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Electronics => Manufacturing & Assembly => Topic started by: Spikee on December 15, 2015, 11:27:43 am

Title: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Spikee on December 15, 2015, 11:27:43 am
Has anyone used or even have the new neoden4 pick and place machine?
http://www.neodentech.eu/contents/en-uk/d8_NEODEN4.html (http://www.neodentech.eu/contents/en-uk/d8_NEODEN4.html)

Looks like a reasonable pick and place for the 7.5K. But bad software can make it a expensive paperweight.

I have the liteplacer pick and place and it actually works quite good but no feeders is becoming a problem.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on December 15, 2015, 07:47:18 pm
I will get a chance to use one within a few weeks and will report back with how well it works(or doesn't!).
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Spikee on December 16, 2015, 10:14:54 am
Neoden has sent met the training videos. That software release looks quite basic and not as refined as you would expect from a 10k device.
Would be best if it was open source but I do not think that will happen.

While the vision operators are a bit better than the ones on the liteplacer. The UI of the liteplacer is better so is the assigment from csv to pnp feeder is better.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on December 17, 2015, 03:32:04 am
I expect to be there when one is unpacked on Friday.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: jc101 on December 18, 2015, 09:54:03 am
 :popcorn:

Be interested to see what people discover...
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on December 18, 2015, 10:01:29 am
I assume that price doesn't include feeeders

aaargh - english person reading Chinglish script...!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4P7DDSTXIQo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4P7DDSTXIQo)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on December 18, 2015, 10:13:29 am
More info here :
http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4903&p=62429 (http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4903&p=62429)
Prices for the feeders are:
60USD/Pcs(8MM)
75USD/Pcs(12mm)
90USD/Pcs(16mm)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Spikee on December 18, 2015, 11:25:08 am
7.5k euro:
Basic version with pcb holder and set of 8 tape feeders and vibratory stick feeder
Complete with stand, build-in pc and set of monitor, keyboard and mouse.

8.5k euro:
Version with conveyor for pcb transport and set of 8 tape feeders and vibratory stick feeder
Complete with stand, build-in pc and set of monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Machine is available at your local dealer.
CE approval is done around the end of JAN
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on December 19, 2015, 03:37:06 am
Machine was stuck in customs today, will be delivered on Monday.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on December 19, 2015, 06:53:44 am
Has anyone used or even have the new neoden4 pick and place machine?
http://www.neodentech.eu/contents/en-uk/d8_NEODEN4.html (http://www.neodentech.eu/contents/en-uk/d8_NEODEN4.html)

Looks like a reasonable pick and place for the 7.5K. But bad software can make it a expensive paperweight.

I have the liteplacer pick and place and it actually works quite good but no feeders is becoming a problem.
I have been machining some feeders for my Quad IVC that will probably work on Lite Placer. When I finish, I will share the design.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on December 19, 2015, 11:55:39 am
More info here :
http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4903&p=62429 (http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4903&p=62429)
Prices for the feeders are:
60USD/Pcs(8MM)
75USD/Pcs(12mm)
90USD/Pcs(16mm)
If they sell them seperately, these would probably be a good choice for P&P DIYers.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on December 19, 2015, 06:23:11 pm
On this machine, are the tapes indexed by the head?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on December 19, 2015, 06:57:04 pm
On this machine, are the tapes indexed by the head?

No, they are powered individually.

We ordered the stand, the machine, several nozzles, 40 to 50 feeders, the vibe feeder. Pretty much everything but the conveyor.
It wasn't my call to buy it, but it is replacing a Juki 570. We don't really assemble enough product to truly justify having our own machine but it sure is way more fun then paying someone to do it. It is also small enough we can put our mini production line anywhere.
DHL said we would receive it Friday but in the end it got stuck in customs. I will take pictures of it as soon as it arrives and give details as we set it up and try assembly some boards which should all happen next week.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on December 19, 2015, 06:59:53 pm
Wow, powered feeders for $60! That is nuts.

Can't wait to see how this thread develops.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on December 19, 2015, 07:08:48 pm
Yeah, I am not planning to be impressed by it but hope it won't be too terrible.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: kayvee on December 19, 2015, 07:41:04 pm
The claimed placement speed looks a tad optimistic to me, after watching the video.

Be interested to hear some real experience feedback though.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on December 19, 2015, 09:36:51 pm
The claimed placement speed looks a tad optimistic to me, after watching the video.

Be interested to hear some real experience feedback though.
I suspect the claims are based on optimised use of the four heads - It will be interesting to see how well the software deals with this.

It's not clear if it does auto nozzle changes - if not then the mix of nozzles may significantly impact head optimisation. 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on December 20, 2015, 07:15:37 am
The claimed placement speed looks a tad optimistic to me, after watching the video.

Be interested to hear some real experience feedback though.
I suspect the claims are based on optimised use of the four heads - It will be interesting to see how well the software deals with this.

It's not clear if it does auto nozzle changes - if not then the mix of nozzles may significantly impact head optimisation.

It has no ability to change nozzles itself. So in our case we'll probably have three small and one medium loaded at all times or possible two small a medium and a large. I also doubt the software is advanced enough to fully optimize the placement or suggest where feeders should be placed to optimize a build.
We will get to test it well and compare it to the speed of the rather old Juki 570 though. Our biggest board is a 10x10 grid of boards, 1600 parts total. Our Juki could manage it in 47 minutes on a good day. It only had two speeds and the fast was often too fast for fine pitch or larger parts. The NeoDen does look like it will scan the board fiducials much faster then the laser in the Juki though.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on December 20, 2015, 10:09:08 am
It has no ability to change nozzles itself. So in our case we'll probably have three small and one medium loaded at all times or possible two small a medium and a large. I also doubt the software is advanced enough to fully optimize the placement or suggest where feeders should be placed to optimize a build.
That's a disappointing omission, even if it was an option it would be useful. At least you have 4 heads to play with. I would at least hope it has the facility to prompt for manual change so you could maximise nozzles for parts used in large quantities.
Have you seen the software yet?
I doubt there's a huge amount to be gained by feeder optimisation over the obvious thing of manually placing of most-used ones nearest the camera location.
 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on December 21, 2015, 11:51:53 pm
As a P&P owner with intermittent usage (low-volume and prototype), the effort to optimize does not help me much. I am still running my machine at half speed almost all the time because all the other peripheral processes couldn't keep up if I was maxing out the placement machine. The placement speed is secondary to the time it takes to setup, program, and verify in my use case.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on December 22, 2015, 12:03:25 am
As a P&P owner with intermittent usage (low-volume and prototype), the effort to optimize does not help me much. I am still running my machine at half speed almost all the time because all the other peripheral processes couldn't keep up if I was maxing out the placement machine. The placement speed is secondary to the time it takes to setup, program, and verify in my use case.
But of course this varies a lot between users. I recently did a PCB with about 3000 LEDs, so making sure they were in the optimal feeder position was definitely worthwhile!
(http://whitewing.co.uk/IMG_0269.JPG)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on December 22, 2015, 12:21:45 am
That is no joke. Looks awesome!

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on December 22, 2015, 01:07:48 am
Sigh - the machine is just a few kilometers away from us but DHL still hasn't done any customs clearance.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: MTNELECTRONICS on December 22, 2015, 05:39:39 am
It's my first post here.   :D  I've been lurking for way too long.  I have been watching most of Dave's videos and also all of Mike's videos for the past year or two, so I feel like I'm in good company here. 

TheSteve:  I currently have a LitePlacer P&P that I put together a few months ago, but I am also very interested in the Neoden4, so I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it.  I have read over the owner's manual and watched the training videos and it looks like it is something I can wrap my head around, especially after building the LitePlacer, but I would really like to hear all of your thoughts after receiving the machine. 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on December 24, 2015, 08:07:20 pm
DHL finally decided to deliver the new machine yesterday afternoon.

Initial impression is very good, it was shipped in a very solid wood crate that is easy to open and reuse if needed.
The machine is so small that I can't help but think it is "cute" when looking at it. It looks just like a normal PnP machine that has been miniaturized. It is just light enough that two of us can lift it off the shipping base and move it in the shop where it will run.
Here are a few pictures:
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on December 24, 2015, 08:24:55 pm
We didn't have too much time to play with it but did power it up.
It has an integrated PC using an Atom processor. It runs Windows XP, in chinese. They have stripped it down so you turn it on and it starts the PnP program. If you exit the program you're left with a blank screen. There is an option to update the PnP program using a USB thumb drive. The machine itself requires a 1280x1024 monitor, usb mouse and usb keyboard. It has two additional usb ports for flash drives etc. So if the PC/OS has a problem I don't see it being easy to fix. We did see an access port on the bottom of the machine but didn't want to put the machine on its side to access it. I think I'd like to make an image of the hard drive at some point.

The fit and finish of the machine actually gives confidence, they have finished everything well - on first impression anyway.

The nozzles use a spring ball detent to hold them in place. So they can be popped in and out by hand without too much effort. The cameras seem to work well. We got 30 8 mm, and a few each of the 12,16, and 24mm feeders as well as the vibe feeder. They are pretty easy to load and in testing seemed to work well. However this is where we found a detail they really need to improve. The wiring and connector that goes to each "peel box"(motorized box that peels back the covering tape from the reels) hang down and are in the way when you load the 8 mm reels. It does appear we should be able to carefully bundle each one and tuck them just far enough out of the way they won't be constantly chaffed and stressed by the reels. That leads me to the second issue. Someone clearly made a mistake when measuring the space needed to put a reel into the machine. They mounted the peel boxes a little too low so that the reels have to be slightly distorted to load them. The plastic on the reels is generally pretty soft so it is fine but there is no reason they couldn't have mounted them 3 mm higher to eliminate the problem. I wouldn't doubt the next batch of machines has this issue fixed.
Aside from that the machine seems to work well in the limited testing we did. The software looks a little clunky on initial impression but may just do the job. I will take some pics of the screens in the future and of course some vids of it in operation. I am not back in the office until next year now though so it will have to wait.

edit - some other details I just remembered. There is no safety interlock that detects when the lid is opened - so keep your hands clear! Also the emergency stop button is far from "smart", it simply disconnects all power to the entire machine.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on December 24, 2015, 08:40:49 pm
edit - some other details I just remembered. There is no safety interlock that detects when the lid is opened -
That will probably be a requirement for EU CE marking (machinery directive)
Quote
Also the emergency stop button is far from "smart", it simply disconnects all power to the entire machine.
You don't want an e-stop to be too clever, but cutting power to just the motors might be a more sensible option
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on December 24, 2015, 08:55:22 pm
edit - some other details I just remembered. There is no safety interlock that detects when the lid is opened -
That will probably be a requirement for EU CE marking (machinery directive)
Quote
Also the emergency stop button is far from "smart", it simply disconnects all power to the entire machine.
You don't want an e-stop to be too clever, but cutting power to just the motors might be a more sensible option

Indeed. Maybe we were spoiled by our Juki 570L - the emergency stop on it instantly stopped the motors but didn't power anything off. Anyway we never had to use it and if there was a real problem I want everything stopped as soon as possible. I liked how the Juki handled opening the lid though, the head would instantly be limited to 10% of normal speed or so. Of course that head weighed a ton and was huge, I have no doubts about the damage it would do to a hand in the wrong place.
I suspect the cover was a bit of an afterthought as previous generations of Neoden machines didn't have one. The entire cover can be removed and the machine will still operate fine, it doesn't provide any structure. A single micro switch would not have been too hard to integrate...
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: MTNELECTRONICS on December 24, 2015, 11:33:45 pm
Thank you very much for taking the time to fill us in with your impressions so far.   :-+
I certainly appreciate it. 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on December 25, 2015, 01:18:54 am
You don't want an e-stop to be too clever, but cutting power to just the motors might be a more sensible option

My CNC mills E-stop simply cuts the drives so nothing can move - the control system stays up.  My Quad P&P E-stop cuts all power which sucks because it's a PC driven device and PC's don't like that kind of treatment.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on December 25, 2015, 01:20:44 am
How many feeders can you put in it? Does it handle bigger parts - 24mm, 32mm, 44mm, 56mm? Tall parts like electrolytic caps?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on December 25, 2015, 01:41:55 am
You don't want an e-stop to be too clever, but cutting power to just the motors might be a more sensible option

My CNC mills E-stop simply cuts the drives so nothing can move - the control system stays up.  My Quad P&P E-stop cuts all power which sucks because it's a PC driven device and PC's don't like that kind of treatment.

Yep, that is our major concern, this just kills power to everything including the PC.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on December 25, 2015, 02:05:50 am
I did re-route the PC power to a non-switched circuit while installing the whole machine UPS system. So now, the E-stop only stops the motion control.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on December 25, 2015, 10:35:58 am
I'd be interested in seeing more detail on the feeders - from what I can see, each unit is not a complete feeder in its own right, and they can't be loaded before fitting.
Is it easy to fit/remove feeders and rearrange their positions on the machine?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on December 25, 2015, 07:05:04 pm
I'd be interested in seeing more detail on the feeders - from what I can see, each unit is not a complete feeder in its own right, and they can't be loaded before fitting.
Is it easy to fit/remove feeders and rearrange their positions on the machine?

The feeders and "peel box" are separate units. Both sit on an aluminum rail and are locked in place by a single grub screw. They each have a power/control cable. The feeder uses a 4 pin cable, the peel box uses a 2 pin. Disconnecting and moving the feeders isn't practical, especially if they are all loaded. I believe they are designed to stay in place, instead you would dismount the reel. The connection cables look too delicate to be removed often. Larger reels sit away from the machine on a stand. So while it is rather basic it does keep the cost of the feeders low and they are actually easy and quick to load. They are also very solid when mounted which will keep the pick position firmly fixed as we're hoping to run 0805 and 0603 passives with no camera.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on December 25, 2015, 07:07:53 pm
How many feeders can you put in it? Does it handle bigger parts - 24mm, 32mm, 44mm, 56mm? Tall parts like electrolytic caps?

I can't remember the exact number of feeders possible, I will verify when back in the shop. I think the largest feeder is 24mm, larger parts would be handled in tray format. I recall being told it will support up to four trays at once(they would need to be small trays/rows if you had four of them). I also saw a thickness spec but can't remember it at the moment, I know it can do taller parts then our Juki 570L was able to do.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Kappes Buur on December 25, 2015, 08:13:17 pm
Not exactly relevant, but may be of interest anyway
https://blog.adafruit.com/2013/07/11/the-gadget-i-love-limor-ladyada-fried-the-samsung-techwin-smt-sm482-pick-place-machine/
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sam512bb on December 26, 2015, 05:10:21 pm
Quote from: TheSteve
No, they are powered individually.

We ordered the stand, the machine, several nozzles, 40 to 50 feeders, the vibe feeder. Pretty much everything but the conveyor.
It wasn't my call to buy it, but it is replacing a Juki 570. We don't really assemble enough product to truly justify having our own machine but it sure is way more fun then paying someone to do it. It is also small enough we can put our mini production line anywhere.
DHL said we would receive it Friday but in the end it got stuck in customs. I will take pictures of it as soon as it arrives and give details as we set it up and try assembly some boards which should all happen next week.

Good day TheSteve,

I was curious as to why you decided to replace your Juki 570 with this Neoden unit?  I realize that the 570 is an older machine, but it is solid machine and relatively well supported.  The only negative I can see is that it is an old(er) machine with old DOS software. 

Cheers,

Sam
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on December 26, 2015, 11:51:42 pm
Some more videos recently appeared :
Software intro
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjtAVjTXFDc (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjtAVjTXFDc)
Loading parts
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDaMBRSJ5js (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDaMBRSJ5js)
Tutorials
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MswywnWLPI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MswywnWLPI)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA0Y-ITl1Cg (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA0Y-ITl1Cg)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQviH9HlNh4 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQviH9HlNh4)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcOfsNdQV3Q (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcOfsNdQV3Q)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfE4PwWALtI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfE4PwWALtI)

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Tonny-NeoDen on December 31, 2015, 03:22:06 am
Hello All,
Happy New Year.

We would like to wish you and your family a prosperous New Year.We also would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your continuously attention and support to NeoDen Tech's products,feel so happy & pleasant to cooperate with you in 2015.

Need further help in using of our machines,can feel free contact us.

Hope you have a much more better business in the coming year-2016 :-)

Sincerely yours,
Tonny

Skype:tonny-neoden



(https://www.dropbox.com/s/ndzj18enz5i7696/Happy%20New%20Year.jpg?dl=0)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on December 31, 2015, 04:01:09 am
@TheSteve I'm excited to see how the new NeoDen 4 machine ends up working out for you over time.

It looks like a really nice, quick, and reasonably priced PNP machine that could be very useful for a small shop with limited demands.

Sounds like you know very well what your doing so looking forward to some honest real world feedback on the new Neoden 4.

Any ideas when you expect to start running the machine through some testing?

I see the maximum part height for the machine is 5mm which is not quite enough for the large caps that I'm going to be needing to deal with but should be good for most of the tough smaller parts that are a real pain to place.

Thanks for sharing!  :popcorn:
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 06, 2016, 05:24:14 am
Not too much to report with the machine yet. We've had a few issues come up so far but Neoden has been very responsive.

-We got the matching stand but they were no bolts to attach the PnP to it.
-We received a software update but after installing it the PC software was switched to all chinese - there is a button to click to go back to english but when we pressed it it wanted a password so we were stuck until we got the password - thankfully Neoden got us the password right away.
-We have been having a problem with the parts sticking to the nozzles. It seemed to be a problem with the "blow" function(Neodens term) so we checked the pump and it turned out there was a 220VAC pump installed in our 110VAC machine - they say this shouldn't be an issue though as it does still generate some air pressure. Either way they are sending us a replacement.
-If you don't get the conveyor system then the PCB mounting isn't quite as easy as we were used to with the Juki. The Juki used a fixed rail on one side and then an adjustable second rail with a pair of thumbscrews on the other side of the board. The Neoden has bunch of sliding bars with small posts and thumb screws. It is a usable system for sure but one fixed rail would be nice to make sure the board it always square.
-The last thing that has taken some getting used to is the X and Y axis and orientation. On the Juki the lid that lifted open was the "front" of the machine, on the Neoden it isn't. I don't think this is a problem at all of course, just something to get used to. As it really isn't documented its a bit of a journey of discovery.

Hopefully we can run some production boards next week.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: MTNELECTRONICS on January 06, 2016, 03:13:36 pm
Thanks for the update, it is greatly appreciated. :)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on January 06, 2016, 04:20:13 pm
Thank you for the update!  :popcorn:

I really want this machine to be all its supposed to be so I will be checking back often to get your real world end user feedback about this machine.

Thanks for sharing  :-+
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 07, 2016, 12:29:22 am
Just had it confirmed that the 5mm part height limit is correct. 

that is a real game killer.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 07, 2016, 06:20:49 pm
Just had it confirmed that the 5mm part height limit is correct. 

that is a real game killer.
Seriously ? That's just ridiculous.
Is this a feeder limitation or somewhere else?

There are plenty of connectors taller than that, plus capacitors, inductors, even chunky TO220 style semiconductors.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 07, 2016, 06:25:36 pm
See hte discussion i had with them.   You might be able to do some 10mm parts in some circumstances.. Still this is a major dissaspointment.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: jc101 on January 07, 2016, 06:31:29 pm
I read the 5mm limit, I was taking a very keen interest in this until I read that.  I was *really* hoping they had a way round this, perhaps a mark II could come along fairly quickly...
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 07, 2016, 07:42:46 pm
TheSteve maybe you could confirm exactly what the issue is with height - maybe head Z travel range?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 07, 2016, 07:49:35 pm
Z axis travel is limited to 10mm.   Feeders limited to 5mm

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on January 07, 2016, 08:54:37 pm
Hey folks,

I've been following this thread with interest, and actually have gone ahead and ordered the Neoden 4 machine with oven and stencil printer. The comments from TheSteve have been useful... thank you for it... I'll be asking the factory specifically about the problems you described. Even though this is a "cheap" machine, I still figure it's okay to be picky when spending this kind of money. :)

Please keep the info and pictures coming as I'm sure there are a lot of people interested. More details on the 5mm limitation would be cool too... it wasn't off-putting for me because we don't use SMT caps or connectors, and our inductors should fit.


elmood
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 07, 2016, 08:56:51 pm
Im seriously considering it, and its good to know the limitations before you buy it!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 07, 2016, 09:13:42 pm
The limit is clearance between the bottom of the nozzle and the top of the feeders. As was mentioned you should be able to do some slightly taller parts if they are from a tray - you'd want to be pretty careful though. The up facing camera is lower but you'd need enough distance to maintain focus.

btw, I assume we are the first or very close to the first customer in a primarily english speaking country to have a Neoden4 as some of the PC software was still in chinese and we had to have them put in the proper translations. I can't see anyone else having used it the way it was. On the plus side they fixed it and sent us an updated version in a few hours.

The bottom of the nozzle to the top of the feeder is ~9mm.

Just took this pic:
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 07, 2016, 09:16:00 pm
Wonder why they did this. I can't see any reasons why they could not have made this gap wider.  30mm or so
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Royce on January 07, 2016, 09:20:04 pm
From the convo, it seems like they suggest you control the path that the head takes from the tray to the pads. Is it possible to do that? Can you make the head navigate around obstacles?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 07, 2016, 09:22:49 pm
From the convo, it seems like they suggest you control the path that the head takes from the tray to the pads. Is it possible to do that? Can you make the head navigate around obstacles?

If that is the case, it would make it much more usable. 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 07, 2016, 09:23:49 pm
If I had to guess I'd say it is all related to precision. The further down the nozzle has to travel the more potential there is for X/Y and rotational errors if it isn't perfectly straight.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: MTNELECTRONICS on January 07, 2016, 10:32:38 pm
Speaking of trays, what kind of trays are you guys using?  Neoden didn't seem to be of much help when I asked them about some good "waffle tray" suppliers.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 07, 2016, 10:33:25 pm
the Neo4 is never going to be a big production volume machine so probably can live with a few quirks.

If it can place  5 < x < 10 mm parts out of the tray, and you can control the paths so it doesn't crash into them. then this would be an acceptable compromise for me.

I only have a small hand full of parts that are bigger than 10mm, and many of them come on really wide feeders anyway, and they typically are 1 part per board. ( for example big ethernet transformer ), so some big inductors.   The ones that do worry me are inductors and caps
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 07, 2016, 10:49:48 pm
Speaking of trays, what kind of trays are you guys using?  Neoden didn't seem to be of much help when I asked them about some good "waffle tray" suppliers.

The trays we have are the standard ones included with ICs etc. If we needed something custom in the past we machined pockets into ABS plastic with a Taig CNC mill.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: coppice on January 08, 2016, 02:04:09 am
Speaking of trays, what kind of trays are you guys using?  Neoden didn't seem to be of much help when I asked them about some good "waffle tray" suppliers.
They probably didn't understand your question. ICs come in waffle trays. You don't buy they from the marketplace. Since the ICs are supplied in them, you have to live with whatever you get, good or bad.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on January 08, 2016, 03:07:17 am
Hi TheSteve

Thanks for a tremendous blog reviews. Please continue with the plentiful reports of your journey.

Have you had an opportunity to actually run the machine yet? I'd love to know how it performed 'out of the box', and if its claimed resolution and repeat-ability is lived up to.

In particular, if it can maintain that accuracy having traveled over the 'full dimensions' of the placement bed - and not just the few centimeters shown in the videos.

We're on the verge of committing to purchase for prototypes and new product intro purposes.

Thnx
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 08, 2016, 05:24:05 am
We have placed 0603 and 0805 resistors but only on unpasted boards to get a feel for the machine and the various settings. As I posted previously we have had an issue with the parts sticking to the nozzles and are waiting for a replacement air pump. When we do run it our smallest passives will be 0603's and the smallest ICs will be TSSOP's so not an extreme test but not trivial either.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Psi on January 08, 2016, 05:35:52 am
The paste does a good job at holding the part to the pcb when the needle pulls away.

I have a manual vacume pick n place tool that is just a constant vacuum.
No on off or reverse at all. The suction is enough to pickup parts from reels but not enough to pull a pasted component off the pcb.
Works perfectly for placing generic passives but I need to adjust the suction for  big stuff.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 08, 2016, 05:57:34 am
For sure the paste makes a big difference but when a machine actually generates a (small) positive pressure the parts shouldn't stick. We are of course comparing part placement to our old Juki 570L which placed parts quite well with or without paste.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: MTNELECTRONICS on January 08, 2016, 06:18:44 am
Speaking of trays, what kind of trays are you guys using?  Neoden didn't seem to be of much help when I asked them about some good "waffle tray" suppliers.

The trays we have are the standard ones included with ICs etc. If we needed something custom in the past we machined pockets into ABS plastic with a Taig CNC mill.

Thanks, I suppose I have just exposed my level of inexperience.   ;D   I figured that people bought all of those fancy trays but now I realize that the bigger ICs come packaged like that.  I have some shallow SMD inductors and a few other parts that come in huge tapes that I was hoping to get a tray for, but I suppose that I could just get something 3D printed. 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 08, 2016, 06:35:12 am
Speaking of trays, what kind of trays are you guys using?  Neoden didn't seem to be of much help when I asked them about some good "waffle tray" suppliers.

The trays we have are the standard ones included with ICs etc. If we needed something custom in the past we machined pockets into ABS plastic with a Taig CNC mill.

Thanks, I suppose I have just exposed my level of inexperience.   ;D   I figured that people bought all of those fancy trays but now I realize that the bigger ICs come packaged like that.  I have some shallow SMD inductors and a few other parts that come in huge tapes that I was hoping to get a tray for, but I suppose that I could just get something 3D printed.

If they are in standard reel format tape then you should be able to place them using a standard feeder of the correct width - assuming they aren't too thick for the machine placing them.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on January 08, 2016, 07:18:36 am
TheSteve What kind of assembly volume do you expect to put through the machine once you get it up and running?

Also what is the pin pitch on the TSSOP your placing?

I have some .5 mm pitch TSSOP's and some BGA parts that I'm eager to see how well and quickly you can get the machine to run without problems.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 08, 2016, 08:55:12 am
For sure the paste makes a big difference but when a machine actually generates a (small) positive pressure the parts shouldn't stick. We are of course comparing part placement to our old Juki 570L which placed parts quite well with or without paste.
By "without paste" do you mean with nothing at all, or with thin-film double-stick tape which is what's usually used for trial placements?
I'd never expect anything sensible placing on a bare PCB as the slightest movement of the PCB will make parts slide around.

My machine doesn't use any blow-off and the only time I've ever had parts stuck is LEDs with soft silicone lenses
 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 09, 2016, 04:20:44 am
I use double stick tape when programming and testing. Works great.


Sent from mobile device.... Keeping it short and mis-spelled

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 09, 2016, 05:26:31 am
We have used double sided tape before. With our Juki 570L we fine tuned it and did quite a bit of testing with no paste or tape. When setup properly we could have it place nearly any part with the others moving very little or not at all. I doubt the Neoden will ever achieve that level of precision(and I'm not saying it is really required). We just found it was a good way to to determine how far the part should be pushed into the board and how fast.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 09, 2016, 11:37:46 am
the Neo4 is never going to be a big production volume machine so probably can live with a few quirks.

If it can place  5 < x < 10 mm parts out of the tray, and you can control the paths so it doesn't crash into them. then this would be an acceptable compromise for me.


Controlling paths would get pretty messy - I'd be surprised if there is any real support for it in the software.
 Another issue is tall parts clashing with already-placed parts. Although you can have some control by placing parts in size order, you ideally want a P&P to deal with feed errors & parts running out by moving on to the next part and placing everything it can before stopping for operator intervention, so you may have to go back & place parts in a different order.
Of course it wouldn't surprise me at all if their SW was too dumb to do this and just stopped on any error.
 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: MTNELECTRONICS on January 09, 2016, 01:23:39 pm
Any thoughts on whether or not the rail feeder system is worthwhile?  I mainly plan on using ~170mm x ~120mm board panels with the machine, probably running about 10 panels of the same type at once.  It seems like repeatability with the feeder would be good, but taking the time to set it up for different panel sizes might outweigh the time needed to change panels, especially with only 10 panels of a given size at a time.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on January 09, 2016, 11:18:15 pm
Looking at their 'how to' video, Panel Config looks fairly straight forward. We're in the same boat as you with qty, and have decided on the Rail option, though I'm certain it could be retro fitted if needs be.

What we're really interested in is just how much work will be involved in modifying the reel and tape box assembly, so that we can remove the complete unit and replace it with another, pre-loaded cart, for different regular projects.

Because there is no complex mechanical dependency, we'd just need to resolve the electrical interface, and bingo! Would be great if we could convince NeoDen to integrate this feature out of the box. A whole new level in micro-machines for PnP.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on January 10, 2016, 08:14:08 am
Here is some NeoDen 4 action porn while we wait for some USA based videos  :popcorn:

https://youtu.be/QVwoeYyHx8c

https://youtu.be/moKGPF1dnRI
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 10, 2016, 12:56:43 pm
Something I wasn't quite clear on - as far as I can tell it needs the conveyor option to do long PCBs (says 1500mm on their site), presumably it does them is sections ( is this properly supported in the software yet?).
What I can't see is a spec for what size it can do without the conveyor.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on January 11, 2016, 02:12:29 am
Applicable PCB area:350mm*400mm
Placement Area:310*400mm(without waffle Tray)    140*400mm(With 1 waffle Tray)

Parameters:
Number of Heads with Vision enabled:4
Placement Rate:10000PCS/H(vision off)    5000PCS/H (vision on)
Feeder Capacity:Tape Reel Feeders:48   
Tape width:8mm,12mm,16mm,24mm
Vibration Feeders:5                                                   
IC Tray Capacity:5
Component sizes with vision:Smallest Component  size:0201  Largest
Component size:TQFP240                                                 
Applicable Components:0201,BGA,SOIC,SSOP,QFN,TQFP,Led Component,Diode,Triode,Tack Switch
Component Height Maximum:5mm
Resolution X/Y axis:0.01mm   Z axis:0.1mm
Rotation:+/-180(360)
Positioning Accuracy:+/-0.02mm
X-Y repeatability:+/-0.02mm
Applicable PCB area:350mm*400mm
Placement Area:310*400mm(without waffle Tray)    140*400mm(With 1 waffle Tray)
Programming:SOFTWARE AUTOMATIC PROGRAMMING/MANUAL MECHANICAL PROGRAMMING
Main Control:GUI
Power Supply:220V, 50Hz (convertible to 110V)
Power:180W
External Dimensions:Machine:87*68*48CM                                 
Packing size:94*74*60CM
Net Weight:60KGS
Gross weight:80Kgs
 
Main Features
1. Dual vision system (up-looking and down-looking camers), identify and calibrate the different components at one   
time,  improves the accuracy of placement from 0201 to BGA;
2. Auto rails, help to achieve continuous placement and solve the problem of long LED bar, ex. 1.2m LED strip;
3. Automatic electric feeders, reduce the feeding deviation;
4. General conveyor is supported, so a SMT production line can be setup, which is more time-saving and labor-saving
5. Four placement heads can pick up and calibrate components at one time.
6. The device supports remote system upgrade, NeoDen provides a life long system upgrade service for free to you;
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 12, 2016, 08:04:32 pm
Received a package from Neoden yesterday. We installed the new "blow" pump. We also installed a thick rubber mat that was originally missing between the machine and the factory stand. The rubber mat really cut down on the movement of the machine while running. We placed some 0805 and 0603 resistors with excellent results. It gave us enough confidence that we don't plan to use the camera for placing small passives. We did have quite a few mis-picks that we still need to look into.

Beyond that our biggest frustration is the PCB mounting that is used when you don't order the conveyor option. I've attached a picture of how we have to mount a board. If you swap to a different board you'll never get the original board back in the same place. We would really like to see a proper rail on the right side that is never moved. A second adjustable one would be then be used on the left side. This is how the Juki mounted boards, we found it fast, efficient and repeatable.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 12, 2016, 08:19:21 pm
. It gave us enough confidence that we don't plan to use the camera for placing small passives. We did have quite a few mis-picks that we still need to look into.

Presumably the camera detects the mis-pick and retries ?
Can you select the number of retries before it gives up (e.g. empty or jammed reel, stuck cover tape etc.   ?
Once it gives up does it move on to the next part to try to place all it can, or just stop ?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 12, 2016, 08:56:57 pm
Beyond that our biggest frustration is the PCB mounting that is used when you don't order the conveyor option. I've attached a picture of how we have to mount a board. If you swap to a different board you'll never get the original board back in the same place. We would really like to see a proper rail on the right side that is never moved. A second adjustable one would be then be used on the left side. This is how the Juki mounted boards, we found it fast, efficient and repeatable.

I designed and machined these PCB pallets for my machine. They are loaded outside the machine and used on static mounts and conveyors. Makes it quite easy to handle the boards and have very repeatable positioning. Accommodates any shape and double sided. Holds edges of PCB so no holes needed.






Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 12, 2016, 09:04:42 pm
More then anything it just doesn't seem to detect the part is on the nozzle or it isn't picking it up. The feeders are a little on the noisy side compared to the rest of the machine so you can hear to do a double feed really fast if it fails to pick up a part or thinks it failed. We have had it stop with an on screen error and I've needed to manually remove the part from the nozzle. This may just be a vacuum setting that we need to play with further. It is a little tough to know exactly what to set things to though.
It seems they have also changed how fiducials work, they aren't the same as is shown in the training video. When we put our points in the parts placement is not as accurate so something isn't right.
Once we can figure these things out we'll run a production board.

btw, we aren't spending full days on this, just when we have time to get away from the other day to day activities in the shop.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 12, 2016, 09:08:43 pm
Is there any mention of vacuum verify for part pickup? Its a simple thing to implement and would be a bummer it that was omitted.

For a mis-pick, can you program a dump location?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Spikee on January 12, 2016, 09:14:27 pm
I remember seeing pressure sensors in the head from one of the photos
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 12, 2016, 11:24:46 pm
The machine does have programmable vacuum detection and a dump location.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 13, 2016, 02:42:14 am
btw, for those interested in ordering this machine, if you want to use a standard tray and choose the conveyor option keep in mind your maximum board size. You can see the tray uses up quite a bit of bed.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 13, 2016, 02:48:48 am
A half tray looks like a good trick to have.

What is your all-in cost to this point?

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on January 13, 2016, 05:19:53 am
TheSteve,

Have you mentioned the issue with the reels not fitting into the rack, without being twisted and distorted, to NeoDen?

I spoke with Haimi from NeoDen, who says she'll look into it for me, and that they haven't experienced this issue with anyone else to date. She wanted some photos to show the problem.

Any chance you can post an image illustrating this?
Is it the small, standard reels you're referring to TheSteve?

I should add that Hiami has been incredibly helpful and responsive to my many queries.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 13, 2016, 05:33:11 am
TheSteve,

Have you mentioned the issue with the reels not fitting into the rack, without being twisted and distorted, to NeoDen?

I spoke with Haimi from NeoDen who says that know nothing about it, and that they haven't experienced this issue at all. They wanted some photos to show the problem.

Any chance you can post an image illustrating this?

The reels are fine once in but must be distorted a small amount to get them there. The bar that supports the "peel box" is mounted a few mm's too low to allow full clearance. If they haven't noticed then they have never put a reel into the machine. I can probably wedge a reel in there and take a picture tomorrow, its tight enough it will hold the reel in place unless it has really soft plastic. It would be an easy fix for them and just requires a few holes to be drilled in different places. I am sure someone just got the design measurements wrong when they spec'd it.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: NeoDen-Haimi on January 13, 2016, 09:26:38 am
Hi Dear All,

Thanks for your attention to our latest pnp machine,NeoDen4.

As for the issue,reels not fitting into the rack,pls refer to attached picture,there are some distance between tape reel and peel system,will not hit peel system.But as for big tape reel,not standard tape reel,can not fitting into ,have to load by external holder.

For each unit,after assemble well,we will test run in factory,and according to customer's feeder configuration,we will load all needed tape reel,some need load full,some load about 20 reels.

On the picture which we took this morning,you can see,many machine on the shelf,some just start to assemble,some are under test (load tape reel).

If any question,welcome send e-mail to us directly,we will try to reply and clear your doubts at our earliest.

Skype:haimi2008

E-mail:haimi@neodentech.com
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: NeoDen-Haimi on January 13, 2016, 09:35:24 am
sorry,the picture failed upload just now,pls check here
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: NeoDen-Haimi on January 13, 2016, 09:39:07 am
another two pictures here
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 13, 2016, 05:58:08 pm
OK. here are pictures showing the clearance issue. In the first picture you can see where the reel gets pinched (circled in red) when loading it in. In the second shot you can see the amount of distortion to a reel that occurs when it is loaded. It isn't the end of the world but a little more clearance would have been nice.

edit - I should add that by default there are small wires hanging down from the upper white plastic peel boxes(they remove the tape covering) that can get pinched when loading or removing reels. So eventually we expected a wire will get damaged or disconnected. We have carefully tucked the wires out of the way using a thin stick that runs through the wire loops and lifts them up.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on January 13, 2016, 06:22:37 pm
It's exciting to think that my machine might be somewhere in that photo above!  ^-^ I'm hoping to get it within the next few weeks.

My major question is how to best set up jobs for the machine. So far I have software that checks and prepares "build" files for doing PTH assembly... it makes webpages that have build steps shown in the correct order by linking PCB images, placement files and BOM data from a spreadsheet in the project directory. After making notes from the Neoden software tutorials I've been adding an SMT export module that can hopefully prepare all the files for the pnp machine also. Since my parts all come from a common part stock, I want to make a master list of component data (thickness, tape size, etc.) and then have the software assign feeders and nozzles automatically. The key for my operation anyway is to have it easy to change between jobs without a lot of fiddling around with the settings every time. I'd love to see some example files from the machine prior to getting mine.

I'm hoping that once more people in English speaking people have these machines we can all help each other out with tips and tricks. I've only ever seen SMT assembly equipment in factories and never used one of my own. :)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Spikee on January 14, 2016, 12:43:02 pm
Is the machine somewhat easy to use for smaller quantities or is it quite a lot of set up time ?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Tonny-NeoDen on January 15, 2016, 07:18:06 am
Posted by: Spikee
« on: Yesterday at 11:43:02 PM » Insert Quote
Is the machine somewhat easy to use for smaller quantities or is it quite a lot of set up time ?


Hello Sir,
If you can generate the coordinate from your own PCB Design Software,then the programing will be very fast.
As for time of setting up on the machine,you can refer to our Tutorial Videos via below link:
www.youtube.com/user/NeoDentech (https://www.youtube.com/user/NeoDentech)

More details,pls feel free contact us:
Skype:tonny-neoden
Email:tonny@neodentech.com
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on January 15, 2016, 02:49:36 pm
Another NeoDen 4 in action video :popcorn:

Looks good to me.

https://youtu.be/Vdg1c-LzkRk
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 15, 2016, 04:33:33 pm
Seems to be pausing for an unnecessarily long time before the camera light comes on - obviously you want some settling time but seems a bit on the long side - presumably this is an end-user adjustable parameter?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 15, 2016, 07:25:23 pm
Is the machine somewhat easy to use for smaller quantities or is it quite a lot of set up time ?

As a general note on P&P setup:

On my machine (which is a different machine entirely) I have essentially automated the programming to being a trivial amount of time - a few mouse clicks.
Witch that said, it still takes a considerable amount of time to setup a new job. The programming is only a tiny part of the process. Organizing and loading the parts. Adding/tweaking new packages. Verifying pickups and placements. Tracking down mis-picks. None of which is complicated (usually), but when you have a PCB with a bunch of parts and only need to run a small number it sucks. I do a lot of 5-15 piece runs for prototype and specialty boards and the P&P setup dominates the schedule. It only takes one backward diode to ruin your day, so mistakes are hard to tolerate. That means that every detail is checked and checked again to make sure.

In my case, I normally have very few extra parts and no extra PCB's. In a situation where there is low part count, simple designs, and higher volume - the setup is no problem. Small qty PCB assembly is possible, but not easy regardless of what machine you have. To alleviate the pain in my setups, I got a machine that can hold about 125 different parts at a time. This allows me to have many jobs setup at the same time as well is 'squeeze in' a prototype without disturbing the recurring PCB's. The downside is that to afford that many feeders, I had to get an old machine and all the no so good things that come with an old machine.

Anyway, even though the P&P machine is the coolest part of the assembly process, it takes so much more to have an efficient process that actually saves time in the end. For low-volume efficiency, one must be particularly clever with workflow design.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 15, 2016, 07:27:01 pm
Seems to be pausing for an unnecessarily long time before the camera light comes on - obviously you want some settling time but seems a bit on the long side - presumably this is an end-user adjustable parameter?

Looks like the motion system is at low speed for programming/verify. Maybe that is why the delay is long.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 15, 2016, 08:56:00 pm
Well its Friday but we weren't able to do a production run yet. When we decided we were pretty comfortable with the machines ability to place passives we moved on to our TSSOP28 packaged FL232RL. The machine had no problem picking the part but the camera image was measuring the center incorrectly 20 to 30% of the time. This meant when it placed it it was sometimes a full pin width off in position. After sending pictures of everything to Neoden they suggested we turn the camera flash brightness down. This setting was not obvious as its behind a password protected menu. Turning the brightness down seems to have solved the camera problem. However we are still having a problem with the machine not dropping parts if there is any kind of mis-pick detected. If it was to detect the FT232RL is bad for any reason it will go to the dump area but it doesn't release the part. It will try picking two more times and dumping two more times with the part on the nozzle the entire time. At that point the machine stops with an error and after a few seconds without suction the part falls off the nozzle. Hopefully this is just another configuration issue.

Inside the config screen with the camera flash brightness we also found a camera theta adjustment. It was set to zero from the factory but the FT232RL's it did place were ever so slightly skewed. We added a 0.5 degree shift and they look much better.

We have also found numerous software bugs, the worst of which causes the PC to blue screen.

Now all that said we're very optimistic the machine will work great once fully setup and at the moment all of the software bugs can generally be worked around. Once a few more people have the machine and are reporting issues I can see Neoden making some quick improvements.

Setting up the machine is pretty quick overall once you know the software. Loading/unloading the feeders is very quick and easy too.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 16, 2016, 07:43:35 am
 :phew:  Thanks Steve, i think youve convinced me to hold off buying this;

buggy software, feeders dont fit and other issues.. Plus the small workspace..  I just think this will need up being a fustrating exercise for me.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 16, 2016, 11:41:09 am
Unfortunately it seems to be just what we've come to expect from China - mostly reasonable hardware let down by poor software and lack of attention to details. 

If Neoden want to be taken seriously outside the Chinese market they need to either take on a decent software developer or open source it to let someone else sort it out.
And also get a native speaker to do their promotional video, which currently makes them look ridiculous to any native speaker. 

It's a great pity as it has a ton of potential, and could fill a huge gap in the lower end of the market.
Time will tell - I really do hope it turns into a better machine.
On paper, it's the first machine to be a better option for low-volume users than my 20 year old Versatronics RV, and I'm still seriously considering getting one to replace it at some point, mostly for the long-board capability.

The encouraging thing is that they seem so far to be quite responsive to customers, though from what I've read here it's mostly been to fix issues that shouldn't have occurred in the first place.

Note to Neoden - If you are seriously interested in getting an English re-write of your promo video script, a lot of feedback on software improvements,  and being featured on my Youtube channel, in exchange for a significant discount, please get in touch.

 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: metalphreak on January 16, 2016, 03:34:46 pm
Note to Neoden - If you are seriously interested in getting an English re-write of your promo video script, a lot of feedback on software improvements,  and being featured on my Youtube channel, in exchange for a significant discount, please get in touch.

+1 to this. I want to live vicariously through mike's youtube videos. Plus you know mike has experience with PnP machines, making pcbs, and doing intensely technical and entertaining videos.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: trevwhite on January 16, 2016, 05:34:05 pm
Best thing they could do is take Mike up on his offer.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on January 16, 2016, 05:44:46 pm
But today no one else makes such P&PM for small businesses
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 16, 2016, 06:27:13 pm
But today no one else makes such P&PM for small businesses
Absolutely true, and about time this changed - despite being about 20 years old, a used Versatronics RV4 is still the best bang/buck for a small pick & place, and has been for at least a decade.

The Neoden4 could finally change this. The quad-head solution, with vision of all heads at once is a very neat way to improve throughput without needing the expense of super-fast mechanicals.
And the conveyor system to handle long PCBs puts it ahead of many mid to high-end machines - AFAIK there is no other low to mid range (<$50k) machine available that can do this.

Probably the closest is the Mechatronika M10V, but only single head, a bit slow and rather limited feeder options. Don't recall offhand what the pricing is but ISTR somewhere 2-3x the cost of the Neoden4. 

Which is why I really hope Neoden get their act together - they have the potential to sell very well outside of China, but to do this they have to supply machines that don't need much support to get going, provide good support where needed, and have a more professional approach to marketing than some Chinglish videos on Youtube.

Although they could partner with an existing European/US SM equipment distributor, the risk in doing this is that their machines  will be too much competition for existing expensive lines that distributors make more margin on. And of course distributors will want margin.

For a machine as small as this, selling direct is a perfectly viable approach, but it is even more important that it works out of the box than the more traditional situation of a company engineer coming out to commission a new machine.

Once they have production well under way and dealt with what are hopefully teething troubles,  they would do well to hire a couple of EU and US sales people and set up a couple of machines in the back of vans for demonstrations.


 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 16, 2016, 07:58:35 pm
While researching this, I've run into another company in china, making something that is similar in terms of specification and price.     

A machine with 40 feeders ( including the feeders ) 4 head pickup, vision etc, was quoted to me at just under $10,000 USD.

http://en.boreytech.com/a/product/taishi/32.html?cut=22 (http://en.boreytech.com/a/product/taishi/32.html?cut=22)

I think we'll see a raft of these machines turn up in the market this year and it will become a competitive thing, so they all will have to lift their game.. quality and price will get impacted.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 16, 2016, 08:10:11 pm
While researching this, I've run into another company in china, making something that is similar in terms of specification and price.     

