can before stopping to get the user to fix everything in one go.
It does need to be fast enough that a larger job doesn't take all day. I'd say something like 500cph would be an absolute  minimum sensible rate.
 
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Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #93 on: March 29, 2018, 08:18:43 pm »
What about grandpa radio amateur from the 60s/70s that loves to start with smt but his hands shake too much to be able to place a 0603 ?
He would probably have at least as many issues setting up a P&P, peeling cover tapes without parts going everywhere etc.
An auto P&P is definitely the wrong solution to this particular problem

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Offline soubitos

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #94 on: March 29, 2018, 11:02:38 pm »
Say my modules picked up in sales and i needed not much, 100pcs a month..
If i go pcba their cost would be in the range of 1-2$ ea easy..
I am now hand assembling them right?
So, if a 1k machine could take over not all but resistors and capacitors only it would break even in a year or less no matter what... a 1k pnp handling part of the job the most intensive and repetitive part, releasing me to do other things and so on... now thing about having to assemble 10 different designs each month, 100pcs each... it could make a huge difference without breaking the bank at all.. it could pay itself in less than a year.. i call this a good investment... especially since, while it pays itself i can potentially make more money cover more orders, faster and so on... this means i get closer to having more orders, more workload for a pnp machine i can now get another similar or if it all goes so well, i can invest on a more expensive and more capable model having a first hand experience of the cheaper basic one...
If the machine/tool can pay for itself over a relatively short period, its a non-brainer when the only other alternative would be an investment 10x as much or outsourcing the job altogether loosing money in the process and demanding more capital etc...
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #95 on: March 29, 2018, 11:24:33 pm »
Say my modules picked up in sales and i needed not much, 100pcs a month..
If i go pcba their cost would be in the range of 1-2$ ea easy..
That would seem a bargain compared your time to do it in-house.
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Offline soubitos

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #96 on: March 30, 2018, 12:04:05 am »
Say my modules picked up in sales and i needed not much, 100pcs a month..
If i go pcba their cost would be in the range of 1-2$ ea easy..
That would seem a bargain compared your time to do it in-house.
It is a fair price i recon BUT.. what i'd spend to have 300pcs assembled would pay of my own cheap pnp, i dont think one would buy a 10k machine or more to make 300pcs a year but 1k machine to help you do it? easy choice for me
 

Offline sokoloff

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #97 on: March 30, 2018, 12:10:05 am »
It depends. If I have to place 100 boards, 10 parts per board, and BOM of 5 lines, sure. I'll do that manually in a couple of hours.
to set up 5 feeders and load BOM for 10 components takes 1/2 a hour with some coffee breaks. To place 1000 components with PnP machine takes another 1/2 of hour.
To place 100 boards in 30 minutes, you need to have a board cycle time of 18 seconds. That's aggressive without automated feeding. (Presumably anyone considering the subject PnP isn't looking to add a new placer to their existing auto-fed line...)

Even a panelized board that's 10-up, you still need to be removing the completed and placing a new stenciled board even 3 minutes.
 

Offline TassiloH

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #98 on: March 30, 2018, 12:20:45 am »
I have been reading a lot about the possible or impossible time savings of a PnP machine for prototyping etc. For my niche, the hardware of the Openplacer would probably be just perfect, I am just not sure if the existing or future software capabilities would do the job:

I am doing a very small amount of boards, mostly one or two identical at a time, but various types. So far I haven't out-sourced production, because the involved preparation and communication time seems longer than doing hand placing. A conventional PnP machine would have to be huge and costly to save me any time, because all the various boards together have hundreds of different passives alone, and I guess if I'd have to load feeders differently for every board run that would take more time than hand placing and be just a waste of time and money.
What I would really like is a machine plus sofware which starts placing, tells me "I need five 12k1 resistors, and next I need the 27k", I take the cut tape, slide it into a holder (and peel the cover off), tell the machine which holder compartment, and the machine aligns to the cut tape position by vision and places the components, while I fish the next displayed value out of storage.
Some common components could remain in a holder (like common decoupling caps).
That would speed things up considerably (taking components out of storage and placing would happen in parallel; I wouldn't have to look for the proper pads to place things to, which gets VERY annoying over time).
I don't care about placing odd-shaped or tall components automatically, the few tall inductors, capacitors etc. I could place by hand just fine. Precision requirements wouldn't be high (mostly 0805, but some flat pack and QFN chips with 0.5mm pin pitch, but I could even place them manually).

So for me the hardware of the OpenPlacer (epspecially with the slide-in cut-tape holders and vision) would probably do fine, but I don't know if on the software side it will ever allow such an "interactive" mode - and without that there is no time (or comfort) to gain for my niche because of the many different components.
 

Offline ar__systems

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Re: Open Placer A New Affordable PCB Assembly Machine
« Reply #99 on: March 30, 2018, 12:43:21 am »
So, if a 1k machine could take over not all but resistors and capacitors only it would break even in a year or less no matter what... a 1k pnp handling part of the job the most intensive and repetitive part, releasing me to do other things and so on... now thing about having to assemble 10 different designs each month, 100pcs each... it could make a huge difference without breaking the bank at all.. it could pay itself in less than a year.. i call this a good investment... especially since, while it pays itself i can potentially make more money cover more orders, faster and so on... this means i get closer to having more orders, more workload for a pnp machine i can now get another similar or if it all goes so well, i can invest on a more expensive and more capable model having a first hand experience of the cheaper basic one...
If the machine/tool can pay for itself over a relatively short period, its a non-brainer when the only other alternative would be an investment 10x as much or outsourcing the job altogether loosing money in the process and demanding more capital etc...

No 1K machine will get make you better off making 100 boards/month, not in any meaningful way. Maybe if you have a free labour to babysit the machine, you can decide you are better off compared to outsourced PCBA.

I would order 1000 boards assembled in China, and sell them over a year. I've been doing so for years.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2018, 12:49:52 am by ar__systems »
 


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