A machine with 40 feeders ( including the feeders ) 4 head pickup, vision etc, was quoted to me at just under $10,000 USD.

http://en.boreytech.com/a/product/taishi/32.html?cut=22 (http://en.boreytech.com/a/product/taishi/32.html?cut=22)

I think we'll see a raft of these machines turn up in the market this year and it will become a competitive thing, so they all will have to lift their game.. quality and price will get impacted.
I fear that it will be a race to the bottom, and end up with a number of machines that all have good and bad points, with none being nearly as good as they could be, and universally poor software.
 At least Neoden have some head start in a sort-of track record with previous machines, but they need to make the  effort to understand what users need, be responsive and keep quality high, even if it means not being the cheapest.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 16, 2016, 08:23:46 pm
Based on what I've seen so far if they improved the software they could raise the price a little and it would be well worth it. Many aspects of the machine are very good. They have been very responsive so far, if they could knock out 10 bugs/features in the software and then generate any kind of proper manual I can really see people being very successful with the machine. If nothing else once a few of us have the machine and compare notes it will get people up and running quickly with it.
As an example we spent way longer then should have been needed on the camera issue with the FT232RL, had we known about the config option behind the password protected menu it would have been quick to solve.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on January 16, 2016, 08:44:38 pm
I think it will be hard, and not to quickly make high precision for Neoden 4.
H/W combined solution tightly for P&PM.
In Holland Neoden for EU already have agent.
Mechatronika M10V unsuccessful in the past year, I've seen the guys from Austria, which greatly disappointed.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 16, 2016, 08:52:30 pm
As an example we spent way longer then should have been needed on the camera issue with the FT232RL, had we known about the config option behind the password protected menu it would have been quick to solve.
Was this a password they had already supplied, or something you had to ask for? If the latter, this is definitely not acceptable. Passwords to prevent less skilled operators messing things up are fine, but anything that prevents the user doing something without asking the manufacturer are not.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on January 16, 2016, 08:59:17 pm
Even competitors also Chinglish http://www.qihekj.com/en/product/html/?45.html (http://www.qihekj.com/en/product/html/?45.html)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 16, 2016, 10:05:21 pm
As an example we spent way longer then should have been needed on the camera issue with the FT232RL, had we known about the config option behind the password protected menu it would have been quick to solve.
Was this a password they had already supplied, or something you had to ask for? If the latter, this is definitely not acceptable. Passwords to prevent less skilled operators messing things up are fine, but anything that prevents the user doing something without asking the manufacturer are not.

They had given us the password previously(we had to ask for it) but we didn't know the option was there as some features were added in the newer firmware they sent us. This is one of those items where clicking around and checking out every single last menu and option until you can remember them all is pretty useful.

Since then I had a poke around, there will be no need to ask for any passwords in the future :)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 16, 2016, 10:43:48 pm
or open source it

Wonder if this is possible, just biff their software completely and use something like openpnp
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 16, 2016, 11:33:53 pm
If they were to open source it I can see there being some very quick major improvements.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 17, 2016, 12:35:19 am
For low cost,  entry level - open source would be great.

I could design and build a machine like this with my eyes closed. Open software would make that interesting. As a small business, I need reliability above all else. My experience with low end Chinese manufacturers is universally bad.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Brumby on January 17, 2016, 03:00:18 am
It occurred to me that there would be an avenue for scalability that will address - to some extent - the reel limit and speed.  Quite simply, set up multiple machines in a continuous production line.  I'm sure this isn't a new idea, but with costs heading downwards, it would seem to become more economically viable for the smaller end of the market.

With appropriate software, you would only need one setup process for the whole line.

Expansion would be simple, incremental and thus more affordable and if there is a machine failure, then only one need be taken out of service while the rest keep working.

Is Neoden thinking along these lines?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: helius on January 17, 2016, 03:05:39 am
Several of the videos from China in this thread show several machines in a line. I don't know if there are special software features.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 17, 2016, 03:11:59 am

http://www.aliexpress.com/store/all-wholesale-products/1874253.html (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/all-wholesale-products/1874253.html)

20mm Z Axis height.. Feeders without an extra "peel" box..

Bigger workspace..

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 17, 2016, 12:00:35 pm

http://www.aliexpress.com/store/all-wholesale-products/1874253.html (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/all-wholesale-products/1874253.html)

20mm Z Axis height.. Feeders without an extra "peel" box..

But what does "4.5mm suction nozzle buffer range" mean?
Deceptive pricing - the "real" prices are buried in the shipping cost once you get to the product pages.
Their long-board machines are huge
And.. aliexpress.....?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 17, 2016, 06:14:15 pm
But what does "4.5mm suction nozzle buffer range" mean?
Deceptive pricing - the "real" prices are buried in the shipping cost once you get to the product pages.
Their long-board machines are huge
And.. aliexpress.....?

Not sure what 4.5m suction nozzle buffer is

I'd not pay $4000 to ship 200kg, granted. But  they quoted me a whole lot less for sea freight, and even then I'd have to lcl container moved for a few hundred dollars.     

I'm not really interested in "long boards". different problem.

And Aliexpress?   Its a great window for finding stuff.   Its no less reliable than Amazon, or ebay.   And you can buy a Neoden on aliepxress as well, but you can also buy it directly..
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sedelman on January 19, 2016, 03:21:12 am

We spent a considerable amount of time evaluating low-cost pick-and-place options over the last year.

I consider the Mechatronika M10V the most desirable out of all of them, despite that it has only one pickup head, it has a very solid construction and the only one that provides solder paste dispensing capabilities. This eliminates the needs for solder paste stencils, etc.

The cost that we were quoted for the base machine is 14600 EUR. You then need to add feeders at a cost of 2700 - 3600 EUR for a feeder package. For example, 10 x 8mm, 2 x 12mm, 2 x 16mm feeders is 2700 EUR. The vibration feeder is another 780 EUR.

The solder paste dispenser and needle is approx. 2400EUR. Therefore, a complete system would run approx. 20500 EUR.

We also looked at the Neoden TM220A and TM240A, but without vision, these are just hobbyist toys, in our opinion. Alternatives based on the same form factor with vision are:

Charmhigh CMHT48VA - 29 feeders and Dual cameras and fully integrated control system for $5600 US (free shipping)
Unlike the Neoden TM220A and TM240A this uses a fully closed loop control system (using encoders) to prevent stepper motor missteps. It also uses Juki standard pickup nozzles and a retractable pull pin for advancing the feeder. The bulk of their customer base appears to be in India.

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Charmhigh-CMHT48VA-Pick-and-Place-Machine-Full-Automatic-Chip-Mounter-with-Vision-System-English-Version-110v/32502909690.html (http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Charmhigh-CMHT48VA-Pick-and-Place-Machine-Full-Automatic-Chip-Mounter-with-Vision-System-English-Version-110v/32502909690.html)

TVM802A (27 feeders) and TVM802B (47 feeders) http://www.zjyingxing.com/e_products/TVM802A-126.html (http://www.zjyingxing.com/e_products/TVM802A-126.html)
Dual camera system but requires software on an external PC. Uses USB and Ethernet for control (not sure why both are required). The camera system recognition and software appear much slower than the CMHT48VA.

Hope this helps someone.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 19, 2016, 04:00:20 am
I think the "buffer" size is how much compression the nozzle can handle.

Loaded up the machine today, installed a new firmware version. Hope to build some boards tomorrow.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 19, 2016, 04:55:18 am

We spent a considerable amount of time evaluating low-cost pick-and-place options over the last year.

I consider the Mechatronika M10V the most desirable out of all of them, despite that it has only one pickup head, it has a very solid construction and the only one that provides solder paste dispensing capabilities. This eliminates the needs for solder paste stencils, etc.

The single head is not much of a real limitation for small volume work. If you are planning to have a dispenser, I assume you are not concerned about a super speed workflow. I looked at getting a dispenser for my Quad but in the end, framed stencils are only $200 and they are so easy and predictable. Manual re-work on fine pitch parts gets old really fast, so the dispenser system better be very good and very consistent.

I made a JEDEC sized tray that does 8mm - 56mm cut tape, may be an interesting idea for these machines. I am not selling them, but could provide the info if you need. They allow me to use many different parts in a single setup where a typical tray is a ton of one single part type. 6in or 12in cut tapes.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Kjelt on January 19, 2016, 08:11:55 am
Loaded up the machine today, installed a new firmware version. Hope to build some boards tomorrow.
Looks good, what are you building?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on January 19, 2016, 05:53:13 pm
@Sedelman  That Charmhigh CMHT48VA machine looks pretty nice and the price is good also. Thanks for posting that up for us to consider. I like that it's max pickup height is 15mm vs the 5mm of the Neoden.

https://youtu.be/uUojsxN_BQg

@TheSteve Looking forward to seeing how your first board run goes.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sedelman on January 20, 2016, 01:43:41 pm

There are some impressive videos of the CMHT48VA on Youku.com (Chinese Youtube) that demonstrate the 4000 cph that they claim is possible with vision. You can clearly see it positioning the part over the camera before placing it but it is doing it at less than 1 part per second. They of course place the parts close to the camera to achieve this to minimize head X-Y distance traveled, but it is impressive nonetheless.

I've reached out to them and asked them for a North American customer who has purchased the machine in the last 12 months so I can find out their experiences with the machine as well as the customer service. I'll keep updating this thread as I learn more.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Kjelt on January 20, 2016, 02:35:21 pm
4000EUR at taobao will become about 6000EUR after taxes and import and shipping, still a very good price and almost at hobbieist level. This is a great step forwards.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 20, 2016, 03:28:25 pm
@Sedelman  That Charmhigh CMHT48VA machine looks pretty nice and the price is good also. Thanks for posting that up for us to consider. I like that it's max pickup height is 15mm vs the 5mm of the Neoden.

https://youtu.be/uUojsxN_BQg

@TheSteve Looking forward to seeing how your first board run goes.
But why is it only using one head - oh, let me guess -crappy software perhaps?

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 20, 2016, 05:37:09 pm
So we did do some of our production boards yesterday. It was a little frustrating but we eventually got a few boards made. Found another bug or two in the software. Had a few issues with parts alignment but we're not sure yet if its our programming or the machine. More time and experimentation is needed.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on January 20, 2016, 05:39:54 pm
@mikeselectricalstuff  I'm not sure just yet. 

I did read you can use both heads with different juki nozzle sizes for picking different part sizes.  So I'd be surprised if both heads couldn't be used at the same time. 

I guess it can place 4000 CPH which is really close to Neo Dens 5000 CPH with vision on.  I would assume it would be pretty hard to place 4000 CPH with vision with only 1 head working. 

For 5k + free shipping it looks like it could be a really good option.  I wonder if it can place 10mm tall caps?

Looking forward to how well the Neoden 4 works out also.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 20, 2016, 06:01:44 pm
@mikeselectricalstuff  I'm not sure just yet. 

I did read you can use both heads with different juki nozzle sizes for picking different part sizes.  So I'd be surprised if both heads couldn't be used at the same time. 

I guess it can place 4000 CPH which is really close to Neo Dens 5000 CPH with vision on.  I would assume it would be pretty hard to place 4000 CPH with vision with only 1 head working. 

For 5k + free shipping it looks like it could be a really good option.  I wonder if it can place 10mm tall caps?

Looking forward to how well the Neoden 4 works out also.
I think a major impovement with Neoden4 is imaging multiple heads at once - I wonder if that other machine can do that.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sedelman on January 21, 2016, 07:54:08 am

From the software that Charmhigh provided me to generate the PnP file that the CHMT48VA machine needs, you have to specify which head the machine is to use for which component. Therefore, it appears that their firmware does not automatically use the second head or optimize its use. It is up to you to specify this. From what I understand is that the machine works out of the box for Protel and Altium generated files (but likely only for a single head - I have not looked into this), but you'll need their converter software to deal with other formats.

For Eagle users, it looks like it is trivial to update the mountsmd.ulp script to output the appropriate PnP file that uses the second head. An immediate performance improvement is to have the second head pick up the same part as the first head. More sophisticated improvements could look at minimizing head travel during pickup and placement (which means you would not necessarily pickup the same part on head 1 and 2).

So far I have not heard back from Charmhigh about a North American customer who uses the machine. They indicated that the CMHT48VA is an improved version over the original CMHT48V model and that they just released it in October last year and don't have any North American customers yet. They were going to provide me with a contact that uses the older model.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 21, 2016, 08:44:04 am

From the software that Charmhigh provided me to generate the PnP file that the CHMT48VA machine needs,
Do they document their PnP file format?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sedelman on January 21, 2016, 01:37:22 pm

No, but their converter software generates text files (see Akshaya-dpv.txt - the original generated file has a .dpv extension) from a comma-separated file (see Akshaya-csv.txt). Their converter software is clunky and difficult to understand despite that it is in English.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on January 21, 2016, 01:46:55 pm
p&p files all the same, the difference is small. You can edit it and easily I think.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on January 21, 2016, 03:41:06 pm
@sedelman  Can you verify the max part height of the CHMT48VA? I looked online but that specific info was not listed. I thought it was 15mm but not sure where I picked that up at now.

Also how responsive has your contact at Charmhigh been? Care to share their email? The machine looks like a winner for my needs, its a shame there is not a USA based supplier for something like this.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sedelman on January 21, 2016, 06:15:08 pm

The CHMT48VA looks very good to me also, but I've dealt enough with Chinese suppliers to know that you have to do your due diligence, so actual customer feedback is going to be important before I make a decision. From the information that I have come across, the Z-axis travel specified is 15mm. Whether this is factual, I do not know.

The similar looking TVM802A and TVM802B units from another manufacturer (QiHe / zjyingxing) do not give me as much confidence, despite that it has dual pickup heads, dual cameras and appear to be functionally the same. There are a number of videos of this machine on YouTube (from customers) that suggest to me that the pickup/placement accuracy is no better than what you would expect from a Neoden TM220A/TM240A without vision.  The following website indicates that the machine only uses one camera directly, the second camera is strictly used by the software you run on a PC to assist with the initial alignment:

http://www.matthiasm.com/tvm802a_3.html (http://www.matthiasm.com/tvm802a_3.html)

The other issue is the smaller travel area compared to the CMHT48VA and the fact that they do not use stepper encoders for step verification. This means that a misstep by one of the motors will result in a placement error without the machine knowing this. The CMHT48VA has a closed loop control system with encoders on the stepper motors, so I misstep can be corrected on the fly. The CMHT48VA also has a slot next to the feeders that allows you to feed the empty tapes down so that they are out of the way. With the TVM series you have to run the empty tapes underneath the PCB to the other side of the machine. Yes, it's mostly cosmetic but that matters to me. Lastly, the CMHT48VA uses an embedded Linux system booted using an internal flash drive that allows the machine to operate standalone. You provide the PnP file using a supplied USB thumbdrive. The TVM series requires an Ethernet connection and USB (presumably for the second camera) and requires software on a dedicated PC.

This is what I know so far, so I am leaning towards the CMHT48VA, pending the outcome of the Neoden4 evaluation that is being detailed by TheSteve on this thread.

My contact has been Kimi Liu:

Kimi Liu
kimi@charmhigh-tech.com
Tel: +86 135 106 75756
Skype: kimiliu89

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 21, 2016, 06:22:51 pm
The CHMT48VA looks very good to me also, but I've dealt enough with Chinese suppliers to know that you have to do your due diligence, so actual customer feedback is going to be important before I make a decision. From the information that I have come across, the Z-axis travel specified is 15mm. Whether this is factual, I do not know.

I've dealt with enough Humans globally to know that you have to do your due diligence.  Its not just a chinese thing.   Theres plenty of crappy suppliers everywhere.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sedelman on January 21, 2016, 07:11:07 pm
@mrpackethead agreed, but Chinese suppliers are capable of a level of deceit that I have not seen with many other suppliers. The mentality is so ingrained that they don't loose any sleep over it and in fact, they feel that they are at a competitive disadvantage if they don't do it (because they know their competitors are doing it). My wife, who is Chinese, has heightened my senses as to what suppliers in China are capable of. So, I'm looking to make sure that the camera system on these units is actually functional, and not just flashing for my entertainment.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 21, 2016, 07:19:53 pm
@mrpackethead agreed, but Chinese suppliers are capable of a level of deceit that I have not seen with many other suppliers. The mentality is so ingrained that they don't loose any sleep over it and in fact, they feel that they are at a competitive disadvantage if they don't do it (because they know their competitors are doing it). My wife, who is Chinese, has heightened my senses as to what suppliers in China are capable of. So, I'm looking to make sure that the camera system on these units is actually functional, and not just flashing for my entertainment.

The worst deceit i've experienced has been from German Suppliers as it happens.     I've been let down by Australians, Chinese, Americas, New Zealanders, Germans and Koreans..     Theres good and bad everywhere, and basing things based on someones race, is going to land you in trouble.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sedelman on January 21, 2016, 07:28:08 pm

@mrpackethead, I didn't create this reality, I'm simply indicating what is governing my decisions. Take it as you will.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: wraper on January 21, 2016, 07:51:42 pm
he worst deceit i've experienced has been from German Suppliers as it happens.     I've been let down by Australians, Chinese, Americas, New Zealanders, Germans and Koreans..     Theres good and bad everywhere, and basing things based on someones race, is going to land you in trouble.
Yet the Chinese are among those from whom you most likely should expect surprises. For example their mentality, you can have a deal with them and be 100% sure that you have 100% solid deal where all nuances are agreed. Hell NO, it's you who are thinking there is an agreement, not them. You can ask them time to time if all is going fine as per the agreement. They will always answer yes, all as expected... until you receive the product of their work. They always will try to do something in their own way, "rationalize" and so on. I deal with them only remotely (but have some "experience") though I personally know some people who deal with them directly. And what the say is that dealing with Chinese is hard as fuck.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 21, 2016, 08:03:15 pm
Never ever ask a question that can be answered "yes". "What have you done?", not "have you done xxxx?"
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 21, 2016, 08:15:09 pm
I do business in china every day. both remotely from my desk and on the multiple trips per year.   Theres people there who i trust and they trust me,  years and hundreds of transactions later, its going good.

Buiness is hard.  Business in China is made harder by some that the Chinese will produce amazing quality good at redicoulsy low prices, and many folks want to pay nearly nothing for it.   

Its all about expectation.    Anyway, thats all i'll say, this has got a bit off topic, but it just makes me a bit angry and disappointed when people make broad sweeping comments about large groups of people based on race.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 21, 2016, 08:16:29 pm
I have had sufficient challenges dealing with Chinese vendors that I will avoid it if at all possible. I will pay extra to avoid dealing with Chinese products and companies. There is too little time to bother with the expected silly businesses and terrible products that are so common. There are some gems in there somewhere, but I will not take the time and financial risks digging for a sliver of gold.

I do keep my eyes on what others experience so I can see if any good stuff surfaces. There is also the fact that a number of my own products have been copied (very poorly) in China and sold for less than my hard costs.

Neoden sort of seems like they are paving their own road which is good. They need to focus on making the product good, not cheap. After it is a good product that is stable and meets the needs of the target market, then they can do some post cost engineering to finalize the margins. This machine is a good start, but I would be scared if my business depended on it.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 21, 2016, 08:23:37 pm
Its all about expectation.    Anyway, thats all i'll say, this has got a bit off topic, but it just makes me a bit angry and disappointed when people make broad sweeping comments about large groups of people based on race.

I can only go by my average experience when I am making a business decision. There is no way for me to know anything about the individuals and the nuances of the culture. I do know my own experiences dealing with Chinese companies and what I see out in the wild. While it is true that bad things and bad people are scattered all over the world, I have seen a heavier concentration in China. I cannot afford to take risks so I don't do it. There are a number of other companies that I have worked with that have taken the time to find the gold in China but not without kissing a number of frogs.

Trust is earned. I put China on my blacklist based on actual experiences. This of course is very sweeping but what else should I do? When I start hearing more good stories than bad, I will give them a chance with a low-value project.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sedelman on January 21, 2016, 08:36:49 pm
The ironic thing is that very few Chinese will object to what I have stated because the majority believe it to be true. The majority of Chinese people don't trust Chinese suppliers. End of story. Case in point, baby formula. They are buying it by the truckload from all over the world, especially from Japan because they don't trust local brands and suppliers. Google "2008 Chinese Milk Scandal" for reference, which made international headlines. These types of occurrences happen with such a frequency that consumer confidence for Chinese brands in China is at an all time low. I believe what you are seeing with the whole German VW emissions debacle is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, whereas the Chinese people get confronted with that level of deceit on a weekly basis. Anyway, enough said.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Kjelt on January 21, 2016, 10:09:11 pm
Still some of the most high end products where western companies charge high prices for and have excellent quality are made in China. A lot of western companies let their products be made in China.
You just need to know who you are dealing with and most of us do not know that.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on January 21, 2016, 10:18:43 pm
I get some pretty high quality and good priced solar products out of China. To date I have not received less than expected, I do consider my self lucky.

I feel getting a good quality PNP out of China is certainly a possibility but it's to early to tell since so few people in the USA have them and have shared their experience.

@TheSteve Any updates on your NeoDen4 progress?

Also can any of the more experienced guys give any commend on how much money and frustration a 5-10K machine with Vision that worked correctly could save a small business who may have a need to make up to lets say 10-100 boards a month?

I know having your own machine can cut down on how long you have to wait to get the boards completed but I'm not sure how much money one could expect to possibly save. I'm sure it depends on what type of board your producing but I would love some real world feedback on this aspect of having a small in house PNP machine.

Here are some more videos of the CharmHigh System and what the vision looks like while operating:

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XODc2MjUyMDU2.html?from=s1.8-1-1.2 (http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XODc2MjUyMDU2.html?from=s1.8-1-1.2)

Here is a video showing it using both heads with the vision: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XODM4MTMzNTA0.html?from=s1.8-1-1.2#paction (http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XODM4MTMzNTA0.html?from=s1.8-1-1.2#paction)

And here is a 15 min video of a guy showing you how to setup the Charmhigh machine via the built in computer.  He speaks in a foreign language.  I wonder if YouTube could transcribe it automatically?

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XODgwNTIyMzg0.html?from=y7.7-1-102.4.1-1.12-1-2-0&x (http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XODgwNTIyMzg0.html?from=y7.7-1-102.4.1-1.12-1-2-0&x)

And one more video of the machine in action: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTI1NzcxNjgyNA==.html?from=s1.8-1-1.2 (http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTI1NzcxNjgyNA==.html?from=s1.8-1-1.2)

To me this machine and the NeoDen 4 look to be some of the best small vision based machines on the market.

CharmHigh emailed me back with the user manual for the system were seeing in the above videos. Here is a link to that user manual if anybody wants to look it over.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/hgnof608x1isilu/Charmhigh%20Automatic%20Chip%20Mounter%EF%BC%88CHMT48VA%EF%BC%89Operating%20Manual%28new150922%29.pdf?dl=0 (https://www.dropbox.com/s/hgnof608x1isilu/Charmhigh%20Automatic%20Chip%20Mounter%EF%BC%88CHMT48VA%EF%BC%89Operating%20Manual%28new150922%29.pdf?dl=0)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: spool_of_wire on January 22, 2016, 07:07:56 am
Just was wondering if you guys had read up on this machine:

http://www.smallsmt.biz/home/vision-placer-vp-2x00d/ (http://www.smallsmt.biz/home/vision-placer-vp-2x00d/)

I've only seen it listed over on the dangerous prototypes forum.

They have a few different models but I'm interested in the high end ones.

Unfortunately it requires a PC to run and it's not a quad head system.They're also using shafts on the higher end models so there's no belt to change but perhaps it's not a big deal to swap a belt?

It looks like it has working vision and also the 15mm vertical clearance (at least that's how I read it in the spec)

Also the largest setup can handle (I believe) 81 different parts!

That's the big issues I have with the neoden 4. It can't handle a ton of parts.

I'm hoping to be able to afford one of these later this year so i very much I appreciate the discussion of you guys who know more about it than I do.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on January 22, 2016, 02:19:26 pm
I was able to verify that the CharmHigh CHMT48VA machine just like the NeoDen 4 has a maximum part height of 5mm. See her reply below.

Our machine highest component is 5mm. If over 5mm height, not very much suitable for mounting.

------------------
Best regards,
Kimi Liu
kimi@charmhigh-tech.com
Tel: +86 135 106 75756
Skype: kimiliu89

Kimi responded to my first email within a 12 hours so they are responsive.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sedelman on January 22, 2016, 03:05:20 pm
@spool_of_wire I had come across this before but lost the link. Thanks for providing it. I really like the screw drives (or spindles) for X-Y movement. I also like the fact it uses Samsung industry standard pickup nozzles. What I don't like is the fact that they have this pneumatic push feeder (a single one per north/west/south quadrant) that is back on a belt drive! I like the simplicity of a pull pin and solenoid over this solution and it also does not appear to improve their placement performance of 2000 CPH. The other issue that I see is that the reels are not attached and need to be mounted external to the machine. There is also no takeup reels for the tape covering. It looks quite messy. They claim a vertical pickup clearance of 15mm and a maximum component height of 12mm. Their software seems to be very impressive and allows you to select various optimization strategies. I think this machine is worth a further look.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Royce on January 22, 2016, 03:15:33 pm
VisionBot (http://visionbot.net/ (http://visionbot.net/)) is another one running around one those boards. It seems further towards the hobby end of the spectrum, but maybe that meets someone's needs..

Perhaps we should break up into separate threads for separate machines? Or maybe start collecting the reviews on the Wiki?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 22, 2016, 06:12:44 pm

@TheSteve Any updates on your NeoDen4 progress?


Progress has been slow, we're still trying to get fiducial markings to work as we expect them to.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on January 22, 2016, 09:55:15 pm
5 mm, I think it's for the components that are in the tape. Because they used pressure spring. And that size limits high component.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: MTNELECTRONICS on January 23, 2016, 02:55:41 pm

@TheSteve Any updates on your NeoDen4 progress?


Progress has been slow, we're still trying to get fiducial markings to work as we expect them to.

What specifically is the issue?  I've got a NeoDen4 en route to me as we speak so I am also hoping to document any issues I run into, which will hopefully not duplicate of your issues. 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on January 23, 2016, 08:50:51 pm
@TheSteve  & @MTNElectronics  Can either of you guys speak about what your major motivation was behind purchasing the NeoDen4?

Was it the time savings of being able to run your own boards?

Was it the cost savings over having to pay a 3rd party to do this for you?

Was it that you like electronics and just wanted to buy a new toy?

I'm just getting into manufacturing my own PCB's for some products I'm building so I'm interested in hearing about how much time and money a reliable PNP machine can save you.

Any info on this subject is greatly appreciated  :)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 23, 2016, 10:21:30 pm
Ive gone full circle on this in the last few days,  From liking to hating and back to liking.   

the board size and 5mm limit were starting to worry me.    Yesterday i sat down and made 12 boards, using my Manual PNP ( Dima FP-600).   And it occurs me me that the combination of A low cost automatic Pnp Like this neoden,  coupled up with a manual PNP might be a good idea.   The manual PNP can handle the exceptions, the odd ball stuff.  As a general rule they end up only being a few of the parts anyway, and if 95% of the parts are placed automatically its probably not all bad.

When we go to larger volumes ( > 500 boards ) then its time to send them to the factory.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 23, 2016, 10:32:21 pm
I do not have the Neoden4, but I do have a sub $10k pick and place for my small business. In general, I needed one for a few reasons.

1. Small batches are slow and expensive.
The setup of the machine is not trivial and must be paid for. It is a small amount if you are doing a bunch of boards or your boards are very simple. My typical boards (6 different designs) are all double sided and odd shaped and low-volume. I have a high mix from 0201 passives to 56mm connectors. Various fine pith parts. To send a PCB to a CM, you need to document it and kit it (gather the parts and organize them). This is a slow process and very unforgiving so it needs to be done well. Not difficult, but time consuming. On the other end, the CM has to go through your kit and match everything up, verify that the parts are place-able, maybe splice short tapes, or whatever they need to do to prep the job for their system. The parts need to be over-supplied to make sure that you have enough. They will then put the job into the system, put the parts down, cook them, and send them to you. That is when you find out if your diodes are the right way or the wrong way - after it is all said and done a week or two after you start. If you are like me, needing 15pcs or 3 different PCBs, it's expensive, slow, and attracts problems if you don't pay attention to the tiniest of details.

2. I need to verify the 1st board before the rest are run. Most of my designs are new and may need tweaks.
Many of my PCBs are fresh and new designs that may need some decisions made on the fly. I could build a few manually on my bench and do all the testing/documentation or have a P&P line in-house that allows me to run one PCB, do the tests and changes and then just go run 10-15 more immediately. If the board is really not right, I can simply stop with no penalty.

3. I need assembly RIGHT NOW and be able to make changes immediately.
The PCBs I make are fairly high-cost so I really only want to make slightly more than what the current sales demand is. If I get a big sale, I can be making PCB's in minutes and all is well. With a CM, I would have to wait on whatever their schedule is and/or pay big bucks to expedite to the front of the line.

Having a P&P has turned out to be a very good decision for my little operation. It did not, however, come easy. The P&P machine itself is the fancy center of attention, but PCB assembly is a process with a lot of moving parts and skills. Managing the parts, paste printing, setup, inspection, etc. Tons of details regardless of what type of machine you have in the middle. It, like most things in manufacturing, is unforgiving. A few days ago, I made a batch of boards and forgot to check some SOD323 diodes that were backward. I had to manually repair all the boards which is of course a slow process. Best to catch silly mistakes on the first board, don't get lazy or impatient.

My line has just recently come up to full speed. Now I am focused on the details of physical organization of the pieces, parts, and machines involved to optimize the process for reliability and speed. Going from manual assembly to P&P, one of the biggest challenges was to keep track of how many parts I have. Passives are easy because they are cheap and easy to keep many 1000's on hand. For expensive silicon, I need to be more precise. I have created my own software solution that helps keep count but it is hard. Current active part list is about 120 or so.

A comment on the Neoden4 and others with small capacity. The machine I got was chosen largely because I could put a whole bunch of parts in it. The goal was to get enough parts in the machine to do all of my 'normal' designs without having to re-configure the machine. This required some tweaks and special holders but I did it. I can get around 110 parts in the machine which drastically reduces setup time (nearly zero) when running a batch of 6 different boards. As for speed, it does not matter much in my little world. My single head machine perfectly optimized can do 3600CPH. I run it slow (fewer mis-picks and less wear) at about 1000-1200CPH. At that rate I can still barely keep up with all the ancillary processes - baking, inspection, testing, printing.

I estimated that the financial and time cost of the machine will break even in about 2 months for my operation. It's tough to do a solid analysis, but that is about right. That includes the month of my time it took to get up and running (my machine was used/broken and needed many repairs).

The Neoden4 seems like a good value overall. If used wisely, can be a good stepping stone for a small business. Don't be naive to the challenge though. It does not make PCB's by magic, it still takes a lot of work which is true of ANY P&P machine.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 23, 2016, 10:48:21 pm
I do not have the Neoden4, but I do have a sub $10k pick and place for my small business. In general, I needed one for a few reasons.

What do you have again.. maybe you said, but i can't remember.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 23, 2016, 11:06:20 pm
Following on from rx8pilot's comments about having in-house P&P - totally agree with all those points. Another  aspect is  when you're doing small batches, it is very important to have a streamlined process for setup.
e.g. matching your PCB part library to the machine's library, with not just correct outline sizes, but different variants for different heights and vision attributes  (e.g. caps vs. resistors in 0805), and polarities matched to feeder orientations so you know parts will be placed the right way round.
This is why software quality and documented file formats are probably more important on a low-end machine, as setup will often be a significant part of total end-to-end job time.  You therefore want to set up a streamlined  process, maybe with a bit of your own software to make conversion from PCB software pick/place report to file that the P&P machine wants, ideally including fiducial points, panelisation etc.
 
I'm just in the middle of a job that started from nothing last Monday afternoon - Design finalised Tues, PCB layout sent to local PCB place Wed AM, Firmware done Thurs/Fri, PCBs received today and 72 PCBs are now assembled, programmed and tested (including jigging to support large thin PCB panel), ready to be delivered to customer Monday.
Try doing that with a subcontractor!
 
 
 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 23, 2016, 11:10:51 pm
Quad 4000C (An updated IV-C from Precision Placement Machines)

Manufactured late 90's, converted to Windows in 2009. Super flexible machine, but very clunky software. Stable and relatively bug-free, but strange and non-intuitive. Up and down vision but the real magic is the 'Quad Align' which is a head mounted side scanner that aligns the parts while traveling. I rarely need the up camera since the side scanner can nail just about any part.

Tall parts, wide parts, no problem. Heavy parts, no problem. 1005 passive, no problems. Quick programming, problem. Need to move the machine, problem.

EDIT: Quick programming can happen, it just required a lot of work on my part to get there. The learning curve is rather steep on may chosen machine. Things you would think are simple are carried out in seemingly endless steps. The scripts that I made and on-machine templates have vastly improved this.

Image was the day I picked it up, totally unusable.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 23, 2016, 11:23:57 pm
Another  aspect is  when you're doing small batches, it is very important to have a streamlined process for setup.
e.g. matching your PCB part library to the machine's library, with not just correct outline sizes, but different variants for different heights and vision attributes  (e.g. caps vs. resistors in 0805), and polarities matched to feeder orientations so you know parts will be placed the right way round.

HUGE! Great point.
I spent a considerable effort designing the library to match my MRP and EDA software. I wrote some scripts to automate the process of getting the design data into the exact format needed for the P&P. The up-front effort has a big payoff when you have that fast turnaround project like mikeselectricstuff just mentioned. I can now have my machine programmed very fast and totally setup when the PCB's arrive from fab. You can use a paper print of the PCB to verify programming ahead of the actual PCB.


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 24, 2016, 02:08:50 am

@TheSteve Any updates on your NeoDen4 progress?


Progress has been slow, we're still trying to get fiducial markings to work as we expect them to.

What specifically is the issue?  I've got a NeoDen4 en route to me as we speak so I am also hoping to document any issues I run into, which will hopefully not duplicate of your issues.


We had an issue where parts never really ended up where we wanted them, or where they should be. That specific problem may have resulted because we created our data and then updated to a newer software version but it left behind some board alignment data in the CSV file. We are not really sure where it came from. We do know there is an alignment button now greyed out in the newer versions that wasn't before.

So with that solved we had parts close but still in the wrong places. At that point we stopped following the video instructions and tried some other ways of setting it up. That lead to much greater results but still with one problem. The parts tend to walk to the left on the X axis as we go up the Y axis. This is occurs even with the use of fiducials. The panel we have been testing with can be seen in one of the pics I posted previously. It is 3 boards in a 1x3 matrix. We were using the fiducials at the edges of the panel. The last thing we tried was using fiducial markings on each board instead of the panel. This seems to make the placement plenty usable but does leave doubt in my mind over larger boards as these really aren't that big. The smallest passives we place are 0603 and the finest pitch IC is the FTDI FT232RL which is TSSOP28 0.65mm.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 24, 2016, 02:20:32 am
We had an issue where parts never really ended up where we wanted them, or where they should be.

That is somewhat of a serious issue for a PNP machine.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 24, 2016, 03:00:14 am
We had an issue where parts never really ended up where we wanted them, or where they should be.

That is somewhat of a serious issue for a PNP machine.

Agreed!

Yet at times it has placed parts perfectly. I feel like we may be hitting a software bug or something, I have seen enough to know the hardware is capable of producing results. I do believe in time the issues will get resolved. Once a few people have the machine we can compare results. We are also learning what speeds we can run the machine at, the defaults are pretty much 100% on everything which just isn't possible.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on January 24, 2016, 10:56:27 am
We use Assembleon Topaz. It's also possible to compare with Neoden TM-240A. Then of course the pros have won (Topaz), without a doubt.
TM-240A helps to reduce the time for passive parts only.

Now we think of Neoden 4. I'm worried that there is still need to work on soft.
I think not provide high accuracy even for 0201, 0402 size.

For deviations from the reper (feducial) marks, found themselves a problem on PCB also.
Possibilities of producing PCB isn't all perfect. Then any P&P automat not guilty.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Kjelt on January 24, 2016, 11:24:39 am
I'm just in the middle of a job that started from nothing last Monday afternoon - Design finalised Tues, PCB layout sent to local PCB place Wed AM, Firmware done Thurs/Fri, PCBs received today and 72 PCBs are now assembled, programmed and tested (including jigging to support large thin PCB panel), ready to be delivered to customer Monday.
Try doing that with a subcontractor!
Now I am convinced you have a huge S on your shirt. Incredible.  :)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: coppice on January 24, 2016, 02:51:42 pm
I'm just in the middle of a job that started from nothing last Monday afternoon - Design finalised Tues, PCB layout sent to local PCB place Wed AM, Firmware done Thurs/Fri, PCBs received today and 72 PCBs are now assembled, programmed and tested (including jigging to support large thin PCB panel), ready to be delivered to customer Monday.
Try doing that with a subcontractor!
Depends where you are.  :)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: MTNELECTRONICS on January 24, 2016, 07:51:28 pm
@TheSteve:  I hope that your issues are resolved quickly.  It is a bit discouraging to hear about the fiducial recognition and accuracy problems. 

I already have a LitePlacer and was hoping that this machine would be a little bit more "turn key" than that one was (it is a kit, so issues were to be expected :) ).  It took me 100+ hours to build that one and get it working well.  I still use it a bit, but for the type of boards I build I realized in a hurry that I needed feeders---I spend way too much time reloading and playing around with that side of things.  How NeoDen responds to these issues will be telling.  I'm not naive enough to expect a perfect or easy experience out of the box, but I was hoping that most of the issues would be with my understanding of the machine and not the machine itself. 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Royce on January 24, 2016, 08:45:08 pm
I already have a LitePlacer and was hoping that this machine would be a little bit more "turn key" than that one was (it is a kit, so issues were to be expected :) ).  It took me 100+ hours to build that one and get it working well.  I still use it a bit, but for the type of boards I build I realized in a hurry that I needed feeders---I spend way too much time reloading and playing around with that side of things. 

Do you have a write up of your LitePlacer experiences?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on January 24, 2016, 08:46:19 pm
@Royce  Here is a thread that I started about the Light Placer :http://liteplacer.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=226
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: MTNELECTRONICS on January 25, 2016, 07:16:49 pm
I already have a LitePlacer and was hoping that this machine would be a little bit more "turn key" than that one was (it is a kit, so issues were to be expected :) ).  It took me 100+ hours to build that one and get it working well.  I still use it a bit, but for the type of boards I build I realized in a hurry that I needed feeders---I spend way too much time reloading and playing around with that side of things. 

Do you have a write up of your LitePlacer experiences?

No, I don't have a writeup.  The mechanical build instructions were very well laid out, and although that part took a long time it was fairly frustration free.  I spent a lot of time during the build making sure that everything had thread locker on it, was square, etc. 

After the mechanical build portion was finished, the instructions on the electrical side were a lot less clear.  I got everything hooked up but had several different issues with program crashes, loss of communication, poor accuracy, inability to get cameras to work correctly, etc.  The cameras that came with the kit simply did not work well, and upgrading them was very helpful.  I also upgraded a few other things, like adding a separate buck controller to be able to adjust the LED brightness, among others.  I had a few faulty and missing parts, which were quickly replaced at no cost to me.  It was a lot for me to take in because I had no experience with stepper motors, pick and place machines, etc.  I would have been absolutely lost without the support forum and without the support of the machine's creator (Juha), who was very responsive all along the way. 

It is a unique machine because it can be customized to do pretty much anything you want, as long as you are willing to take the time to learn the quirks and get it set up correctly.  For me, the biggest detractor is the lack of feeders.  I do a lot of small boards that have a component count of only 6-8 different SMD components, and I found out quickly that I was getting sick of reloading the tapes all the time.  It would be an even better value for someone who does boards with lots of different components who doesn't have the budget for a machine with dozens of feeders, but I am at the point now where I want to load a reel of 5000 parts and let it run for a while. 

I will probably end up selling the Liteplacer after I get the NeoDen up and running.  It is a good machine, but just not the best fit for my needs.  The speed isn't super fast (I don't run it at 100% speed usually), but it is plenty fast for anything I need (even 300-500 cph would be enough to keep up with the other steps of my process and would allow me to do other things during that time, so a 5000cph machine isn't really necessary for me). 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 25, 2016, 07:47:10 pm
Just was wondering if you guys had read up on this machine:

http://www.smallsmt.biz/home/vision-placer-vp-2x00d/ (http://www.smallsmt.biz/home/vision-placer-vp-2x00d/)

I'm hoping to be able to afford one of these later this year so i very much I appreciate the discussion of you guys who know more about it than I do.

Does anyone know of one of these in the wild?   On paper at least this machine is a better fit for me than the Neoden 4.   I'm In China in Late Feb, and i'm thinking that i might go and check these guys out.  Its not too far out of my way, and would be a good day trip. 

I'm not adverse to it running on a PC.   I do really like that it will support a very large number of reels. Even if its a bit slow.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on January 25, 2016, 08:10:27 pm
Some inaccuracies installation of parts you want? Then yes.
I wondered where does throw a component?
If it isn't successful. Where trashbox? I don't find this.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on January 25, 2016, 09:07:23 pm
Hi I am Michael the engineer behind smallsmt.
We have a drop box location on the north feeder side you only need to add a box.
The machine speed is up to 3600 parts per hour for one head without vision but we have 2 heads.
Please review our posting on twitter.
If you like to ask me anything about the machines feel free to contact me.
Check my knowledge on Dangerousprototypes.com my username is supertronic
We do a web meeting for every customer who want to see machine and software working.
Ask me for a date it's for free no problem.
You can visit me in Germany too!
https://twitter.com/smallsmt/status/691733948074954753

Best regards
Michael
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: spool_of_wire on January 25, 2016, 10:20:34 pm


Does anyone know of one of these in the wild?   On paper at least this machine is a better fit for me than the Neoden 4.   I'm In China in Late Feb, and i'm thinking that i might go and check these guys out.  Its not too far out of my way, and would be a good day trip. 

I'm not adverse to it running on a PC.   I do really like that it will support a very large number of reels. Even if its a bit slow.



After I made the post you originally quoted me on I got a pm at the dangerous prototypes forum from Michael (Smallsmt engineer).

He's a very up front guy and not pushy and was very open. Which I'd say is much better than a few other sellers of  pnp machines who seem to just be pushing their business. He had said that they had about 120 in Asia and 24 overseas. Before I make a commitment to purchase one I'd really like all the feedback I can get. This is a big enough purchase for me that I can't afford to make a mistake. (I won't be able to afford another one)

If you post here (or start a new thread on another forum) pm me as I'd be interested in following it.

-J

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on January 25, 2016, 11:44:03 pm
@SmallSMT Do you have any videos of your machine in action? Would love to see some if you do!  :)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 26, 2016, 12:44:57 am
If i get this right, this is German Engineered, and made in China?

NB, theres some videos on their twitter page.


I've started a new thread over here

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/smallsmt-discussion-thread/ (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/smallsmt-discussion-thread/)

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 26, 2016, 04:18:02 am
I am pleased to report we had some pretty decent success today, there is light at the end of the tunnel! It also built our boards a little quicker then the Juki 570L did and we should still still be able to speed it up.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ocmaster85 on January 26, 2016, 05:20:33 am
Hi,

( First post :) )

I own a small comapny making solutions for drones as a hobby/extra job..
It's growing too big for me to hand assemble the units, and i'm looking into a small pick&place unit to help save some time on larger batches..

Is the Neo4 getting to the point where the software is ready to be used for production ? I've read all the posts in this thread, and i'm more or less convinced that it will get there eventually..
@TheSteve - how's Progress with the unit, and which issues have been solved with the "light at the end of the tunnel" ? ;)

Will follow this thread closely from now on..!

I need to Invest in a PnP somewhat around Q2 this year, so hopefully it has all been solved by that time :)

Can't wait to hear more about these smaller PnP's.. Keep the info rolling.. ;)

--
OCMaster85
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sam512bb on January 27, 2016, 11:48:07 pm
I am pleased to report we had some pretty decent success today, there is light at the end of the tunnel! It also built our boards a little quicker then the Juki 570L did and we should still still be able to speed it up.

Good day TheSteve,

I posted this question before, but you did not respond... I was curious why you decided to abandon your Juki in favor of the Neoden?  I ask, as one of the issues I see with these non main stream PnP machines is the lack of outside support and also I do not find them that much cheaper than an older PnP.  The Juki/Zevatechs, although older machines, one can still get local or third part support for repairs, parts, ,etc.  Adding to these these older machines are built like tanks and simply work.  The negative side to them is that they are older and so the software is dated (i.e. DOS 6.3!) and are perhaps slower... but for some... like me... total CPH or placement speed is not really a big issue.   A big plus for me is that my 575 can be loaded on all four sides and so I can load over 100 8mm feeders (less if 12mm or larger).   

Anyway, I was just curious as to your rationale for the migration to the smaller non mainstream PnP machines.

Cheers,

Sam
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 27, 2016, 11:54:38 pm
Quite simply it was the size. We can easily move the Neoden around and get it through standard sized doors.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 28, 2016, 12:40:09 am
I hear that. My Quad is 1200 pounds and much bigger than a standard door. Moving it even a little bit is a project.



Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on January 28, 2016, 03:01:40 am
@TheSteve   So do you feel like you have most of the kinks worked out of the NeoDen 4 machine now? Enough that you can run your boards without issues?

Next time you run the machine can you take a picture of the what your finished panel looks like? A video would be awesome to if that's easy for you to do.

Is 60 feeders enough for you or do you wish you had more like 100?

How about NeoDen's latest software? Do you feel like you have a good handle on it now?


And @MTNElectronics - When do you expect to have your NeoDen 4 delivered and up and running? What kind of boards and what size parts do you plan on placing? Hoping that you share your experiences with the machine also. Hopefully with @TheSteve's help you can be up and running much quicker.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ttsthermaltech on January 28, 2016, 03:55:18 am
I noticed a few people mentioned the SmallSMT machine. They are a evolving rebrand of a machine made by Yushengtech in China. In any case, Yushengtech / HotHotSMT / SmallSMT are the same company / people.

A new individual has come on board, his name is Michael, and he is a very intelligent individual. However the machine maker he works with are not so reputable.

I bought the Yushengtech branded machine via HotHotSMT and got a decent mechanical machine. It definately needed some mechanical / software calibration, but after a few hours, I got things moving pretty accurately. When I had questions regarding setup, I was asked to contact Michael at SmallSMT for support.

The software / controller for the machine was to be a version of OurSMT (www.oursmt.com (http://www.oursmt.com)). Yushengtech / HotHotSMT promised free software updates both in their advertising and sales process.

Now for the problems....

First problem was nozzles. I ordered and paid for three full sets of nozzles for the machine. When I received the machine, only one set was included. I emailed the sales person (Sunny) and told her that the nozzles were missing. I was promptly told that they would not send me the nozzles unless I ordered other spare parts and paid the shipping. It wasn't about the cost of the nozzles or the shipping. It is the principle that they sold them to me, forgot to send them, and then wouldn't admit fault, and send me the nozzles and eat the shipping.

Then the real problems started. The camera switching board would not switch camera channels. The machine uses two composite video cameras for top and bottom vision. The board uses a couple of relays to switch the video feed to the USB video capture card connected to the PC. Once again, the manufacturer would not send a new video switching card unless I sent the old one back, and paid shipping for both the return and the new pieces. Anyhow, I disconnected the board and removed it from the machine. It was a combination of through hole and smd components. Everything was hand soldered using an iron, flux everywhere, and the solder joints were three times the height of the smd components themselves. Turns out there were some (2) cold joints on the board, and they melted the side of one of the relays with the iron. I ended up fixing myself with a new relay, and some fresh solder work. But in any case, bad customer service.

Next came the software. Under ideal lighting conditions, I could get the fidicual recognition to work 50% of the time. 805 resistor and cap bottom vision worked about 90% of the time, but other components were hit or miss. I hoped that a software update would fix some of the problems as the version supplied with the machine was a few revisions old from what was advertised by the software maker.

This is when shit hit the fan. The software update feature always indicated the software was current. So I contacted the sales rep (Sunny) and she did not return my emails regarding software. So I contacted the software manufacturer. After a instant message conversation with the sales person at OurSMT, I was clearly told that they would not update any software supplied by Yushengtech, but was not told why. After about an hour of asking questions, I was finally told that Yushengtech bought a single copy of the software, hacked / copied the protection dongle and shipped pirated versions to clients. The only way I would get updates was if I bought a new copy of the software for $800USD.

In any case, I would not buy from them. I complained  to Michael, and he knew of the software issues. He did offer a big discount if I purchased a new upgraded machine with their new in-house software. This was appreciated, however, the new machine was more than the machine I allready paid for, even with the discount. I did not trust the manufacturer anymore at this point, so I declined.

I am 90% complete at converting the machine to OpenPNP.org software. I am losing bottom vision for the time being, as it is in development at the moment, but everything else works better than before, and at least if there is an issue / bug, I can edit the code. Also, the lead developer of openPNP (Jason) is fantastic.

Anyhow, that is my $0.02 worth regarding this specific PNP. Take from it what you will.

I do have high hopes for the Neoden. I really wish they made the software better. At the moment, it looks pretty basic, and honestly, they should not release a machine with half baked software. But if they can get the bugs out, I hope they do well, because the mechanical product itself looks really good.



Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on January 28, 2016, 04:02:22 am
@ttsthermaltech Thanks so much for the honest real world review and experience.

You certainly swayed my decision back towards the NeoDen & CharmHigh machines.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ttsthermaltech on January 28, 2016, 04:11:51 am
RWB,

Personally, I think Neoden is the only China based small PNP company trying to keep a reputation intact. Albeit their previous machines are not marvels of technology, they do seem to be supported well, and do what they are supposed to do, within the confines of non-vision placement.

I don't own a Neoden, but am considering it. I am fortunately in very close proximity to Steve and his new Neoden (about 20km) so I am trying to find the time to go check it out. Steve was kind enough to put me in touch with the owner of his company, and I intend to make the effort to visit them. I must admit, Steve has been very forthcoming with info, and also with extending the olive branch to put me in touch with his boss.

With regards to PNP's, the electro-mechanical systems are pretty simple. Its all software. The best pnp hardware is just a brick without good software.
 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 28, 2016, 04:24:03 am
MM.   You've jumped in here on January 08, 2016, 04:03:29 AM.  And made two posts..  Bo

Are you you must be Robert?  ( https://github.com/openfeeder-org/openFeeder-org-V0.0.1 )

Just need to take everything on the internet with a grain of salt, and there will be a 2nd side to this story.    Lets see what micheal has to say.

   
RWB,

Personally, I think Neoden is the only China based small PNP company trying to keep a reputation intact. Albeit their previous machines are not marvels of technology, they do seem to be supported well, and do what they are supposed to do, within the confines of non-vision placement.

I don't own a Neoden, but am considering it. I am fortunately in very close proximity to Steve and his new Neoden (about 20km) so I am trying to find the time to go check it out. Steve was kind enough to put me in touch with the owner of his company, and I intend to make the effort to visit them. I must admit, Steve has been very forthcoming with info, and also with extending the olive branch to put me in touch with his boss.

With regards to PNP's, the electro-mechanical systems are pretty simple. Its all software. The best pnp hardware is just a brick without good software.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 28, 2016, 04:26:10 am
nb, love to hear more of your story, we are always on line on irc in freenode  #openpnp
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 28, 2016, 04:57:44 am
With regards to PNP's, the electro-mechanical systems are pretty simple. Its all software. The best pnp hardware is just a brick without good software.

Conceptually simple. The nuances are not simple. I came to EE after 10 years of mechanical including owning my own manufacturing facility. The mechanics of a good machine have to be excellent. The mechanics of a great machine have to be absolutely jaw dropping. Hitting the same spot a million time in a row is not all that easy. Ball screws and linear encoders (IMHO) are very important. Linear guides are also important - I don't see any of that on the Neoden (although I could be wrong). It looks like a belt/pulley system on end-supported shafts with linear bearings. Meh.

With that said, bad software can kill the best hardware in an instant and great software can not make up for marginal hardware.

My hope and dream in the PnP arena is that someone will focus on making a great small machine designed for small businesses. Don't design solely to be the cheapest on the market. Design it to work well and be a good value. Neoden seems to be moving up, but it appears they need to run a few more laps to get a solid system out there. Something that is around $20-$25k all-in with a bunch of feeders and nice software would have my order. Nozzle changers, flexible programming, cut tape, tubes, tall parts, wide parts, easy change-over. It does not need to be the fastest horse in the race with a gazillion heads - it needs to be VERY reliable and easy to operate. 10,000CPH 'rating' is useless if you are always fiddling with it. To keep up with 10,000CPH - all other processes from printing to oven have to keep up as well.

My Quad won't last forever and I hope that there is a solid option to replace it when the time comes.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 28, 2016, 05:00:16 am
With regards to PNP's, the electro-mechanical systems are pretty simple. Its all software. The best pnp hardware is just a brick without good software.

My hope and dream in the PnP arena is that someone will focus on making a great small machine designed for small businesses. Don't design solely to be the cheapest on the market. Design it to work well and be a good value. Neoden seems to be moving up, but it appears they need to run a few more laps to get a solid system out there. Something that is around $20-$25k all-in with a bunch of feeders and nice software would have my order. Nozzle changers, flexible programming, cut tape, tubes, tall parts, wide parts, easy change-over. It does not need to be the fastest horse in the race with a gazillion heads - it needs to be VERY reliable and easy to operate. 10,000CPH 'rating' is useless if you are always fiddling with it. To keep up with 10,000CPH - all other processes from printing to oven have to keep up as well.

My dream is similar. I did'n see you lurking in the back of my head did i?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ttsthermaltech on January 28, 2016, 06:00:45 am
MrPacketHead.

Yes, I am the one starting the openfeeder.org project. It is a slow work in progress, as work (real job) has me pretty busy. When time permits, I will get the initial design out. Its nothing earth shattering. Just a simple electric feeder design.

Anyhow, I am not too worried about what the manufacturer or any of its employees have to say. I paid for a machine, that really doesn't do what they promised. Since they didn't provide a legitimate copy of the control software, it is pretty easy to place judgement on them. I could have easily forgiven bugs / small mechanical issues. Commercial PNP's get commissioned by trained people before putting into service. One can't expect a small machine to travel thousands of KM's and not get a little out of whack. I was fine with putting the time in to adjust / tweak, but one has to expect that when the make or break moment comes, the software can do the job, or be updated. This is the failure point.

The funny part, is that with a new $100 motion controller (smoothieboard), and some open source software (openPNP) and a weekend of time to rewire, configure, and test, I have the machine working far better than it ever did from the manufacturer. Yes, I am still lacking the bottom vision, but at least the machine functions correctly, can be updated, and is controlled by open source!

PS. Please forgive my overly simplified statement that "the electro-mechanical systems of a PNP are simple". Obviously, there is a large technology gap between tabletop / hobby PNP's that are sub $10K and commercial PNP's costing $500+K. The point I was trying to make was that with the general availability of quality open source motion controllers, stepper drives, and motion components, there is really no excuse for bad hardware. No one is re-inventing the wheel in hobby PNP's. Sure, you can keep throwing more money at a small PNP to get more features, but really, getting 0.1mm resolution these days, even with belts is pretty easy. Making a few hundred placements without losing position is pretty easy as long as you aren't losing steps. But once again, that is a  mechanical issue causing grief in the electrical / software world. Where most fail is in the software implementation. As you said, it can make even the best hardware, useless.

Rob.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on January 28, 2016, 06:10:03 am
@ttsthermaltech

Dear Robert,

you know your SMT50 is not a SMALLSMT machine and I tried to help you to solve this issue before.
I personally own a SMT50 machine it was my first contact to YUSHENGTECH and started to improve the machines.
This OURSMT controller has no good vision system but my machine placed > 250000 parts so the mechanics was not bad.

At the beginning YUSHENG worked together with OURSMT a Chinese PNP machine controller manufacturer.
Unfortunally OURSMT and YUSHENG separated and OURSMT stopped supporting them.
The reason was OURSMT software had a lot of problems and YUSHENG decided to work together with me to build a new and better quality system.

I never sold any SMT50 and I am sorry for your problems you know!

Quote
This is when shit hit the fan. The software update feature always indicated the software was current. So I contacted the sales rep (Sunny) and she did not return my emails regarding software. So I contacted the software manufacturer. After a instant message conversation with the sales person at OurSMT, I was clearly told that they would not update any software supplied by Yushengtech, but was not told why. After about an hour of asking questions, I was finally told that Yushengtech bought a single copy of the software, hacked / copied the protection dongle and shipped pirated versions to clients. The only way I would get updates was if I bought a new copy of the software for $800USD.

I forgot to explain Yusheng bought legal copys because they sold controller software and a soft dog togeteher to YUSHENG.
OURSMT was the problem but that's now history.
I bought software and controller from OURSMT too and hoped to receive better support for the software but they send no updates to mee too.
So i hope you understand I dislike this Chinese business too!

We are different to common Chinese companies we care our customers.

The same story for me with NEODEN i bought a TM240A in 2010 was never satisfied with the performance of my system.
Because of Software problems machine stopped working sometimes had alignment and vibration problems.
I couldn't receive firmware update for my machine and the mechanics was to weak.

That was the main reason to start SMALLSMT!

YUSHENG + SMALLSMT working together we are responsible for development and oversea sales.
HOT HOT SMT is the Chinese company of XIAO JUAN WU (Sunny)
Sunny + me operate SMALLSMT

I hope this is clear enough.

We solve our problems and improve!
Our customers receive after sales support and updates too!

Best Regards
Michael
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 28, 2016, 06:24:17 am
@ttsthermaltech

Dear Robert,
you know your SMT50 is not a SMALLSMT machine
[/quote]

Robert is this correct?

Quote
I never sold any SMT50 and I am sorry for your problems you know!

So, Robert your SMT50 which is not a SmallSMT machine, seems like it was a disaster..   But certainly two sides to this story.

Quote
"Anyhow, that is my $0.02 worth regarding this specific PNP. Take from it what you will."

So, what we know is not to buy a SMT50 from with the software from another crowd..      How does that relate to SmallSMT's new machines, with new software?

Just curious.



Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on January 28, 2016, 06:32:08 am

Quote
How does that relate to SmallSMT's new machines, with new software?

Yusheng developed a complete new controller system based on a ARM 32 bit controller inside machine and windows DotNet software.
The complete machine development is now in one company and our system works good.
You can review in our gallery!
We show working videos too.
Nobody need to buy a machine without having a web meeting with me to demonstrate the performance of our system.

In every business you have unsatisfied customers and I understand Robert.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 28, 2016, 07:05:42 am
After about an hour of asking questions, I was finally told that Yushengtech bought a single copy of the software, hacked / copied the protection dongle and shipped pirated versions to clients. The only way I would get updates was if I bought a new copy of the software for $800USD.

The other side says this is not factual and the software was not printed at all.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 28, 2016, 07:11:54 am
@TheSteve   So do you feel like you have most of the kinks worked out of the NeoDen 4 machine now? Enough that you can run your boards without issues?

Next time you run the machine can you take a picture of the what your finished panel looks like? A video would be awesome to if that's easy for you to do.

Is 60 feeders enough for you or do you wish you had more like 100?

How about NeoDen's latest software? Do you feel like you have a good handle on it now?


At this point I think we understand how to use the machine better then any tech support at Neoden. The last run we did of a few panels was very successful. We are slowly dialing in the feeder settings and the accuracy issues now seem solved. It's not perfect of course and we could make quite a few suggestions on how to improve the software and just give the machine a better feel over all.
We have the machine almost fully loaded, can add a few more feeders still if needed. At this time we only have three different boards to make, we try to share as many parts as possible. We may have to swap one 16 mm reel to build everything, we have 8mm feeders to spare.

I will try to take a video of the entire build next time we run some boards. Our current panel takes about 6 minutes start to finish.

@ttsthermaltech - if we run some boards next week hopefully you can drop by.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 28, 2016, 07:13:51 am
@ttsthermaltech - if we run some boards next week hopefully you can drop by.

Does your machine run Windows XP underneath, and is it properly Licenced?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Kjelt on January 28, 2016, 07:20:09 am
@smallsmt
If there are as you state different types/versions of an SMT50 machine from different manufacturers would it not be advisable to at least change the name and or remove any links such as demo videos from the website. A bit odd and raises a lot of questions if you ask me.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 28, 2016, 07:24:09 am
@smallsmt
If there are as you state different types/versions of an SMT50 machine from different manufacturers would it not be advisable to at least change the name and or remove any links such as demo videos from the website. A bit odd and raises a lot of questions if you ask me.

What web page are you looking at, i can only see  the SMallSMT machines?

http://www.smallsmt.biz/home/gallery/ (http://www.smallsmt.biz/home/gallery/)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 28, 2016, 07:25:49 am
@ttsthermaltech - if we run some boards next week hopefully you can drop by.

Does your machine run Windows XP underneath, and is it properly Licenced?

Yes, the Neoden4 runs Windows XP. I don't recall there being a certificate of authenticity with the machine or a sticker anywhere with a license key. The machine boots to the PnP software and has the shutdown command embedded into the software. It is designed so you have zero interaction with the OS itself. All shortcuts and hotkeys are disabled in the registry(except one...). The install is in chinese so its not the easiest for me to navigate.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Kjelt on January 28, 2016, 07:26:01 am
@smallsmt
If there are as you state different types/versions of an SMT50 machine from different manufacturers would it not be advisable to at least change the name and or remove any links such as demo videos from the website. A bit odd and raises a lot of questions if you ask me.

What web page are you looking at, i can only see  the SMallSMT machines?

http://www.smallsmt.biz/home/gallery/ (http://www.smallsmt.biz/home/gallery/)
Ok look to the left it says SMT50 demo.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on January 28, 2016, 09:10:00 am
Quote
@smallsmt
If there are as you state different types/versions of an SMT50 machine from different manufacturers would it not be advisable to at least change the name and or remove any links such as demo videos from the website. A bit odd and raises a lot of questions if you ask me.

Yes you only see SMALLSMT machine i post the old videos of my SMT50 for education to show how a drag feeding machine works.
And you see it is working!

I remove it soon because it's confusing.

Quote
@smallsmt
If there are as you state different types/versions of an SMT50 machine from different manufacturers would it not be advisable to at least change the name and or remove any links such as demo videos from the website. A bit odd and raises a lot of questions if you ask me.

No I think they sold only a few machines in this configuration but i did'nt know exactly because at the time when  i bought I was a customer like Robert.

The mechanics of SMT50 machine was build by YUSHENG and the controller and software from OURSMT.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 28, 2016, 09:25:03 am
@ttsthermaltech - if we run some boards next week hopefully you can drop by.

Does your machine run Windows XP underneath, and is it properly Licenced?

Yes, the Neoden4 runs Windows XP. I don't recall there being a certificate of authenticity with the machine or a sticker anywhere with a license key. The machine boots to the PnP software and has the shutdown command embedded into the software. It is designed so you have zero interaction with the OS itself. All shortcuts and hotkeys are disabled in the registry(except one...). The install is in chinese so its not the easiest for me to navigate.

Mmm , wonder if its legit. If anyone from Neoden is reading this, can you tell us if you are using properly registered WIndows?  Without it, the entire machine coudl get be held up by customs on entry.   Bogus software is really unhelpful.      Also whys it running on an OS that is so old? Microsoft stopped support in 2012

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ocmaster85 on January 28, 2016, 09:31:01 am
Just figured that we have a dealer here on Denmark for NeoDen (pretty new, from Q4 last year they met them in Munick at an electronics fair)
They are currently waiting to recieve the first NeoDen4 unit, since the first one they got they had to return, since it could not get approved within EU standards.. Currently steppers (and last thing as it sounded on the dealer) motors did have too high RFI/EMI ratings.. They are currently fixing this issue at NeoDen and will send a new unit to the Danish dealer.. When setup, we will go and get a demo if it in their showroom..
I think it will be a higher standard, since they won't allow to sell a "half baked" product here in Denmark, since they know they have to deal with the problems coming Down the road.. (they normally deal with Yamaha pnp units)..

Looking forward to hear more in regards to improvements on both hardware and software..!! :)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 28, 2016, 10:04:40 am
It's not perfect of course and we could make quite a few suggestions on how to improve the software and just give the machine a better feel over all.
Have you fed these back to Neoden? How a company reacts to suggestions for improvement is a very good sign of how well they want to support their customers.
China is notorious for a "just good enough to ship" attitude with no interest in making further improvements.
If they take notice and make improvements based on feedback from their users it will set them way apart from all the other Chinese suppliers.
However I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a reply just explaining how to work around the issues (and them considering this to be good customer service) rather than express any interest in fixing them.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on January 28, 2016, 10:56:14 am
If I review this thread it looks like neoden sells a well tested machine and have a good reputation isn't it?

And their dealer in Netherland Uk and Denmark are involved in testing and quality management.

So it should be a good buy?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ttsthermaltech on January 28, 2016, 04:25:43 pm
As I mentioned previously, Michael seems to have the best intentions. However, Yushentech still makes the mechanical machine for him. The sales girl (Sunny) from HotHotSMT, whom I bought the Yushentech machine from, is still listed as the sales person for SmallSMT. It is right on the SmallSMT.biz contact page...

Yes the OurSMT software is the problem. It was sold to me with a machine. The seller should be responsible for ensuring that the machine works properly, and that a good relationship is maintained with their vendor. I can only attest to what the OURSMT sales rep indicated to me regarding software. But when my machine arrives with a non-descript dongle, a non-descript CD-ROM with a copy of the software, and no manuals, things start looking like they walk, and talk like a duck...

Maybe things are getting better with the SmallSMT brand. All I know is I got hosed somewhere in the middle.

Also, if Yushentech / HotHotSMT is watching this thread, understand this. Customers are the lifeblood of a company. I am only giving others a complete and honest overview of my experience with the machine you provided. If this truly was a reputable company, they would upgrade the hardware, or a least controls / software free of charge. No questions asked. But I highly doubt this will happen... If it does happen, I would be pleasantly surprised.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 28, 2016, 04:52:27 pm
Windows XP? Is it even possible it is legitimate? I don't think Microsoft is even issuing licensing for that?

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 28, 2016, 05:37:22 pm
Windows XP? Is it even possible it is legitimate? I don't think Microsoft is even issuing licensing for that?
Could be XP embedded. Or old stock PCs.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 28, 2016, 06:29:33 pm
Could be XP embedded. Or old stock PCs.

Saving money is an artful balance of choices. Delicate choices to balance the cost and benefit in a way that the end result is a good value. Choosing XP is not particularly artful or balanced.

Priority 1: Low cost.
Priority 2: Make it do something useful.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: MTNELECTRONICS on January 28, 2016, 10:17:35 pm
My machine was delivered yesterday afternoon and I was up until 2 AM putting it together. 

The machine's packaging was excellent.  The crate was sturdy and the machine was mounted on rubber isolators.  The head was held tightly in place. 

The stand, however was another story; it was slightly bent, but I was able to straighten it out, and none of the 30+ M5 screw holes had been tapped, so I had to drill and tap them all before I could assemble it.  After that it went together fine, but it was unnecessary work and I'm not very happy about that.  The stand is sturdy once assembled.  Mine came with the rubber isolation piece and all of the hardware necessary.

The monitor came with a non-US power cord.  Luckily it uses the standard PC/Monitor PS cord (I am not sure what the connector is called) and I had an extra laying around.  Another oversight.

The machine seems to be put together well and it did boot up and run.  The nozzles all seem to both blow and suck correctly (I am on 110V and TheSteve had mentioned that his machine did not blow correctly out of the box).   I loaded up one reel of 0805 resistors and a stick of MCUs in the vibratory feeder to give it a go at 1:30 AM (usually a bad idea).  I had watched the instruction videos several times before receiving the machine, but I was still lost at a couple of steps.  I was able to get it to pick and place a few of the 0805 resistors successfully from the reel feeder before I went to bed, so it's off to at least a decent start.   ;)

The machine seems like it moves way too fast on 100%, but I could be wrong.  Placement speed is also super fast (without paste the parts go flying sometimes!)  I still have a lot to learn about the UI and the quirks of the machine but I'll try report back here as I get some more experience with it. 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 28, 2016, 10:38:44 pm
My machine was delivered yesterday afternoon and I was up until 2 AM putting it together. 

The machine's packaging was excellent.  The crate was sturdy and the machine was mounted on rubber isolators.  The head was held tightly in place. 

The stand, however was another story; it was slightly bent, but I was able to straighten it out, and none of the 30+ M5 screw holes had been tapped, so I had to drill and tap them all before I could assemble it.  After that it went together fine, but it was unnecessary work and I'm not very happy about that.  The stand is sturdy once assembled.  Mine came with the rubber isolation piece and all of the hardware necessary.

The monitor came with a non-US power cord.  Luckily it uses the standard PC/Monitor PS cord (I am not sure what the connector is called) and I had an extra laying around.  Another oversight.

The machine seems to be put together well and it did boot up and run.  The nozzles all seem to both blow and suck correctly (I am on 110V and TheSteve had mentioned that his machine did not blow correctly out of the box).   I loaded up one reel of 0805 resistors and a stick of MCUs in the vibratory feeder to give it a go at 1:30 AM (usually a bad idea).  I had watched the instruction videos several times before receiving the machine, but I was still lost at a couple of steps.  I was able to get it to pick and place a few of the 0805 resistors successfully from the reel feeder before I went to bed, so it's off to at least a decent start.   ;)

The machine seems like it moves way too fast on 100%, but I could be wrong.  Placement speed is also super fast (without paste the parts go flying sometimes!)  I still have a lot to learn about the UI and the quirks of the machine but I'll try report back here as I get some more experience with it.

Did you see any evidence of the xp being genuine.   This is really quite disconcerting that they might be shipping bogus copies of windows?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on January 28, 2016, 11:19:40 pm
I agree here. Today need W10, W7 wouldn't want to. Maybe they have problems with the periphery, not all drivers completed yet at W10.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 28, 2016, 11:35:54 pm
Maybe things are getting better with the SmallSMT brand. All I know is I got hosed somewhere in the middle.

I'm sorry if i've come across this the wrong way, but having re-read your posts yet again, I still feel like you think that Micheal and his company SmallSMT have some resposnbility for what happened with your  OurSMT based machine. .   Sunny the sales person has moved from one company to another,  thats quite normal, and i'd guess she had no ability or authority to fix your problem...

To set the record really clear, do you, or do you not think SmallSMT has any responbility for your problem with your SMT50?

A. Yes
B. No.



Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: MTNELECTRONICS on January 28, 2016, 11:41:34 pm
Did you see any evidence of the xp being genuine.   This is really quite disconcerting that they might be shipping bogus copies of windows?

I think we should just ask NeoDen what is going on with it and then see if their answer holds up instead of speculating.  It seems like it would be a foolish thing to do, but then again the general Chinese business culture is a bit different than what most of us are used to dealing with. 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 28, 2016, 11:48:45 pm
Did you see any evidence of the xp being genuine.   This is really quite disconcerting that they might be shipping bogus copies of windows?

I think we should just ask NeoDen what is going on with it and then see if their answer holds up instead of speculating.  It seems like it would be a foolish thing to do, but then again the general Chinese business culture is a bit different than what most of us are used to dealing with.

IN deed. Neoden are you listening?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 28, 2016, 11:56:38 pm
Obviously having properly licensed software is important but the version of the OS is totally irrelevant in this case as its designed so you don't see or interact with it at all.

@MTNELECTRONICS - the Z axis really fires those parts home by default! I recommend slowing everything down to start with, the defaults are pretty aggressive and possibly unrealistic.
It is nice you received all of the parts, sucks about the holes not being threaded properly.
My first impression of the machine is still that it is very "cute" - it just seems so small compared to all of the other machines I have had exposure to.

When you get a chance can you possibly post the pressure numbers you get for the "suck" and blow" tests(with the nozzles blocked of course).

You will want to turn the brightness down to 70% or so for the upward facing camera.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ttsthermaltech on January 29, 2016, 12:21:47 am
At no point did I say that SmallSMT was at fault. Nor will I say that now. I did not buy from them.

However, I bought a machine from Sunny (HotHotSMT) which sold me a machine made by Yushengtech. Both Sunny / Yushengtech would not stand behind the product that they sold me. Take a look at the Yushengtech website (www.yushengtech.com (http://www.yushengtech.com)) and you will find the exact machine that SmallSMT is offering.

Also, as said, Sunny now is working with SmallSMT. Maybe Michael runs his company differently. In all honesty, every time I talked to him he tried to be helpful. Michael got thrown into this as HotHotSMT / Yushengtech forwarded me to Michael for tech support when the machine did not operate correctly. So it becomes a endless circle.

But right now, to me, the only difference is that Yushengtech is hiding their sales behind another company name.

If Michael comes out and says that he buys the hardware from Yushengtech, and does all the controls and software development in Germany, then I will leave this topic alone. But if Yushengtech is doing both the hardware and software in China, then it is hard to say that they didn't leave me (and likely others) out in the cold.

In reality, they could have easily offered an upgrade to existing customers, but they didn't even consider making their new controls / software backward compatible. They (Yushengtech / HotHotSMT) just stopped answering emails.

Anyhow we will see how this plays out.

Rob.



Maybe things are getting better with the SmallSMT brand. All I know is I got hosed somewhere in the middle.

I'm sorry if i've come across this the wrong way, but having re-read your posts yet again, I still feel like you think that Micheal and his company SmallSMT have some resposnbility for what happened with your  OurSMT based machine. .   Sunny the sales person has moved from one company to another,  thats quite normal, and i'd guess she had no ability or authority to fix your problem...

To set the record really clear, do you, or do you not think SmallSMT has any responbility for your problem with your SMT50?

A. Yes
B. No.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 29, 2016, 01:20:31 am
Obviously having properly licensed software is important but the version of the OS is totally irrelevant in this case as its designed so you don't see or interact with it at all.

..until you plug it into a network...
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 29, 2016, 01:28:33 am
THankyou for clarifiying.    Your original post was very unclear.   

At no point did I say that SmallSMT was at fault. Nor will I say that now. I did not buy from them.

This is what you originally posted.

Quote
I noticed a few people mentioned the SmallSMT machine. They are a evolving rebrand of a machine made by Yushengtech in China. In any case, Yushengtech / HotHotSMT / SmallSMT are the same company / people.

A new individual has come on board, his name is Michael, and he is a very intelligent individual. However the machine maker he works with are not so reputable.









Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 29, 2016, 01:30:28 am
Obviously having properly licensed software is important but the version of the OS is totally irrelevant in this case as its designed so you don't see or interact with it at all.

..until you plug it into a network...

worm, virus.. bsod. gah.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 29, 2016, 02:21:35 am
Obviously having properly licensed software is important but the version of the OS is totally irrelevant in this case as its designed so you don't see or interact with it at all.

..until you plug it into a network...

Well if it had a network port that would be easier.

OK, there is one internally in the machine but its clearly not intended to be used. The PC is fully embedded, externally there are 4 USB ports and a VGA output, that is it.

The neoden software lets you install updates and read/write CSV files, that is it. They have no true file manager, you can't even rename a file.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 29, 2016, 02:30:52 am
How do you configure all the variable stuff that the machine will need to know.. like Vision Contrast and machine speeds etc etc.

Via a CSV file?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 29, 2016, 02:53:21 am
How do you configure all the variable stuff that the machine will need to know.. like Vision Contrast and machine speeds etc etc.

Via a CSV file?

No such thing as vision contrast. All of the settings are done via the included software, it is a windows program still.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ttsthermaltech on January 29, 2016, 03:44:45 am
That is the one thing that seems to be missing from many of the small PNP's. Having both contrast and illumination settings for each part type is pretty much a necessity for proper vision control. Illumination color is also a nice feature, but not absolutely necessary. Every part, due to shape, package color, plating, etc will capture differently, and assuming they will all capture properly with the same universal contrast and lighting setting is rather naive.

Even a digital brightness and contrast setting for each part would help, but alas, not seen on the low dollar machines.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 29, 2016, 03:50:11 am
That is the one thing that seems to be missing from many of the small PNP's. Having both contrast and illumination settings for each part type is pretty much a necessity for proper vision control. Illumination color is also a nice feature, but not absolutely necessary. Every part, due to shape, package color, plating, etc will capture differently, and assuming they will all capture properly with the same universal contrast and lighting setting is rather naive.
Even a digital brightness and contrast setting for each part would help, but alas, not seen on the low dollar machines.

This very much impressed me last night when i went through the demonstration of the SmallSMT system. It seems to have excellent recognititon of its parts, and much of that is due to the fact that you can tune the vision for every part, or fiducial etc.  a Gold plated fiducial will behave differently to a HASL coated one, etc etc.

And it was pretty easy to setup. 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on January 29, 2016, 07:23:13 am

Quote
However, I bought a machine from Sunny (HotHotSMT) which sold me a machine made by Yushengtech. Both Sunny / Yushengtech would not stand behind the product that they sold me. Take a look at the Yushengtech website (www.yushengtech.com (http://www.yushengtech.com)) and you will find the exact machine that SmallSMT is offering.

I think some days why are you doing this business?
You're trying to improve a situation in order to protect the customers and you receive people trying to pee on your legs.
We have brought a machine in the state that it is ready for use and in addition improved which simplify the use of all points.
We offer what many Chinese manufacturers do not.
A reliable support, feedback on customer requirements and further development of the existing product for the benefit of all customers.

My reputation is clean I do my business for more than 30 years and most of my first customers are still working with me. So I don’t need to tell lies or hide something .

We are the general sales agent for all Yusheng machines sold outside of China so Yushengtech sells in China and we do no support or give warranty for machines bought in China!

That's the last post about this topic!
I am sorry but I need to clarify!

Best regards
Michael
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on January 29, 2016, 07:45:15 am
TheSteve

You made this comment below some days ago:
The parts tend to walk to the left on the X axis as we go up the Y axis. This is occurs even with the use of fiducials. The panel we have been testing with can be seen in one of the pics I posted previously. It is 3 boards in a 1x3 matrix. We were using the fiducials at the edges of the panel. The last thing we tried was using fiducial markings on each board instead of the panel. This seems to make the placement plenty usable but does leave doubt in my mind over larger boards as these really aren't that big.

Am wondering what you did to fix the 'wandering' issue that you've described.
Is it just that you work board-by-board now, or was it something to do with setting the 'initial vertical [Y axis] alignment' of the board?

Alternatively, did you detect any of the motor drivers missing some 'steps'?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 29, 2016, 08:13:51 am

Alternatively, did you detect any of the motor drivers missing some 'steps'?

Poetnially hard to detect..
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on January 29, 2016, 08:26:52 am
@thommo,

Did this problem change if you change the speed?
If not it is a calibratiton problem and your machine need to be adjusted for travel way on each side.
Please put a steel ruler on your pcb and check the travel distance.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 29, 2016, 10:18:30 am
That is the one thing that seems to be missing from many of the small PNP's. Having both contrast and illumination settings for each part type is pretty much a necessity for proper vision control. Illumination color is also a nice feature, but not absolutely necessary. Every part, due to shape, package color, plating, etc will capture differently, and assuming they will all capture properly with the same universal contrast and lighting setting is rather naive.

Even a digital brightness and contrast setting for each part would help, but alas, not seen on the low dollar machines.
Seriously? That's just ridiculous. Nothing at all to set any vision thresholds or anything....?
My machine may have particularly finnicky vision, but I have to set individual thresholds for pretty much every part, and some, especially inductors with dark bodies can be really critical. At some point I intend to replace the feeble red illuminator with a really bright white, and stop the cameras down to make them less sensitive to ambient.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on January 29, 2016, 04:33:19 pm
Hey folks, I received the Neoden 4 yesterday along with a reflow oven and stencil printer. Everything is pretty clearly labelled. I also found that the stand for the machine was bent, probably during shipping.... but the holes were tapped and everything went together fine.

The machine booted up and I activated everything using the test menu and all things seem to function. I haven't started placing components yet. One rather minor thing that could be improved would be an option for a monitor arm and a keyboard tray to attach to the machine. I'm planning to hack something together myself just to clean up the work area. My initial thoughts are that the machine is really solid. It does move the X/Y motors at a rather jerky and alarming speed. Another thing I noticed is that there isn't an easy way to access the internal electronics. I didn't look underneath (the thing is pretty heavy and takes 2 people to put it on the stand) but the entire bottom frame appears to be a single piece. No side access covers or anything.

My up-looking camera appeared to be installed on a bit of an angle. (which I fixed) It also had some fingerprints or gunk on the front glass. The downlooking camera appears slightly rotated, which I haven't tried to fix yet. When clicking on the screen to recentre the image, the points move to the centre pretty much perfectly so perhaps it's all fine.

Neoden sent me the latest software within about an hour of my request and I was able to update the machine. The update was about 850KB. The fact that it runs Windows XP is of no consequence to me... I figure either it's a licensed version, or could be considered abandonware by this point. In any case it boots up fast and goes straight into the app. There is no network connection so I'm not worried about viruses. I haven't investigated the file formats yet and it's not clear where the master machine settings get saved... I want to make sure I can back everything up somehow. Just for fun I tried running the updated software on a Windows XP sandboxed VM and failed to load because an OpenCV DLL was not found.  :)

Here is a link to some pictures I've taken so far. I'll update it as I discover more: https://capybara.org/~andrew/pnp/ (https://capybara.org/~andrew/pnp/)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sam512bb on January 29, 2016, 05:16:49 pm
Quite simply it was the size. We can easily move the Neoden around and get it through standard sized doors.

Good day TheSteve,

Understood... indeed, these machines are heavy (450kg) and somewhat large ...  As I mentioned before, they are tanks.

Cheers,

Sam
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on January 29, 2016, 05:52:18 pm
TheSteve

You made this comment below some days ago:
The parts tend to walk to the left on the X axis as we go up the Y axis. This is occurs even with the use of fiducials. The panel we have been testing with can be seen in one of the pics I posted previously. It is 3 boards in a 1x3 matrix. We were using the fiducials at the edges of the panel. The last thing we tried was using fiducial markings on each board instead of the panel. This seems to make the placement plenty usable but does leave doubt in my mind over larger boards as these really aren't that big.

Am wondering what you did to fix the 'wandering' issue that you've described.
Is it just that you work board-by-board now, or was it something to do with setting the 'initial vertical [Y axis] alignment' of the board?

Alternatively, did you detect any of the motor drivers missing some 'steps'?

I don't believe we have seen any lost steps. A nozzle alignment seems to be what corrected the problem, we also made a small tweak to the theta adjustment on the upward facing camera.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sedelman on January 30, 2016, 11:37:59 pm
I have an opportunity to purchase a brand new Juki KP620 (Zevatech PM575) for $13K US. I went to see the machine and it is in pristine condition. The original owner purchased the machine new in 2002. It appears to have a DOS based control software and uses a 1.4MB floppy to read the SMT files. I found an FDD to USB converter for about $100 that allows me to use a USB flash drive instead of a floppy. My question is, has anyone fed this machine from Eagle? I had a look at the freeware software called PCBSynergy that appears to be able to convert from Eagle to the binary format that the Juki is expecting. For a dual camera system that can place up to 4000 cph (single head) with 102 x 8mm feeder capability and automatic nozzle changer (8 nozzles), it seems it makes more sense to me than a Neoden4. Anyone have a perspective that I may be missing?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 30, 2016, 11:56:38 pm
I have an opportunity to purchase a brand new Juki KP620 (Zevatech PM575) for $13K US. I went to see the machine and it is in pristine condition. The original owner purchased the machine new in 2002. It appears to have a DOS based control software and uses a 1.4MB floppy to read the SMT files. I found an FDD to USB converter for about $100 that allows me to use a USB flash drive instead of a floppy. My question is, has anyone fed this machine from Eagle? I had a look at the freeware software called PCBSynergy that appears to be able to convert from Eagle to the binary format that the Juki is expecting. For a dual camera system that can place up to 4000 cph (single head) with 102 x 8mm feeder capability and automatic nozzle changer (8 nozzles), it seems it makes more sense to me than a Neoden4. Anyone have a perspective that I may be missing?

This seems like an all new thread. Should not take away from the focus on the Neoden4.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on January 30, 2016, 11:57:59 pm
I have an opportunity to purchase a brand new Juki KP620 (Zevatech PM575) for $13K US. I went to see the machine and it is in pristine condition. The original owner purchased the machine new in 2002. It appears to have a DOS based control software and uses a 1.4MB floppy to read the SMT files. I found an FDD to USB converter for about $100 that allows me to use a USB flash drive instead of a floppy. My question is, has anyone fed this machine from Eagle? I had a look at the freeware software called PCBSynergy that appears to be able to convert from Eagle to the binary format that the Juki is expecting. For a dual camera system that can place up to 4000 cph (single head) with 102 x 8mm feeder capability and automatic nozzle changer (8 nozzles), it seems it makes more sense to me than a Neoden4. Anyone have a perspective that I may be missing?
If you have the space that looks like a super bargain ( assuming the price includes feeders)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 30, 2016, 11:59:56 pm
I have an opportunity to purchase a brand new Juki KP620 (Zevatech PM575) for $13K US. I went to see the machine and it is in pristine condition. The original owner purchased the machine new in 2002. It appears to have a DOS based control software and uses a 1.4MB floppy to read the SMT files. I found an FDD to USB converter for about $100 that allows me to use a USB flash drive instead of a floppy. My question is, has anyone fed this machine from Eagle? I had a look at the freeware software called PCBSynergy that appears to be able to convert from Eagle to the binary format that the Juki is expecting. For a dual camera system that can place up to 4000 cph (single head) with 102 x 8mm feeder capability and automatic nozzle changer (8 nozzles), it seems it makes more sense to me than a Neoden4. Anyone have a perspective that I may be missing?
If you have the space that looks like a super bargain ( assuming the price includes feeders)

I'd just be cautious about parts avaialblity for a machine that is getting on 15 years old.  Juki are pretty good, but theres stuff that is now hens teeth to get,  If the machine is running, its probably worth buying for parts alone.


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sedelman on January 31, 2016, 12:44:43 am
@rxpilot it is not my intention to take away from this thread. I'm deciding between a Neoden4 and a Charmhigh CMHT48VA and have been presented with the opportunity to buy the Juki. I have personally verified the opportunity to be genuine, so I am asking people with more knowledge and experience to judge the opportunity. Can the Juki be made to work with Eagle output without too much grief, has anyone done it?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on January 31, 2016, 01:23:40 am
I have never used a Juki, but I am a (reluctant) Eagle user with a Quad P&P. Being a DOS based machine, I would hazard a guess that the Juki uses a plain ASCII text file for program data. If that is true it is fairly easy to create your own ULP to create a program or import data. I wrote my own ULP after studying the program data and sample import data. Eventually, I ended up with a single ULP that can essentially create a complete program.

This is also probably true for Neoden4 and most others that import data. ULP writing requires some effort to learn, but its not too bad.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sedelman on January 31, 2016, 04:11:39 am

@rx8pilot the Juki uses a proprietary binary file format with file extension P5A. The PCBSynergy software is a converter that can output up to 11 different file formats used by various PnP machines.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on January 31, 2016, 09:28:40 am
@rxpilot it is not my intention to take away from this thread. I'm deciding between a Neoden4 and a Charmhigh CMHT48VA and have been presented with the opportunity to buy the Juki. I have personally verified the opportunity to be genuine, so I am asking people with more knowledge and experience to judge the opportunity. Can the Juki be made to work with Eagle output without too much grief, has anyone done it?

I'd considered the Neoden4 and had a looka t the Charmhigh system as well, then I found the SmallSMT systems and they gave me a demo last week. I'm used to usnign Juki and Yamaha systems for production, and to be honest I wished the software running on those was as good as what the SmallSMT system offers.  I'm looking at a small machine for our office, and i'd suggest you take a look at this as well.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on January 31, 2016, 12:23:49 pm
Pay attention to the size of the components 0201, 0402 as your P&PM can provide it. I'm in doubt for precision accuracy, nozzles, etc. Neoden 4 win old P&PM.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 01, 2016, 02:05:32 am
Well I worked with the machine a bit today and so far the software is a bit different than I expected. I wrote out a chip list for the machine as a CSV file, but the way the Neoden software configures the job seems strange to me, and so far I couldn't get it to work. If anyone has ideas on what I might be doing wrong please let me know... this is my first PNP machine.

- I tried setting up the rail feeder option which appears to detect the top edge of the board when bringing the PCB into the machine on the rail conveyor system. (the hardware is very smooth, btw!) But when I ran my job it never seemed to find the board. Either it would give a "PCB feed failure" or an error saying "coordinate movement range beyond the boundary" which I assume has to do with the edge not being detected correctly. In both cases the PCB appeared to be in more or less the right place inside the machine.

- The mark point (fiducial) setup seems odd to me as it needs to be done in the machine, and the coordinates appear to be absolute machine positions and not related to the PCB placement file. Wouldn't it make more sense to have these points linked to the placement file coordinates somehow? It was pretty easy to set these up and they don't have to be actual fiducials... some of my older boards don't have real fiducials but using mounting holes or other large holes seem to work fine! The camera realigns to the centre of the holes better than I could click with the mouse.

- The chiplist I loaded was relative to the board's bottom left corner, but I think the software expects absolute machine positions. There is no example in the manual PDF included with the machine on how to prepare the "chiplist". There doesn't seem to be any way to "offset" the X/Y positions to the actual loaded position of the board. I'm assuming I have to provide some kind of offset in my input data, but I'm not sure where to get this. The software knows nothing about the bottom corner of the board. It does know the mark points, the top edge (it's only Y though) and the centre position of the first part in the chip list. (you have to manually align this)

So, needless to say I'm not building boards just yet. I was hoping to try some tests with only a few components and no solder paste. But after failing to feed correctly it stops and won't continue. I've sent off email to Neoden and am hoping to learn what I'm doing wrong.

The good part is that overall I'm very happy with the build quality of the machine. There are a lot of hardware details that are clearly well thought out, and some ingenious design especially in the pickup head. I'm sure the software is actually useful because there are videos of it working on real boards. But the error messages are not very clear, and there is no help showing what to do if these errors occur.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on February 01, 2016, 04:45:33 am
Hi Elmood,

I don't have a machine 'yet', but have you reviewed all the YouTube videos that Neoden produced for this machine? Just search for Neoden 4. There are about 7 in the series and from memory, they deal with the sort of issues you are describing. I suspect that the PDF they send hasn't recently been updated.

I'd be asking for all the latest info from Neoden directly if it were me.

Good luck.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on February 01, 2016, 10:25:06 am
Well I worked with the machine a bit today and so far the software is a bit different than I expected. I wrote out a chip list for the machine as a CSV file, but the way the Neoden software configures the job seems strange to me, and so far I couldn't get it to work. If anyone has ideas on what I might be doing wrong please let me know... this is my first PNP machine.

Everything _Should_ be relative to the fiducials, but we are talking Chinese software here.....
If it's done right, your P&P files have x/y/theta coords of each part, and fid locations, and the only setup is to tell the machine roughly where the first fid is so teh camera can find it. It would then derive the actual position from the camera sighting the first fid, and rotation/scale offsets from second (and subsequent, if any) fids.
In my process I use a special "fid" component which is recognised by the conversion software I wrote and converted to reference points for the machine's file format. 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 01, 2016, 03:44:37 pm
Hi Mike: Your description is what I expected... simply pointing the machine to a reference and having it offset all of the other coordinates from the file. But it seems that they are relative to the bed 0,0 point on the machine all the time. (or else I'm perhaps missing something else)

thommo: I've been studying the manual and videos carefully but so far haven't seen any example of a workflow of importing data and actually using it. I have a script that makes all the data in the Neoden format... that's no problem. But now I'm thinking that I have to do something like this:

- find the fid point or some reference component point in the machine
- write down the X/Y absolute value
- tell my script the value and have it offset all others by the specific amount
- then import my part data

But that seems kind of round-about. I'd rather be able to export the data first, then go to the machine and set up everything, and then run the job. The other problem is that if the next time we run these boards the machine is set up slightly differently, does it mean I have to re-export all the offset data from my design files again with different offsets? That would be a pain!

BTW Neoden got back to me regarding the failure to find the edge of the PCB. Apparently "coordinate movement range beyond the boundary" means that the rails thought they went too far before sensing the edge of the board. Maybe I need to put the PCB closer to the input side. And "PCB feed failure" has to do with failing to find the mark point after feeding. I'm going to try again today and see if I can make it past that part.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: skywave on February 01, 2016, 04:19:14 pm
Hi There,

I'm thinking of buying a Neoden 4. My boards are pretty small, do you have any specs:
- on the minimum fiducial size that can be used
- if it can be close to the pcb edge
- if the machine can handle well white pcbs? (since it seems there is no setup available for the cameras)

My concern is if that one of the points above can't be solved by the new Neoden 4, then it's useless for me to buy one.

Maybe one of you guys have already tested this, or the guys from Neoden could help me (anyone reading this?)

Best Regards
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on February 01, 2016, 04:28:02 pm
Hi There,

I'm thinking of buying a Neoden 4. My boards are pretty small, do you have any specs:
- on the minimum fiducial size that can be used
- if it can be close to the pcb edge
- if the machine can handle well white pcbs? (since it seems there is no setup available for the cameras)

My concern is if that one of the points above can't be solved by the new Neoden 4, then it's useless for me to buy one.

Maybe one of you guys have already tested this, or the guys from Neoden could help me (anyone reading this?)

Best Regards
Why would this matter ? you'd normally put FIDs on the panel borders
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on February 01, 2016, 05:48:02 pm
The machine expects the board reference to be your first part which is an absolute value from 0,0. The fiducial points are then are then a relative value from the first part. This isn't out preferred way of doing it. We have experimented with using the board bottom left corner or fiducial points as the start as well. You just create a new part at the top of the list and then tell the machine to skip it when placing.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 01, 2016, 05:53:37 pm
TheSteve: Okay, but what happens to the rest of the parts in the chiplist? Do their coordinates get changed from the imported values? When I tested it and then tried to "align" them, it used the points as absolute coordinates.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on February 01, 2016, 06:24:28 pm
You want all of the parts relative to whatever you picked as 0,0. I believe there is a button in the upper right of the screen that is slightly cutoff. If you click it it changes everything to absolute values - uncheck it!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 01, 2016, 06:43:23 pm
Oh! I don't see any partially cutoff button... do you mean in the chiplist area? What's it called? That sounds like exactly what I'm after!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on February 01, 2016, 07:15:34 pm

Normally the imported pnp data will be referenced to a user defined PCB origin.
Take care to define the origin in your CAD system near the PCB outline or use one edge.
So the exported data is not in the middle of nowhere.

Fiducials always depend on the PCB origin so this need to be set first.

@skywave
I think white PCB will be a problem for the machine we have a switch to invert the image before alignment so white pcb will work!

Does anyone know how much pcb space the conveyour need to hold the pcb?

If the conveyour covers the edge of the pcb no fiducial recognition is possible if the fiducial was placed there!

The common fiducial size should be 1mm circle having a 3mm circle openening for the soldermask
look here for an example : http://www.smallsmt.biz/home/know-how/mark-detection-demo/ (http://www.smallsmt.biz/home/know-how/mark-detection-demo/)


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 01, 2016, 07:18:01 pm
Smallsmt: I measured that approx. 0.200" would be needed to fully clear the rails on each side. I have a few older designs that will need some parts skipped due to this restriction, but normally it's not a problem. I don't put rails on boards because in the past the PCBA would do this to their specification. I guess now that I'm the PCBA I should do this. :)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on February 01, 2016, 08:17:31 pm

I think white PCB will be a problem for the machine we have a switch to invert the image before alignment so white pcb will work!

Why would solde mask colour matter ? Fids should be clear of mask so it aligns to the copper.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on February 01, 2016, 08:19:01 pm

I think white PCB will be a problem for the machine we have a switch to invert the image before alignment so white pcb will work!

Why would solde mask colour matter ? Fids should be clear of mask so it aligns to the copper.

absolutely!   There are masks that will completely obscure the copper,   So unless you had X-ray vision, you might be completely stuffed.


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on February 01, 2016, 08:30:18 pm

The PCB color is a problem if the color is white you will receive a black image for the copper and white for the PCB so you need to invert the image if the vision system use over saturation.

Without solder mask opening you receive reflections around the center mark point and that's bad for the vision too.

But there are different technologies for image recognition so it is maybe no problem.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on February 01, 2016, 08:54:17 pm

The PCB color is a problem if the color is white you will receive a black image for the copper and white for the PCB so you need to invert the image if the vision system use over saturation.


It would only be an issue if your camera has auto-gain, where the white outside the FID area pushes the gain down. The actual fid will always be copper against bare PCB, and the camera image should mask out anything outside the fid area.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TankSparks on February 01, 2016, 09:49:55 pm
Hi,  I'm the owner of the Neoden 4 TheSteve is referring to.  I spent hours playing with the software, 
I recently sent Neoden instructions on how to use their machine.

As far as I know No training video or manual shows the setup for relative x,y and fiducial data

Here is what I came up with
Setup for No rails using x,y data from cad and fiducials

copy and paste your x,y data in a working sample csv file that already has other basic info.   You can also do import but it has to be in a specific format (haven't tried it yet)

uncheck manual in top right corner.  Manual is for absolute values, normally done if you have no x,y data

See picture
1)  For it to work X value(284.93) for Left top  board must be the same as the Left bottom board

I this example picture the align button was used for Left top,  this will cause part placements to be off, do not use the align button
?
To make it work you can not use the align button for top left board.     I typed in the same x value as the bottom board.   I also manually calculated value for y. My boards were 50.8mm high.  so I added 50.8 * 2( for 2 boards) for the y value.   So Left top should be 285.95(same as bottom) , 247.90  (bottom plus board height).   These are absolute values so it will know where to look for the board and check fiducials.

I don't know why they don't simply have you enter board size instead of having to calculate

When doing align for bottom left board it must be the first part in your component list  (you can even create a fake part and select skip and give it location 0,0 then align on bottom left corner of board,  I'm assuming that is where your 0,0 is.   There method may have the advantage if you have no idea where 0,0 is.

At bottom of screen Enter 2 Fiducial values relative to your board 0,0   

I do not see these instructions anywhere.    So a lot of time was wasted before I was able to figure this out on my own.

Finally we got to do a real production run.   
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on February 01, 2016, 10:01:40 pm

Mike the camera has auto gain but our vision system use Overexposure to receive a bw picture to recognize the shape of the object.

It is very fast and reliable system.

(https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/37962674/Fiducialrecognition.jpg)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 01, 2016, 10:10:45 pm
Smallsmt: If you are not talking about the Neoden 4 it might be better to start a new thread.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on February 01, 2016, 10:14:03 pm
Sure but I tried to explain how fiducial recognition works!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on February 02, 2016, 07:29:07 pm
Elwood
Sorry it took so long, but this is a link to one of the Neoden4 tutorials I referred to earlier - hope it helps. (And yes, don't forget to uncheck the 'manual' button)
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SJdzgZiMZUs (http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SJdzgZiMZUs)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 02, 2016, 09:43:29 pm
Hey thommo:

I had some success last night! I'm now able to export a workable file from my program that loads right into the machine and works with minimal extra setup. The feeders are still a bit of a pain to configure, and I don't have any multi-nozzle optimizations done yet. But I was able to place some parts. There are a few weird things like having to manually start the vibration feeder in the manual setup menu... there's no way for a job to start it by itself. Also, the footprint library contains width, height and thickness for the parts, but I can't figure out what the machine actually does with this data... Neoden says that the height is used to protect the nozzle, but the setting doesn't appear to affect the height setting in the actually feeder config panel.

BTW for those of you testing, I found that putting some spray glue on a blank PCB makes a good tacky surface for trying out placements. I was able to rerun the job many times. Also I really like the step run option to test each part one at a time. Things go so fast that it's somewhat impossible to troubleshoot otherwise. One other kind of strange drawback I ran across is that the downlooking camera cannot see the rearmost feeder locations... getting in there with a flashlight is probably the only way to confirm the correct alignment of the nozzle on the feeder.

Does anyone have suggestions for making reusable trays for larger parts? I want something with a solid bottom on it so I can use it for all different kinds of chips. The black plastic waffle trays are really only good for one size of chip.

I'll post a picture of the very first finished board hopefully by end of week! I know others here already have machines are not that impressed anymore, but it does feel like science fiction having robots building boards in a small shop like mine!  :-+
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on February 02, 2016, 10:59:23 pm
Also, the footprint library contains width, height and thickness for the parts, but I can't figure out what the machine actually does with this data... Neoden says that the height is used to protect the nozzle, but the setting doesn't appear to affect the height setting in the actually feeder config panel.
Height should be used to offset the pick height from the imaging height for optimum focus, and the placement height.
Quote

BTW for those of you testing, I found that putting some spray glue on a blank PCB makes a good tacky surface for trying out placements
A better option is the thin-film double-sided tape, used among other things for tacking carpet down. Just lay it gently over the PCB without pressing down too hard, to make it easier to peel off
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Royce on February 02, 2016, 11:07:05 pm

I'll post a picture of the very first finished board hopefully by end of week! I know others here already have machines are not that impressed anymore, but it does feel like science fiction having robots building boards in a small shop like mine!  :-+

These reports are really helpful. I'm quite a ways from purchase, but when the times comes, having this type of record online will be invaluable.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on February 02, 2016, 11:09:35 pm
For me at least, i think the reports in this thread have pretty much put me off buying a Neoden System,  it just seems there are way too many issues that you have to compensate for.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sedelman on February 02, 2016, 11:29:16 pm
@mrpackethead I have come to the same conclusion. What I can distill from this thread is that the machine is mechanically built well, but the software and documentation leave a lot to be desired.

I recently came across the official spec sheet for the Juki KP620/Zevatech PM575 and it lists an assembly reliability of 100 DPM or 100 parts per million placed (99.99%). This is a 15 year old model but somehow I am not convinced this brand new Neoden4 can even come close. Please someone correct me if this sentiment is not deserved.

I would love to hear more about the successes that @TheSteve has had with the Neoden4. As far as I can tell, he is the only one on this thread that actually has the machine working in a production environment. So far, we have only seen carefully choreographed assembly videos from Neoden. It would be great to see an actual panel with multiple PCBs being populated start to finish from an actual end user.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TankSparks on February 02, 2016, 11:34:49 pm
From my testing its seem part thickness you enter does not effect pick height or placement height.   The good thing is  the 3mm or 4 mm spring travel in the nozzle seems to do a pretty good job, so I think pick and place height is not very critical.   



Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on February 03, 2016, 02:09:52 am
@elmwood Thanks for posting up all the pictures of the Neoden 4!

It's great to see so many people have purchased the Neoden 4 machine which means we should have a really good idea of how capable and reliable the machine is in the not so distant future.

Seems that software is not as user friendly as it should be but it's still all new so there is time for improvement.

Everybody please keep the feedback and multimedia coming for all of us who are interested in small scale PCB production  :D
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on February 03, 2016, 03:03:31 am
@elmwood Thanks for posting up all the pictures of the Neoden 4!

Everybody please keep the feedback and multimedia coming for all of us who are interested in small scale PCB production  :D

I wonder if we should start a thread for a general topic rather than Neoden4 specific?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on February 03, 2016, 03:07:44 am
I think were good here if we can stay focused on the NeoDen 4 machine now that there are plenty of people who have them in hand and can begin supplying their experiences with the machine.

I meant keep the pictures and hopefully some video coming of the NeoDen 4 specifically.

This will probably turn into the one of the best single threads for the NeoDen 4 on the whole web, which it already is.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on February 03, 2016, 03:19:47 am
Guys - for my 2 cent's worth, it appears that we've lost perspective.
I'm amazed, considering how much integration is required for a PnP to even begin working correctly, that a brand new design released only 2-3 months ago, is fully functioning.

Of course, we're all spoiled by Apple's design and quickly forget the cost and effort, let alone the size of the R&D effort and Team, required to produce such an outcome.

At this price point I believe we need to pay in patience, for what we've saved in $. The alternative is to go out and purchase from a mainstream manufacturer and a minimum of 3x the price.

For anyone who has ever written SW & FW, there is always the issue with 'developer familiarity'. Because of the substantial HW element, there has been little opportunity for Neoden to get 'non-developer' feedback [until now].

All of this seems to be 100% fixable if Neoden remain responsive, as it ALL appears to be SW related at present.
Aside, that is, from elmwood's Cameravision in the Rear Feeder Bank [which I am hoping Neoden will quickly respond to]. So we all either wait, until it's sorted, or pay the small price of being an Early Adopter, and dealing with some bugs and an unfamiliar, and at this point, poorly documented GUI.


Finally, I think the the suggestion - eg from mikeselectricstuff [or any other well versed and experienced production professional], to re-write the SW Manual and provide professional video and still images, in a step by step document, is a great one! Mike - pls push for this and don't be afraid to ask for community support!

And, of course, that Neoden take note of Mike's suggestions for workflow improvement in the SW interface, and Mechanical process chain also.

If others feel that this is a worthwhile suggestion and approach, can I suggest that you either send an email to Neoden, or Skype Hiami at Neoden to voice your support?

Her Skype address is: haimi2008
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on February 03, 2016, 03:52:19 am
I think were good here if we can stay focused on the NeoDen 4 machine now that there are plenty of people who have them in hand and can begin supplying their experiences with the machine.

I meant keep the pictures and hopefully some video coming of the NeoDen 4 specifically.

This will probably turn into the one of the best single threads for the NeoDen 4 on the whole web, which it already is.


I was more thinking about general this new general trend of "micro" in-house assembly. I'm sure this is going to be a growing trend and theres a lot more than just the PNP.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Brumby on February 03, 2016, 04:55:09 am
That might be a useful direction to consider, but it does not preclude the current thread from running on its own merits, being the Neoden 4 features, issues and comparisons to other machines.

If a more general conversation were to be struck up, then a new thread would be the likely place to start one.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 03, 2016, 07:10:29 am
I know a few people are put off by the "fiddly" nature of the Neoden software, but it is fair to say that it's only a few months old and will probably improve. Although I've never worked in a PCBA, I have used CNC machines and talked to a lot of friends who own or have used various industrial machines. It seems unusual that things are at all user friendly. Also, Neoden (Tonny) has responded every night to my questions so that by the next morning (Toronto time) I have a response. That seems good to me!

Yes  there are little weird things to remember, but my own personal "setup a job" notes have not very many steps. And it's a frigging robot that builds electronics, not a toaster?!?!  :wtf:

Just out of curiosity I'd like to know what the typical workflow is in a "proper" PCBA from when a job comes in to when it runs on the machine. I assume it's different than the Neoden, but have never seen what steps occur. The places I've dealt with sure do have a lot of people sitting at computers in the front, and only a few machines running in the back.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on February 03, 2016, 09:56:55 am
I know a few people are put off by the "fiddly" nature of the Neoden software, but it is fair to say that it's only a few months old and will probably improve.
I fear that may be wishful thinking - Chinese suppliers' standard practice is to ship something that 'just works' and not have any interest in making any further effort to improve.
Suggestions for improvements will probably be responded to with ways to work around the issue rather than actually fixing the problem.
I hope I'm wrong in this case but I'm not holding my breath waiting...
 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on February 03, 2016, 10:01:07 am
I know a few people are put off by the "fiddly" nature of the Neoden software, but it is fair to say that it's only a few months old and will probably improve.
I fear that may be wishful thinking - Chinese suppliers' standard practice is to ship something that 'just works' and not have any interest in making any further effort to improve.
Suggestions for improvements will probably be responded to with ways to work around the issue rather than actually fixing the problem.
I hope I'm wrong in this case but I'm not holding my breath waiting...

Having seen the software for the earlier machines, and having seen over a period of several years no or very little improvement, i think your justified in not holding your breath.


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on February 03, 2016, 10:48:46 am
Quote
I know a few people are put off by the "fiddly" nature of the Neoden software, but it is fair to say that it's only a few months old and will probably improve.

The software is more than one year old I saw last year February in the factory!
They start selling in Asia last year.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Kjelt on February 03, 2016, 12:10:33 pm
It would be a great improvement if Chinese hardware manufacturers would team up with a western software house , the latter being responsible for the software suite and maturing/upgrading process.
This would mean that there are seperate additional and yearly continuing costs for the software.

An alternative would be a fully open P&P software stack where the community contributes.
However since most users of P&P machines are rather HW engineers than SW engineers I fear that would not be a good idea.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on February 03, 2016, 03:13:23 pm
It would be a great improvement if Chinese hardware manufacturers would team up with a western software house ,
I agree but it's not going to happen - cultural thing about not losing face.

The only alternative would be a western company buying teh hardware and repackaging with theor own software, but that would come with their own markups.
It's so annoying when something is so "nearly" there but spoilt by something that wouldn't be that hard to fix if they had the desire to do so.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on February 03, 2016, 04:37:54 pm
@KJELT
Do you think we find enough software engineers to build a common PNP software using a HAL to support different machines?

I will help to do!

Maybe we start a new topic!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on February 03, 2016, 04:43:28 pm
Isn't OpenPNP a open source PNP software package? I've heard of it but never checked it out.

Is it any good? Could it be improved to run a NeoDen 4 successfully with vision?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on February 03, 2016, 05:31:26 pm
Isn't OpenPNP a open source PNP software package? I've heard of it but never checked it out.

Is it any good? Could it be improved to run a NeoDen 4 successfully with vision?

It is, and it runs ok.  It just needs more people to work on it, the guy running it ( Jason ) has done a really good job so far
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on February 03, 2016, 05:49:07 pm
The only alternative would be a western company buying teh hardware and repackaging with theor own software, but that would come with their own markups.
It's so annoying when something is so "nearly" there but spoilt by something that wouldn't be that hard to fix if they had the desire to do so.

This appears to be close to what SmallSMT have done.  Comparing the software that they have to the software that Neoden has. small SMT eats the Neoden for breakfast. and I'd probably say its on par with ( or even possbily simpler ) the software that i use to program a Juki line.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 03, 2016, 06:46:39 pm
Software like this is one of those things where as long as it works, it doesn't really matter if it's clunky or ugly. If there are actual serious bugs that never get solved in closed software like the Neoden, then I'd be interested in a better solution... time will tell whether it's nice to use on a daily basis.

I'd definitely buy a better package or contribute to an open source project financially. My only requirement is that it would be able to run on Linux, but most open source people probably want that anyway. :) I wish I had time to hack on this but alas it's not my core business.


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on February 03, 2016, 09:17:47 pm
I really think Neoden only needs to spend a week or so on the software to fix most of the glitches or non-features.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on February 03, 2016, 09:22:24 pm
Sounds like everybody with a NeoDen 4 needs to make a list of issues and combine them into one list for NeoDen to review and fix.

They have been pretty responsive to everybody so I wouldn't be surprised if they did fix most or all of the problems to end up with a better machine.

At least if we want to see them fix the problems we need to let them know exactly what we would like to see fixed. They are making money selling the machines it looks like so we can only hope that they want the same as we do even with the cultural differences.

Let's make a list of fixes and supply them with it and see what happens.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on February 03, 2016, 09:30:13 pm
Software like this is one of those things where as long as it works, it doesn't really matter if it's clunky or ugly.
Depends what you mean by "works...". A bad UI is likely indicitive of deeper quality issues.
Doesn't matter....
Until it crashes & drives the head across a 95% populated PCB with hundreds of $ worth of parts on it.
Or setup quirks mean you place hundreds of parts wrong (OK you should check, but with good software you shouldn't need to)
Or it costs you time because it just takes way longer than it should to set up jobs, or needs too much hand-holding during use.
Or it can't recover and continue gracefully after an unexpected powerdown or crash partway through a job...

If you're paying that much money for a piece of kit, on which your business may depend, you have a right to expect decent software quality, good responsiveness to problems, and a response to suggestions (based on what is effectively unpaid beta testing) which more than just a workaround.
 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on February 03, 2016, 09:36:48 pm
@mikeselectircalstuff   At what price point are the machines closest to the NeoDen 4 platform that have what you would consider good software + good hardware, something that a small business can rely upon? Not including the SmallSMT machine and not including a old used machine?

Does anything come right to your head?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on February 03, 2016, 09:52:41 pm
I don't think there is really anything new in that price category. That is why I went with a used machine an upgraded it. The used/upgrade path is not easier and sometimes harder, but in the end I have a machine that can run circles around the Neoden4. The price was paid in blood, sweat, and tears though.

It is very hard to tell if the market is ready for low-cost P&P in a volumetric sense. The best way to keep the cost low, is to build high volume. The entry level machines do not need the ridiculous features found on the 24/7 ultra-fast machines but they do need to be easy and reliable. The only other company I know of playing in the low-cost space is DDM Novastar. They focus on easy and reliable at the expense of speed. The capability of the lower end models is not amazing from the perceptive of component count and precision. They are, from what I can tell after talking to them at length, a good option if your business is counting on it.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on February 03, 2016, 10:03:40 pm
I think the problem is the Chinese are obsessed with making things as cheap as possible, and don't seem to understand that people will pay for quality.
From what I can see the N4 has reasonable hardware, but like pretty much all Chinese products is being let down by the same old Chinese problems - poor software, poor response to feedback  and a lack of understanding of what the (non-China) market expects.

Their promotional video is a classic example of this attitude- good visuals but laughably bad script. It would surely have cost less than the profit they (should ) make on a single machine sale to have done this right

Up until recently there hasn't really been any viable low-end option except big, old machines.  The Mechatronika M10V was probably the only new option.

The Neoden and similar machines mean that there is now something available at sub-$10K, and I'm sure that they are useable, just not as good as they could be for a relatively small amount of additional work. 
They need to realised that they'll probably do better by aiming to be the best, not the cheapest.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on February 03, 2016, 10:23:39 pm
"Bad SW/FW means Bad elsewhere"

I don't subscribe to this view.

We develop a lot of SW and FW, and also produce HW and Mechanical Engineering and Design.

GUI design is driven, almost totally, independently to functional FW and Mechanical design, in my view.
We really need Neoden to commission a GUI redesign [preferably in conjunction with the existing code, or just as a design, but integration may be an issue in this instance], and provide access under a contract for a western development of the GUI, from the code level interface. Seems to me the HW does what it's supposed to do - and does so very well, especially for the cost.

Would be great to begin a new preferred workflow design to submit. This can start as a simple flowchart, hopefully in the OpenDoc space, or even just a formatted list.

If we want and need change then I suspect that we have an opportunity to be primary drivers and directors of it here. Best if we stop complaining, and begin improving - after all, we're the ones who'll benefit short and long term. Such a collaboration will also likely make future mods and features come to life far more quickly and see the product survive many iterations into the future.

Finally, as far as the suggestion to OpenPnP is concerned, it appears there is nothing stopping this right now. It's just that we're almost there with an existing solution and I think it's worth considering those options seriously first off.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on February 03, 2016, 10:31:40 pm
@Mikeselectricalstuff  The M10V is indeed a well made machine! You pay for that though. Thanks for posting a link to it.

@thommo   I agree with you 100% that the Neoden 3 looks to be almost perfect. I think if you guys just tell them what we need and why that they will work with us to make the changes.

I say we all focus on what we want to happen instead of what we do not want to happen with the NeoDen 4, at least until we come to the point of NeoDen simply refusing to make any changes which I don't see happening but of course it's possible.

@thommo How complex are the boards your about to start running on the machine? Any fine pitch IC parts? I have some IC with .5mm pitch and I'm curious how the NeoDen4 handles something like that.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on February 03, 2016, 11:00:06 pm
"Bad SW/FW means Bad elsewhere"
I don't subscribe to this view.
Neither do I.
A lot of Chinese hardware is "acceptable" or above,  but a poor UI is indicative of poor  quality, poor design and lack of testing  throughout the software.


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on February 03, 2016, 11:17:30 pm
"Bad SW/FW means Bad elsewhere"
I don't subscribe to this view.
Neither do I.
A lot of Chinese hardware is "acceptable" or above,  but a poor UI is indicative of poor  quality, poor design and lack of testing  throughout the software.

OK sweet - violent agreement then - I love it !

From this base let's proceed with RWB's suggestion and focus on 'what we want'.

RWB - I don't even have a machine 'yet', so I'm unable to provide that feedback. Seems like TheSteve is the person who is closest to confirming 'machine precision capability' for now.

GUI - let's see if the HW interface to the GUI can be improved, and trust that the machine in it's current state is capable. So far, I haven't read a single issue where the 'problem' hasn't been fully rectified through either a better understanding of the [poor] GUI, or by applying a tweak in some [poorly documented] interface feature.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Brumby on February 04, 2016, 01:52:51 am
"Bad SW/FW means Bad elsewhere"
I don't subscribe to this view.
Neither do I.
A lot of Chinese hardware is "acceptable" or above,  but a poor UI is indicative of poor  quality, poor design and lack of testing  throughout the software.

+1

With hardware, capabilities are pretty well defined by mechanical elements.  Maximum speed, precision of movement and so on.  Getting something built to physical standard means there are things it is able to do.

Getting it to do them is another challenge.

The software (and I include firmware here) is a completely different kettle of fish to mechanical construction and it is the one component that, especially in today's machinery, is key to getting the most out of any unit.  It has the ability to have been written poorly or well.  It has the ability to support many features or few.  It can be fast or slow.  It can be awkward or easy to use.  It can be robust or fragile... and the list goes on.

One question is whether the manufacturer is looking to market a mechanism or an optimally functioning piece of equipment.

If a mechanism, then they've already done that (it seems) - and the supplied software is simply to demonstrate it isn't a glorified paperweight.  The vision may be (just hypothesising) that the software nerds out in the world will look at this as a juicy project - and delve into a (possibly open source) project to make it sing and dance, which will add enormous appeal for purchasing of the mechanism.

If they want to provide a turn-key package solution, then they really need to get a serious programming effort happening.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on February 04, 2016, 01:54:34 am
"Bad SW/FW means Bad elsewhere"
I don't subscribe to this view.
Neither do I.
A lot of Chinese hardware is "acceptable" or above,  but a poor UI is indicative of poor  quality, poor design and lack of testing  throughout the software.

+1

With hardware, capabilities are pretty well defined by mechanical elements.  Maximum speed, precision of movement and so on.  Getting something built to physical standard means there are things it is able to do.

Getting it to do them is another challenge.

The software (and I include firmware here) is a completely different kettle of fish to mechanical construction and it is the one component that, especially in today's machinery, is key to getting the most out of any unit.  It has the ability to have been written poorly or well.  It has the ability to support many features or few.  It can be fast or slow.  It can be awkward or easy to use.  It can be robust or fragile... and the list goes on.

One question is whether the manufacturer is looking to market a mechanism or an optimally functioning piece of equipment.

If a mechanism, then they've already done that (it seems) - and the supplied software is simply to demonstrate it isn't a glorified paperweight.  The vision may be (just hypothesising) that the software nerds out in the world will look at this as a juicy project - and delve into a (possibly open source) project to make it sing and dance, which will add enormous appeal for purchasing of the mechanism.

If they want to provide a turn-key package solution, then they really need to get a serious programming effort happening.

I think this applies to all the Manufacturers of these kind of systems..     Seems an awesome Opensource project?

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Brumby on February 04, 2016, 01:57:02 am
I think this applies to all the Manufacturers of these kind of systems..

Yep - I was pretty much stating the obvious.


Quote
Seems an awesome Opensource project?

If Neoden don't step up to the plate, that's what I'm thinking.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on February 04, 2016, 02:19:45 am
I think this applies to all the Manufacturers of these kind of systems..
Yep - I was pretty much stating the obvious.
Quote
Seems an awesome Opensource project?
If Neoden don't step up to the plate, that's what I'm thinking.

openpnp.org ?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Brumby on February 04, 2016, 02:33:27 am
Sorry - I'm not familiar with specific groups or organisations, just the concept of open source.


Perhaps others might want to comment on the best way forward.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on February 04, 2016, 02:34:35 am
Sorry - I'm not familiar with specific groups or organisations, just the concept of open source.


Perhaps others might want to comment on the best way forward.

I was just pointing you to what looks like an open source project that is already making good progress on this exact problem.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Brumby on February 04, 2016, 03:17:21 am
Oh.  Sorry.

Thank you.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Kjelt on February 04, 2016, 07:55:47 am
It would be a great improvement if Chinese hardware manufacturers would team up with a western software house ,
I agree but it's not going to happen - cultural thing about not losing face.
I wonder if it is cultural?
Perhaps (speculation) that Chinese people are happy to pay for tangible stuff like hardware but are reluctant to pay for (good) software?
The latter being easy to copy (without costs) and seeing the amount of illegal software in China I wonder if this is culturally defined?
To make things clear I am not judging here, just wondering if this is the current mindset.
Any native Chinese resident here that can/wants to comment ?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: coppice on February 04, 2016, 09:07:41 am
It would be a great improvement if Chinese hardware manufacturers would team up with a western software house ,
I agree but it's not going to happen - cultural thing about not losing face.
I wonder if it is cultural?
Perhaps (speculation) that Chinese people are happy to pay for tangible stuff like hardware but are reluctant to pay for (good) software?
The latter being easy to copy (without costs) and seeing the amount of illegal software in China I wonder if this is culturally defined?
To make things clear I am not judging here, just wondering if this is the current mindset.
Any native Chinese resident here that can/wants to comment ?
This is a factor. Most of the people freely copying licenced software in China are outraged if someone tries to walk off with the media it is on. The media is someone's property, and is to be respected.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on February 04, 2016, 09:23:36 am
It would be a great improvement if Chinese hardware manufacturers would team up with a western software house.

I think this is what the SmallSMT people have done. The Software dev is done in Germany and and the hardware is built in China.     The Software doe'snt have the typical Chinese-isms about it from what I can see.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on February 04, 2016, 12:50:42 pm
It would be a great improvement if Chinese hardware manufacturers would team up with a western software house ,
I agree but it's not going to happen - cultural thing about not losing face.
I wonder if it is cultural?
Perhaps (speculation) that Chinese people are happy to pay for tangible stuff like hardware but are reluctant to pay for (good) software?
The latter being easy to copy (without costs) and seeing the amount of illegal software in China I wonder if this is culturally defined?
To make things clear I am not judging here, just wondering if this is the current mindset.
Any native Chinese resident here that can/wants to comment ?

Hi

Not native Chinese, but I've spent a lot of time in the middle of this sort of thing with them.

Often they are "hardware guys". Physical devices make sense to them and they turn out a fine gizmo. That's where they stop. They may not even sell the device themselves. They are specialists at a very narrow part of the process, but quite good because of it.  It is not uncommon for a large customer to buy the hardware and write software themselves. The big guy *was* building pick and place gear from scratch, so buying it outside is a big step for them.

Yes, it's a different approach.

Bob

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: MTNELECTRONICS on February 04, 2016, 03:08:54 pm
So far I have placed about 10000 chips with my machine, including some panelized boards with very close component spacing at 360 degree rotations.  The machine has done very well, but as others have noted the software leaves something to be desired.  The general interface is OK once you get used to it, but there needs to be some improvements on relative component location.  I have been doing the math by hand to make it work, but the software could easily have this function built in. 

It seems to be the typical case of a lot of these types of Chinese products---they go about 90%-95% of the way to producing an excellent product, but never reach 100%.  Like Mike has noted several times with the video; it has good production values with good shots, good graphics, etc., but they couldn't bother to have a native proofread and edit the script---so what could have been a good video is actually laughable.  This machine is similar---the hardware seems to be decent, the vision system for all of its simplicity has seemed to work well, yet the software is lacking some very obviously needed functionality, UI, and bug fixes---all things that would readily apparent and obvious to anyone who actually sat down and used the machine for a few hours. 

I am fairly happy with the machine, but hope that there are some software updates.  That said, I would never advise someone to purchase a product like this based on any hope or promise of future updates.  Only buy this machine if you are OK with working around its current limitations. 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on February 04, 2016, 09:42:29 pm
@MTNELECTRONICS   Post some finished board pictures if you don't mind.

How often does the whole job run without any intervention needed by you?

Also after you learn how to work around the software does it run pretty smoothly?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: MTNELECTRONICS on February 05, 2016, 06:02:03 pm
@MTNELECTRONICS   Post some finished board pictures if you don't mind.

How often does the whole job run without any intervention needed by you?

Also after you learn how to work around the software does it run pretty smoothly?

I'll take some pictures after my next run.  Those ones are already all reflowed, and once reflowed you can't really tell how accurate it was because everything sucks into its proper place.  I will say that for everything 0805 and above the placement has been visually very accurate and very repeatable across several boards using all four heads, and my farthest panel components are positioned about 250mm away from the camera. 

The vision system was really useful on these boards because there are 32x SOT89 chips arranged in two rows fairly tight 360 degree circles---they are so tight that they nearly touch when installed.  The components are actually quite loose in the tapes, so no matter how good your machine is there is a massive amount of variation in the pick rotational angle.  I was using three heads for them and the placement was good enough for none of them to ever hit each other and for all to reflow without any issues.   I had tried to do these on my Liteplacer PnP and gave up.  Even at slow movement speeds there was just too much variation in the pickup for it to work without rotational correction after the pick. 

After working out all of the initial bugs (feeder settings, pick height, placement height, etc.) it ran almost continuously without any issues.  The machine has a very hard time with 0805 capacitors but I highly suspect it is because I do not have the proper nozzles (they shipped me two sets of the size bigger than what 0805 really needs instead of one set of each size) so I've had to baby it along with 0805 caps and deal with a lot of misfeeds and slow movement until I they send me the proper nozzles.  I'll update this when I receive them. 

I haven't tried any 0603 or 0402 yet because as I mentioned above, I don't have the proper nozzles at the moment.  With the ones I have an 0603 would just get sucked inside!  I am SOL for a few weeks as they are away on holiday.  Very disappointing, but it is what it is at this point. 

The software hasn't crashed on me or shown any glaring bugs, but it really does leave a lot to be desired.  There are lots of functions that are not clear or require work arounds.  The workflow is making some sense to me now, but it is convoluted.  So far, once I get it going it works, but I question whether or not anyone who designed the software has actually used it on the actual machine, and if they have then their level of expectation for a $10K piece of hardware is very low.  Stupid stuff like having to always resize the columns just so you can see the information in the X and Y columns all adds up to a bit of frustration after a while (if you watch the "training videos" you'll see what I'm talking about). 

I also wish that there was some more user configurable options such as a user-variable speed for pick and especially place; it is extremely fast and fairly smooth, but with some components a slower speed would be nice.  Options for error handling during placement would also be nice.  There needs to be an easier way offset fiducial to components without having to resort to a calculator or spreadsheet. 

In the end it seems that if the machine keeps on working the way it has been I will be satisfied with it for what I am currently using it for.  That said, it is definitely not a perfect machine and some of the lack of polish, especially with the user interface, is readily apparent (I knew this from watching the videos and reading the manual).  While I hope that they make some improvements to the software, I did not buy the machine expecting it, and I do not advise anyone to purchase a machine like this hoping for anything more than what it does already at the time of purchase.

I have been following the SmallSMT thread and like what I see there as well.  I think that if I had known more about that before I had committed to the NeoDen I would be seriously considering one of those machines as well.  They seem well built, have more feeder options, higher maximum component height, and an owner/engineer who actually listens to customer requests and complaints and is capable of providing solutions---which is perhaps the most valuable aspect of all
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on February 05, 2016, 07:14:56 pm
The software on my machine is seriously convoluted as well and it costs far more than an N4. The machine is not new and the software has been around since about 2008 or so - still current and sold today. So convoluted in fact, that I believe I have never seen worse. It is very flexible and quite reliable, just excruciatingly non-intuitive.

With that said, I have learned how to make it work over time. It is just bizarre. It's not Chinese either, is all USA convolution. I only have $10k in it, but they are selling them for $50k with the same feeder package I have. Not sure how many they are selling, but that is the asking price.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on February 06, 2016, 06:52:19 am
MTNELECTRONICS - thanks for the extensive update. Really enjoying all the learning.

What, if any, of these issues you've raised, have you sent to the guys at Neoden, and what has been their response so far? [understanding that they're all enjoying the CNY holidays currently]

As I've said previously, we don't have a machine yet, but I recall there being information in a video regarding:


setting up panels
use of fiducials
identification of 1st part on each of 3 boards in the panel array


Without fully understanding what you're referring to when you say "an easier way offset fiducial to components without having to resort to a calculator or spreadsheet", I imagine that there is presently no link between the panel fids [or even the individual PCBs'] and the components to be placed.

How would it be if you nominated the 1st component in the PnP list [which the GUI asks you to identify], as being a fiducial - with the property 'do not place'. This sounds like it may avoid the current situation and issue you're experiencing. It's a 'work around type of solution' I know, but I think all systems have their own idiosyncrasies.

To the FORUM generally:
Has anyone from the current 'owners' group' begun compiling a list yet? If so perhaps you'd consider publishing it. Others could then 'add' to it even if only by copy/paste initially. This would be tremendously helpful - for the Neoden guys, all the current owners, and the new/potential ones alike.

1. identified bugs w/repeatable procedure steps
2. GUI improvement/modification
3. new feature - mandatory
4. new feature - wish list
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on February 06, 2016, 07:45:57 am
@MTMElectronics Thank you very much for the review! Looking forward to the pictures and updated feedback after you get the new nozzles.

I also think the Small SMT machine hits a sweet spot for many different things including the better software.

And the M10V PNP also looks great but more expensive and slower.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on February 13, 2016, 04:05:28 am
Bump.

Any of you NeoDen 4 users have any more feedback about the machine and how its working out for you?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 15, 2016, 02:04:51 am
About a week later than we expected due to some things, but we finally tried to make a board today! The delay was mostly caused by the Puhui T-962C oven we bought along with the Neoden 4 being utter crap. I don't want to derail this thread, but basically don't buy one. Neodentech should offer something a bit less horrible. Things that get hot shouldn't be made with adhesive tape that burns while the product is operating normally.

The first run went somewhat okay, but not great. We had a few placement problems because the PCB was actually not located far enough into the machine. It's important to check that the entire PCB is within the movement area for all nozzles or else there will be an error during the job. Simple, but wasn't obvious until about half way through the job.

Another problem (since we restarted after a few errors) seems to be that the software lets you restart part way through the job (cool feature!) but it seemed like it would start at the component before the one I selected in the list. I didn't recheck this yet but it seemed weird when we were using it.

The main issue is that parts on the right half of the board were placed incorrectly. I've double checked all my math and the coordinates SHOULD be right. The Y positions were bang on, but the X is off by about half an 0805 resistor width.

We also placed a TQFP part and it was in a completely wrong spot. I'm not sure if it didn't image correctly but it was about 0.25" or more off. It was coming from a tray, so I'm not sure I'm using the trays correctly. The user manual has a lot of nice screen shots but the text is more or less unusable.

Also, when stopping a job the machine appears to drop the part randomly, instead of putting into the trash box. It also kicks the board out, but not enough to actually reset it. (you have to put the board outside the machine so it can draw it in on the rails for the edge detection to work properly)

Anyway, I think we're getting there... for a first try I'm not completely discouraged, but there is definitely some more learning to do.

BTW, if anyone has tips on using a manual solder stencil printer I would be glad to learn more.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on February 15, 2016, 02:15:26 am
Hi

Usually a part like your TQFP that comes up 1/4" off from all the others is a part coordinate issue. More or less, one side of the world talks about the center of the part and another side of the world talks about the part corner right by pin one. The net result is that the space mission misses Mars. I'd check your input data files and see what they say. The offset is about right if it is a 12 to 14 mm square part.

I don't have a Neoden so I can't really dig any deeper into the issue. No idea about how they handle the coordinates.

Bob
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on February 15, 2016, 02:18:01 am
Thanks for the Update Elmwood  :-+

Keep us updated as you progress forward.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on February 15, 2016, 03:26:44 am
I assume you're using the camera with the larger parts - make sure they are being detected/centered properly. You may need to fine tune the camera brightness like we did with the SSOT28 parts we use. And as I've mentioned before be sure to do a nozzle calibration.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 15, 2016, 04:16:53 am
TheSteve: Is there a way you've found to prevent multiple parts from being picked up at the same time? I found that the TQFP worked perfectly when it was the only part on the head. Previously my job had two different nozzles in the chiplist one after the other. The TQFP got picked up first, followed by a SOIC on a different nozzle. When it went to image the TQFP the other chip messed up the detection and then it placed it in the wrong location.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on February 15, 2016, 05:22:05 am
TheSteve: Is there a way you've found to prevent multiple parts from being picked up at the same time? I found that the TQFP worked perfectly when it was the only part on the head. Previously my job had two different nozzles in the chiplist one after the other. The TQFP got picked up first, followed by a SOIC on a different nozzle. When it went to image the TQFP the other chip messed up the detection and then it placed it in the wrong location.

Yes, you select if you want the parts picked/placed "jointly" or not. Pretty sure you can also select the camera to operate per nozzle or "jointly" as well. We do all of our camera parts one at a time.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 15, 2016, 06:00:25 am
I selected both individual and large component in the case of my TQFP part and it seems if adjacent parts in the pick list use different nozzles it will pick up multiple parts at once and then go and image them one at a time. But because there are multiple parts on the head at once the vision code cannot deal with the extra part showing up in the image.

Also, even after running the calibration of nozzles my resistors and small parts still appear to be placed incorrectly. I'm not sure where the error is coming from. I carefully set the first chip location and believe that the mark points are correct.

So those are my two currently issues. I'm not sure it's worth running another board with paste until I can figure them out.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on February 15, 2016, 06:04:32 am
We have never had it image more then a single part at a time with the camera - there is an option you need to find and change.

Are your X values on the screen for your PCB the same or different? I can't recall what the software calls things any more specifically as I don't have the machine in front of me and we didn't even turn it on last week so its been a while since we used it. I do know the X values should be the same but if you do things in the wrong order or click the wrong button they will be skewed a small amount and so will all of your parts.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 15, 2016, 06:13:06 am
It images parts individually if there are a bunch of parts from the same nozzle in a row. But in my case it used nozzle 3 for a large IC and the next chip in the list was nozzle 2. I'm not sure how to make it do each one separately.

Can you explain this thing in the wrong order problem again? I set the board edge align, and then I set the first chip align and create panelized list. I need to do more testing to see if all the parts are off or just ones from some nozzles.

Also, after doing a careful check of the alignment of camera and nozzles in the setup screen I compared new and old values and nothing was more than 0.1mm differently than the numbers from the factory. So that definitely wasn't the issue.

So close! Yet not close enough. :(
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on February 15, 2016, 10:03:26 am

The first run went somewhat okay, but not great. We had a few placement problems because the PCB was actually not located far enough into the machine. It's important to check that the entire PCB is within the movement area for all nozzles or else there will be an error during the job. Simple, but wasn't obvious until about half way through the job.
Once again, let down by poor software - it should check this before it tries to place anything.
Quote

Another problem (since we restarted after a few errors) seems to be that the software lets you restart part way through the job (cool feature!)
Cool ? Essential more like. A partly-placed job is likely to be scrap unless it can be completed.
Quote

We also placed a TQFP part and it was in a completely wrong spot. I'm not sure if it didn't image correctly but it was about 0.25" or more off. It was coming from a tray, so I'm not sure I'm using the trays correctly. The user manual has a lot of nice screen shots but the text is more or less unusable.
It has vision - the pick position should have no effect in placement accuracy
Quote

Also, when stopping a job the machine appears to drop the part randomly, instead of putting into the trash box.
sigh.....
Further evidence that they have a lot more work to do on the software - such a shame they just don't seem to "get it"....
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on February 15, 2016, 10:06:16 am
TheSteve: Is there a way you've found to prevent multiple parts from being picked up at the same time? I found that the TQFP worked perfectly when it was the only part on the head. Previously my job had two different nozzles in the chiplist one after the other. The TQFP got picked up first, followed by a SOIC on a different nozzle. When it went to image the TQFP the other chip messed up the detection and then it placed it in the wrong location.

Yes, you select if you want the parts picked/placed "jointly" or not. Pretty sure you can also select the camera to operate per nozzle or "jointly" as well. We do all of our camera parts one at a time.
..but presumably it;s not sensible enough to have a programmable clip area for the camera image to avoid imaging adjacent parts..?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 15, 2016, 07:18:13 pm
I'm still not sure if there is a willingness to fix the software or not. If so, I would definitely recommend the Neoden 4. If not, then I would recommend against it. I'll have a better idea soon, as I've been in touch with Neoden about the issues. It's hard to tell if they care about the feedback. A few times they've said they'll have the engineers look into various issues. I'll believe it when I see a new release with at least one of the things I've requested fixed or added.

I've done more testing today and found that for some reason all parts on nozzle 1 are placed at bit "off" the mark. This is despite being imaged and despite having the nozzles all aligned according to the system calibration.  I'm sure most of these parts will correct during reflow but I really just want it to be right. I'm trying to figure out if there is some kind of pattern to the error, but so far have to run more tests and analyze some macro photos of the boards.

Placing ICs on the larger nozzles is bang on! I was able to get my TQFP placing correctly by selecting "individual" vision instead of "large component"... apparently it fits within the range for the individual size. But it still picks up multiple parts since I had three parts in a row with nozzles 1, 2 and 3. Apparently there is no way to "block" it from optimizing this way. Maybe it doesn't matter, but I'm not sure for an even larger component how this would ever be able to work.

If I can work out the offset problem for small parts I'll probably be able to make some of my actual production boards!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on February 15, 2016, 07:40:19 pm
Hi

Ok, so here's a few questions:

How many alternatives are there at the same price, with the same features?

How well are they supported outside their country of origin?

How good is their software?

Yes, there is stuff that is way better, for a higher price. If one spends more, they get more. Something that does not work is useless at any price. The main issue is -- can you get something that works at this price point or not?

Obviously it is never ever a works / does not work thing. As long as these machines have been around, there have been issues. Every machine I have ever owned (.. company owned ...) needed work arounds of some sort. The learning curve always was there. At the end of the struggle, they either placed the parts we needed or they didn't. If it was a fail, we either changed parts or changed the machine.

Bob
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 15, 2016, 07:54:39 pm
I don't expect any industrial machine to be completely smooth... these are low-run products with limited user bases. I definitely don't feel "ripped off" yet, provided that Neoden can help me sort out these remaining issues. A public announcement of new software with a changelog would go a long way toward showing goodwill for current and potential customers.

Speaking about price... every other system I looked at in mid-late 2015 was either in progress, or looked completely horrible / DIYish from a hardware perspective. Comparing the build quality of the Neoden 4 with the Liteplacer kit that I was working on prior to buying this machine is like night and day. The Liteplacer looks like it's made out of popsicle sticks compared with the solid frame of the Neoden. The motors are WAY bigger too, and the entire frame of the machine feels really solid. All of the other low-cost solutions looked like crappy 3D printer construction... one of them was even made out of wood!

mikeselectricstuff: I get the feeling like you don't want these low-cost machines to work for some reason. Yes there are a few wrinkles but I'm confident that the hardware is capable, and the software feels like it's at about 90% of what I would have expected for a first release. If Neoden fails to make any fixes then I might join your camp, but until then I'm hopeful.

For small shops such as mine having a machine that is physically small and affordable definitely opens up the doors to profitability. At least in Canada these days the PCBA landscape is the worst thing ever. The service and quality is so terrible, and the price is insane. We've been sending PCBA jobs to Thailand and they do amazing work, but the freight costs more than doubles the price!

BTW if you want to read a story about a "high end" piece of equipment and how awesome it was at first release, there is a famous article here that basically doesn't make me feel so bad about having a few issues with the Neoden 4: https://www.cs.princeton.edu/~bwk/202/summer.scanned.pdf (https://www.cs.princeton.edu/~bwk/202/summer.scanned.pdf)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on February 15, 2016, 08:14:05 pm
Hi

Ok, so simply put, there really isn't any competition at this price point.

Next up ... Is the software actually written by Neoden or by a third party?

I have no idea how you would be able to tell. It is a pretty critical point though. Often this sort of stuff gets jobbed out. An almost adequate job of multi-lingual software gets done. The software guy(s) now realize what they are into. Up goes the price for future work. The other side of the deal factored a fixed one time cost into the pricing. Instant impasse, both sides are at fault. I've seen this happen a *lot* of times. You can see traces of it in the interesting "we had to re-write the firmware from scratch" announcements. (= we brought it in house / found a different outsource location).

Bob
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 15, 2016, 09:53:44 pm
uncle_bob: I sure hope they make the code in house. But yes, at least as of December it's fair to say that nothing seems to beat the landed price of this machine. A lot of parts of it are very cool, and I feel that apart from some "nice to have" feature requests, it's nearly okay.

I know thesteve had success at his shop making real boards. Indeed during my testing I was having better luck but something must have changed that is now causing me some trouble. I'm hoping it's my fault and that a simple change to my setup or input file can correct it. As long as the machine is clunky yet consistent I have no problem with that. This is still to be confirmed. :)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on February 15, 2016, 10:04:37 pm
Hi

At least based on the companies I've visited over there (I know *nothig* about Neoden) it is rare to find an outfit that is really good at hardware (as these guys seem to be) *and* that does software in house. The smaller outfits tend to get very narrowly focused. They sell the hardware to somebody else and that guy tacks on the software (or they job it out). The first involves a markup the second a potentially difficult relationship.

Further obscuring it, twin brothers Bob and Mike may be involved. Mike's company makes the great hardware. beer swilling Bob's company makes the software. Is it really one company or two ...

Bob
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on February 15, 2016, 11:56:41 pm

mikeselectricstuff: I get the feeling like you don't want these low-cost machines to work for some reason. Yes there are a few wrinkles but I'm confident that the hardware is capable, and the software feels like it's at about 90% of what I would have expected for a first release. If Neoden fails to make any fixes then I might join your camp, but until then I'm hopeful.
Quite the opposite - I'd love to see a low-end pick & place done well. If the Neoden4 had good software and could handle tall parts I'd very seriously consider getting one.
I just find it very frustrating that the N4 could be a very good machine, but like most Chinese products is badly let down by an inadequate attention to software design and implementation - something that would not be hard to fix if the manufacturers had the right attitude. IMO the utter balls-up they made with the video says it all.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on February 16, 2016, 12:44:05 am

mikeselectricstuff: I get the feeling like you don't want these low-cost machines to work for some reason. Yes there are a few wrinkles but I'm confident that the hardware is capable, and the software feels like it's at about 90% of what I would have expected for a first release. If Neoden fails to make any fixes then I might join your camp, but until then I'm hopeful.
Quite the opposite - I'd love to see a low-end pick & place done well. If the Neoden4 had good software and could handle tall parts I'd very seriously consider getting one.
I just find it very frustrating that the N4 could be a very good machine, but like most Chinese products is badly let down by an inadequate attention to software design and implementation - something that would not be hard to fix if the manufacturers had the right attitude. IMO the utter balls-up they made with the video says it all.

Hi

You might be surprised at just how small an operation many of these outfits are staff wise. It is *very* common to meed "the engineer" in a lot of these places (with sales in the > $30 M range !!!). They have a half dozen to a dozen guys who work for "the engineer". Once you start talking to them over a few days, it would be an exaggeration to call even 2 of them tech's.  The rest are what we would call assemblers / prototype wiring guys or inspectors (he may also be the QA manager). In that environment, adding a full blown software development and support group is a really big deal.

Just so nobody gets offended here. The exact company details above are *not* for a Chinese pick and place company. The same business model exists in multiple countries in that region and covers a lot of electronic manufacturing / design / production. My intent is not to slam anyone. The model works amazingly well. The product is top quality. Often ....errr ... some people ..errr ... team up with these companies. The result is a product that has ... errr ... support .. and a higher price tag. Details hopefully well enough concealed to let me keep my job.

Bob
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: MTNELECTRONICS on February 16, 2016, 09:19:35 pm
Just a quick update:

I finally got my replacement nozzles and after setting up the machine with them I'm happy to report that it is now working well with the 0805 caps.  I have run the machine all the way up to 100% speed now and the placement accuracy doesn't appear to be visually degraded between 100% and 60% speed, but so far I have not done any fine pitch ICs or components smaller than 0603 so I am definitely not testing the machine's limits yet. 

When I have turned on the "Jointly" vision recognition I get an obviously incorrect offset on the parts, even with fairly large 0805 parts.  The calibration is obviously off, because the machine places much more accurately with the vision off, and very well with the vision set to 'Individual'.  I have not needed the extra speed yet so I haven't bothered to try and calibrate it but it is on my "to do" list. 

Make sure that your component library value actually matches what you are putting in the machine.  If you are feeding the machine bad information, it cannot give you good results.  I took a caliper and measured each of my parts then added that part to the component library for vision recognition.  Check and make sure that the outline the vision is recognizing actually matches up with the part's outline. 

The software does have some idiosyncrasies that could be fixed, although I am doubtful that they will be fixed.  Those that I mentioned earlier (manual board offset being the biggest one), along with some that I just read (such as the machine just dropping the part where it sits if you press "stop" during placement).  I also just began using the vibratory tube feeder, and while it works good enough once set up, it is disappointing that you have to manually go into the test menu to start and stop the vibrator both before and after a placement job, so if you forget to turn it on before a job you will start placing then run into feed errors, then have to exit out and start the job over again.  In my mind, if one of the vibratory feeders is called for during placement then it should turn on automatically when you start the placement routine.

This is just like most of the Chinese flashlights I deal with---they go about 90%-95% of the way to making a truly great product, but then fall short on some of the small details that could elevate the product from 'acceptable' to 'great'.  I am happy enough with the machine as it sits as long as it keeps running reliably, but if they had a more polished interface and a better sales pitch can you imagine how many more of these they could sell? 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on February 16, 2016, 09:29:39 pm
but if they had a more polished interface and a better sales pitch can you imagine how many more of these they could sell?
Unfortunately it appears they don't have sufficient imagination....
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on February 16, 2016, 10:06:53 pm
I've done more testing today and found that for some reason all parts on nozzle 1 are placed at bit "off" the mark. This is despite being imaged and despite having the nozzles all aligned according to the system calibration.  I'm sure most of these parts will correct during reflow but I really just want it to be right. I'm trying to figure out if there is some kind of pattern to the error, but so far have to run more tests and analyze some macro photos of the boards.

Placing ICs on the larger nozzles is bang on! I was able to get my TQFP placing correctly by selecting "individual" vision instead of "large component"... apparently it fits within the range for the individual size. But it still picks up multiple parts since I had three parts in a row with nozzles 1, 2 and 3. Apparently there is no way to "block" it from optimizing this way. Maybe it doesn't matter, but I'm not sure for an even larger component how this would ever be able to work.

If I can work out the offset problem for small parts I'll probably be able to make some of my actual production boards!

Sounds like you are running just a few 'test' components currently [which is understandable Elmood].

Do the components you are selecting at Nozzle #1 require 'rotation' at the PCB placement position by any chance?
If that were the case, and you're assured that it is collecting the component correctly from the tape, then the 'seating' of the nozzle could be slightly out of alignment [not concentric with the shaft], causing the displacement error you are referring to. Just a thought.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 16, 2016, 11:26:16 pm
thommo: I thought that might be the case, but in the setup screen I was able to do a rotation test where the machine will overlay images from multiple rotation angles, and it seems that it's not deviating.

My gut feeling is that somehow it's failing to calculate an offset or correct for it. I have to confirm this by checking the screen for how the part images each time. It seems like parts of both rotations are off. Obviously the imaging system works because it picks up parts from the trays and are able to perfectly align them on the pads. (TQFP parts) I do recall that previous tests worked better, but there are a lot of variables and things that have changed since I first tried it.

There was no response from Neoden last night so I'm hoping to hear from them tonight. I really hope it's something silly that I'm doing wrong. One feature that I think should be included is the ability to show the alignment of a component on the board. You can align with the camera the feeders, which is a great way to double check that the machine is set up correctly for a job. But I wish you could see each component with the downlooking camera to see where it thinks it's going to place the part. That would help to rule out errors in the input data.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on February 16, 2016, 11:31:01 pm
But I wish you could see each component with the downlooking camera to see where it thinks it's going to place the part. That would help to rule out errors in the input data.

This isn't possible with larger parts as the camera has a fixed field of view - so while you can see smaller parts you'll only be able to see a small portion of larger components. I believe with all larger parts in the future we will place cross-hairs on the PCB to mark the center of the part. That will make it easy to verify position with the downward facing camera.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 16, 2016, 11:52:15 pm
TheSteve: How do you go about actually pointing to the part locations with the downfacing camera? I imported my coordinates from a file and there is no option to do this manually it seems.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: MTNELECTRONICS on February 19, 2016, 12:48:20 am
TheSteve: How do you go about actually pointing to the part locations with the downfacing camera? I imported my coordinates from a file and there is no option to do this manually it seems.

As long as "manual" is unchecked, you can't do it.  The problem is that if you manually program some of your components with the machine coordinates using this method, you really have to program all of them including the fiducials using the machine's coordinates.   This is why it would be extremely helpful if there were an offset setting that you could change. 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TankSparks on February 19, 2016, 04:26:37 pm
You can view where it will place parts with down looking camera even with manual unchecked.
You need to mount file,  step through fiducials then click on part you want to view, then click vision align button.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 21, 2016, 04:13:25 pm
TankSparks: Thanks for that info! I didn't know about the vision align function because it always seemed greyed out. I guess it wasn't too obvious how to make it enabled, but doing the calibration part of the mounting routine makes sense. We had our first mostly successful run yesterday! I'm definitely finding out what needs to go on our checklist before starting a job each time.

Our placement alignment issues seemed to be due to the way our fiducials (mark points, in Neoden-speak) were being detected. Obviously it's necessary to have at least a few points because the rail system is not 100% accurate at positioning the board... there is always some room for error both side-to-side and while feeding in the PCB. A few things we found after some careful testing:

- The number of mark points and their positions has a big impact on positioning overall on the board. Too few / bad locations chosen will make some parts perfectly aligned while others are off a bit. Our test board is a worst case of an older design we have that doesn't use proper fiducials or rails. It was hard to find good points that would make the alignment bang on all over the PCB.

- The size of the mark point has a big impact! We had some drill holes approx. 3mm dia. (the default size range for detection is 0.8mm to 3.0mm) and they detected every time but there was some error in the detected position, maybe due to shadows in the lighting? Smaller vias seem to work better. It would be good if the Neoden software showed a circle around the detected point, or maybe print out some data after all the points were calculated. They have a nice big debug window on the mount screen but they hardly write any info to it.

- The Neoden software seems to only detect circles... I couldn't find an option in the menus to change the shape to rectangle, so using a copper feature like a resistor pad is not possible.

- The most unfortunate part is that there is no way to know / change the field of view while detecting the points. Occasionally the machine zeros in on the correct point and then all of a sudden jumps to a nearby hole instead. (It takes about 3 pictures of each point) We got in the habit of starting jobs with the Step function until we were sure it got all the points right. On a dense board I think rails might be the only option to ensure there is enough blank area around the point to guarantee reliable detection. How much blank area? This is still a mystery... it would be nice if Neoden would shed some more light on this.

As for placement, it mostly went as expected. Small parts like resistors and caps are bang on and the pick works every time. We had trouble with some larger components not picking up reliably. The nozzle seems to go up and down rapidly if it can't sense vacuum, but it seems far too rapid. Sometimes it would do this even if it had a part. We changed the vacuum detection threshold to a lower value to try helping it but it didn't seem to make much difference. The biggest problem is with the vibration feeder... if it doesn't think it has a part the nozzle just bobs up and down... if it actually did get a part it smashes that part down on top of the new chip which is already moving down the tube. This just makes a little train wreck all over the place. I'm not sure if the pick and place delay settings affect this retry speed since I didn't experiment with this yet.

The final note I'd like to share is that the nozzle sizes that Neoden suggests for various chips doesn't appear to be right. The smallest nozzle works well for all the passive parts but they suggest what seems like too large sizes for the ICs. After getting repeated pick errors I moved down by one size on all the ICs and things seemed to work much better. Perhaps the larger nozzles just don't get a very good seal on the part.

Anyway, we're still fighting with our oven which made toast out of one of our test boards, but I'd say that the Neoden 4 is workable. The software is still not really at 100%, but it does seem to work enough to make a board. Some more polish would go a long way into making the process enjoyable and save a lot of wasted time messing around with stuff though.



Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on February 21, 2016, 04:53:04 pm
Hi

Not in any way specific to this machine (I don't have one ... yet):

A copper circle off in the middle of nowhere with mask pulled back from it is often the most universal fiducial. That's not just on this specific machine. If at all possible we put them completely outside the main board area so there is nothing of similar size or contrast to confuse things. Off the top of my head, no idea of the exact size we use other than 1 to 2 mm seems to be about right.

The gotcha with drill holes is that the "fine people" who did your board may (or may not) have their drill nicely aligned with the top (or bottom) copper. If you need <0.2 mm alignment (0.5 mm pitch parts) a hole that is 0.2 mm off is ..errr ... not going to help.

Bob
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on February 21, 2016, 05:47:40 pm
This just makes a little train wreck all over the place. ........ Some more polish would go a long way into making the process enjoyable and save a lot of wasted time messing around with stuff though.

Thanks. This really has confirmed what i was feeling.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ice-Tea on February 21, 2016, 06:16:28 pm
Hi

Ok, so simply put, there really isn't any competition at this price point.


Just a general thought: take the price of the machine, add additional engineering hours lost over the course of 10 years, add addtional components tossed in the bin over 10 years and recalculate.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on February 21, 2016, 07:21:59 pm
Hi

Ok, so simply put, there really isn't any competition at this price point.


Just a general thought: take the price of the machine, add additional engineering hours lost over the course of 10 years, add addtional components tossed in the bin over 10 years and recalculate.

This is a critical concept to consider. I even wrote a paper for my industry titled "Cheap Can Be Very Expensive". There are up-front costs that are easy to see and compare,  there are operational costs that are very difficult to see. Over the past decade I have owned a small manufacturing business, I caught myself being suckered in by a 'good deal' that turned out to be very expensive. The unexpected expenses were usually lost time and/or bad parts. In the beginning, it seems like a few minutes here and there. A few minutes here and there every day for years add up to a LOT. It also, as the business owner, set me up to be scrambling nights and weekends to catch up - making up for the poor performance of my software or hardware choices. At that point, the money I 'saved' initially was long forgotten and I was bitter and angry working on a Saturday night.

A 'Long tailed' piece of equipment is one that has a low acquisition cost, but a high cost of operation - ink jet printer as an example. A short tailed piece of equipment may have a high initial cost, but simply works after that for a long time with little additional effort or money. In my commercial manufacturing experience, hardware and software that is focused on being low-cost as a primary design goal, tend to be the most expensive in the long run. A $10k machine seems like a deal, unless you have to fiddle with it, miss deadlines, throw away scrap, burn a relationship with a customer, etc. I have no specific knowledge of the N4, but that is what I would be calculating/estimating if I was considering the product. After some poor decisions, I will do anything to avoid a long tailed piece of equipment or software.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ice-Tea on February 21, 2016, 09:04:29 pm
It serves as a continuous source of amazement to me that so few engineers have an awareness of what they cost...
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on February 21, 2016, 10:30:20 pm
It serves as a continuous source of amazement to me that so few engineers have an awareness of what they cost...

Let's have a go.

Engineer earning $75k/yr - $6250/mo - $300/day - $37.50/hr - $.625/minute

Say a fiddly machine takes about 5 minutes every hour - easy to overlook. $3.125/hour - $25/day - $125/week - $500/mo - $6000/year - $30,000 over a 5 year course of using the machine. So that is the direct cost. The missed opportunity and distractions preventing the engineer from designing something new and useful are far harder to estimate than just the lost time.

After owning/operating a machine shop, I because accustomed to counting seconds and analyzing the small details of repetitive tasks. The best equipment and software wastes the least amount of time possible and that seems expensive until you add up the value of all the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, of expensive labor saved.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 21, 2016, 10:39:26 pm
rx8pilot: I agree with your "long tailed" approach. I've already upgraded from "build my own pick and place" to "buy one". And indeed if the next nearest competitor was 2x the price and had nicer software I probably would have found the money somewhere to get it. But the "real" machines cost at least an order of magnitude more money than I can afford... at which point it's no longer practical to have in the shop.

Every time I use the hardware on the Neoden 4 I'm impressed. But the software feels so close to being okay, but not quite. If a few other users wanted to go together for better software, I would gladly get a developer, write a spec and make it. After writing most of a complete PNP control software recently, I can tell you that it's not an overwhelming undertaking but does require some concentrated effort to get right. Let me know if anyone has serious interest in this kind of thing... perhaps Neoden will release something that puts the icing on the cake but honestly I'm not holding my breath.

As for the real cost of cheap solutions... sadly most of us don't have the option of buying the Rolls Royce right out of the gate, so the fiddling with a cheap machine is really an "investment" in hopefully earning enough to get something better.... or at least that's how I see it.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on February 21, 2016, 11:08:39 pm
rx8pilot: I agree with your "long tailed" approach. I've already upgraded from "build my own pick and place" to "buy one". And indeed if the next nearest competitor was 2x the price and had nicer software I probably would have found the money somewhere to get it. But the "real" machines cost at least an order of magnitude more money than I can afford... at which point it's no longer practical to have in the shop.

Every time I use the hardware on the Neoden 4 I'm impressed. But the software feels so close to being okay, but not quite. If a few other users wanted to go together for better software, I would gladly get a developer, write a spec and make it. After writing most of a complete PNP control software recently, I can tell you that it's not an overwhelming undertaking but does require some concentrated effort to get right. Let me know if anyone has serious interest in this kind of thing... perhaps Neoden will release something that puts the icing on the cake but honestly I'm not holding my breath.

As for the real cost of cheap solutions... sadly most of us don't have the option of buying the Rolls Royce right out of the gate, so the fiddling with a cheap machine is really an "investment" in hopefully earning enough to get something better.... or at least that's how I see it.

I did not have the money to buy a fancy machine either. I was stuck with a very challenging decision - buy new/lowend or used/higher end. The decision was to go for the used machine which I expected would be a bear to get running and I was not disappointed. I spent around $5k on a broken machine, $4k on parts, and about a month fixing and learning how to use it. I traded nights and weekends to make up for my lack of money. So, clearly the upfront cost was higher (cash + time) but it is quite solid and far more capable than an N4 no matter how you look at it. It was a compromise that had a good result. There were some very scary moments where it could have ended poorly, so there was definitely some real risk that the project would fail. Now that it is up and running, the effort need to keep it there is tiny. It is fast and reliable. It can hold tons of parts up to 56mm tapes. I have over 100 parts setup in the machine at any given moment so it saves a LOT of time changing from program to program - almost no part changes needed. Tall parts, wide parts, small parts - 1005 passives if needed, cut tapes, tubes, 6 nozzle changer, side scan on the fly, etc. All time savers.

As for new machines, your are right, there is nothing out there in this range. Most machines (including mine) you would blast $10k on a small number of feeders. It is a tough transition for a business.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on February 22, 2016, 04:47:09 am
rx8pilot: I did look for a used machine for about six months and didn't find anything in my area. Being in Canada, it's rather complex and expensive to get anything from the USA... even a lot of people on eBay won't ship large items to Canada. Neodentech took care of everything and all I had to do was pay the local sales taxes when the stuff arrived.

I'd love to upgrade to a bigger machine later, but it would be a long-term project when I'm not relying on it for actual production. My DIY project based on the Liteplacer + my own software and surplus feeders kept dragging on so I finally just order the Neoden instead. I think I have it working well enough to start making real boards.

The major problem I've been trying to solve today is this T-962C craptastic oven that was part of the kit. It's the worst thing ever... I don't want to change this thread but if anyone has recommendations of a non-crappy oven that is plug and play, I'm ready to throw this one in the garbage. Like, does IR even work for PCBs? I got the oven to not burn itself by taking out all the flammable tape, but now it just cooks boards so that they get all bubbly with black epoxy goo oozing out. This is on the lead-free profile too! I put some instrumentation inside and it looked like some parts of the PCB was reaching 325C.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on February 22, 2016, 05:01:51 am
Finding a used machine requires a lot of luck and a lot of time. I was seconds away from buying one of the new Asian machines when my opportunity arrived on eBay - and it was local. I have not seen a similar deal since.

Glad to have a break once in a while.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on February 22, 2016, 10:57:09 am
rx8pilot:
The major problem I've been trying to solve today is this T-962C craptastic oven that was part of the kit. It's the worst thing ever... I don't want to change this thread but if anyone has recommendations of a non-crappy oven that is plug and play, I'm ready to throw this one in the garbage. Like, does IR even work for PCBs? I got the oven to not burn itself by taking out all the flammable tape, but now it just cooks boards so that they get all bubbly with black epoxy goo oozing out. This is on the lead-free profile too! I put some instrumentation inside and it looked like some parts of the PCB was reaching 325C.

Also without wanting to redirect this thread:

Reflow Oven
I'm considering a 'R350' from www.torchsmt.com (http://www.torchsmt.com) at around $5,750 USD, for what it's worth.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: coppice on February 22, 2016, 01:50:36 pm
The major problem I've been trying to solve today is this T-962C craptastic oven that was part of the kit. It's the worst thing ever.
The Qinsi QS-5100 looks a bit like the T962C and its price is similar, but its built a bit better and has a controller which actually works. A number of people who have had bad experiences with the T962C seem to find these satisfactory. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzhkTR0K8-w (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzhkTR0K8-w) for a comparison.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sam512bb on February 25, 2016, 03:28:29 am
rx8pilot:
The major problem I've been trying to solve today is this T-962C craptastic oven that was part of the kit. It's the worst thing ever... I don't want to change this thread but if anyone has recommendations of a non-crappy oven that is plug and play, I'm ready to throw this one in the garbage. Like, does IR even work for PCBs? I got the oven to not burn itself by taking out all the flammable tape, but now it just cooks boards so that they get all bubbly with black epoxy goo oozing out. This is on the lead-free profile too! I put some instrumentation inside and it looked like some parts of the PCB was reaching 325C.

Also without wanting to redirect this thread:

Reflow Oven
I'm considering a 'R350' from www.torchsmt.com (http://www.torchsmt.com) at around $5,750 USD, for what it's worth.

Good day Thommo,

I cannot speak about the Torch R350, but have you looked at the Puhui T-960 (www.tech168.cn (http://www.tech168.cn)) which is somewhat comparable?  The T-960 has 5 heat zones (3-up 2-down) and works pretty well.  Best of all it is a lot cheaper.  I bought mine for $1150 US (shipping was an additional $200 to my closest Ocean port) just over a year ago.  Overall the build quality is quite good.

Cheers,

Sam
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on February 25, 2016, 03:32:24 am
I'd seriously consider a vapour phase setup.


rx8pilot:
The major problem I've been trying to solve today is this T-962C craptastic oven that was part of the kit. It's the worst thing ever... I don't want to change this thread but if anyone has recommendations of a non-crappy oven that is plug and play, I'm ready to throw this one in the garbage. Like, does IR even work for PCBs? I got the oven to not burn itself by taking out all the flammable tape, but now it just cooks boards so that they get all bubbly with black epoxy goo oozing out. This is on the lead-free profile too! I put some instrumentation inside and it looked like some parts of the PCB was reaching 325C.

Also without wanting to redirect this thread:

Reflow Oven
I'm considering a 'R350' from www.torchsmt.com (http://www.torchsmt.com) at around $5,750 USD, for what it's worth.

Good day Thommo,

I cannot speak about the Torch R350, but have you looked at the Puhui T-960 (www.tech168.cn (http://www.tech168.cn)) which is somewhat comparable?  The T-960 has 5 heat zones (3-up 2-down) and works pretty well.  Best of all it is a lot cheaper.  I bought mine for $1150 US (shipping was an additional $200 to my closest Ocean port) just over a year ago.  Overall the build quality is quite good.

Cheers,

Sam
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on February 26, 2016, 06:01:13 am
Hi, this is my first post.

I have DDM Novastar LS60V (http://www.ddmnovastar.com/pick-and-place/automated-systems/ls60v-pick-and-place-machine-with-vision) and currently need more capacity, after following this thread for quite some time i finally decide to order the Neoden 4 - now waiting for the shipment.

I want to comment on the 5 mm component height limitation, in my experience for low volume production up to 1000 board job, better to place tall/big/heavy components by hand!

YES, because the machine (lower end machine) will throw that kind of parts very often - even messing already placed parts.

I will share my experience with this N4 when i get it.

-ichan

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on February 26, 2016, 06:19:52 am
@Ichan Can't wait to see some feedback from you once the machine arrives!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on February 26, 2016, 08:12:39 am
Thanks for assisting us all and agreeing to share your experience Ichan.
When are you expecting to receive your new Neoden4?

I have DDM Novastar LS60V (http://www.ddmnovastar.com/pick-and-place/automated-systems/ls60v-pick-and-place-machine-with-vision) and currently need more capacity, after following this thread for quite some time i finally decide to order the Neoden 4 - now waiting for the shipment.
I will share my experience with this N4 when i get it.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on February 26, 2016, 09:01:50 am

I want to comment on the 5 mm component height limitation, in my experience for low volume production up to 1000 board job, better to place tall/big/heavy components by hand!

That's usually a case of using the right nozzle, which is why you really want an auto nozzle change facility
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on February 26, 2016, 09:29:24 am
I tell the Neoden contact (Tony) to take his time preparing the machine to be the best in quality and professionally configured, because i will review it in here  ;D.

The job is already waiting for the machine, i will review it doing a real job for at least 2000 panelized board (4 board / panel).

Let say they need 1 week to prepare the machine plus 2 weeks shipment + customs then i may receive it at about the end of 3rd week of march, so i hope i can start posts about it around the end of march.

The vacuum pump also a weak point of low end machine, even the LS60V - based on that experience i order the N4 with spare vacuum pump too.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on February 26, 2016, 05:01:46 pm
I want to comment on the 5 mm component height limitation, in my experience for low volume production up to 1000 board job, better to place tall/big/heavy components by hand!

That would kill me for sure. Just one of my boards has 10pcs 820uf aluminum caps - running a few hundred having to hand place those would be brutal.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on February 26, 2016, 06:21:04 pm
Sometimes, hand placing is the only sensible solution though..  I've got an inductor that heavy and large. ( 22x22x14mm )..   The consequences of a drop are ruining an entire panel..

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Kjelt on February 26, 2016, 11:15:32 pm
If you need to do manual placing of th smd elcos I would immediately switch to through hole for those components, i still think that the reflow process will affect the lifetime of electrolytics esp the smaller cases ofcourse but eveyone in the industry will probably tell me i am nuts.  :-//
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on February 27, 2016, 04:53:58 am
That would kill me for sure. Just one of my boards has 10pcs 820uf aluminum caps - running a few hundred having to hand place those would be brutal.

I started as a fully hand placer, ten caps is easy for me... :D

If you need to do manual placing of th smd elcos I would immediately switch to through hole for those components, i still think that the reflow process will affect the lifetime of electrolytics esp the smaller cases ofcourse but eveyone in the industry will probably tell me i am nuts.  :-//

Me too prefer TH for elcos for two reason, smd elcos are easy to be pulled off from the board and they take much longer time to reflow than the small parts.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on February 27, 2016, 04:58:42 am
I see another limitation of N4 when ordering it, which i think never talked yet.

They only over 8mm, 12mm, and 16mm reel feeders...

D2PAK in reel for example won't go with this machine.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on February 27, 2016, 06:31:31 am
I started as a fully hand placer, ten caps is easy for me... :D

I too spent the last 2 years hand-placing many 10's of thousands of parts by hand - fine pitch and 0402's  |O. A quantity that drove me to near insanity. I did, however, get very very good at it. I made special tools, organization, software, etc. I really feel like I totally maxed out hand placing. When I got my machine, it had some troubles with tall parts not fitting in the feeders, so I placed them by hand. The 'few minutes' delay getting them into the oven multiplied times each board was bringing back bad memories and adding up to a significant amount of time. I modified the feeders to fit the tall caps and now it goes direct from P&P to oven. Heavy inductors too - just got the right nozzles and slowed the machine down.

I am thankful for my sharp assembly skills, but I only want to use them in an emergency. Taking the PCB from P&P to the oven is such a joy. Having enough feeders to have 6 PCB's setup in the machine at a time is also amazing. The stress level has plummeted.


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on February 27, 2016, 12:59:05 pm
I started as a fully hand placer, ten caps is easy for me... :D

I too spent the last 2 years hand-placing many 10's of thousands of parts by hand - fine pitch and 0402's  |O. A quantity that drove me to near insanity. I did, however, get very very good at it. I made special tools, organization, software, etc. I really feel like I totally maxed out hand placing. When I got my machine, it had some troubles with tall parts not fitting in the feeders, so I placed them by hand. The 'few minutes' delay getting them into the oven multiplied times each board was bringing back bad memories and adding up to a significant amount of time. I modified the feeders to fit the tall caps and now it goes direct from P&P to oven. Heavy inductors too - just got the right nozzles and slowed the machine down.

I am thankful for my sharp assembly skills, but I only want to use them in an emergency. Taking the PCB from P&P to the oven is such a joy. Having enough feeders to have 6 PCB's setup in the machine at a time is also amazing. The stress level has plummeted.

Hi

With a bit over a half million dollars worth of gear humming away placing and the like, we still have parts that get put on by hand. Sometimes it's for one reason, sometimes for another. We try to avoid it (by design) on the big runs. It's almost inevitable on the under a hundred pieces stuff ....

Bob
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sedelman on February 27, 2016, 03:58:52 pm
@ichan: if you have a DDM Novastar LS60V why on earth would you want a Neoden4? I think you're going to be grossly disappointed.  I'm actually looking at the DDM LE-40V because my confidence level with the Neoden4 based on discussions in this group isn't there. Can you elaborate on why you need a Neoden4 when you have the LS60V?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on February 27, 2016, 04:29:07 pm
@ichan: if you have a DDM Novastar LS60V why on earth would you want a Neoden4? I think you're going to be grossly disappointed.  I'm actually looking at the DDM LE-40V because my confidence level with the Neoden4 based on discussions in this group isn't there. Can you elaborate on why you need a Neoden4 when you have the LS60V?

Hi

.... yes butting in .... sorry about that.

Short runs.

Keep the big stuff running the high volume boards. Move the dozens level stuff over to a small machine. Setup / teardown / validation on a cheap machine wastes less expensive machine resources. If the people time is roughly the same and you can keep the big stuff running full bore, you are ahead. If you keep the little guy tied up half of the time while the big guy(s) keep(s) running much closer to full time, you are making a lot of money off that little machine. It also beats hand placing those many batches of a couple dozen boards / panels ...

Yes, that is *very* mix / situation specific. My mix / your mix / his mix / how many parts / what kind of parts / programming time / scrap / quality ... who knows.

To move to the end of the page. We have tried this. It's one of those things that makes sense when you are maxed out or heading that way. It dies in the next slow down. The idea never seems to come back when things pick up again.

Bob
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on February 27, 2016, 05:41:41 pm
@sedelman, In  short i am a dissapointed user of LS60V.
I can tell anything about that machine if someone ask, because i have repaired it by myself four times already.
Anyway, i bought it when the company name is still APS Novastar not DDM.

@uncle_bob, well that is not on my case :), i will gladly swap my LS60V with two fully configured N4 if anyone interested...  ;D

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on February 27, 2016, 10:34:14 pm
@sedelman, In  short i am a dissapointed user of LS60V.
I can tell anything about that machine if someone ask, because i have repaired it by myself four times already.
Anyway, i bought it when the company name is still APS Novastar not DDM.

@uncle_bob, well that is not on my case :), i will gladly swap my LS60V with two fully configured N4 if anyone interested...  ;D

-ichan

Hi

As I said ... everybody has a different situation. In fact, our experience with the "small line" idea has not been 100% roses.

Bob
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sedelman on February 28, 2016, 01:22:55 am

@Ichan: what are you expecting from the Neoden4 that will be better than the LS60V? Do you have experience with a Neoden4 that makes it stand out over the LS60V? If I understand correctly, there are only two people in this thread who own a Neoden4 and they have been mostly silent about their successes running production with the machine.

In my opinion, this machine still needs to be proven and it's going to take more than a carefully staged Youtube video (horrible translation aside) from Neoden to convince me that the thing can actually run continuous production without hand holding.

Let's be clear, I want Neoden4 to be a winner because I also need a professional PnP for US $10K, so I appeal to the owners of the Neoden4 in this thread, please post a video of a successful production run so we can all get warm fuzzies that this machine can actually deliver.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on February 28, 2016, 02:12:24 am
Last production run the Neoden 4 I have access to dropped two FTDI chips but it didn't notice. As the one who has to do the rework when it screws up I'll say it still has potential but if it was my money, I wouldn't buy one.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on February 28, 2016, 02:17:51 am
Last production run the Neoden 4 I have access to dropped two FTDI chips but it didn't notice. As the one who has to do the rework when it screws up I'll say it still has potential but if it was my money, I wouldn't buy one.

Well, that its pretty much sums it up.  And teaches you right or using FTDI Destroy the planet chips.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on February 28, 2016, 03:00:34 am
In my opinion, this machine still needs to be proven and it's going to take more than a carefully staged Youtube video (horrible translation aside) from Neoden to convince me that the thing can actually run continuous production without hand holding.

The chances seem slim that you can walk away from this thing while running any time soon.

Let's be clear, I want Neoden4 to be a winner because I also need a professional PnP for US $10K......

Maybe, just maybe it could be a pro-sumer level. For a machine to really stand up to a professional environment it has to be super solid in all respects. From what I have seen and heard so far, this thing seems like a good step up from hand placing prototypes and pilot runs, but not something I would count on for a living.

Last production run the Neoden 4 I have access to dropped two FTDI chips but it didn't notice. As the one who has to do the rework when it screws up I'll say it still has potential but if it was my money, I wouldn't buy one.

As old as my machine is, I doesn't drop parts, even the big heavy ones. If it did, it has two sensors that would stop and alarm the machine. The old machine seems like it saved me from the Neoden which I was planning to buy just before I found mine. I should call it the Millennium Falcon since it looks like a hunk of junk but can do the Kessel PCB in 12 minutes without missing anything. I have <$10k in it so far.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on February 28, 2016, 03:28:22 am
Last production run the Neoden 4 I have access to dropped two FTDI chips but it didn't notice. As the one who has to do the rework when it screws up I'll say it still has potential but if it was my money, I wouldn't buy one.

Well, that its pretty much sums it up.  And teaches you right or using FTDI Destroy the planet chips.

Geeze, take your FTDI battle somewhere else.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on February 28, 2016, 03:33:19 am
In my opinion, this machine still needs to be proven and it's going to take more than a carefully staged Youtube video (horrible translation aside) from Neoden to convince me that the thing can actually run continuous production without hand holding.

The chances seem slim that you can walk away from this thing while running any time soon.

Let's be clear, I want Neoden4 to be a winner because I also need a professional PnP for US $10K......

Maybe, just maybe it could be a pro-sumer level. For a machine to really stand up to a professional environment it has to be super solid in all respects. From what I have seen and heard so far, this thing seems like a good step up from hand placing prototypes and pilot runs, but not something I would count on for a living.

Last production run the Neoden 4 I have access to dropped two FTDI chips but it didn't notice. As the one who has to do the rework when it screws up I'll say it still has potential but if it was my money, I wouldn't buy one.

As old as my machine is, I doesn't drop parts, even the big heavy ones. If it did, it has two sensors that would stop and alarm the machine. The old machine seems like it saved me from the Neoden which I was planning to buy just before I found mine. I should call it the Millennium Falcon since it looks like a hunk of junk but can do the Kessel PCB in 12 minutes without missing anything. I have <$10k in it so far.

The Juki 570L that I used before the Neoden 4 was actually an amazing machine all things considered. It had some quirks too but was 1000 times the machine the Neoden will ever be. However it wouldn't fit through a doorway, meaning it needed warehouse/garage space which was a long term problem for us.

For some use cases the Neodon 4 will work great I am sure. And it will continue to get used to build boards but I don't have too much faith in it and know it will lead to much more rework.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on February 28, 2016, 07:40:11 am
@Ichan: what are you expecting from the Neoden4 that will be better than the LS60V? Do you have experience with a Neoden4 that makes it stand out over the LS60V?

I am expecting much higher output rate at least double than the current one i have. No, what i know is about the same with most people in here - from their web pages, youtube videos, and this thread.

I do not want to talk much about LS60V, in summary mine is a far from perfect machine: it is slow, the feeders are sucks jams very often, dropping components often, vision not working very well, and the most important i got zero support from the maker.

I follow and read this thread more than once from page 1, what i found is most of the problems are about getting used to the "strange" workflow of the software, and the parameters / configuration which are not properly configured. All people says great things about the mechanical, that is a significant positive point for me.

When i finally decide to buy it, i understand that i have to accept the limitation and the learning curve wont be short. My learning curve with the LS60V was not short either - need sometime to understand all the parameters and set's them up properly. The software and user manual is not very good too, the software also run on windows xp and developed using Visual Basic 6.

Hope i will win this bet, but i have a good feeling because my expectation is not very high.

-ichan


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on February 28, 2016, 07:44:26 am
Ichan I'm looking forward to seeing how this all plays out for you.

Hope you post up lots of photos and video  :popcorn:

We all want the Neoden to be a workable solution.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on February 28, 2016, 03:37:41 pm


..... My learning curve with the LS60V was not short either - need sometime to understand all the parameters and set's them up properly. The software and user manual is not very good too, the software also run on windows xp and developed using Visual Basic 6.

-ichan

Hi

That is a fairly important point on some of these machines. One of the reasons we have taken gear off-line has been the inability to do practical IT on a custom DOS / WFWG 3.11 / ISA / EISA PC. It may be software related. Often it's custom interface board related. When the last PC bites the dust, the machine goes on the auction block. This is not in any way unique to pick and place gear. We've seen it with a wide range of things that depend on a PC to keep them going. The machine its self still works ok, it's simply impractical to keep the "other half" of it working.

Good news or bad news? That depends on your viewpoint. If cobbling up a 1980's motherboard and keeping it running is a good use of your time, it's a way to get some fine old gear cheap. If keeping a stock of old computer parts around isn't in your game plan .. not such a good thing.

Bob
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on February 28, 2016, 11:28:52 pm
The PC issue is what will kill my machine but it's probably quite a few years off. It's on XP now but can go up to Windows 7. The vision system, stepper drives, and various interface stuff is going to be time consuming and/or expensive to repair if it goes.

I am keeping my eyes open for logical replacement options for the dark day when mine goes the the museum.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on February 29, 2016, 12:20:22 am
There is a pretty much infinite supply of old PCs of all vintages, so I don't think this is a major issue. At least anything Win98 onwards supports USB media, which isn't going away any time soon.
Old DOS systems may have some connectivity issues, what with floppy drives going away, and finding a DOS compatible hard disk may at least involve some fiddling around.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on February 29, 2016, 12:57:15 am
The problem is that they just progressively get more fiddly over time. Its less about being impossible and more about being time effective for me.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on February 29, 2016, 01:20:45 am
There is a pretty much infinite supply of old PCs of all vintages, so I don't think this is a major issue. At least anything Win98 onwards supports USB media, which isn't going away any time soon.
Old DOS systems may have some connectivity issues, what with floppy drives going away, and finding a DOS compatible hard disk may at least involve some fiddling around.

Hi

Once you find that the spec includes multiple EISA sockets (for the custom cards) plus a floppy plus an ISA disk and a few other weird bits ... the supply is far from infinite.  In some cases the last machine that had the "right" combo last shipped 30 years ago. We had one that the cards *only* would work on a "Genuine" IBM PC-AT. Anything past that ... not going to work.

Consider that you want a machine that will hold up in constant service. A quick lash up of flakey parts isn't going to do the job.

Bob


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on February 29, 2016, 06:02:30 am
I just got confirmation from Tony of Neoden that the machine will be shipped today... woohoo..  8)

From their place in Hangzhou it will be go to Shenzhen first then fly to my place, the most longer time usually on customs clearance - if anything goes smooth i should receive it within two weeks.

Tony also send me the user manual and a sample of working file, i will gonna start to prepare the job for the machine.

As promised, i will share many things about this...  ;)

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on February 29, 2016, 06:04:32 am
@ichan  I'm Excited for you! What will be the finest pitch parts you plan on placing?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on February 29, 2016, 06:23:52 am
The finest part has 0.5 mm pitch, they are STCC5021  (http://www.st.com/web/catalog/sense_power/FM1961/SC1906/PF255616)and MAX3421 (http://www.maximintegrated.com/en/products/interface/controllers-expanders/MAX3421E.html). There are some SOT23 transistor which usually rather hard to be pick and placed accurately, Resistors and Capacitors are large all in 1206 package.

I will post component list and the pcb picture soon.

-ichan

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on February 29, 2016, 06:26:06 am
Have you talked to Tony at Neoden about the software issues the guys on this thread are having? Has he read this thread?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on February 29, 2016, 07:43:19 am
Yes - very exciting news Ichan. We are all behind you and wish you success and a speedy bring-up of the machine into service.

As RWB has also suggested ...

I have listed just 4 very good questions that you could ask Tony from Neoden at this point in time. I am absolutely certain that his response would be of much interest to a very large number of current users, and potential buyers.

1. When do they intend releasing an update to the Software Application?
2. What bug fixes does it deal with [in detail]?
3. What feature modifications and new features, if any, does it include [in detail]?
4. When will Neoden address the very many issues identified in this forum from current customers, and by what means?

Please let him know that he has a 'number of potential buyers' also awaiting his detailed response to these few questions - myself included. Likewise, I think he should know that a disappointing, or worse still, no response, will most likely drive this potential market to an alternate option [which could include new competition to Neoden].

This is a terrific opportunity for Neoden to build some real credibility in what at best is currently a very (understandably) skeptical market.

Thanks Ichan.

I just got confirmation from Tony of Neoden that the machine will be shipped today... woohoo..  8)
Tony also send me the user manual and a sample of working file, i will gonna start to prepare the job for the machine.
As promised, i will share many things about this...  ;)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on February 29, 2016, 10:32:21 am
There is a pretty much infinite supply of old PCs of all vintages, so I don't think this is a major issue. At least anything Win98 onwards supports USB media, which isn't going away any time soon.
Old DOS systems may have some connectivity issues, what with floppy drives going away, and finding a DOS compatible hard disk may at least involve some fiddling around.

Hi

Once you find that the spec includes multiple EISA sockets (for the custom cards) plus a floppy plus an ISA disk and a few other weird bits ... the supply is far from infinite.  In some cases the last machine that had the "right" combo last shipped 30 years ago. We had one that the cards *only* would work on a "Genuine" IBM PC-AT. Anything past that ... not going to work.

Consider that you want a machine that will hold up in constant service. A quick lash up of flakey parts isn't going to do the job.

Bob
Ebay saved/favorite  searches are really handy for finding obscure stuff for spares. I got a spare vision card and PC MB for my P&P after about a year.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on February 29, 2016, 08:09:38 pm
@ichan  Tell Tony to get on this thead and talk with us about the machine. We only want to help make it better for him and us.

I just came into a chunk of money that would allow me to purchase one of these machine if @ichan gets better results than the rest of the guys. I'm still hopeful.

Sounds like some tweaking is all that is needed to make this machine  really great.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on February 29, 2016, 09:40:33 pm
I am pretty sure Neoden people following this thread, they should answer all those questions for they own good.

I myself has no question yet about the software because i has not tried it, obviously.

How about peoples who already own the machine making a list of the software bug and feature request?

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on February 29, 2016, 11:24:28 pm
There is a pretty much infinite supply of old PCs of all vintages, so I don't think this is a major issue. At least anything Win98 onwards supports USB media, which isn't going away any time soon.
Old DOS systems may have some connectivity issues, what with floppy drives going away, and finding a DOS compatible hard disk may at least involve some fiddling around.

Hi

Once you find that the spec includes multiple EISA sockets (for the custom cards) plus a floppy plus an ISA disk and a few other weird bits ... the supply is far from infinite.  In some cases the last machine that had the "right" combo last shipped 30 years ago. We had one that the cards *only* would work on a "Genuine" IBM PC-AT. Anything past that ... not going to work.

Consider that you want a machine that will hold up in constant service. A quick lash up of flakey parts isn't going to do the job.

Bob
Ebay saved/favorite  searches are really handy for finding obscure stuff for spares. I got a spare vision card and PC MB for my P&P after about a year.

Hi

Good luck sending "big corporate IT" out to eBay for parts ....

Bob
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on February 29, 2016, 11:41:36 pm
There is a pretty much infinite supply of old PCs of all vintages, so I don't think this is a major issue. At least anything Win98 onwards supports USB media, which isn't going away any time soon.
Old DOS systems may have some connectivity issues, what with floppy drives going away, and finding a DOS compatible hard disk may at least involve some fiddling around.

Hi

Once you find that the spec includes multiple EISA sockets (for the custom cards) plus a floppy plus an ISA disk and a few other weird bits ... the supply is far from infinite.  In some cases the last machine that had the "right" combo last shipped 30 years ago. We had one that the cards *only* would work on a "Genuine" IBM PC-AT. Anything past that ... not going to work.

Consider that you want a machine that will hold up in constant service. A quick lash up of flakey parts isn't going to do the job.

Bob
Ebay saved/favorite  searches are really handy for finding obscure stuff for spares. I got a spare vision card and PC MB for my P&P after about a year.

Hi

Good luck sending "big corporate IT" out to eBay for parts ....

Bob

I don't see a company with "big corporate IT" buying a Neoden 4 or a 20+ year old PnP machine.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 01, 2016, 12:31:42 am
There is a pretty much infinite supply of old PCs of all vintages, so I don't think this is a major issue. At least anything Win98 onwards supports USB media, which isn't going away any time soon.
Old DOS systems may have some connectivity issues, what with floppy drives going away, and finding a DOS compatible hard disk may at least involve some fiddling around.

Hi

Once you find that the spec includes multiple EISA sockets (for the custom cards) plus a floppy plus an ISA disk and a few other weird bits ... the supply is far from infinite.  In some cases the last machine that had the "right" combo last shipped 30 years ago. We had one that the cards *only* would work on a "Genuine" IBM PC-AT. Anything past that ... not going to work.

Consider that you want a machine that will hold up in constant service. A quick lash up of flakey parts isn't going to do the job.

Bob
Ebay saved/favorite  searches are really handy for finding obscure stuff for spares. I got a spare vision card and PC MB for my P&P after about a year.

Hi

Good luck sending "big corporate IT" out to eBay for parts ....

Bob
"it's not a computer, it's a spare part for production equipment"
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 01, 2016, 01:16:50 am
None of these small machine vendors want to make some decent videos of their machines doing stuff.  Including the UI.    the smallSMT guy promised some videos a few weeks back, but as yet, they hav'tn materialised either.   

Guess you get what you pay for.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 01, 2016, 03:38:28 am
Just a thought, but we could take things into our own hands also. It wouldn't take too much time to do a simple capture of the 'events' that our Users are reporting.

It can be done in a manner which is entirely 'illustrative' [and not damming of the machine or Neoden] - but rather as a better-illustrated call for help.

Then, if Neoden, or another User comes to the rescue with a solution, bingo. If not, the evidence is clear for Neoden to do something seriously about rectification of the issue.

I suggested a 'list' should be started some many posts ago, but no evidence of anything but 'grumbling' since. Of course many of the 'issues' were stemming from lack of knowledge of the Workflow and GUI, but nonetheless worth illustrating and capturing for the benefit of everyone else who's likely to follow the same path. We would all just like things to works out the way we intended and wished for but, sometimes additional effort is required to promote the cause.

The list can be in the form of one of these posts [for starters at least], so everyone can benefit and hopefully contribute. When a User wants to add another item, they simply copy or 'quote' the existing list. Ideally only NEW ITEMS would be posted in the list. ANSWERS or SUGGESTIONS could reference the LIST ITEM NUMBER #.

Let's start guys?

List Item #
Category
Description

1.
Fiducial Recognition
When we start a new build Blah, Blah.

2.
?

Any starters? Please.     

None of these small machine vendors want to make some decent videos of their machines doing stuff.  Including the UI.    the smallSMT guy promised some videos a few weeks back, but as yet, they hav'tn materialised either.   

Guess you get what you pay for.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 01, 2016, 04:44:41 am
I do not have a machine so I can't help with the list but I do agree that we are not going to get what we want if all we do is talk about what we do not want.

I think we have 4 people on this thread that have the Neoden 4 and have for at least close to a month now so that should be enough to build a decent list of improvements plus what Ichan comes up with as he moves forward.

Let's try to help make things better. We all want a 10K machine that works but it looks like it's going to require some work from us.

I just emailed Tony at Neoden and asked him to join in on the conversation here, hopefully he shows up.   :D
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 01, 2016, 05:05:11 am
I do not
Let's try to help make things better. We all want a 10K machine that works but it looks like it's going to require some work from us.

I just emailed Tony at Neoden and asked him to join in on the conversation here, hopefully he shows up.   :D

Neoden is just one of many who are selling them.  They probably are the one who's done the best marketing ( jokes aside from the neoden video ).

Id say also time to go looking at other options.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 01, 2016, 05:06:46 am
Who else is selling the same NeoDen4 design?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 01, 2016, 05:20:10 am
Who else is selling the same NeoDen4 design?

I've seen a few different ones around the traps.   

BoreyTech seemed to be a viable option: http://en.boreytech.com/a/product/taishi/32.html?cut=22 (http://en.boreytech.com/a/product/taishi/32.html?cut=22)

http://www.zjyingxing.com/ (http://www.zjyingxing.com/)

Just in 2 minutes of looking.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 01, 2016, 05:30:22 am
Ahh I though you were saying many different companies were selling the Neoden 4 design like the non vision versions that all look very similar to each other.

Here is the official response from Tony at Neoden about the software. :

My email to him:

Hey Tony can you join the conversation over her on this forum post:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/neoden-4-pick-and-place/ (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/neoden-4-pick-and-place/)

4 people have purchased the machine so far and 1 other guy has one on the way now.

We would like to talk about the software.

Please join us.

Thanks!


His quick reply:


Hello Brown,
Thank you for your email and support on NeoDen Tech's machines.

Our company will give a official response about our software in the coming days,
pls take more patiences and wait for further news.

Many tks to you again.

Have a nice day.


--
Best Regards,

Contact Person:Tonny Chen
Tel:86-571-26263339
Mobile:86-13588787940
Skype: Tonny-NeoDen
Email: tonny@neodentech.com
Company Web:http://www.neodentech.com/
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 01, 2016, 06:45:07 am
Hmmm,

Can't say it's moved me to a 'warm 'n' fuzzy, belly rub' kinda state, but let's see what happens 'in the coming days'.

I'm wanting to order a machine and getting tired of sitting on the fence, so I'm willing to wait until say the end of next week to receive news of the 'next generation Neoden'.

I truly hope that's what's arriving in this next release/announcement.

Tic Toc
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 01, 2016, 07:03:54 am
Without trying the software yet, let me start for some suggestion:

1. Adjust the software for 16:9 display resolution which is more common these days, full hd resolution 1920 x 1080 will be good.
2. Explain the axis orientation on the manual and how to navigate it (seems only by mouse click)

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 01, 2016, 07:09:54 am
Below is my order to Neoden:

- Neoden 4 with rails, installed feeders 34x 8mm + 4x 12mm + 4x 16mm
- Working table
- Monitor + mouse + keyboard
- Spare feeders: 8x 8mm + 4x 12mm + 4x 16mm
- Spare vacuum pump: 2x

I have to order the monitor too, i am afraid i can not find display with 1280x1024 resolution anymore in here.

I am planning the component - feeders location now.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 01, 2016, 07:19:33 am
I'm placing not a lot of weight on any "future" features that software might bring.  It will be very much a decision based on the state of play as it is Today.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 01, 2016, 07:32:15 am
I asked Tonny & another sales lady about if any future software updates are planned for this machine.



Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 01, 2016, 07:45:21 am
Here is the reply from Cathy at Neoden;

Dear Ryan,
Glad to hear from you.

Yes, actually we are doing software improvement once we came up some bugs. And we are still collecting feedback from all NeoDen4 customers.
As you know, it would take us some time to review and upgrade selectively. We will have an official reply on EEVblog once we get this work done.

Thank you so much for your kind understanding.

They are responsive, I got email replies within the hour of asking.

I suggest we make a list of problems. They are watching this thread by the sounds of it. Hi Neoden!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 01, 2016, 07:52:18 am
Here is the reply from Cathy at Neoden;

Dear Ryan,
Glad to hear from you.

Yes, actually we are doing software improvement once we came up some bugs. And we are still collecting feedback from all NeoDen4 customers.
As you know, it would take us some time to review and upgrade selectively. We will have an official reply on EEVblog once we get this work done.

Thank you so much for your kind understanding.

Responive? you mean they acknowldged your email.    Proof is in the now. thats what i'm buying with.


They are responsive, I got email replies within the hour of asking.

I suggest we make a list of problems. They are watching this thread by the sounds of it. Hi Neoden!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on March 01, 2016, 07:53:08 am
Quote
None of these small machine vendors want to make some decent videos of their machines doing stuff.  Including the UI.    the smallSMT guy promised some videos a few weeks back, but as yet, they hav'tn materialised either.   

Guess you get what you pay for.

@mrpackethead
I was in hospital and busy so no time to do videos!
Second I am waiting for a new HP machine and I receive it end of March to do some more videos I told you before!
And finally I demonstrated the machine and functions to you so you mostly received all informations.

So you can guess what you receive !!!
Best regards
Michael


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 01, 2016, 07:57:23 am
...
I suggested a 'list' should be started some many posts ago, but no evidence of anything but 'grumbling' since. Of course many of the 'issues' were stemming from lack of knowledge of the Workflow and GUI, but nonetheless worth illustrating and capturing for the benefit of everyone else who's likely to follow the same path. We would all just like things to works out the way we intended and wished for but, sometimes additional effort is required to promote the cause.
...

Seems the grumbling had stopped, i would be happy if i can assume the problems had been solved and now they are too busy making money with the machine, can I ?

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 01, 2016, 07:59:02 am
Hi mrpackethead,

I couldn't see mention of it, so I ask ... are you a current owner?

If not, then I'm not at all certain what you are basing this comment on.

We are producing a product/system at present. The amount of time we have spent dictates it will be in the highest end of the marketplace.

But here, it appears that we are all shopping in the very [or close to] lowest end for our PnP solution, but are expecting the output of something costing many, many times the price. I can tell you 'it ain't going to happen'.

Beyond all the issues that have been reported, I must agreed with what others have observed in this forum - from their first hand experience. That is, the problem everyone appears to be experiencing exists between the Keyboard and Mouse. The machine appears very capable and well designed mechanically - and the issues that have been reported don't seem to continue to be reported any longer by those, or new, Users.

Sure, the Workflow and the GUI are not what some users have 'expected' but I don't believe that there is any road map set in concrete here to conform to.

Neoden have chosen their path and we should be prepared to travel it, write another solution, or get out of the way.

From what I can see, Neoden have been responsive to their User-base, if not so much the 'punters' on the sideline.

Looks like a bloody terrific little machine to me, and will most likely get my purchase order very soon.

I'm placing not a lot of weight on any "future" features that software might bring.  It will be very much a decision based on the state of play as it is Today.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 01, 2016, 08:00:20 am
@Ichan I don't think that is exactly the case but lets ping these guys and ask. It seems like most of the new owners were impressed with the hardware but let down by the software.

I would love to hear a update from these guys and see some finished board pictures that some promised to post up.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 01, 2016, 08:04:07 am
Great work Ichan,

Thanks for starting 'the list'.
I hope it encourages other to contribute also. Even if the 'issue' Users experienced was due to a lack of understanding, it would be great to list the situation, and maybe point to the resolution from the forum, to assist others.

Thanks again - let's make it grow!

Without trying the software yet, let me start for some suggestion:

1. Adjust the software for 16:9 display resolution which is more common these days, full hd resolution 1920 x 1080 will be good.
2. Explain the axis orientation on the manual and how to navigate it (seems only by mouse click)

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 01, 2016, 08:10:25 am
Good point rwb,

To the current owners - please consider helping us in making our decision, by providing your response to these 6 questions.

1.  do you have the machine functioning now?
2.  are you able to determine a workflow that actually works [even if it takes a bit of learning curve to figure it out]?
3.  have Neoden been responsive to queries or requests, and did the info they gave provide a solution?
4.  does the machine still have the attractiveness it had when you made the purchase?
5.  do you believe you'll be able to use it for the purpose you had intended?
5.  you had you money returned would you purchased a different machine?

@Ichan I don't think that is exactly the case but lets ping these guys and ask. It seems like most of the new owners were impressed with the hardware but let down by the software.
I would love to hear a update from these guys and see some finished board pictures that some promised to post up.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 01, 2016, 08:18:10 am
Hi mrpackethead,

I couldn't see mention of it, so I ask ... are you a current owner?

Quote

Sorry if my comment was not obvious in what i meant.

I am not going to place a lot of weight on any promises of what might be fixed in the future. I'm going to make a decision on what I'm going to buy on what works today.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 01, 2016, 08:46:35 am
gottchya

Sorry I didn't understand that point clearly - you seem to be supporting the product also, like me. We live in hope!!!

Hi mrpackethead,
I couldn't see mention of it, so I ask ... are you a current owner?
Quote
Sorry if my comment was not obvious in what i meant.

I am not going to place a lot of weight on any promises of what might be fixed in the future. I'm going to make a decision on what I'm going to buy on what works today.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 01, 2016, 09:08:19 am
gottchya

Sorry I didn't understand that point clearly - you seem to be supporting the product also, like me. We live in hope!!!


Im not backng any particular machine at this point in time. Theres quite a few to pick from.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 01, 2016, 09:58:26 am
Sure, the Workflow and the GUI are not what some users have 'expected' but I don't believe that there is any road map set in concrete here to conform to.

Neoden have chosen their path and we should be prepared to travel it, write another solution, or get out of the way.

Anything which is more difficult, confusing or time-consuming that it could be, is a fault, not a different roadmap. Time is money. Ditto anything that for no good reason differs from the way established machines work.
Unfortunately Chinese vendors don't seem to value and understand the importance of of good software, and the evidence so far  doesn't seem to show Neoden as any different. From what we've seen so far, they are OK at dealing with obviously problems like missing parts or things that don't work, but aren't interested in making  improvements that make the machine better/quicker/nicer to work with.
This is immensely frustrating for potential customers that would like to use a machine in this price range, as it undermines confidence in quality in all other areas.
 
The video, and lack of response here  speaks volumes - IMO it's not so much that they can't be bothered, but they just don't understand why it's important. 

If the machine could do 10mm high parts, 24mm feeders, decent software and showed responsiveness to suggestions for improvement, I would almost certainly buy it. Even just the  last two would make it tempting as feeders can be adapted and other limitations probably worked round.

It's such a shame as this could be a world-beating machine with very little addiitonal effort

There's an English expression that sums it up - "spoiling the ship for a ha'penny of tar"

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 01, 2016, 03:10:09 pm
Below is the component list and pcb layout of the job waiting for the machine, it need 20x 8mm, 4x 12mm, 7x 16mm, 2x 24 mm, and a tray feeders. My machine is pre installed with 4x 16mm which less 3 than required. I may try to install the spare feeders or just place some by hand (the green color), the 24mm reel (yellow) can not go to the machine.

-ichan

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 01, 2016, 03:12:33 pm
Ichan, so your planning on making 2000 of these boards on the Neoden 4 right?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 01, 2016, 04:17:33 pm
Ichan, so your planning on making 2000 of these boards on the Neoden 4 right?

Hopefully more,  the job is 6000 board currently worked by my spoiled LSV60, attached is the photo of the panelized board - populated and unpopulated.

The panel size is 204x144 mm, i am a bit worry because the N4 (with rail) spec for max board width is 140mm if waffle tray used.

This board has no fiducial so i will try to use drilled holes, also i want to try the bad board detection on  the coming machine.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 01, 2016, 04:23:00 pm
Well I would say your about to put the machine to the test  :box:

I'm excited to see how this turns out for you as I'm sure everybody else is also.

I would say most guys are leaning towards the machine not being able to get the job done but only time will tell.

I think you can make a custom waffle tray to increase your working area.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 01, 2016, 05:27:38 pm
Hey folks,

I like the idea of collecting together our observations. I've put the stuff I already sent to Neoden and some other notes and ideas on a collaborative text editor here:

http://collabedit.com/hfe7r (http://collabedit.com/hfe7r)

It's not pretty but you should be able to edit without signing up for anything. Please feel free to edit / add / rearrange things. It would be great to see everyone's experience.


elmood
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 01, 2016, 05:33:19 pm
Oh, by the way... we made a few successful boards, but the crappy oven wrecked them so we haven't run anymore jobs... we found a small Essemtec oven on ebay which we are hoping to have up and running this week. (need to put in a proper exhaust for it)

Here's a video of our first mostly successful test so far:

https://youtu.be/Wyn8Cg2i6Wo

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 01, 2016, 05:42:24 pm
Thanks so much for posting that video Elmwood.

It looks like it placed the IC parts pretty well.

Have you ran it any quicker with the same results?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 01, 2016, 05:48:54 pm
Here is a video of a guy going over all the PNP machines he came across in the under 10k range after which he built his own:

https://youtu.be/dvwZeb2uwkg
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 01, 2016, 07:16:48 pm
Thanks so much for posting that video Elmwood.

It looks like it placed the IC parts pretty well.

Have you ran it any quicker with the same results?
The camera dwell time looks like it could lose a few hundred mS....
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Martin Hodge on March 01, 2016, 07:43:01 pm
Do you really need to use vision on every part? My TM220 reliably places 0604 parts at maximum speed without vision.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezpL3zNf1w0 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezpL3zNf1w0)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 01, 2016, 07:55:59 pm
You can turn the vision On or OFF on the Neoden 4.

I would rather have vision ON than OFF just to be safe unless I was under a time crunch where I needed maximum speed.

So how many boards have you successfully ran using the TM220 machine? What are its limits as far as fine pitch parts?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 01, 2016, 07:59:45 pm
rwb: By no means was my video showing an attempt at the highest speed. I was just trying to get a successful placement of a board. I used vision on all parts and ran the entire job at 50% speed. Still seems fairly okay to me for a board with only 63 parts.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 01, 2016, 08:02:57 pm
Elmwood - Yea I had nothing bad to say about the speed. That speed would work fine for me as long as it placed all my fine pitched parts accurately.

I just wonder how well it holds its precision at the higher speeds.

How long did it take to to get to that point of placing everything correctly?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 01, 2016, 08:07:17 pm
You can turn the vision On or OFF on the Neoden 4.
presumably on a per-part basis, not globally?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 01, 2016, 08:08:35 pm
If I remember correctly yes on a per part basis.

A Neoden 4 owner will have to confirm.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 01, 2016, 08:26:41 pm
Yes you can adjust the vision per feeder. Same with speed of placement and a few other things.

It took longer than I thought to get going mostly because of external things regarding my oven... I wasn't going to place a full board with no way to keep it.

Also this old board has no fiducials so it doesn't have reliable marks to use for alignment. I spent a long time trying to work out why some parts would place well and others not so well. It turns out that using larger features is not a good idea. The machine doesn't show the centre point it thinks it got when detecting the marks... It looks perfect on the camera crosshairs but there was obviously some error.

I found that at least 4 points were required in all corners of the board for perfect placement. Keep in mind that I have a lot of other work going on so it took a Saturday with a colleague to verify all my coordinates and file managing code was okay when exporting the placement job file. (No rounding errors, etc.) Once we confirmed that we started experimenting with different mark points and found that it made a huge difference! It seemed reliable after that.

I'm pretty sure that these kinds of tweaks would be needed on any machine, but the bad UI and lack of how-to docs makes it extra difficult.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Martin Hodge on March 01, 2016, 08:39:39 pm
So how many boards have you successfully ran using the TM220 machine? What are its limits as far as fine pitch parts?

0604 is the smallest I've tried. Occasionally it will place one of these 0604 resistors on it's side. That is a result of the tape advance being too fast and shaking the part a little so that it's picked up that way. The software really needs to be able to allow adjustment of the vacuum sense and tape-advance speed for these situations. The finest pitch part is an FT231X which it places within tolerance every time. That did surprise me. I've run ~65 boards so far. It has been a tremendous benefit to me even with it only placing 80-90 percent of the parts.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 01, 2016, 08:54:36 pm
Martin - Yes the Charmhigh version with vision looked to be a killer little machine. Same thing yours does except it has vision for part correction.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 01, 2016, 09:53:03 pm
Ichan,
There is another post in this forum where an owner was frustrated with issues related to alignment drift and accuracy.
This maching is designed [as are all PnP machines] to access a clean reference marker on a board, or panel border - fiducial.

There are two problems with using a hole [although it is also round] :
1.
It is 3 dimensional, which means the light source will likely have a substantial effect on the 'shape' it sees once the gamma is set high - eg no grey tone, just black and white.

At best you will end up with an ellipse - certainly not a circle. What is 'seen; through the hole will likely also have some effect on the outcome. Would highly recommend that you place fids on all boards, and also on panel boarders, especially if there is no space available on the PCB.

I believe once that issue was recognised, the placement drift and accuracy issue disappeared.

2.
Although the through holes are usually very reliably placed, each PCB house works to different tolerances.
This means that the actual through hole 'could' be offset from the footprints by the amount in the 'tolerance'.
What this means for component placement is that you are now placing in reference to a location that is 'not known' relative to your footprints.

I recommend you place fiducials on all future runs of your boards if you are going to use a PnP machine.

Your contract manufacturer most certainly would have done so in the past, if only on the panel borders which may have been removed prior to delivery.

This board has no fiducial so i will try to use drilled holes, also i want to try the bad board detection on  the coming machine.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 01, 2016, 10:00:06 pm
Well done guys - despite the steep learning curve, I reckon if you were to run that board for some hours, you would be a lot more relaxed with it, than without it.

Keep the info and pic/vids coming please - it's a major confidence booster for all of us considering desktop PnP.

Oh, by the way... we made a few successful boards, but the crappy oven wrecked them so we haven't run anymore jobs... we found a small Essemtec oven on ebay which we are hoping to have up and running this week. (need to put in a proper exhaust for it)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 01, 2016, 10:10:45 pm
Another short video of a Neoden 4 running slowly.

https://youtu.be/nIFlSOgJ3n0

I asked this guy to come on over here to discuss  :)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 01, 2016, 11:35:42 pm
Have any of you guys calculated out how much the NeoDen 4 can save you over sending the boards out to be populated & reflowed? That is something I have heard little about but am interested in hearing about.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 01, 2016, 11:49:41 pm
Another short video of a Neoden 4 running slowly.

https://youtu.be/nIFlSOgJ3n0

I asked this guy to come on over here to discuss  :)
I just spotted something really dumb that it's doing - it's obviously been told to use a lower speed on the ICs in the trays, yet it's also using the slow speed when moving to the feeder with nothing on the nozzle  :palm:
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 01, 2016, 11:52:19 pm
It also desperately needs an independent speed control for the Z axis.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 01, 2016, 11:52:30 pm
Have any of you guys calculated out how much the NeoDen 4 can save you over sending the boards out to be populated & reflowed? That is something I have heard little about but am interested in hearing about.
This would be different for everyone, and would vary by job type and costs of potential subcontractors.
And it's not always about cost - can be convenience, speed etc.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 01, 2016, 11:54:06 pm
It also desperately needs an independent speed control for the Z axis.
Seriously? you can't set this independently...?  :palm:
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 01, 2016, 11:56:36 pm
It also desperately needs an independent speed control for the Z axis.
Seriously? you can't set this independently...?  :palm:

No, if you slow the X/Y it also slows the Z. We would often prefer a a higher speed X/Y with a slower Z for fine pitched parts.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 02, 2016, 12:45:38 am
These are great points / bugs... Please add them to the collaborative page.

http://collabedit.com/hfe7r (http://collabedit.com/hfe7r)

Let me know if there is any trouble editing.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 02, 2016, 06:31:12 am
@elmood, thanks for the video and the list - if only i already have the machine on my hand then i surely will add some on the list.

On your video, you use drilled hole as "marking point" right? What size is it? How is the resulted placement accuracy?

The machine expects the board reference to be your first part which is an absolute value from 0,0. The fiducial points are then are then a relative value from the first part. This isn't out preferred way of doing it.

The information above is just too important to be missing on the manual.

Edit: just check the tracking, my machine just received by the forwarder company in Shenzhen - hope they ship it to me asap.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 02, 2016, 07:13:04 am
Guys, don't forget that 'Fiducials' can actually appear as 'components' in a BOM / PnP file eg. FID1, FID2, FID3, and the 'First Part' can actually be FID1 with its coordinates set to 0;0 if that's what you want [albeit with a DoNotPlace status for that component/FID1].

@elmood, thanks for the video and the list - if only i already have the machine on my hand then i surely will add some on the list.
On your video, you use drilled hole as "marking point" right? What size is it? How is the resulted placement accuracy?

The machine expects the board reference to be your first part which is an absolute value from 0,0. The fiducial points are then are then a relative value from the first part. This isn't out preferred way of doing it.
The information above is just too important to be missing on the manual.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 02, 2016, 07:48:25 am
When we generate pick and place files from the CAD the current origin point will become the reference point, not the first part.

"Mark points" on Neoden term are several coordinates to inform the position and rotation / angle of the board on the machine - it can be fiducials or any other precision reference mark.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 02, 2016, 08:12:42 am
Exciting to see all this first hand knowledge come together.

Ichan how much do you have invested in the machine at this point?

Are you saving any money by running the boards yourself vs outsourcing the job? Just curious.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: RobK_NL on March 02, 2016, 02:26:48 pm
I was seriously looking at this machine, but all of what has been said here made me think again.
Plus, this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfE4PwWALtI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfE4PwWALtI) at 2:17 and 2:28 shows the machine happily placing some TQFP's that have been very obviously used and abused before.

I'll stick with my ancient DIMA Optimat for a while longer.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 02, 2016, 05:15:02 pm
Ichan how much do you have invested in the machine at this point?
Are you saving any money by running the boards yourself vs outsourcing the job? Just curious.

I pay about $12K for my machine order, will have to spend some more for the shipment later.

Well, not only for my own job i take outsource job too in here - like the current job which is waiting for the machine ;)

...at 2:17 and 2:28 shows the machine happily placing some TQFP's that have been very obviously used and abused before.

:) Interesting findings,  but i accept that as a positive thing ;D

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 02, 2016, 06:09:45 pm
Well later today or tomorrow we plan to build two panels that have just under 1600 parts each(10x10 matrix). So we'll see how the machine does. No tough parts, all 0805/soic.

Some other bugs to report:

-When using a tray if there is an error it will display the incorrect tray number on the screen - it is always off by one.
-When we try to use 3 fiducial points it never seems to get the parts in the proper place, using only 2 seems to work fine.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: RobK_NL on March 02, 2016, 10:07:22 pm
:) Interesting findings,  but i accept that as a positive thing ;D

-ichan
There's two more; at around 2:37 and 2:50

Would you accept a machine that places those "as a positive thing"?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on March 02, 2016, 10:25:46 pm
... hm ... why bent pins in the photo
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: theatrus on March 02, 2016, 10:43:35 pm
Probably their firmware test unit with some damaged scrap parts run through it a ton of times ;)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 02, 2016, 10:48:21 pm
I understand, they are just using the same parts over and over for demo's and testing.

It's not like they are making real boards in the training videos.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on March 02, 2016, 11:24:12 pm
it's clear, the sight has an offset, which is then adjusted. But the loss of speed is required.
Is it always exactly?
...
I find it hard to accept that the software for XP
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: wraper on March 02, 2016, 11:24:43 pm
:) Interesting findings,  but i accept that as a positive thing ;D

-ichan
There's two more; at around 2:37 and 2:50

Would you accept a machine that places those "as a positive thing"?
That IC actually looks like it was desoldered. Even if not, there is some residue on it's bottom, probably adhesive from the sticky tape they used instead of the solder paste. Anyway, I don't think it is the machine itself which bent those pins but it happened while the part was salvaged for reuse.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on March 02, 2016, 11:30:08 pm
Flux is ... 100% believe my experience 30 years. It's not accurate, just laugh
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 02, 2016, 11:38:02 pm
:) Interesting findings,  but i accept that as a positive thing ;D

-ichan
There's two more; at around 2:37 and 2:50

Would you accept a machine that places those "as a positive thing"?

All that really matters from that picture is that the vision system correctly identified the leg outline and position of the chip so it can be placed accurately - which it looks to have done just fine.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 03, 2016, 01:39:59 am
My ancient 20+ year old machine will reject a QFP with one bent pin - which is a good thing.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 03, 2016, 03:34:00 am
Would you accept a machine that places those "as a positive thing"?

So i can use refurbished chip too with the machine  ;)

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 03, 2016, 03:50:15 am
@theSteve  Hey when you run those boards tomorrow will you take some video or pictures for us interested folk on here?  :-+
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 03, 2016, 04:29:21 am
2nd that RWB .. TheSteve!

In fact, if you had time, we'd even sit through an episode of a tripod-mounted real-time capture, from start to finish, with your narrative. Would be a great insight into what's ahead, and give Neoden a better understanding of how the machine/user interface operates.

@theSteve  Hey when you run those boards tomorrow will you take some video or pictures for us interested folk on there?  :-+
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 03, 2016, 05:33:05 am
+1

Good or bad please make some videos.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: RobK_NL on March 03, 2016, 11:19:08 am
Anyway, I don't think it is the machine itself which bent those pins but it happened while the part was salvaged for reuse.
That was not my point and neither did I even suggest that.

My point is that the vision system on this machine obviously doesn't care about the fact that several pins are bent to the point of actually touching adjacent pins! That's just completely stupid.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 03, 2016, 03:50:39 pm
Robk_NL I think all you need to do is spend $20,000 + extra to get that software feature built in. The Neoden 4 is is a $8500 machine so you can't expect all the features of a machine that cost many times more than that.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 03, 2016, 08:52:22 pm
I am curious, how much is the price of Dima ATOZ PP-050 with let say 48x 8mm feeders and full vision option?

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 03, 2016, 08:56:15 pm
I found it for $35,000 without feeders.

http://www.pcbunlimited.com/pick-and-place.php (http://www.pcbunlimited.com/pick-and-place.php)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 03, 2016, 09:16:33 pm
To match the feeders I have on my Quad, it would cost about $91k. At that level, it needs to make a lot of PCBs flawlessly and with an easy setup routine.

I think the target audience of the N4 are those looking for the 'occasional' run, prototypes, modest volumes, etc. A full-up commercial solution eats up too much money for the small operation, but they are worth it if you are fully engulfed in production every day.

If it were possible/available, I would get an N4. Scrap the software completely and pay an additional $10k for really nice/easy/reliable software. At that point it would be a $25k solution that could cover anything my small business would need.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 03, 2016, 09:24:18 pm
I think if a software solution could be created to fix the current issues for 10K then it probably would not be too hard to get the current and future owners to chip in to get it created.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 03, 2016, 09:25:05 pm
Board 1 of 2 is done and 2 of 2 is in progress right now.

It didn't go too badly overall I guess. There is video of much of it, but it isn't mine to post.

Some things to note:

-The machine can't count and often gets a number +1 or -1. Our panel is a 10x10 matrix, it skipped the first board, no idea why. When we wanted it to skip board 60 it changed the number to 59. This isn't the first time we have seen this type of problem.

-The feeders require so much tuning with some parts it is nuts. We have SOIC-8 IC's in a reel and it likes to spit the parts everywhere. You have to get the feed box and peel box settings perfect, and that is a setting we haven't been able to find yet. We have had the same problem with our FT232RL's.

-We had a thicker 8mm part that wouldn't feed properly. Turns out there is a plastic spacer in the feeder that can be removed so thicker parts work better.

-When stopping/starting it sometimes forgets where it last picked a part from a tray and can go back to the beginning.

-If you have 0805 sized parts that fit quite well in the tape pocket they can probably be placed without the camera, if the pocket is quite large then use the camera.

We don't plan to build more of these boards so we threw together a quick mount to hold it. We are also using a tray made of cut tape to use up our stock of crystals.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 03, 2016, 09:47:49 pm
I think if a software solution could be created to fix the current issues for 10K then it probably would not be too hard to get the current and future owners to chip in to get it created.

$10k would only be viable if a number of people signed up for it. 20-25 users would be enough for a small group to be interested. 40+ users could be a genuine business.

It needs to start with a developer - not a coder. Get the concepts and logic worked out before the coding whiz starts hammering into stone.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sam512bb on March 03, 2016, 10:51:43 pm
I think if a software solution could be created to fix the current issues for 10K then it probably would not be too hard to get the current and future owners to chip in to get it created.

The problem with this is that the independently created software would only be applicable to a particular version and/or manufacturing run of the N4... What happens if Neoden changes the hardware design a bit (i.e. slight hardware I/O change, etc> as they sell more units?  Sadly, the custom software will be somewhat at the mercy of the hardware.

Cheers,

Sam
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 03, 2016, 11:14:23 pm
Full disclosure: I am the author of OpenPnP.

If ya'll are serious about retrofitting a Neoden 4 with new software, please check out OpenPnP. OpenPnP is a working, Open Source pick and place platform that can be used for nearly any machine.

I don't know of anyone who has done a Neoden 4 retro fit with it yet, but others have done TM-240 (older Neoden machine) retros. We also recently have a Zevatech retrofit and there are numerous examples of people DIYing their own machines with OpenPnP.

Now, OpenPnP doesn't have all the features that the N4 software currently has - the biggest two being bottom vision and conveyer support. Bottom vision is my current focus and will be the next major feature release. Conveyer support is on the list but pretty far down, since few people (in the area OpenPnP usually serves) need it.

Anyway, I thought I'd mention it because there's really no need to develop a new solution from scratch. OpenPnP has a completely modular model for machines and it can be adapted to run nearly anything. I personally think the N4 is a great candidate for a retro fit. It's an incredible hardware platform but it really needs better software to make it shine.

So, if anyone would like to talk about doing a retrofit of this machine with OpenPnP, please come check us out! We have an active mailing list and IRC channel which you can find at http://openpnp.org/. (http://openpnp.org/.) I will personally devote time and resources to helping make it happen.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 03, 2016, 11:33:15 pm
Conveyer support is on the list but pretty far down, since few people (in the area OpenPnP usually serves) need it.
True, but the ability to reload a long panel manually ( with fids on each section) would be a useful facility, and probably not hard to do.
 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 03, 2016, 11:41:39 pm
Conveyer support is on the list but pretty far down, since few people (in the area OpenPnP usually serves) need it.
True, but the ability to reload a long panel manually ( with fids on each section) would be a useful facility, and probably not hard to do.

Not quite sure what you are getting at. In OpenPnP you can certainly load a panel in and (re)start the job. Fids are checked on each board. We just don't have automatic conveyer support yet. It's definitely something that will get added eventually, but it's low on the priority list (for me) since it's not a very commonly requested feature.

You can see "the list" here, if you are curious: https://github.com/openpnp/openpnp/issues

Jason

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 03, 2016, 11:49:33 pm
Full disclosure: I am the author of OpenPnP.

If ya'll are serious about retrofitting a Neoden 4 with new software, please check out OpenPnP. OpenPnP is a working, Open Source pick and place platform that can be used for nearly any machine.

I don't know of anyone who has done a Neoden 4 retro fit with it yet, but others have done TM-240 (older Neoden machine) retros. We also recently have a Zevatech retrofit and there are numerous examples of people DIYing their own machines with OpenPnP.

Now, OpenPnP doesn't have all the features that the N4 software currently has - the biggest two being bottom vision and conveyer support. Bottom vision is my current focus and will be the next major feature release. Conveyer support is on the list but pretty far down, since few people (in the area OpenPnP usually serves) need it.

Anyway, I thought I'd mention it because there's really no need to develop a new solution from scratch. OpenPnP has a completely modular model for machines and it can be adapted to run nearly anything. I personally think the N4 is a great candidate for a retro fit. It's an incredible hardware platform but it really needs better software to make it shine.

So, if anyone would like to talk about doing a retrofit of this machine with OpenPnP, please come check us out! We have an active mailing list and IRC channel which you can find at http://openpnp.org/. (http://openpnp.org/.) I will personally devote time and resources to helping make it happen.

as a side note.....I would love to do a retro on Quad machines. There are a lot of carcasses out there that are a really solid platform without modern controls. Swap in servos and software and it would be a sub <$10k machine with truly professional capability.

As for the N4, I could design the mechanics of the machine in my sleep and build it in the morning (slightly overstated, but not much). If a group came together and we pooled resources, my contribution would be leading the electro-mechanical development all the way to production. Then, there would be no need to worry about what Neoden will do. It would be a platform designed from the beginning to be used with Open PnP.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 03, 2016, 11:57:55 pm
Conveyer support is on the list but pretty far down, since few people (in the area OpenPnP usually serves) need it.
True, but the ability to reload a long panel manually ( with fids on each section) would be a useful facility, and probably not hard to do.

Not quite sure what you are getting at.
Obviously any P&P, subject to mechanical constraints can potentially do a bigger PCB than its placement area by treating it as  two or more seperate jobs, but this would mean splitting the job into two (or more), and reloading the job files for each panel, which would be a pain.

What would be good is if you could generate a single pick/place file to cover the whole PCB, which would include additional fids for each section. The machine would use the global placement positions and fid positions  to work out which parts go in which section.
The machine would then place each section, and then prompt the user to reload the PCB for the next section. Or if there is a conveyor, send the 'move conveyor by <section length>' command.
 

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 04, 2016, 12:05:49 am
Conveyer support is on the list but pretty far down, since few people (in the area OpenPnP usually serves) need it.
True, but the ability to reload a long panel manually ( with fids on each section) would be a useful facility, and probably not hard to do.

Not quite sure what you are getting at.
Obviously any P&P, subject to mechanical constraints can potentially do a bigger PCB than its placement area by treating it as  two or more seperate jobs, but this would mean splitting the job into two (or more), and reloading the job files for each panel, which would be a pain.

What would be good is if you could generate a single pick/place file to cover the whole PCB, which would include additional fids for each section. The machine would use the global placement positions and fid positions  to work out which parts go in which section.
The machine would then place each section, and then prompt the user to reload the PCB for the next section. Or if there is a conveyor, send the 'move conveyor by <section length>' command.

Ah! I see what you mean now. Yes, that is an interesting idea and a use case I have not come across before. I think we could currently facilitate that with careful job preparation but it would be entirely manual. Having that be something that software would figure out for you and prompt for movement is a really neat idea.

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 04, 2016, 12:11:20 am

Ah! I see what you mean now. Yes, that is an interesting idea and a use case I have not come across before. I think we could currently facilitate that with careful job preparation but it would be entirely manual. Having that be something that software would figure out for you and prompt for movement is a really neat idea.

Jason

The concept is certainly sound - I have done this in CNC machining applications many times. It is a great way to overcome limitations of the hardware which can grow in cost exponentially as the travel distance increases.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 04, 2016, 12:22:12 am
Conveyer support is on the list but pretty far down, since few people (in the area OpenPnP usually serves) need it.
True, but the ability to reload a long panel manually ( with fids on each section) would be a useful facility, and probably not hard to do.

Not quite sure what you are getting at.
Obviously any P&P, subject to mechanical constraints can potentially do a bigger PCB than its placement area by treating it as  two or more seperate jobs, but this would mean splitting the job into two (or more), and reloading the job files for each panel, which would be a pain.

What would be good is if you could generate a single pick/place file to cover the whole PCB, which would include additional fids for each section. The machine would use the global placement positions and fid positions  to work out which parts go in which section.
The machine would then place each section, and then prompt the user to reload the PCB for the next section. Or if there is a conveyor, send the 'move conveyor by <section length>' command.

Ah! I see what you mean now. Yes, that is an interesting idea and a use case I have not come across before. I think we could currently facilitate that with careful job preparation but it would be entirely manual. Having that be something that software would figure out for you and prompt for movement is a really neat idea.

Jason
It's probably not too big a deal if the job setup needs some extra work, you could even do it with a seperate preprocessor that takes a "big board" job and generates a job for each section,
The main thing is to not have to manually load a new job file for each section, as if you're doing several panels you're bound to do it wrong at some point.
In fact, from the point of view of minimum effort to implement, if you were to (at least initially) take the approach of preprocessing or manually splitting into multiple jobs,  maybe all you need is the facility to automatically "chain" jobs together so they can be auto-loaded in the right sequence with user prompts.


 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 04, 2016, 12:30:02 am
The Neodon4 hardware is all controlled via a single serial port from the PC. Sounds like it is time to start sniffing.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 04, 2016, 12:40:18 am
The Neodon4 hardware is all controlled via a single serial port from the PC. Sounds like it is time to start sniffing.
What about the cameras?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 04, 2016, 12:41:49 am
The Neodon4 hardware is all controlled via a single serial port from the PC. Sounds like it is time to start sniffing.
What about the cameras?

Both cameras are USB.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 04, 2016, 12:50:39 am
The Neodon4 hardware is all controlled via a single serial port from the PC. Sounds like it is time to start sniffing.

I would personally love to see some traces from that :) And if someone has any info about the cameras (manufacturer, model, etc.) which should be available from the OS, that would be very helpful as well.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 04, 2016, 01:34:16 am
I believe the cameras on the N4 are just generic USB webcams. There are two EXE files ... one for each camera. And I see an OpenCV DLL hanging around there. If I were to guess I'd say that each one probably connects to a camera and then allows the main app to grab pictures / detection data when it wants. In my efforts to do my own PNP software I basically did the same thing except that the camera interface was part of the main app.

BTW, to the OpenPNP guy... do you offer commercial support at all? If there was a "ready to go" N4 version that supported the conveyor and both cameras I would be pretty much ready to give you money! I understand that a lot of open source projects are "for fun" but as I'm relying on my N4 for commercial purposes it would be nice to know that I could pay to have some reasonable turn-around on bugs and help with stuff... certain Neoden (who I already PAID for the software basically) aren't doing anything to give me confidence any of their bugs will be solved in this century. It's the same old empty promises that they took my comments to the engineers, blah blah.

Perhaps there is a bit of an income stream for your project from us frustrated N4 owners so far. :)


Andrew
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 04, 2016, 01:44:58 am
BTW, to the OpenPNP guy... do you offer commercial support at all?

Perhaps there is a bit of an income stream for your project from us frustrated N4 owners so far. :)

Andrew

Hi Andrew,

Currently no. I might do something like this in the future, but it's a ways out as the software is still in an alpha or early beta state. That's on top of the fact there would need to be a development effort required to get the software working with the N4 beforehand. We'll need to figure out control protocols and machine specifics first.

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 04, 2016, 01:50:00 am
Hey Jason,

Would a reverse engineered prototcol help or do you need actual access to a machine? I'd like to help out of possible with this.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 04, 2016, 01:55:29 am
Sweet! Things just got a lot more interesting with the Open PNP software developer joinging the discussion  :-+
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 04, 2016, 01:57:37 am
I wonder if it would be worth asking Neoden for info on protocols - probably not but can't hurt to ask...

BTW some pics of the internal hardware would be interesting to see... :)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 04, 2016, 02:07:23 am
Guys - you can count me in as a contributor for sure.

Just a thought, but perhaps we could deploy a simple 'commercial plug-in' approach to the OpenPnP solution. The benefit would be a 'reasonable' limit on the number of Kings [I'm thinking say 5 at $2k each to start with], the Servant had to answer to. Of course, this doesn't mean other requests couldn't be addressed from outside.

What it does mean is that each King could have access to the source code for their own custom requirements [and then could contribute it to the group if they wished].

The group could offer the NEW solution to Early Adopters  of N4 at a discounted rate - say $500-1000 per license, and everyone would benefit. This way the commercial development could continue to be refined.

Not suggesting cutting out the Open PnP either - the whole thing could be handed over to Open PnP, if agreed, once the initial costs were recovered.

We could even sell it back to Neoden if it came to that - or both.

Either way - pls count me IN as a foundation member if it gets up, and I don't even own a machine yet.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 04, 2016, 02:11:58 am
TheSteve

Hey, sorry your last build, and the post for it, got swallowed up in 3rd party Development discussion.

It seems that something along these lines could go a long way toward making your current [or company's] aquisitation a lot more valuable and practical though.

I've got some questions for you, but will need to come back a bit later.
Just wanted to say thanks for the post!

Board 1 of 2 is done and 2 of 2 is in progress right now.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 04, 2016, 02:18:10 am
Oh - I forgot to mention another thought.

Consideration could be given to requesting Neoden hand over their 'vision library' strictly for use in 3rd Party SW running on a Neoden machine. Either as Dynamic or Static - whatever they felt most secure with.

It takes the pressure off them so they can concentrate on the hardware [and still offer it at the same price point], and rest assured that it has the best available, English Interface operating it.

This could move very fast once the ground swell began!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 04, 2016, 02:19:52 am
Hey Jason,

Would a reverse engineered prototcol help or do you need actual access to a machine? I'd like to help out of possible with this.

Hi elmood,

Protocol would be enough to get started. I would not be surprised to find out they are just using a modified / cloned Smoothie, to be honest. I'm seeing a lot of that recently.

To get a solid port going I'll eventually either need access to a machine or access to someone who has one and is interested in helping at a pretty in depth level. Ideally, the way this would go is someone who owns the machine is interested enough in running OpenPnP on it that they will do the development work and I can assist with the complex bits.

I don't own a N4, so my interest in this purely that I'd like OpenPnP to be available for more machines and after having seen the N4 in Shenzhen last year I was quite enamored with the hardware.

The first step, though, is to get some basic information about the hardware and protocol. From there I can kind of give an idea of whether this is something that would be a quick port or if it's going to require in depth work.

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 04, 2016, 02:23:39 am
I wonder if it would be worth asking Neoden for info on protocols - probably not but can't hurt to ask...

BTW some pics of the internal hardware would be interesting to see... :)

Someone from the OpenPnP IRC channel asked them for information on their feeder protocol. If I remember correctly they said they would be okay with this but nothing has actually appeared.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 04, 2016, 02:24:07 am
If I went down the development road.....I would never consider relying on the Neoden hardware. Not because it is useless, but because it comes from a source that could change at any moment or go away entirely. For the effort needed on the software side, it would be tragic if the hardware did not cooperate. Drivers, controllers, etc would have know and published interfaces and protocols.

With the goal of being low-cost, the bare hardware could be done better and lower cost than what Neoden is charging IMHO. Maybe not by much, but enough to justify a hardware design that is solid and reliably available.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 04, 2016, 02:25:19 am
thommo: I'm guessing that the chances of Neoden sending you any code or protocol docs or anything are probably zero. It's just not how these Chinese companies operate. The fact that they went to some kind of lengths to ensure that the English language pack can only be used with specific authorization from them leads me to believe that they take the software aspect of their design fairly seriously.

Jason: I would have more details on the driving electronics except that I can't find a simple way to open the N4 without some major disassembly. There don't appear to be any access covers other than by removing the build table and perhaps a lot of the mechanical parts on top as well. If anyone had theirs open I'd be curious to know how... for fear of messing up any calibration before getting more familiar with the machine I didn't, in fact, do what Dave Jones says to do.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 04, 2016, 02:32:13 am
Elmood - simply lay the machine in its back and remove the access port on the bottom to see everything.

btw, board 2 of 2 went pretty good. If not for the darned SOIC-8 feeding problems it may have done the 1550+ parts with no stopages. We have it running pretty slow - it took 1.5 hours or so to do the board. There was no optimization of the feeders at all as this was a board we hadn't planned to build.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 04, 2016, 02:39:19 am
TheSteve  - I also wanted to thank you for sharing the pictures and your experience with the machine today  :-/O

Sounds like things are getting better once all the quirks get acknowledged and worked out.

Plus it looks like were getting closer to some possible software improvements even without Neoden helping out which is a step in the right direction.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 04, 2016, 02:48:51 am
You're probably right on that one elmood.

My thoughts were that if Neoden could see advantage in being a Hardware Only Operation, and market the machine in China with their own SW application, and elsewhere with a 3rd party English plug-in option, they would have nothing [or next to nothing] to lose.

On the other hand, we just need to identify a capable image-recognition source that will do what is required - even if it needs to be purchased as a license.

thommo: I'm guessing that the chances of Neoden sending you any code or protocol docs or anything are probably zero.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 04, 2016, 02:50:10 am
TheSteve  - I also wanted to thank you for sharing the pictures and your experience with the machine today  :-/O

Sounds like things are getting better once all the quirks get acknowledged and worked out.

Plus it looks like were getting closer to some possible software improvements even without Neoden helping out which is a step in the right direction.

My biggest concerns with the machine at this point are not the software, it is that the feeder hardware simply isn't good enough. They seem to work well enough with 0805 sized parts but the 0603s we have done have not gone as well. The feeders just don't seem smooth enough and cause parts to jump out of the pocket, flip over etc. We didn't spend tons of time on the SOIC feeder but we did try to optimize it and at that point it still flipped the chip etc 10% of the time which meant the machine needed a constant presence/intervention for the entire build.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 04, 2016, 02:52:21 am
hmmm
All I can say is that you should hold in there on that one a bit longer - for reasons I can't disclose, I'm bound not to say any more.
TheSteve  - I also wanted to thank you for sharing the pictures and your experience with the machine today  :-/O

Sounds like things are getting better once all the quirks get acknowledged and worked out.

Plus it looks like were getting closer to some possible software improvements even without Neoden helping out which is a step in the right direction.

My biggest concerns with the machine at this point are not the software, it is that the feeder hardware simply isn't good enough. They seem to work well enough with 0805 sized parts but the 0603s we have done have not gone as well. The feeders just don't seem smooth enough and cause parts to jump out of the pocket, flip over etc. We didn't spend tons of time on the SOIC feeder but we did try to optimize it and at that point it still flipped the chip etc 10% of the time which meant the machine needed a constant presence/intervention for the entire build.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 04, 2016, 02:53:25 am
Any chance you can post some video of the FEEDER ISSUE elmood?
Odd this doesn't appear to occur in their videos, but I guess it's a bit difficult to tell for certain.

TheSteve  - I also wanted to thank you for sharing the pictures and your experience with the machine today  :-/O

Sounds like things are getting better once all the quirks get acknowledged and worked out.

Plus it looks like were getting closer to some possible software improvements even without Neoden helping out which is a step in the right direction.

My biggest concerns with the machine at this point are not the software, it is that the feeder hardware simply isn't good enough. They seem to work well enough with 0805 sized parts but the 0603s we have done have not gone as well. The feeders just don't seem smooth enough and cause parts to jump out of the pocket, flip over etc. We didn't spend tons of time on the SOIC feeder but we did try to optimize it and at that point it still flipped the chip etc 10% of the time which meant the machine needed a constant presence/intervention for the entire build.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 04, 2016, 02:57:15 am
thommo: It's TheSteve you want on that one... so far I haven't had any weird feeder problems. It does definitely take some tweaking of the settings and for ages I couldn't figure out how to set the length of the feed advance... it's called "feed rate" which to me doesn't sound like "distance" but is.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 04, 2016, 03:03:43 am
TheSteve  - I also wanted to thank you for sharing the pictures and your experience with the machine today  :-/O

Sounds like things are getting better once all the quirks get acknowledged and worked out.

Plus it looks like were getting closer to some possible software improvements even without Neoden helping out which is a step in the right direction.

My biggest concerns with the machine at this point are not the software, it is that the feeder hardware simply isn't good enough. They seem to work well enough with 0805 sized parts but the 0603s we have done have not gone as well. The feeders just don't seem smooth enough and cause parts to jump out of the pocket, flip over etc. We didn't spend tons of time on the SOIC feeder but we did try to optimize it and at that point it still flipped the chip etc 10% of the time which meant the machine needed a constant presence/intervention for the entire build.

I bet it's the peel box causing the issue. The feeder should be able to feed smoothly enough but the peel box is designed in such a way that it's going to be hard for it to peel smoothly.

I bought one of the feeders and peel boxes and tore it apart. The peel box uses what I guess I would either call a solenoid or linear motor to advance a one way meshing gear. As best as I can tell the peel box just slams the coil to one side to advance the gear a bit and then is returned by a spring. I assume it does this as many times as needed to peel the tape the amount required.

I took some pics of the thing: http://imgur.com/a/osEGC (http://imgur.com/a/osEGC)

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 04, 2016, 03:22:12 am
Nice series of pics there Jason!

Tell me, what is it you do, for which they pay you?
How long have you had the OpenPnP project going for?

Finally, do you have anyone in mind that this N4 group could task [paid] with the job of creating a solution for their commercial requirements, and who you've happily worked alongside previously?

I think there's a very real chance of getting a 3rd party N4 SW solution up and running.

TheSteve  - I also wanted to thank you for sharing the pictures and your experience with the machine today  :-/O

Sounds like things are getting better once all the quirks get acknowledged and worked out.

Plus it looks like were getting closer to some possible software improvements even without Neoden helping out which is a step in the right direction.
...
I took some pics of the thing: http://imgur.com/a/osEGC (http://imgur.com/a/osEGC)

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 04, 2016, 03:29:31 am
Nice series of pics there Jason!

Tell me, what is it you do, for which they pay you?
How long have you had the OpenPnP project going for?

Finally, do you have anyone in mind that this N4 group could task [paid] with the job of creating a solution for their commercial requirements, and who you've happily worked alongside previously?

I think there's a very real chance of getting a 3rd party N4 SW solution up and running.

Hi thommo,

I'm a software developer by trade. I mostly write Java and JavaScript for my day job, lots of web based work.

I've been working on OpenPnP for about 5 years. I started it because I needed a cheap pick and place machine to build some boards I was selling. It turned out to be a bigger project than I thought it would (like they all do) and since then it's become a passion of mine. It's a side project that is more like a second job :)

Unfortunately I don't have anyone I can recommend to take on the commercial aspect. I'd suggest you join the OpenPnP mailing list and ask there. There is a large audience and there may well be someone who is interested.

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 04, 2016, 03:41:14 am
Thanks Jason,

I'll hold on and see where this excitement leads in the short term. Right now it feels good and it may get up. Thanks for joining the conversation.

Do you think you could possibly find more time if, say, the group sent you a Neoden 4 as payment - in advance?

Nice series of pics there Jason!

Tell me, what is it you do, for which they pay you?
How long have you had the OpenPnP project going for?

Finally, do you have anyone in mind that this N4 group could task [paid] with the job of creating a solution for their commercial requirements, and who you've happily worked alongside previously?

I think there's a very real chance of getting a 3rd party N4 SW solution up and running.

Hi thommo,

I'm a software developer by trade. I mostly write Java and JavaScript for my day job, lots of web based work.

I've been working on OpenPnP for about 5 years. I started it because I needed a cheap pick and place machine to build some boards I was selling. It turned out to be a bigger project than I thought it would (like they all do) and since then it's become a passion of mine. It's a side project that is more like a second job :)

Unfortunately I don't have anyone I can recommend to take on the commercial aspect. I'd suggest you join the OpenPnP mailing list and ask there. There is a large audience and there may well be someone who is interested.

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 04, 2016, 04:17:15 am
vonnieda - Out of curiosity how did you end up over here in this thread? Did we summon you with our combined energy?  ;D
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 04, 2016, 04:34:39 am
Thanks Jason,

I'll hold on and see where this excitement leads in the short term. Right now it feels good and it may get up. Thanks for joining the conversation.

Do you think you could possibly find more time if, say, the group sent you a Neoden 4 as payment - in advance?

Thommo,

I'll have to get back to you on that. I'd like to collect some more information about the machine before I'd be able to commit to doing a full port for it. While I think it's unlikely that there's any security features, I'd hate to find out I can't reverse engineer the protocol for some reason.

It's an interesting thought though, so let's let this bake for a little while and see what comes of it.

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 04, 2016, 04:36:08 am
vonnieda - Out of curiosity how did you end up over here in this thread? Did we summon you with our combined energy?  ;D

rwb,

It's a fairly safe bet that if someone on the Internet is talking about pick and places machines I am probably lurking somewhere nearby :)

In this case, someone from this thread posted it on the IRC channel several weeks ago and I've been keeping up with the posts since then. Mostly I've just been enjoying the conversation, but when the topic turned specifically to writing pick and place software I figured I should speak up! :)

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 04, 2016, 04:39:23 am
Jason - where are you based?

Thanks Jason,

I'll hold on and see where this excitement leads in the short term. Right now it feels good and it may get up. Thanks for joining the conversation.

Do you think you could possibly find more time if, say, the group sent you a Neoden 4 as payment - in advance?

Thommo,

I'll have to get back to you on that. I'd like to collect some more information about the machine before I'd be able to commit to doing a full port for it. While I think it's unlikely that there's any security features, I'd hate to find out I can't reverse engineer the protocol for some reason.

It's an interesting thought though, so let's let this bake for a little while and see what comes of it.

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 04, 2016, 04:47:10 am
Jason - where are you based?

Seattle, WA, US
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 04, 2016, 06:06:55 am
@TheSteve, thanks a lot for sharing you experience - at least my confidence goes up a little that i will not loose the bet.

My biggest concerns with the machine at this point are not the software, it is that the feeder hardware simply isn't good enough.

Good news and bad news...

...so far I haven't had any weird feeder problems.

Turned back to be good news. So where is the feeder weirdness? I saw feed and peel "strength" setting, what is that - speed setting?

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 04, 2016, 06:11:32 am
Hmm... seems we have to ask Neoden for their recommendation about these feeder setting related with components / reel type.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on March 04, 2016, 09:33:36 am
If you like to adopt our machine to an open source software we have all hardware descriptions and controller commands for our machine ;)
And it's possible to control all speed and acceleration settings for any motor in our machine.
The vision is based on USB digitizer so it's easy to adopt to OPEN CV we use too.

Best regards
Michael
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 04, 2016, 10:23:21 am

On the other hand, we just need to identify a capable image-recognition source that will do what is required - even if it needs to be purchased as a license.

What's wrong with OpenCV?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: coppice on March 04, 2016, 10:30:11 am
What's wrong with OpenCV?
Are there any serious alternatives to OpenCV left? Its really pervasive these days.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 04, 2016, 10:38:48 am
Vision for pick & place is really not a hard problem as vision tasks go - lighting, focus  and backgrounds can be well controlled, and you're just looking for position and rotation of objects you mostly know the posiiton and size of. Wouldn't take much to do it from scratch, but id OpenCV can already do it, why reinvent the wheel - is there any reason ( licensing?) not to use it?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on March 04, 2016, 10:50:12 am
OpenCV is a reliable solution many PNP machine manufacturers are using this library.
So it's a good starting point for vision system programming.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: coppice on March 04, 2016, 11:01:53 am
Vision for pick & place is really not a hard problem as vision tasks go - lighting, focus  and backgrounds can be well controlled, and you're just looking for position and rotation of objects you mostly know the posiiton and size of. Wouldn't take much to do it from scratch, but id OpenCV can already do it, why reinvent the wheel - is there any reason ( licensing?) not to use it?
It certainly isn't that demanding in either complexity or speed. 1980s PnP and die bonding machines implemented their vision systems with very simple (by current standards) hardware and software.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 04, 2016, 11:50:34 am
Hi Mike,
Nothing that I'm aware of.
I've never had to work with it.

Seems others have, or at least know about it, and say good things.


On the other hand, we just need to identify a capable image-recognition source that will do what is required - even if it needs to be purchased as a license.

What's wrong with OpenCV?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 04, 2016, 12:07:47 pm
From what I can see, OpenCV does have some nice features that you probably wouldn't bother implementing if you were doing it yourself, in particular lens geometry correction. The ability to get good accuracy out of a cheap camera and/or lens is a very worthwhile benefit.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 04, 2016, 06:36:14 pm
Hi guys, the Neoden 4 was a bit out of our price range; we settled for the TVM802A, the cheapest machine ($3,400 plus VAT / customs duty) to provide dual vision. Unboxing is here:

http://servokit.com/blog/2016/03/04/unboxing-the-pick-and-place-tvm802a/ (http://servokit.com/blog/2016/03/04/unboxing-the-pick-and-place-tvm802a/)

I'll post more info in the coming days as we get to know the machine a bit better.

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 04, 2016, 06:47:45 pm
Sweet Axel!   I was considering the CharmHigh version that has the camera + LCD display + extra feeders for 5K since it looked like the perfect step up from the versions without vision. Looking forward to seeing how it works out for you  :clap:

Thanks for sharing  :popcorn:
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 04, 2016, 06:52:01 pm
From what I can see, OpenCV does have some nice features that you probably wouldn't bother implementing if you were doing it yourself, in particular lens geometry correction. The ability to get good accuracy out of a cheap camera and/or lens is a very worthwhile benefit.

+1

OpenCV is pretty awesome. For my applications, I would love to use the color recognition to decide what PCB is in the machine. In general, I have about 6 designs being produced at any given moment. All the parts are in the machine to populate any of the PCB's. I also use custom aluminum pallets to hold the PCB's on the conveyor. It would be nice to have colored dots on the pallets to indicate the program to run. An operator can put in any of the PCB's in any order and the machine would know what to do - verified by the fiducials.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 04, 2016, 07:16:28 pm
@rwb: I had considered the Neoden and Charmhigh machines without vision but I don't think they make much sense anymore when the premium for vision is only a few hundred currency units. The CHMT48VA at $5,400 was tempting, not only because of the display but because it's the only machine in the price range (I think) that has a 24mm feeder (and when I say feeder I mean a spool for cover tape of that size and the little metal frame were the tape is fed through). Eventually it came down to price...

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 04, 2016, 07:22:47 pm
Axel please do update us when you have the machine up and running. Please post some video of it.

All the videos I have seen of the Charmhigh machine were pretty good with no errors.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 04, 2016, 08:13:09 pm
From what I can see, OpenCV does have some nice features that you probably wouldn't bother implementing if you were doing it yourself, in particular lens geometry correction. The ability to get good accuracy out of a cheap camera and/or lens is a very worthwhile benefit.

+1

OpenCV is pretty awesome. For my applications, I would love to use the color recognition to decide what PCB is in the machine. In general, I have about 6 designs being produced at any given moment. All the parts are in the machine to populate any of the PCB's. I also use custom aluminum pallets to hold the PCB's on the conveyor. It would be nice to have colored dots on the pallets to indicate the program to run. An operator can put in any of the PCB's in any order and the machine would know what to do - verified by the fiducials.
Why colour and not number of dots etc.?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 04, 2016, 08:32:26 pm
From what I can see, OpenCV does have some nice features that you probably wouldn't bother implementing if you were doing it yourself, in particular lens geometry correction. The ability to get good accuracy out of a cheap camera and/or lens is a very worthwhile benefit.

+1

OpenCV is pretty awesome. For my applications, I would love to use the color recognition to decide what PCB is in the machine. In general, I have about 6 designs being produced at any given moment. All the parts are in the machine to populate any of the PCB's. I also use custom aluminum pallets to hold the PCB's on the conveyor. It would be nice to have colored dots on the pallets to indicate the program to run. An operator can put in any of the PCB's in any order and the machine would know what to do - verified by the fiducials.
Why colour and not number of dots etc.?

It could be many number of things for the vision system to succeed - I am thinking about what is easy and most obvious to the human operator. In the CNC shop, my machines would recognize various fixtures by measuring a reference hole size. It was easy for the machine, but the operators could not tell the difference without measuring (variable). We colored the fixtures so they could be recognized from a distance without any need to measure.

Utilizing OpenCV can enable such an implementation without much effort. If it is not needed, don't use it. May or may not be a great idea, but OpenCV will support just about anything that a PnP would ever need - including AOI applications after the parts are done.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 04, 2016, 08:47:11 pm
Hi Axel,

Thanks for sharing the details of your new purchase with us. That machine certainly look to be incredible value. Based on what you've no doubt read in this forum recently, we'll all be very interested in your experience over the next few days - particularly what you feel about the quality of the software and workflow design.

Fantastic quality pics too - well done. Good luck and keep posting.

Peter

Hi guys, the Neoden 4 was a bit out of our price range; we settled for the TVM802A, the cheapest machine ($3,400 plus VAT / customs duty) to provide dual vision. Unboxing is here:

http://servokit.com/blog/2016/03/04/unboxing-the-pick-and-place-tvm802a/ (http://servokit.com/blog/2016/03/04/unboxing-the-pick-and-place-tvm802a/)

I'll post more info in the coming days as we get to know the machine a bit better.

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 04, 2016, 09:01:42 pm
We would love to be able to feed multiple jobs (different PCBs) into a PnP and have it recognise what their type is. One of our projects has 7 different PCBs in a single system, with different (up to eight) quantities of each).

Whether by colour, fiducial count, or shape, the ability would be sensational.

Regrettably, still no response or feedback from NeoDen about joining this party.
If this gets up (full blown SW App) and they don't come to the party, next step could be HW.

Let's hope Tonny from NeoDen joins in ... quickly.

Does anyone in our group have a candidate to take on the design brief, and implementation, (most likely different people) of those things mentioned so far - machine vision, PCB extended feed, and conveyor system? With a view to integration with OpenPnP, and then porting the interface across to Neoden4?



From what I can see, OpenCV does have some nice features that you probably wouldn't bother implementing if you were doing it yourself, in particular lens geometry correction. The ability to get good accuracy out of a cheap camera and/or lens is a very worthwhile benefit.

+1

OpenCV is pretty awesome. For my applications, I would love to use the color recognition to decide what PCB is in the machine. In general, I have about 6 designs being produced at any given moment. All the parts are in the machine to populate any of the PCB's. I also use custom aluminum pallets to hold the PCB's on the conveyor. It would be nice to have colored dots on the pallets to indicate the program to run. An operator can put in any of the PCB's in any order and the machine would know what to do - verified by the fiducials.
Why colour and not number of dots etc.?

It could be many number of things for the vision system to succeed - I am thinking about what is easy and most obvious to the human operator. In the CNC shop, my machines would recognize various fixtures by measuring a reference hole size. It was easy for the machine, but the operators could not tell the difference without measuring (variable). We colored the fixtures so they could be recognized from a distance without any need to measure.

Utilizing OpenCV can enable such an implementation without much effort. If it is not needed, don't use it. May or may not be a great idea, but OpenCV will support just about anything that a PnP would ever need - including AOI applications after the parts are done.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 04, 2016, 09:22:03 pm
It may sound like a weird comment but, could it be caused by running the machine too slowly? The NeoDen videos all show correct placement of the 0603 packages (and others) in their post-placement close-up images.

It may be that a number of discrete, single (slow) advances cause the 'flipping' to occur. Of course, the temperature, humidity, etc can all effect the tape peel also.

TheSteve  - I also wanted to thank you for sharing the pictures and your experience with the machine today  :-/O

Sounds like things are getting better once all the quirks get acknowledged and worked out.

Plus it looks like were getting closer to some possible software improvements even without Neoden helping out which is a step in the right direction.

My biggest concerns with the machine at this point are not the software, it is that the feeder hardware simply isn't good enough. They seem to work well enough with 0805 sized parts but the 0603s we have done have not gone as well. The feeders just don't seem smooth enough and cause parts to jump out of the pocket, flip over etc. We didn't spend tons of time on the SOIC feeder but we did try to optimize it and at that point it still flipped the chip etc 10% of the time which meant the machine needed a constant presence/intervention for the entire build.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 04, 2016, 11:00:46 pm
Theres a couple of different threads going on in here now, just wondering if anyone else thinks we could split them sideways?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sedelman on March 05, 2016, 12:14:05 am

From the research I've done, the TVM802A is inferior to the Charmhigh CHMT48VA in terms of design. The CHMT48VA has encoders on the stepper motors so that the machine is aware of any missteps and compensates automatically. The steppers are also much larger. The unit is also completely self contained running embedded Linux and does not require the use of a PC. The TVM802A that I have seen operating runs the illuminating LEDs on the camera all the time and the empty tapes have to run underneath the board and out to the other side of the machine. The CHMT48VA has a slot that allows you to run the tapes down and away from the PCB. The LEDs on the camera operate as a "true flash".

If I had to choose for either one, my money would be on the CHMT48VA. If only they could have provided me with customer feedback of a North American user, I probably would have bought one. My two cents.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Brumby on March 05, 2016, 01:33:41 am
Theres a couple of different threads going on in here now, just wondering if anyone else thinks we could split them sideways?

I agree.

One thread per machine - or at least per manufacturer.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 05, 2016, 03:05:15 am
Axel has a separate blog post about his new machine.

I think splitting this post up into multiple post will break the concentration of info that is accumulating here.

I say we just stay focused on the NeoDen 4 even though other options get talked about on here also. It's a really hard decision to pick which machine is best and there are not that many to choose from.

Juts my 2 Cents.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Brumby on March 05, 2016, 03:40:40 am
References to other machines in itself is not the problem, so long as it is relevant.  Problems arise when the thread starts following the tangent more strongly than the original topic.

If Axel starts a new thread on the CharmHigh when there is more to tell, then its all good.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 05, 2016, 05:33:25 am
Sure guys, I will open another thread on the TVM if I have more news.

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 05, 2016, 05:58:48 am
Agree totally with Brumby & RWB.

Axel - please let's know [on this thread] if you do go ahead and open another for TVM. I'm sure we'd all be interested in your journey. This is just about 'management' at the end of the day.

References to other machines in itself is not the problem, so long as it is relevant.  Problems arise when the thread starts following the tangent more strongly than the original topic.

If Axel starts a new thread on the CharmHigh when there is more to tell, then its all good.
Title: Openpnp - Demo the ocde
Post by: mrpackethead on March 05, 2016, 07:31:21 am
If you down load OpenPnp ( http://openpnp.org/ (http://openpnp.org/) ) and install it, it will run a compeltly simulated cycled, so you dont' have to even have a machine to see what the UI looks like.

Seriously this would be the way to go,  keep it all open and everyone benefits.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on March 05, 2016, 08:23:02 am
Quote
Does anyone in our group have a candidate to take on the design brief, and implementation, (most likely different people) of those things mentioned so far - machine vision, PCB extended feed, and conveyor system? With a view to integration with OpenPnP, and then porting the interface across to Neoden4?

I reviewed the openPNP interface and I think it's not a real improvement to use for the NEODEN 4!
A lot of functions need to be rebuild to drive the neoden hardware.

First the OpenPNP software UI and functions need to be improved.
Then we should do the interfaces to different machines.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 05, 2016, 08:40:44 am
Quote
Does anyone in our group have a candidate to take on the design brief, and implementation, (most likely different people) of those things mentioned so far - machine vision, PCB extended feed, and conveyor system? With a view to integration with OpenPnP, and then porting the interface across to Neoden4?

I reviewed the openPNP interface and I think it's not a real improvement to use for the NEODEN 4!
A lot of functions need to be rebuild to drive the neoden hardware.

First the OpenPNP software UI and functions need to be improved.
Then we should do the interfaces to different machines.

Im not sure how much we can read into this comment. One vendor picking holes in another one, really annoys me.     an frankly for everyone else, at least they can see the UI for this sytem, unlike the much promised by not delivered videos of his system
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 05, 2016, 09:28:15 am
Quote
Does anyone in our group have a candidate to take on the design brief, and implementation, (most likely different people) of those things mentioned so far - machine vision, PCB extended feed, and conveyor system? With a view to integration with OpenPnP, and then porting the interface across to Neoden4?

I reviewed the openPNP interface and I think it's not a real improvement to use for the NEODEN 4!
A lot of functions need to be rebuild to drive the neoden hardware.

But the huge difference is that unlike the Neoden4 software,  it is under continuous development, and you can improve it yourself.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 05, 2016, 11:49:30 am
Yes Mike & MrPackethead,

I think you both make good points.
SmallSMT will possibly have a bias (understandably), but the machine that they have is well built. If it had a conveyor drive, and a cartridge tape load for components, it would be a real contender. Particularly their latest 4 head design with nozzle changer options.

On the other hand people say good things about the SmallSMT software.

Whatever we do - new SW, or OpenPnP, there is going to be a substantial body of work to integrate and interface, and port all the drivers, and of course the machine vision, etc.

My preference would be to try to adopt the OpenPnP base, and pay for a commercial solution to develop those 'missing features' which the Neoden4 HW currently provides, and then closely observe the rate of change in the NeoDen and other HW platforms.

If Neoden don't want to work alongside and update us re HW mods and variations, then of course it opens an opportunity to look at building a HW element. Oddly, the fundemental elements are probably the simplist part of the whole deal - Cartesian plotter with 3 axis + rotation of the heads. The component feeders are the most custom parts, and I believe there are changes coming on that front too.

I think it's time to speak with NeoDen and explore if there is an opportunity to develop this in conjunction with them. I'll make the call and start things off unless anyone's got an issue.

Best if we can work with as much existing infrastructure as possible I believe. I want to concentrate on what we are best at, and have limited resources to allocate to the peripherals. I need a simple commercial solution that works, and preferably one which  is 'open' so we can customise where and if needed.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on March 05, 2016, 12:08:03 pm
It is always the same people want to not contribute to the solution of a problem and are looking for only the criticism points.

I really want a common usable pick and place software using HAL layers to support different machine types.
I am engineer and know how much time you need to spend to build a good solution.

OpenPNP is far away from a good solution it's maybe a starting point.

We developed some Linux based vision systems before and I know it need a lot of work to debug and support over years because you need to handle too many influences caused by software versions and hardware.
So multi platform support is an option but totally useless!

Another big problem is you need a good project team and time to develop a neat solution so I want to support this work!

And it's not a problem for me to support the NEODEN4 or any other hardware!

I was in the same situation some years before. You bought a machine and received some problems and hope the manufacturer solve it in a short time.
But first the communication is not easy then you feel nothing happens.
I am sure NEODEN will solve the problems soon but they never change the software interface completely.

Did anyone talk to them if it is possible to receive the controller command set and communication protocol?

At this point it will be possible to build a driver to support the machine and I hope they support this work.
It's not a big problem for them because they sell the hardware and don't loose customers.




Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 05, 2016, 02:10:31 pm
Created a new thread about the TVM802A/B here:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/pick-and-place-machine-tvm802a-tvm802b/ (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/pick-and-place-machine-tvm802a-tvm802b/)

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sam512bb on March 05, 2016, 04:06:22 pm
Good day All,

Just thinking out of the box...Given that there is an interest in developing better software for the N4, what if someone approached the fellow who designed and developed his own PnP called VisionBot (http://visionbot.net/ (http://visionbot.net/)) and perhaps convince him ($) to port his software to support the N4?  This might be a viable approach if his software is solid, etc... and it does look fairly mature.

Cheers,

Sam
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on March 05, 2016, 05:15:05 pm
Good day All,

Just thinking out of the box...Given that there is an interest in developing better software for the N4, what if someone approached the fellow who designed and developed his own PnP called VisionBot (http://visionbot.net/ (http://visionbot.net/)) and perhaps convince him ($) to port his software to support the N4?  This might be a viable approach if his software is solid, etc... and it does look fairly mature.

Cheers,

Sam

Hi

Inevitably there is a certain amount of "secret sauce" in the firmware inside a pick and place. For better or worse, there is no standard interface language to talk to these beasts. You need a bunch of information from the hardware / firmware guys first. You then need to check that over (validate it). Often there are things in the information that simply don't work quite as described. (quick note --- I don't know anything about the Neoden firmware. I do indeed do this for a living). Once you have that, the guy on the other end needs to have a chance at looking it over. Without seeing the way they did there "stuff", he has absolutely no way to know how hard the process will be.

At this point he can give  you a quote on what it's likely to take to do a port. He comes up with an estimate (say a year's work) and you hand him the first installment payment. He now needs a Neoden 4 and some parts to thump on as he does his thing. He also needs a line to the guys at Neoden. The "hey Bob, this thing you wrote doesn't work the way you say it does" conversation will take place a *lot* of times (like a few times a day) for the first few months. Since this is a retrofit, you will be fixing firmware bugs in the driver code rather than having the firmware guys do the fix.

So now you hand him his final check and he gives you a piece of code. Just like all the other stuff, it's about 90% there. (It's always only going to be 90% of the way). Out it goes to the field and in come the bug reports / upgrade requests / feature mods / support questions. Taking care of all of that *is* a full time job for somebody. In fact it's probably a full time job several guys. He politely requests *more* money to do that for a year than the original software cost to port.

Net result, you now have a company. It has running costs and a workforce. It pays taxes and has a web site. It needs a regular income to keep all of that going. Hmmm.....

Bob


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sam512bb on March 05, 2016, 07:28:31 pm
Good day All,

Just thinking out of the box...Given that there is an interest in developing better software for the N4, what if someone approached the fellow who designed and developed his own PnP called VisionBot (http://visionbot.net/ (http://visionbot.net/)) and perhaps convince him ($) to port his software to support the N4?  This might be a viable approach if his software is solid, etc... and it does look fairly mature.

Cheers,

Sam

Hi

Inevitably there is a certain amount of "secret sauce" in the firmware inside a pick and place. For better or worse, there is no standard interface language to talk to these beasts. You need a bunch of information from the hardware / firmware guys first. You then need to check that over (validate it). Often there are things in the information that simply don't work quite as described. (quick note --- I don't know anything about the Neoden firmware. I do indeed do this for a living). Once you have that, the guy on the other end needs to have a chance at looking it over. Without seeing the way they did there "stuff", he has absolutely no way to know how hard the process will be.

At this point he can give  you a quote on what it's likely to take to do a port. He comes up with an estimate (say a year's work) and you hand him the first installment payment. He now needs a Neoden 4 and some parts to thump on as he does his thing. He also needs a line to the guys at Neoden. The "hey Bob, this thing you wrote doesn't work the way you say it does" conversation will take place a *lot* of times (like a few times a day) for the first few months. Since this is a retrofit, you will be fixing firmware bugs in the driver code rather than having the firmware guys do the fix.

So now you hand him his final check and he gives you a piece of code. Just like all the other stuff, it's about 90% there. (It's always only going to be 90% of the way). Out it goes to the field and in come the bug reports / upgrade requests / feature mods / support questions. Taking care of all of that *is* a full time job for somebody. In fact it's probably a full time job several guys. He politely requests *more* money to do that for a year than the original software cost to port.

Net result, you now have a company. It has running costs and a workforce. It pays taxes and has a web site. It needs a regular income to keep all of that going. Hmmm.....

Bob

Good day Bob,

You are quite right... I was just suggesting another option.  That being said what are your thoughts and/or direction options? 

Cheers,

Sam


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Bud on March 05, 2016, 08:00:30 pm
Smells like a kickstarter, with the guy/company in the end disappearing with your Neoden and the backers money.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on March 05, 2016, 08:06:45 pm
Good day All,

Just thinking out of the box...Given that there is an interest in developing better software for the N4, what if someone approached the fellow who designed and developed his own PnP called VisionBot (http://visionbot.net/ (http://visionbot.net/)) and perhaps convince him ($) to port his software to support the N4?  This might be a viable approach if his software is solid, etc... and it does look fairly mature.

Cheers,

Sam

Hi

Inevitably there is a certain amount of "secret sauce" in the firmware inside a pick and place. For better or worse, there is no standard interface language to talk to these beasts. You need a bunch of information from the hardware / firmware guys first. You then need to check that over (validate it). Often there are things in the information that simply don't work quite as described. (quick note --- I don't know anything about the Neoden firmware. I do indeed do this for a living). Once you have that, the guy on the other end needs to have a chance at looking it over. Without seeing the way they did there "stuff", he has absolutely no way to know how hard the process will be.

At this point he can give  you a quote on what it's likely to take to do a port. He comes up with an estimate (say a year's work) and you hand him the first installment payment. He now needs a Neoden 4 and some parts to thump on as he does his thing. He also needs a line to the guys at Neoden. The "hey Bob, this thing you wrote doesn't work the way you say it does" conversation will take place a *lot* of times (like a few times a day) for the first few months. Since this is a retrofit, you will be fixing firmware bugs in the driver code rather than having the firmware guys do the fix.

So now you hand him his final check and he gives you a piece of code. Just like all the other stuff, it's about 90% there. (It's always only going to be 90% of the way). Out it goes to the field and in come the bug reports / upgrade requests / feature mods / support questions. Taking care of all of that *is* a full time job for somebody. In fact it's probably a full time job several guys. He politely requests *more* money to do that for a year than the original software cost to port.

Net result, you now have a company. It has running costs and a workforce. It pays taxes and has a web site. It needs a regular income to keep all of that going. Hmmm.....

Bob

Good day Bob,

You are quite right... I was just suggesting another option.  That being said what are your thoughts and/or direction options? 

Cheers,

Sam

Hi

I think one *practical* way to do something like this is to have an open interface standard. Something the "hardware guy" can build to and verify against. Multiple outfits all use the same this or that command to do the same thing. You have a descriptor table somewhere in eeprom or flash that gives all the details of what is what. This is basically the way things like USB and Bluetooth work. The guys on the "other side" can then go write code that works against the standard.

Using USB as an example, you quickly find that it is rare to have a driver for this or that device come out without it being done by the people who made the target gizmo. Indeed third party drivers *do* exist and that validates the whole scheme. If you dig a bit deeper into USB, you find that the mothership (usb.org) charges various fees and issues licenses for this and that. Setting up an organization to administer something like this for pick and place .... not likely to happen.

That gets you back to a three way deal. Some sort of user group funds a process. There are contracts with various people. Doing some math:

Developer guy gets $120K a year and takes a year, gets same per year after that
Equipment and software for compatibility testing runs $20K to $60K a year
Two support guys get $60K a year after the first year.
Somebody manages all this and gets $120K a year.

You have about $200K in the first year and about $400K a year after that. Before you go off on the numbers, try setting up and paying all the taxes, utilities, mandatory benefits and the like on a group of people.

So to fund that, how many people own one and are ready to pay a yearly support fee?

If it's 1,000 people ... you each owe $400 a year. If it's 100 people, you each owe $4,000 a year. Consider that this is support contracts and not machines. You inevitably will have people with multiple machines who will not expect to pay on a per machine basis. Your support costs do not go up by 8 when Bob has 8 machines, so that is a reasonable assumption.

So what happens? You start with the assumption that you will get 1,000 people. You charge $400. You get 121 people ... end of project.

How was it done initially? They paid the guy his fee for initial code. The machine he worked with was a prototype they already had. The 120K gets spread out over a run of a couple machines a working day for the first year.  It's an incidental expense spread out over 500 to a thousand machines.

We don't see it from "our end" of the pipe, but the price of these machines goes down on a monthly basis. The one here / two there sales are not what keep a company afloat. It's the guy who wants 10 or a hundred machines that really sets the market. He may not be an end user, he could be a dealer. It's a good bet that whoever it is, the price just keeps going down. That's why the software gets done up front and there isn't any money later on.

This is why decoupling software support contracts from machine sales is a really good idea. You buy your machine for price X and it comes with support for a year. Past that, you pay a fee (and have some level of expectation about support). Inevitably your expectation is a bit higher than what gets delivered but you pay the "ownership tax" to keep things going. Essentially what the costs at the top of this are looking at is the real sort of fees and costs associated with even a "bare bones" approach to that. 

Bob

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 05, 2016, 08:30:06 pm
I think one *practical* way to do something like this is to have an open interface standard. Something the "hardware guy" can build to and verify against. Multiple outfits all use the same this or that command to do the same thing. You have a descriptor table somewhere in eeprom or flash that gives all the details of what is what. This is basically the way things like USB and Bluetooth work. The guys on the "other side" can then go write code that works against the standard.

Just like Gcode is very universal across multiple CNC plaforms,   E1.31 is universal for Lighting.. SMTP is universal for email..  It can be done, and ultimately open standards win.     Where various vendors win/loose is their implementation of those standards into products.

Quote
Setting up an organization to administer something like this for pick and place .... not likely to happen.

Its likely that you dont' even need to find such an organisation.. Just find a standard that is a very near fit already.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 05, 2016, 08:32:20 pm
Hi SmallSMT,

Can I please suggest that you consider doing something positive for your company and post a step-by-step instruction set for the operation of your machine/interface? Check out the link to the latest blog which Servokit has posted (above).

This way the critiscism will stop and things will become productive instead, and there'll be no (or less) need for defensive comments.

I believe your product is really good. I personally have a preference for NeoDen at present because I prefer their feeder system, it has 4 heads, and a conveyor transport system.

The market is very clearly telling you that these are features that a certain level of user is looking for.

If your machine had these too, I believe you'd be selling machines to them, and me.

You are totally correct in relation to the difficulty and amount of work involved in developing a 3rd party system, either by integrating OpenPnP, or starting with another machine's base. Are you suggesting that SmallSMT would consider porting its code to the Neoden4 platform? If so, you should make this clearer and explain how you suggest the process may look and a timeline.

Everyone on the forum is clearly looking for a solution.

It is always the same people want to not contribute to the solution of a problem and are looking for only the criticism points.

I really want a common usable pick and place software using HAL layers to support different machine types.
I am engineer and know how much time you need to spend to build a good solution.

OpenPNP is far away from a good solution it's maybe a starting point.

We developed some Linux based vision systems before and I know it need a lot of work to debug and support over years because you need to handle too many influences caused by software versions and hardware.
So multi platform support is an option but totally useless!

Another big problem is you need a good project team and time to develop a neat solution so I want to support this work!

And it's not a problem for me to support the NEODEN4 or any other hardware!

I was in the same situation some years before. You bought a machine and received some problems and hope the manufacturer solve it in a short time.
But first the communication is not easy then you feel nothing happens.
I am sure NEODEN will solve the problems soon but they never change the software interface completely.

Did anyone talk to them if it is possible to receive the controller command set and communication protocol?

At this point it will be possible to build a driver to support the machine and I hope they support this work.
It's not a big problem for them because they sell the hardware and don't loose customers.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 07, 2016, 05:54:30 pm
I got information that my machine had landed in here today :), next is custom clearance process - a very non deterministic time process :(.

I hope i can get it at the end of this week. In the meantime i make a simple plan calculation.

The first picture is part placement plan, 296 parts without vision, 56 parts with vision, and 20 parts manually placed - for each panel.

Neoden claims placement rate 10000 CPH without vision and 5000 CPH with vision, i take half of it as on the second picture.

I will be very happy if this plan can be realized...

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 07, 2016, 07:46:17 pm
Ichan
I'm curious about what other equipment you have, or intend to use, in your production line, in order to maintain your projected throughput.

For example, what paste machine and reflow equipment will you be using.

Could be another trip back to the camera once again for you.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 07, 2016, 07:55:04 pm
Ichan
I'm curious about what other equipment you have, or intend to use, in your production line, in order to maintain your projected throughput.

For example, what paste machine and reflow equipment will you be using.

Could be another trip back to the camera once again for you.

Getting paste onto pcbs incorreclty is the root of 90% of failures in my experience.  Don't under estimate this step.
 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 07, 2016, 08:05:40 pm
What does your short-run production line look like MrP?

What stencil paste system are you using, and reflow oven at present?

Ichan
I'm curious about what other equipment you have, or intend to use, in your production line, in order to maintain your projected throughput.

For example, what paste machine and reflow equipment will you be using.

Could be another trip back to the camera once again for you.

Getting paste onto pcbs incorreclty is the root of 90% of failures in my experience.  Don't under estimate this step.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 07, 2016, 08:25:36 pm
What does your short-run production line look like MrP?
Quote

In the workshop where we do the small run stuff... ( this is only relaly prototypes and stuff that is 20-100 pces tops )..

I use frameless stencils mounted into a Quick Frame.  ( http://www.quickstencil.com/proframe1217.aspx (http://www.quickstencil.com/proframe1217.aspx) ).  This works really well for me, its easy to store stencils as they are flat.  I bought a reletively low cost stencil printer in china..    Its like this one ( http://www.aliexpress.com/store/914873?spm=2114.10010108.0.149.nQyUfu (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/914873?spm=2114.10010108.0.149.nQyUfu) ).  Though i bought it at the SEG, and brought it back with me as checked baggage.        I get stencils from sitopway to match the quickstencil for about $60. 

I want to make a smaller "quick frame" type setup, so i can use smaller stencils. Just a matter of time to do that though.

I have one of those crappy IR ovens, its been relegated to the bottom shelf and collecting dust.    My $90 Kambrook oven and the old sparkfun controller kit, has worked really well for me.. 

It takes time and pratice to get manual pasting nailed.  And good paste at the right temp, that is well mixed.     You can place parts with all the precision in the world,  but if the paste is bad. Your screwed.



>What stencil paste system are you using, and reflow oven at present?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 07, 2016, 08:47:32 pm
I have Novastar SPR-25 (http://www.ddmnovastar.com/stencil-printers/manual-systems/spr-25-stencil-printer) stencil printer and GF-120HT (http://www.ddmnovastar.com/reflow-ovens/low-volume/gf-120ht-reflow-oven) reflow oven. They both are good, but as the oven is high wattage and the PP machine is much slower than the oven cycle time then a kitchen oven is a far more cost effective solution.

Pictures below tell all, note that the kitchen oven has no special controller but a flash light... :-DD

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 07, 2016, 10:38:07 pm
I have been looking at the SPR-25. Would you recommend it for low volume fine pitch?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 07, 2016, 10:43:14 pm
I have been looking at the SPR-25. Would you recommend it for low volume fine pitch?

No idea, but my ~$300 printer with the quickframe works well for .4mm pitched QFNs and 0402s.   A lot more comes down to stencil thickness and applicaiton of paste. the better printers won't help you much there, but what they will help you with is aligning the stencil. The cheap ones are really painful, and it can take a few minutes per panel to get your aligngment!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 08, 2016, 06:27:58 am
@ichan I'm excited that your NeoDen 4 is almost in your hands  :-+

I looked over your IC list and I see some fine pitch IC parts that have the same pin spacing as parts that I would want to use the machine to lay so this will be very interesting to see how well the NeoDen 4 handles them at any speed at the quantity that you will be running.

This should be a really good test. Your either going to be really happy or stuck fixing problems constantly.

Can't wait for the party to start  :popcorn:
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 08, 2016, 06:41:41 am
Hey ichan, here's my oven with controller (and flashlight).

It's surprising how good this works, 5mins and you are done.

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 08, 2016, 06:46:38 am
The cheap toasters do get the job done on the cheap  :)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 08, 2016, 07:34:01 am
The cheap toasters do get the job done on the cheap  :)

They sure do. If you take the time, to get it sorted out they are a really good option.   Obvisouly you cnat' do thousands of boards, but they are great for prototyping.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TJ232 on March 08, 2016, 02:05:06 pm
Hey ichan, here's my oven with controller (and flashlight).

It's surprising how good this works, 5mins and you are done.

Regards, Axel

<joke>
Axel, your place look way to clean, kmoon :))

And that Owen, kmoon, it's like in Severin showroom or some Pharmacy device :D
<end joke>

Have the same model from Severin, working like a charm  :-+

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 08, 2016, 06:10:34 pm
I have been looking at the SPR-25. Would you recommend it for low volume fine pitch?

Yes, SPR-25 is a beast for a manual stencil printer, rock solid and heavy (about 50 KG) - the downside it is expensive, and the frame size is large.

...
This should be a really good test. Your either going to be really happy or stuck fixing problems constantly.

Yeah, there is where the bet lies ;)

To tell the truth, i have a hidden agenda with this machine purchase... (whispering on) i want to try to use the extra feeders on my existing machine (whispering off).  ;D

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 09, 2016, 02:36:10 am
Just to chuck somethign else into the mix. Boreytech are offering what seem like quite resonable machiens for this sub $10k market.   I've had a quick chat with them, and they seem to be sensible folks.   

http://en.boreytech.com/ (http://en.boreytech.com/)

https://youtu.be/7U3b4rx_1cA (https://youtu.be/7U3b4rx_1cA)

https://youtu.be/dYzK-yTSKLA (https://youtu.be/dYzK-yTSKLA)

https://youtu.be/LFMQ4cXU1zg (https://youtu.be/LFMQ4cXU1zg)

https://youtu.be/5LPw9792ObY (https://youtu.be/5LPw9792ObY)

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 09, 2016, 03:03:04 am
Were you able to qualify the max practical part placement/resolution? I know you're wanting to place 0.4mm QFNs.

Which model is under $10K MrP?
Were you able to get a cost indication for their 'feeders' by any chance?

Just to chuck somethign else into the mix. Boreytech are offering what seem like quite resonable machiens for this sub $10k market.   I've had a quick chat with them, and they seem to be sensible folks.   
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 09, 2016, 04:40:20 am
I've seen their machines on AliExpress but was put off by the shipping costs.

Also, I wonder why it is so difficult for some companies to do a properly lighted, high-res video of their machines in this day and age. I'm using a run of the mill S6 on a cheapo tripod for all my vids and pics and you have seen how they turn out.

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 09, 2016, 04:45:26 am
@servokit I was going to ask you which camera you were using to shoot your videos and pictures because they are very clear. So by S6 your talking about a Samsung S6 smart phone right? That's really good if so.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 09, 2016, 04:52:41 am
Yup, that's the one. I've not once used it for making phone calls, it's only for imaging. The lighting in my shop is the usual tubes on the ceiling, nothing fancy. To attach the S6 to a tripod, I'm using a Shoulderpod S1.

Also, as a rule, everything that doesn't belong is moved outside the view of the camera (see TJ232's comment above).

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 09, 2016, 05:00:05 am
I've seen their machines on AliExpress but was put off by the shipping costs.

Also, I wonder why it is so difficult for some companies to do a properly lighted, high-res video of their machines in this day and age. I'm using a run of the mill S6 on a cheapo tripod for all my vids and pics and you have seen how they turn out.

Regards, Axel


Something very wrong with those shipping costs. teh machine costs are about right though.    thats just a admin error.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: matseng on March 09, 2016, 05:07:36 am
Not so extremely very wrong if looking at standard DHL pricing. Shipping 150x60x60 (5'x2'x2') box @ 120 kilos (260 pounds) from Shenzhen to New York is $3300.  I guess the machines in the pictures are heavier and have larger crates than that...
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 09, 2016, 05:13:24 am
The merchant's invoice that came with my machine at 60kg gross (120x80x50 or so) listed $200 for shipping from Wenzhou to Germany. This is probably too low, the same seller quotes shipping costs of $400 for a 20kg (?) stencil printer. But still - $8K?

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: matseng on March 09, 2016, 05:26:45 am
The merchant's invoice that came with my machine at 60kg gross (120x80x50 or so) listed $200 for shipping from Wenzhou to Germany. This is probably too low, the same seller quotes shipping costs of $400 for a 20kg (?) stencil printer. But still - $8K?
With $200 they have a really nice deal with DHL - standard quoted price at the DHL site is $2800 :-)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 09, 2016, 05:35:12 am
They must - i paid $3'4K in total... I think the $2'8K price from DHL is like paying retail for airline tickets; you don't, you shop around.

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 09, 2016, 08:07:48 am
you can also get it sent seafreight..
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 09, 2016, 09:11:09 am
I think the high shipping costs are about reducing Aliexpress commission - not uncommon to see stuff a lot cheaper than other sellers but very similar once you compare cost+chipping.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 09, 2016, 09:38:06 am
Good point, Ali collects 5% IIRC.

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 09, 2016, 09:56:46 pm
the best "buying" for Chinese stuff is www.taobao.com (http://www.taobao.com)   

Its a web site for the chinese domestic market, and so its in chiense, and its a bit painful. but you'll often find the same goods for 50% less there, that you'll find on aliexpress.

Theres "agents" in china, who will buy stuff for you for a commission. and freight is highly comeptitive over there. 

Have a look at this.

Seach for  "SMT??"  on taobao and see the treasure chest you'll find!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: megaohms on March 10, 2016, 06:15:43 am
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Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 10, 2016, 02:52:38 pm
Just got the machine today... Yippee...  8)

(http://s7.postimg.org/varb29lh7/N4_Arrived.jpg)

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 10, 2016, 03:51:35 pm
@Ichan   I was thinking this morning about how I can't wait to see how this machine works out for you. Glad it arrived and your ready to rock and roll with it.

Let the games begin  :popcorn:

I'm sure were all excited to see how this plays out for you  :D

Keep the pictures and videos coming  :-+
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 10, 2016, 04:32:24 pm
Sure, i will share everything! Just ask which part i should take the pictures off, then i will do.

The machine arrived on the afternoon (i am on UTC+07 time), today we just uncrate it and assembly the stand - will continue with it tomorrow.

Just uncrated, seems everything is good. Some feeder block pulled off from it's place, not a big deal.

(http://s20.postimg.org/7vyotwobx/N4_Ucrated.jpg)


Assembled stand. Some parts a bit bent but can be straightened easily just by hand - missing the M5 bolts but i have a bunch of it. All holes are tapped and they do not forget to put the rubber sheet  ;D.

(http://s20.postimg.org/5so9m8oj1/N4_Stand.jpg)


Some other things on the package: spare feeders, spare vacuum pump, accessory tool box, etc.

(http://s20.postimg.org/k0dyaw17x/N4_Misc.jpg)

Will trim and re-encode some video soon after this and put it on youtube.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 10, 2016, 04:36:20 pm
Some other things on the package: spare feeders, spare vacuum pump, accessory tool box, etc.
-ichan

Could you post a picture of the label on the pump? Or the information from it? I'm curious what model they are using.

Thanks,
Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 10, 2016, 04:45:04 pm
Could you post a picture of the label on the pump? Or the information from it? I'm curious what model they are using.

Will do it tomorrow in the workshop, i am at home now.

Had you found how to command the feeder block?

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 10, 2016, 05:18:15 pm
Could you post a picture of the label on the pump? Or the information from it? I'm curious what model they are using.

Will do it tomorrow in the workshop, i am at home now.

Had you found how to command the feeder block?

-ichan

No. I know it's CAN but that's all I know. I don't have an N4 to test with, just a single feeder I bought from them. Any information about it that you can discover would be greatly appreciated!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: EEVblog on March 10, 2016, 11:34:32 pm
(http://s20.postimg.org/7vyotwobx/N4_Ucrated.jpg)

That looks like a nice compact machine!

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 10, 2016, 11:37:24 pm
(http://s20.postimg.org/7vyotwobx/N4_Ucrated.jpg)

That looks like a nice compact machine!

Small enough to put it in the mailbag, and get opened with the "not" compact letter opening knife?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 11, 2016, 12:12:55 am
Sure, i will share everything! Just ask which part i should take the pictures off, then i will do.
Internals, control electronics etc.

Windows COA ? :-DD :-DD :-DD
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 11, 2016, 12:15:43 am
Assembled stand. Some parts a bit bent but can be straightened easily just by hand - missing the M5 bolts but i have a bunch of it. All holes are tapped and they do not forget to put the rubber sheet  ;D.
Is the inside of the stand use to store anything ?
If not, then it seems to me that it's a waste of space - an open frame or solid table would provide storage space underneath.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 11, 2016, 12:51:28 am
The inside of the stand is hollow, no opening to store anything.

We built more boards the other day. With this batch our TSSOP8 CPU feed perfectly but we had a small crystal resonator that had constant peel box issues. It wouldn't peel the tape far enough with one setting, the next increment up it pulled too much so that it constantly popped the resonators out of the tape. The best fix we could come up with was to set it so it didn't peel far enough and then use a little weight on the end of the tape. We also had a problem with a nozzle not being as straight as we would like. When it rotates the part the placement would be rather poor with one specific nozzle, changing that part(SOT23-5) to a different nozzle made it much better. If not for the resonator feed issue the machine would have been pretty much hands off.

A pic of the inside of the machine, our peel box "fix" and the panel we made. I am sure Ichan will get better pics of the inside.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 11, 2016, 12:57:54 am
Did the wiring ship like that, or have you been in and messed it up?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 11, 2016, 01:06:27 am
Some interesting stuff in that internals shot!

Here is the pump: http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/12V-Micro-Diaphragm-pump-KVP8-Series/500411_32497394487.html (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/12V-Micro-Diaphragm-pump-KVP8-Series/500411_32497394487.html)
I'm surprised to see they use four of them. One per nozzle, I assume. That's an expensive little diaphragm pump, too. I wonder how it compares to other similar units.

External stepper drivers, which makes sense. Also makes me think the drivers for the C axes are onboard the head. I'd be very curious what the wire bundle going from the control board to the head looks like.

And boy, that wiring is sure a mess. Looks like they might have soldered that ribbon cable directly to the motherboard?

Thanks for posting this, and please keep em coming! It's fascinating to see the guts of this machine.

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 11, 2016, 01:10:16 am
Did the wiring ship like that, or have you been in and messed it up?

That is how it shipped. It is a bit of a mess but looks worse in the pic then in person.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 11, 2016, 03:24:58 am
Congrats The Steve!

Nice work, and very reassuring news. It seems that the 'path' delivered by Neoden's SW could certainly be improved. Many people appear to be reporting on it, but I can't because I've not actually seen, or tried using, it.

Nonetheless, once navigated, getting a usable product out of it on the other end, all appears possible, and now that you know how, practical.

I assume you'll report that Tape Puller issue to the Neoden guys.

Finally, I reached out to Tonny from Neoden on Skype, and also to Hiama [sales]. I haven't heard anything back from Tonny, and this is despite Hiami's reassurance he said he would contact me 'as soon as he got out of his meeting' [that was last Monday - so 5 days so far].

Based on this kind of response, I'm not hold my breath any longer for those SW updates and releases that he promised in a 'few days' either.

Don't get me wrong - I REALLY want this machine to deliver a workable solution. And I particularly want their rail/conveyor system feature.


We built more boards the other day. With this batch our TSSOP8 CPU feed perfectly but we had a small crystal resonator that had constant peel box issues. It wouldn't peel the tape far enough with one setting, the next increment up it pulled too much so that it constantly popped the resonators out of the tape.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 11, 2016, 04:04:20 am
Here are the video i that i take yesterday.

TheSteve said that the reason for a Neoden 4 is because it can pass through a standard door, here in my narrow space workshop it goes to the 3rd floor  ;D.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNhmOTH0JP0 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNhmOTH0JP0)

While uncrating the machine we found Some of the feeder box pulled off, seems the utility box can move and hit the feeder on their shipment position.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ii0Gyx5yA74 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ii0Gyx5yA74)

Seems i have to buy some rubber feet for the stand..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_itKD1LV9EI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_itKD1LV9EI)

Will take more pictures and video today.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 11, 2016, 04:50:52 am
no safety glasses!!!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 11, 2016, 06:44:34 am
@Ichan  I can already tell this is going to be one well documented Neoden 4 test  :-+

Thank you so much for documenting this properly for all us guys who are on the fence and not knowing which way to go.  :clap:

Can't wait till production starts  :popcorn:
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 11, 2016, 09:18:26 am

Was there anything unusual about the distance between the component pockets on the tape TheSteve?
Kinda sounds like that distance is on the edge, and between the feeder step resolution.

Are you able to swap it with another tape puller?



The inside of the stand is hollow, no opening to store anything.

We built more boards the other day. With this batch our TSSOP8 CPU feed perfectly but we had a small crystal resonator that had constant peel box issues. It wouldn't peel the tape far enough with one setting, the next increment up it pulled too much so that it constantly popped the resonators out of the tape. The best fix we could come up with was to set it so it didn't peel far enough and then use a little weight on the end of the tape. We also had a problem with a nozzle not being as straight as we would like. When it rotates the part the placement would be rather poor with one specific nozzle, changing that part(SOT23-5) to a different nozzle made it much better. If not for the resonator feed issue the machine would have been pretty much hands off.

A pic of the inside of the machine, our peel box "fix" and the panel we made. I am sure Ichan will get better pics of the inside.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 11, 2016, 09:45:34 am
Isn't that standardized? My machine has four (unitless) feed settings: 2, 4, 8, 12, no in-betweens.

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Cathy_Neoden on March 11, 2016, 09:50:26 am
Dear all,
Good day!
I'm Cathy, International Service Support Coordinator of NeoDen Tech., I'd like to thank you all for your kind attention and sincere suggestion regarding our NeoDen 4 Pick and Place machine.

We understand all the concerns of the machine users and our Team is continuously on the job, at this point, we would like to inform all our esteemed and prospective customers that , we are hereby putting a data related to our software development stages from the date of release of the first batch of machines from our factory ,Hope from the attached snapshot, one can understand that the way which we are addressing the issues.
We are committed to update each and every machine on the field with the latest update free of cost. We request our existing users of NeoDen 4 machines to be in touch with us for the new release update to get updated on your machine.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 11, 2016, 10:10:10 am
no safety glasses!!!
Not cutting anything - why would you need those ?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 11, 2016, 03:57:39 pm
Hi Cathy,

Thank you for the changelog... but note that none of the stuff discussed here has been included in your list. Please see this link for a collection of issues and feature requests that we have been assembling from the user community:

http://collabedit.com/hfe7r (http://collabedit.com/hfe7r)

Feel free to edit it and add notes. Or better yet, please consider making a Bugzilla or similar bug tracker available publicly so that we can see the status of various bugs. This would give confidence to those not yet purchasing a machine that bugs are being taken seriously and being dealt with. And for those (like me) that already have the machine, it would make it easier to recommend the system to colleagues knowing that annoying problems are going to be fixed.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on March 11, 2016, 04:57:28 pm
Hello !
...
I look at that picture PC. And much disappointed for many reasons such as:
1) This is an old version of HW, which isn't supported by the market.
2) Issue of a very old or very old components and reskrs ended. (Hard to find in the garbage, such components are already recycled)
3) A huge doubt prolonged use of such PC.
4) Not supported industry standards for this PC, only as a hobby.
5) What are the problems with the BIOS? no information.
6) OS Windows XP no longer supported.
7) The cameras look at the components and their old driver for XP, also the problem of long-term work.
8) Regular failure, if you look at the installation inside. Can apply the standards, but don't, sorry.
9) S/B bugs in software for video, enough capacity to deal with this. For this reason, many inaccuracies when installing small-sized components 0402, BGA and the like.

I am sure that such a high cost is just business, and beautiful picture.
Why is this not a professional, and not even HAM choice?

Who buys buys big risks in the PC and ...
I wanted to warn seeing photos PC inside.
I Am disappointed :-(
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 11, 2016, 05:27:42 pm
@Jefferson, how do you compare it with a machine that use a proprietary SBC?

We turn up down the machine and take some photo.

(http://s20.postimg.org/rsn5mnbjh/N4_Internals1.jpg)

(http://s20.postimg.org/64y7c7b59/N4_Internals2.jpg)

(http://s20.postimg.org/wsklulh65/N4_Internals3.jpg)

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 11, 2016, 05:33:22 pm
This is actually a fairly recent mobo, probably with Atom or Celeron processor. The chip near the ribbon cable seems to be an ITE IT8781F (4 UARTs, LPT, plenty of GPIO). I presume that the ribbon cable connects to a bunch of sensors, like limit switches and the like. I can't imagine that they use the parallel port to generate stepper pulses (Can't be ruled out though, Windows XP is still the system of choice for Mach3-style pulse generation.)

Addendum: The green PCB is mounted differently in ichan's machine and also seems to be a different version (says "83" vs "80", near the blue connector).

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 11, 2016, 05:40:54 pm
ichan: Where is your factory located? It looks like you have quite a big operation running there!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 11, 2016, 05:54:14 pm
Here are the nozzles and vacuum pump.

(http://s20.postimg.org/6pd8ew4dp/N4_Nozzle1.jpg)

(http://s20.postimg.org/j2q2lsu25/N4_Nozzle2.jpg)

(http://s20.postimg.org/6a1ylvigd/N4_Vac_Pump.jpg)

ichan: Where is your factory located? It looks like you have quite a big operation running there!

I am in Jakarta - Indonesia, not a big one just a private business serving the local electronic community in here :D.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 11, 2016, 05:56:32 pm
Ichan when do you expect to have the machine up and running the first board?

By the speed your moving I would guess today.

Thank you for all the pictures! This will be the #1 Neoden 4 thread out there.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 11, 2016, 06:17:28 pm
Ichan when do you expect to have the machine up and running the first board?

We plan to do the production on the next monday. Up to now the machine has not powered on yet, will do it tomorrow doing some test and setting up for production - hopefully everything goes well tomorrow.

Below is the final arrangement of the machine.
(http://s20.postimg.org/p8w46add9/N4_Arrangement1.jpg)

The finished board will go to the rear bench where the manual placement will be done and do some visual inspection + correction before the reflow.
(http://s20.postimg.org/7ubvy0g8d/N4_Arrangement2.jpg)

Planned video camera view later, to capture both the machine and the display.
(http://s20.postimg.org/isn5g74tp/N4_Arrangement3.jpg)

Will do the Youtube things now...

-ichan.


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 11, 2016, 06:41:50 pm
no safety glasses!!!
Not cutting anything - why would you need those ?

Hammers and crowbars.  Only in places where OSH is crazyness.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: H.O on March 11, 2016, 06:58:32 pm
Thank you for all the photos!
Nozzles looks like Samsung CP45 style.
I'd love to see a couple of closeups on the head it self.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 11, 2016, 09:16:36 pm
Thank you for all the photos!
Nozzles looks like Samsung CP45 style.
I'd love to see a couple of closeups on the head it self.

Agreed! I'd also like to see some pictures of the cameras, if you can see them without taking things apart. Very curious to know what models they are using.

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 11, 2016, 09:28:10 pm
Here are the video i that i take yesterday.

TheSteve said that the reason for a Neoden 4 is because it can pass through a standard door, here in my narrow space workshop it goes to the 3rd floor  ;D.


While uncrating the machine we found Some of the feeder box pulled off, seems the utility box can move and hit the feeder on their shipment position.


Seems i have to buy some rubber feet for the stand..


Will take more pictures and video today.

-ichan

Maybe your Neoden 4 was crated differently then ours but you only need to remove the screws from the bottom edges and the entire top of the crate simply lifts off and is even reusable. At that point the machine simply lists off its shipping mounts. See my pics in the first page of this thread.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 12, 2016, 04:50:40 am
Maybe your Neoden 4 was crated differently then ours but you only need to remove the screws from the bottom edges and the entire top of the crate simply lifts off and is even reusable. At that point the machine simply lists off its shipping mounts. See my pics in the first page of this thread.

Yeah, we realize that after the top had been opened  :)

Here some video taken yesterday, when we took pictures of its internal and setting up the hardware.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYL_JiidbVY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYL_JiidbVY)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTYOJ0t9vGw (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTYOJ0t9vGw)

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 12, 2016, 03:22:40 pm
Sorry can't play with the machine today, have to do something else more important related to the project. Only able to take some pictures of the head before i leave the workshop.

(http://s20.postimg.org/6jhwurorx/N4_Head1.jpg)

(http://s20.postimg.org/u6ngwmjhp/N4_Head2.jpg)

(http://s20.postimg.org/40w7u331p/N4_Head3.jpg)

(http://s20.postimg.org/ukosw83l9/N4_Head4.jpg)

The camera can not be seen, it is inside the H shaped block on the front - i do not want to open it for now, afraid to loose the offset setting.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 12, 2016, 03:39:00 pm
Received a package from Neoden yesterday. We installed the new "blow" pump.
...

@TheSteve, which one is the "blow pump"?

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: H.O on March 12, 2016, 04:29:15 pm
Thank you for the photos Ichan!
That looks like a nice compact design of the head though I'm sure some might say the cable management could have been better.
I can only spot two Z-axis motors. Are the other two just not visible or are they using just two motors for the four nozzles? Looking at the videos of the machine in operation it does appear as if each nozzle can move on its own so I'm guessing there's another pair of motors crammed in there somewhere.

They clearly have the drivers for the head mounted motors on the head itself. I wonder of they are pushing step/direction signals for each driver thru the control cable (probably not as there doesn't seem to be enough wires for that in the cable) or if there's some brains in the head as well, perhaps handling the vacum sensing pickup retry etc all on its own.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 12, 2016, 05:57:37 pm
I can only spot two Z-axis motors. Are the other two just not visible or are they using just two motors for the four nozzles? Looking at the videos of the machine in operation it does appear as if each nozzle can move on its own so I'm guessing there's another pair of motors crammed in there somewhere.

There are only two Z axis motors. Each motor drives two Z axes using a cam to push the axis down and a spring return. This is the same setup they used on their previous machines (TM-2xx series) and on the N4 they've just doubled it up with two dual heads facing each other. You can see my version of the same design here:

https://raw.githubusercontent.com/openpnp/openpnp-openbuilds/develop/Images/head_closeup.jpg

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: H.O on March 12, 2016, 06:25:05 pm
Ah, that's how they're doing it.
I don't know if it's über clever or not so good but depending on the length of the arm pushing down on the motors and the desired Z-axis travel the rotational motion of the arm translates into a sinusoidal move of the Z-axis which makes the axis moves fast at the top and the automatically slow down as it gets closer to the PCB.

This obviously means that the resolution changes so the first 3mm of movement doesn't require as many steps as the last 3mm - the software would need to know this, of course.

Then again, if the lenght of the arm is much longer than the travel length of the Z-axis it'll be fairly linear over the full travel.

I'm redoing the head on my machine, getting rid of a ballscrew driven THK slide in favour of a belt driven design like on the SmallSMT Machines where the two heads are connected to either side of a belt driven by a single motor.

Sorry for drifting a bit OT.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 12, 2016, 08:34:08 pm
H.O
Would be great to see some close up images of the head on your machine. Have you designed it yourself?
I know it's not a N4, but the topic right now is better understanding the design of the N4 head - and a simple photo comparison with other designs would certainly assist me, and hopefully others too.
Thnx

BTW - I assume you guys already know about this site
They sell complete PnP head assemblies with NEMA hollow shaft motors, etc
http://www.robotdigg.com/category/27/SMT,+AI+n+Laser (http://www.robotdigg.com/category/27/SMT,+AI+n+Laser)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 12, 2016, 09:44:27 pm
The insides are a sloppy mess. No labels on the harnesses. It looks like many of the prototypes I have made over the years.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 12, 2016, 10:20:58 pm


BTW - I assume you guys already know about this site
They sell complete PnP head assemblies with NEMA hollow shaft motors, etc
http://www.robotdigg.com/category/27/SMT,+AI+n+Laser (http://www.robotdigg.com/category/27/SMT,+AI+n+Laser)

And most if not all if those parts can also be found on aliexpress and taobao for about 25% of the price quoted on robo dig.    This was being discussed at #openpnp on free node irc the other day

http://world.taobao.com/item/524261348567.htm#detail (http://world.taobao.com/item/524261348567.htm#detail)  <--- for example.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Towger on March 12, 2016, 10:24:30 pm
The insides are a sloppy mess. No labels on the harnesses. It looks like many of the prototypes I have made over the years.

What strikes me is how hard it is to get at the gubbins. I saw the photo of the wiring etc on my phone and initially though they were inside the base pedestal and just a matter of opening a side panel/door, until I watched the video.  I would not want to trouble shoot it, take all the feeders etc off, unbolt from the base and then a two man job to take the unit off and turn it over on its back.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 12, 2016, 10:39:12 pm
Guys, I seriously don't think manufacturers like NeoDen, Charmhigh, etc are designing their product on the basis of how much tinkering you can do with them.

It is my best guess, and sincere hope, that they are just designed to work.

As this is the N4 forum, I believe it is true to say that almost the entire thread history does not point to build quality, or issues about the HW failing to function.

It appears that the 'almost whole' amount of issues relate to software, and maybe some firmware, and then issues of communication.

I, for one, must admit that if i were to purchase a N4, the last thing I would be expecting to do is pull it apart and tinker. I just want it to load my components, and replace the machine I have now (me).
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 12, 2016, 10:40:25 pm
You need can leave all of the feeders on the machine to access the bottom. Unbolting from the stand is only 4 bolts, so it is pretty quick. It does take two people to lay the machine back. It isn't something I'd want to do too often.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 12, 2016, 10:45:44 pm
Received a package from Neoden yesterday. We installed the new "blow" pump.
...

@TheSteve, which one is the "blow pump"?

-ichan

I have attached a copy of your pic with the blow pump circled. In my pic it was removed as we had to replace it. They ship 220 VAC models on all machines so those running the machine on 120 VAC have a lower blow pressure. The pump is a standard aquarium style diaphragm pump.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 12, 2016, 10:57:17 pm
So, in time, when the software is dialed a bit a users start doing 8hr days - we will see if it holds up.

Sent from my horrible mobile....

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 13, 2016, 04:40:01 am
Hi Cathy,

Please find below the 'list' Elmood referred to in response to your post last week.

As he pointed out, only the first 2 items are mentioned in YOUR list - it seems none of the others are noted anywhere.

Given Neoden's forecast of approx just 1 item/task per month, it becomes a serious concern that it may take a very long time to address these issues. Note that this list is also NOT comprehensive but, without reasonable feedback and response times, its value is open to question.

Cathy, can you please provide us with the confidence we're all seeking; that Neoden is serious about delivering a solid, bug-free product and responds in a timely manner to its Users' concerns?

Thanks - Peter

1.   Vibration feeders can't be started in a job
If you forget to turn on the vibration motor in the manual screen the job will run and then fail to load tube parts. It should be a job option: "use vibration feeder"

2.   Pick test turns pump on and can't turn it off
It should either put the part back in the feeder or throw it away in the trash box properly. The "Pick test" button should be a toggle button instead of a latching type.


3.   Impossible to force a ‘single part only’ for machine vision and placement
If there are multiple parts in the chip list that use different nozzles the machine will load each nozzle before imaging / placing. In the case of large parts it might be desirable to only pick up one part and then place it to minimize the chance of it falling off or imaging incorrectly. This is not possible unless the chiplist is organized carefully to prevent multiple nozzles from being used sequentially. There should be a "block" command to insert into the chiplist to place all parts currently on the head and then start over with empty nozzles.

4.   Imaging does not work correctly using Large Component vision setting
There is no documentation as to how big a "Large Component" is. (and Neoden didn't tell me either) It takes multiple images and stitches them together somehow, but if there are other nozzles in use (see above) it gets the incorrect centre / rotation for the part.

5.   Parts outside placement area are not detected until part-way through a job
If you start a job and a chip must be placed outside the mechanical limits of the machine, this is not flagged until the part is placed. It should be simple to scan the chiplist at start of a job and warn of parts that might be outside the area. This is mostly a job setup problem where the board was not advanced into the machine enough before the PCB position was set.

6.   Recommended nozzle sizes from Neoden seem wrong
For QFP and larger ICs the larger nozzles have trouble getting enough suction. Better results were found with the next smaller nozzle size than what is recommended. The small (XN07) nozzles work well for 0805, 0603, SOT23, etc. tiny parts. There is an even smaller nozzle option (XN03) that is not included in the standard package.

7. Feeder ID settings are frustrating
It appears (not confirmed) that there is probably an I2c bus controlling the "feed box" components of the feeders. They must be uniquely assigned... extra feeders purchased come with ID 50 so they can be reassigned... but you can only plug in one at time. It would be better if the hardware port determined the ID, since the "peel box" is addressed this way. Seems like a bad hack that should have been a bit better thought out. Not a huge deal if you plan to leave your system set up in a default configuration.

8.   Button “to curr p”
The button "to curr p" (cannot be completely read on the button text) on the file edit screen is used to recalculate all of the part locations and rotation based on the PCB mark settings.  When doing this, the rotation of each part is calculated incorrectly, it seems to keep adding additional rotation each time the "to curr p" button is pressed.

Dear all,
Good day!
I'm Cathy, International Service Support Coordinator of NeoDen Tech., I'd like to thank you all for your kind attention and sincere suggestion regarding our NeoDen 4 Pick and Place machine.

We understand all the concerns of the machine users and our Team is continuously on the job, at this point, we would like to inform all our esteemed and prospective customers that , we are hereby putting a data related to our software development stages from the date of release of the first batch of machines from our factory ,Hope from the attached snapshot, one can understand that the way which we are addressing the issues.
We are committed to update each and every machine on the field with the latest update free of cost. We request our existing users of NeoDen 4 machines to be in touch with us for the new release update to get updated on your machine.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 13, 2016, 05:54:13 am
I have attached a copy of your pic with the blow pump circled. In my pic it was removed as we had to replace it. They ship 220 VAC models on all machines so those running the machine on 120 VAC have a lower blow pressure. The pump is a standard aquarium style diaphragm pump.

Thanks, i missed that one. If it "blow up" on long run then i just have to go to the pet store then ;D.

I can tolerate the rather messy wiring, seems the connections are all ok - just not tidy enough.

To this far without powering it on yet, i can say that i am happy with the machine - it is a pretty well built thing for the price.

Sunday noon in here now , i am thinking to ask a permit from the kids to go to the workshop...  ;D


-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 13, 2016, 06:31:01 am
I am happy to report that we built 5 boards successfully with the Neoden 4 the other day. They still need some PTH assembly so I'm waiting to see how the entire PCBs turn out before running a lot more through. We spent some weeks getting our oven worked out... don't buy the Puhui oven, it's terrible! I found an Essemtec RO06 Plus on eBay for a decent price from a local seller... this felt like overkill but I'm now convinced that it's the minimum necessary for repeatable results especially if you're doing lead-free. We now have a proper vent installed in the roof of our building... not a smell is detected during the entire process now! (as opposed to many days of horrible burning smells lingering after using the Puhui... it's still waiting for some kind of sacrifice... too bad bondfires are not permitted within city limits. :)

The issues we had this time which are not huge but still requires some careful tweaking:

- Mark points are hard to use... I need to try tweaking more because some of my older boards don't have proper fiducials. I'm using vias which work well except that sometimes it appears to find the correct hole and then jumps to an adjacent hole on the last correction move. (it takes about 3 pictures per hole and adjusts the head each time) One time I didn't notice the wrong point got detected and the machine started placing resistors on the rail instead of the board.  :P I wish there was a way to see the area that is being considered because the adjacent hole isn't even visible on the screen so I'm not sure how it decides to jump over there all of a sudden since the correct hole was already photographed twice.

- Beware of the height of taller ICs. I think I need to add another entry in the footprint list. I have a ULN2803A which is pretty tall and I think the nozzle presses down too hard and causes the chip to slide sideways sometimes. The spring-loaded nozzles are great and I never felt like it's going to break anything when the settings are wrong.

- Don't shine light inside the machine! I have a powerful LED flashlight that I was using to check the placement since it's dark inside. I accidentally pointed it at the upfacing camera while it was imaging and it put the IC down in the wrong place. :)

- Once a transistor got picked up by its side. There seems to be no way for the machine to detect this.

I've been doing ICs at 20% speed and this is much more gentle and avoids the "train wreck" scenario when it doesn't think it has suction and attempts to get a new part while there is already one on the nozzle. This happened on the tube feeder and was quite hilarious! The only trouble with 20% mode is that the acceleration is so slow that the motors clearly pass through some very resonant mode which makes a disturbing rattling sound... these kinds of undamped vibrations could cause stepper errors, but so far I didn't actually see any problem with that. So I guess everything comes with a trade-off... the resonance is not apparent at higher speeds.

At full speed the machine shakes quite a lot, so much so that I'm sure the 20" LCD sitting on top is going to fall onto the floor one of these days. I think the base is the problem and could use a bit more mass / bracing. Flat sheet metal panels are generally not very stiff and I believe that the base experiences quite a lot of shear and torsion forces as the head moves around up top.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TJ232 on March 13, 2016, 09:47:50 am
About the base, just a old tip used before with high torsion/momentum equipments and wobbling stands: pour concrete inside the base, even only 40-50% up from base will make the difference. 80-100% will make it stiff like a rock.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on March 13, 2016, 10:14:33 am
@elmood

Put a foil bag inside the stand and fill up with sand.

The mass will be increased and shaking avoid.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on March 13, 2016, 03:29:30 pm
..... 80-100% will make it stiff like a rock.

Hi

..... first make sure the stand is *exactly* where you want it to be :)

Second, check the floor loading ratings. A single floor factory on a concrete slab better for this sort of thing than a 10th floor office.

Third ... think about the contact area between the stand and the floor. Having a cubic meter of concrete sitting on four little legs .. errr ... If you ever need to get a fork lift under it, that big flat contact area you just went with, not quite so good.

Yes this is the voice of empirical knowledge speaking. That is 4,000 lb of concrete sitting there. No, it's not going to wiggle around any at all.

Bob
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: SeanB on March 13, 2016, 04:14:31 pm
Buy an old safe, and mount on the top of it. Cheap as used, and moveable with most safe movers if needed, though you can make the dollies to move it and the big pry bar that you use to get the first one under it in the first place. Gives a heavy block with a steel surface you can mount on, and the inside of the safe is a good place to store things like backup drives and such. Just open the inner cover and remove the small lock so you do not need a key to unlock it.

Won't tell you just how much the movers charge to move, even though we just moved it from one office to another, as a data safe. 300kg is not easy to move unless you have the dollies and bar, but you only need 3 people after that to get it anywhere.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 13, 2016, 05:39:24 pm
All good suggestions but seem to all focus on "make it heavier" instead of "make it more rigid". I'm convinced that some strategically placed bracing can make an improvement without creating a "widow maker" waiting for next time we move.

Will report back. :)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: SeanB on March 13, 2016, 05:52:51 pm
More rigid then you will find it walking across the floor on the legs. You either have to bolt it down, or add more mass so it will hold there by friction alone.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: H.O on March 13, 2016, 07:06:53 pm
H.O
Would be great to see some close up images of the head on your machine. Have you designed it yourself?
I know it's not a N4, but the topic right now is better understanding the design of the N4 head - and a simple photo comparison with other designs would certainly assist me, and hopefully others too.
Thnx

I don't want to derail this thread any further so I've posted some details in another thread (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/projects/pick-and-place-software/) (my own) where you can see some photos of the current (to be replaced) "head" and what my plans are for its replacement.

EDIT: Included link to said thread....
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 13, 2016, 07:32:53 pm
I got about two hours free time slot today when the kids and their mother go for shopping  :D, then i go to the workshop and play with the machine for a while. Video below is the very first powering on of the machine, i try navigating the machine (just by mouse click) and play with "manual test" section. Will need to ask Neoden for the password tomorrow as i can not access the nozzle calibration setting.

This is a boring 9 minutes video, try to follow the mouse click while watching it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THdbSdykqqM (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THdbSdykqqM)

The second video is a manual programming test for one part only, it is include panel edge, panel position and angle, and mark points (use drilled holes instead of fiducials) setting. The first run attemp is failed (at 7:40), seems it can not recognize the panel if it is already in position - second attemp with the panel moved back first is success.

Next test will be the speed test, trying to get the fastest CPH this machine can do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8gWh0N-4Qo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8gWh0N-4Qo)

The workflow is somehow unusual but i got no problem so far, maybe because i already watch all the video and read many about this machine. There are some little issue like resizing the columns but again i just can tolerate it.

I feel the software is light and responsive, the image recognition is fast - good programming behind is my honest thought.

-ichan

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on March 13, 2016, 09:16:07 pm
All good suggestions but seem to all focus on "make it heavier" instead of "make it more rigid". I'm convinced that some strategically placed bracing can make an improvement without creating a "widow maker" waiting for next time we move.

Will report back. :)

Hi

The best approach without a big block of something is to bolt a sturdy work surface to a wall or two. When you move, out come the bolts and the work surface gets moved without a lot of crazy effort.

Bob
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: metalphreak on March 13, 2016, 10:48:05 pm
Hello !
...
I look at that picture PC. And much disappointed for many reasons such as:
1) This is an old version of HW, which isn't supported by the market.
2) Issue of a very old or very old components and reskrs ended. (Hard to find in the garbage, such components are already recycled)
3) A huge doubt prolonged use of such PC.
4) Not supported industry standards for this PC, only as a hobby.
5) What are the problems with the BIOS? no information.
6) OS Windows XP no longer supported.
7) The cameras look at the components and their old driver for XP, also the problem of long-term work.
8) Regular failure, if you look at the installation inside. Can apply the standards, but don't, sorry.
9) S/B bugs in software for video, enough capacity to deal with this. For this reason, many inaccuracies when installing small-sized components 0402, BGA and the like.

I am sure that such a high cost is just business, and beautiful picture.
Why is this not a professional, and not even HAM choice?

Who buys buys big risks in the PC and ...
I wanted to warn seeing photos PC inside.
I Am disappointed :-(

Based on the bios boot screen from Ichan's video, this is the SBC in the machine:

http://iotsolutionsalliance.intel.com/solutions-directory/itx-d525-2chb-mini-itx-embedded-board-intel%C2%AE-atom%E2%84%A2-d525-processor-intel%C2%AE-ich8hb (http://iotsolutionsalliance.intel.com/solutions-directory/itx-d525-2chb-mini-itx-embedded-board-intel%C2%AE-atom%E2%84%A2-d525-processor-intel%C2%AE-ich8hb)
http://www.zeroone.net.cn/?c=products&a=show&id=45 (http://www.zeroone.net.cn/?c=products&a=show&id=45)

The atom D525 was launched in 2010, but is still in use in heaps of current generation products (my Lenovo EMC NAS has one in it). The intel lists that particular board as being added in Jun 2015. It's a perfectly fine & modern board to use in a product like this. A replacement ITX board is much easier to source than some custom SBC.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 14, 2016, 01:06:16 am
Yes, I agree Metalphreak - [David].
For what it's worth, that Mini ITX looks fine by me.

We use Mini ITX MoBo in a couple of our designs.
There are several models are available, from a number of manufacturers, which are specified as being long-life, with commercial support, for that reason.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 14, 2016, 05:07:20 am
I'm baffled by the workflow to establish the position of the fiducials. As I see it fiducials let the software map the positions in the part list (which are in PCB coordinates) to the machine coordinates. At my machine the fids are not expected to be in the part list as it seems to be here. Instead, after moving the camera over the fid you simply tell the machine in a dedicated dialog that the fid has (e.g.) coordinates x=5, y=5 of the PCB. Given that the camera position is known, that's all the software needs.

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 14, 2016, 06:50:38 am
I'm baffled by the workflow to establish the position of the fiducials. As I see it fiducials let the software map the positions in the part list (which are in PCB coordinates) to the machine coordinates. At my machine the fids are not expected to be in the part list as it seems to be here. Instead, after moving the camera over the fid you simply tell the machine in a dedicated dialog that the fid has (e.g.) coordinates x=5, y=5 of the PCB. Given that the camera position is known, that's all the software needs.

Regards, Axel

Ive never seen fiducials in a part list either.  thats odd
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 14, 2016, 08:28:45 am
I'm baffled by the workflow to establish the position of the fiducials. As I see it fiducials let the software map the positions in the part list (which are in PCB coordinates) to the machine coordinates. At my machine the fids are not expected to be in the part list as it seems to be here. Instead, after moving the camera over the fid you simply tell the machine in a dedicated dialog that the fid has (e.g.) coordinates x=5, y=5 of the PCB. Given that the camera position is known, that's all the software needs.

Regards, Axel
Why would you want to have to enter this manually?
Having fids in the P&P location list makes a great deal of sense, and I'm surprised it isn't standard practice - you just create a part with the fid pad, resist clearance and pick/place point, and place it on the board. The offsets will then be baked into the p&p file, avoiding any need for manual entry.
It is stupid that (AIUI) the fids have to be the first items in the list - you should be able to either select fid parts manually, or tell it that parts called "fid" are always fids.
   
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 14, 2016, 09:06:17 am
I don't have to do it manually; the file that the machine expects has actually two sections:

1. the actual part list in standard CSV format
2. configuration which can contain fids etc.

If I create a part list manually (which I did for testing during the first days), I simply leave out the 2nd section and set the fid coords manually. However, with a real PCB there's an ULP for Eagle that not only exports the part list but also the configuration part with the fids. As I see it that's the best of both worlds. Having the fids at some definite position of the part list or giving them a special name are both hacks.

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on March 14, 2016, 09:27:35 am
Quote
Why would you want to have to enter this manually?
Having fids in the P&P location list makes a great deal of sense, and I'm surprised it isn't standard practice - you just create a part with the fid pad, resist clearance and pick/place point, and place it on the board. The offsets will then be baked into the p&p file, avoiding any need for manual entry.
It is stupid that (AIUI) the fids have to be the first items in the list - you should be able to either select fid parts manually, or tell it that parts called "fid" are always fids.

Another good option is to place a fiducial at the origin.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 14, 2016, 09:49:12 am
Quote
Why would you want to have to enter this manually?
Having fids in the P&P location list makes a great deal of sense, and I'm surprised it isn't standard practice - you just create a part with the fid pad, resist clearance and pick/place point, and place it on the board. The offsets will then be baked into the p&p file, avoiding any need for manual entry.
It is stupid that (AIUI) the fids have to be the first items in the list - you should be able to either select fid parts manually, or tell it that parts called "fid" are always fids.

Another good option is to place a fiducial at the origin.

I always ( just because i had no other better way to do it ), make the bottom left corner of the panel the origin.  I normally have fidudicals on the pcb frame, ( a bit that is thrown away ),   I always have three fididucals ( bttom left and right, and top right ). the reason for having no top left is so that you dont' orientate the board the wrong way accidently. 

Theres no definative right way, but there are probably some thigns that make it harder!

also, take some time to make decent fiducials that are easy for the camera to read reliably..  I use a 1mm dot of copper, with a gap and then a 5mm circle around it.    And make sure there is NO solder mask on it.

Hows those videos going Micheal?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 14, 2016, 02:09:01 pm
Below a small test placing 16x 1206 smd resistor from 4 feeders using 4 nozzles, with and without vision - speed is 100% both for run speed and feeder speed.

(Sorry the background music is beyond my control  :( )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cImlV-qP-M (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cImlV-qP-M)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMFN9s8MDXY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMFN9s8MDXY)

14 seconds without vision and 18 second with vision, turned out as 4100 and 3200 CPH. Non vision speed is below my expectation but seems i still can try to speed it up above 100% speed setting, surprised by the speed with vision.

The placement result is almost the same, below is the result with vision - the pcb use transparent adhesive sheet provided by Neoden.

(http://s20.postimg.org/g1ab8trfx/N4_Result.jpg)

Funny i still do not fully understand how is the coordinates system works, seems it is different between manual programming and import from file.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 14, 2016, 02:20:52 pm
I found that the best way to do the fiducials is by creating a Neoden CSV file right away. I have a program that does this and puts these positions in the file right away. Their file format is pretty simple and a bit of testing can reveal pretty much what all the values mean.

Also, beware of using only 3 fiducials. I found that it made the positioning fairly inaccurate. It seems that the machine transforms all the coordinates to fit between the found points. Using four seemed to be the only way to get actually very good accuracy. And they should be spaced fairly far apart across the board.

Neoden responded directly to my question and I had to go back and read several replies to be clear. But it seems that whatever the size of the mark point there should be no other holes within a distance of 3x the mark diameter from that hole. There is a detection size range setting (min and max) which apparently doesn't affect the distance between holes... or that's how it sounded when I asked about it.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 14, 2016, 02:56:30 pm
I found that the best way to do the fiducials is by creating a Neoden CSV file right away. I have a program that does this and puts these positions in the file right away. Their file format is pretty simple and a bit of testing can reveal pretty much what all the values mean.

Also, beware of using only 3 fiducials. I found that it made the positioning fairly inaccurate. It seems that the machine transforms all the coordinates to fit between the found points. Using four seemed to be the only way to get actually very good accuracy. And they should be spaced fairly far apart across the board.

Neoden responded directly to my question and I had to go back and read several replies to be clear. But it seems that whatever the size of the mark point there should be no other holes within a distance of 3x the mark diameter from that hole. There is a detection size range setting (min and max) which apparently doesn't affect the distance between holes... or that's how it sounded when I asked about it.
There really ought to be a way to manually select a mask region to avoid mis-recongnising
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 14, 2016, 03:12:30 pm
I asked about that, but the typical response to pretty much all my bug reports or feature requests is..........
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 14, 2016, 04:18:06 pm
@Ichan  Looking good so far  :) 

This should be a interesting week for all of us as you get the machine up and running at full speed   :-+

Keep up the great work with the video reviews.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 14, 2016, 07:41:40 pm
Below a small test placing 16x 1206 smd resistor from 4 feeders using 4 nozzles, with and without vision - speed is 100% both for run speed and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMFN9s8MDXY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMFN9s8MDXY)

14 seconds without vision and 18 second with vision, turned out as 4100 and 3200 CPH. Non vision speed is below my expectation but seems i still can try to speed it up above 100% speed setting, surprised by the speed with vision.

Out of curiosity, the board came in from the left and then got spat out to the left when it was finished. Is this a configuration thing.. I woudl have thought for most applicaitons that having it feed out to the right, would be good..  ( i'd park my oven next to it on the right ) and have my stenciling on the left, in some kind of line..   


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 14, 2016, 09:23:15 pm
Another great update - thanks Ichan.

Although I'd like to achieve a super quick turn around, accuracy is my greatest interest with the N4.

If I have to redo a bunch of boards which I produced really quickly, I'll instantly be behind the eight ball.

I know you don't intend running much fine pitch stuff, but if there was any way you could run a fine pitch 0.4mm - 0.5mm test in your 'standard' review quality, you'd have me forever.

Happy to pay you for whatever out of pocket expenses might be involved and your time.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on March 14, 2016, 09:50:21 pm
Another great update - thanks Ichan.

Although I'd like to achieve a super quick turn around, accuracy is my greatest interest with the N4.

If I have to redo a bunch of boards which I produced really quickly, I'll instantly be behind the eight ball.

I know you don't intend running much fine pitch stuff, but if there was any way you could run a fine pitch 0.4mm - 0.5mm test in your 'standard' review quality, you'd have me forever.

Happy to pay you for whatever out of pocket expenses might be involved and your time.

Hi

+1

For some of us, the 0603 is a "giant" part and 0.5mm pitch is about as big as the main IC's ever get.

Bob
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 14, 2016, 09:52:04 pm
Yes same here @ichan , I am willing to send you some IC chips with .5mm pitch pins. One is a BGA with .5mm pitch balls that I would love to know if the machine can place properly.

I know your busy but when the time comes I'll send the parts over if your up for it.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 14, 2016, 11:19:59 pm
For some of us, the 0603 is a "giant" part and 0.5mm pitch is about as big as the main IC's ever get.

Bob

I have settled into an 0402 - .4mm average to have a chance at the necessary density. I would be bummed if I couldn't make 0201 and <.4mm work in the future. Do you think that is beyond the N4?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 14, 2016, 11:26:32 pm
I highly doubt you'll successfully run the machine in production at 100% speed. The parts always look much better when using double sided tape then they will with paste. I'd aim for a top speed of 80%, unless Neoden adds independent control over the Z speed.

btw, we bolted our machine to the wall with a solid shelf bracket.

I wouldn't expect the machine to be super successful with anything below 0.65mm pitch but you never know.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 14, 2016, 11:29:33 pm
I wouldn't expect the machine to be super successful with anything below 0.65mm pitch but you never know.

Ouch.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 14, 2016, 11:52:44 pm
I wouldn't expect the machine to be super successful with anything below 0.65mm pitch but you never know.

Ouch.

Maybe it will be ok, the smallest we have placed is 0.65mm. The placement accuracy seems pretty good overall but the parts tend to move when actually placed by the Z axis depending on amount of compression on the nozzle etc. We also saw the problem at times with our Juki, but it had an option to slow the Z axis independent of the X/Y.
Other then bug fixes I think the best feature Neoden could add would be control over the Z axis speed.

Also remember it is using stepper motors, not some nice linear encoders, so I don't ever see it matching a high end machine.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: uncle_bob on March 15, 2016, 12:39:44 am
For some of us, the 0603 is a "giant" part and 0.5mm pitch is about as big as the main IC's ever get.

Bob

I have settled into an 0402 - .4mm average to have a chance at the necessary density. I would be bummed if I couldn't make 0201 and <.4mm work in the future. Do you think that is beyond the N4?

Hi

I'm perfectly happy to accept a speed reduction to get one of these machines to do the job. If it runs at 1/2 the speed that others are after, but places 100%, that is an acceptable tradeoff. Letting the 0402's align with surface tension .. that's fine. Getting the IC's down right the first time, that pretty much has to happen. They don't do much self alignment.

Indeed this is a major hijack away from the main thread. My needs are "weird" compared to what most people are after. Since I've only gone into part of it, they are even more strange. My target is prototype / low volume / engineering run stuff. That's why speed is not quite the issue for me. The setup time and all that will be the biggest part of any job. Running ten boards in ten minutes plus an hour setup is not that much better than ten boards in twenty minutes plus an hour setup. If the extra ten minutes is the difference between 100% accuracy and an hour of rework, that is a fine thing. Yes, my world is different.

Bob
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 15, 2016, 03:29:07 am
I had this exact discussion with Hiami from NeoDen this morning.

She pointed me to a board that they run for themselves - eg, part of one of their machines.

Looks good to me. I think it's worth the risk. If I thought I could repeatedly get this accuracy, I'd be in heaven.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0AqR2cgTrI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0AqR2cgTrI)

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 15, 2016, 03:34:26 am
If the N4 had more feeders i'd be in like flin.  having less than 80 feeders is just problematic for me.  Just like the person up above, my requirement is not for runnign a small factory, its for supproting a team of design engineers who are constantly building stuff, ( 3 or 4 of something ) . And if we coudl build 10 or 20 of somethign it would transform how we could do a few other thigns.   I wonder how well two of these would behave end on end.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 15, 2016, 03:42:36 am
Here is a new Neoden 4 video of it placing LED's on a 1.2m panel.

The machine is shaking like crazy  :wtf: I wonder if its on the Neoden 4 Stand they sell?

https://youtu.be/vwKmE7UrbKY
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 15, 2016, 03:54:54 am
Out of curiosity, the board came in from the left and then got spat out to the left when it was finished. Is this a configuration thing.. I woudl have thought for most applicaitons that having it feed out to the right, would be good..  ( i'd park my oven next to it on the right ) and have my stenciling on the left, in some kind of line..   

There is an option to eject the board to the front (left) or back (right).

...
The placement accuracy seems pretty good overall but the parts tend to move when actually placed by the Z axis depending on amount of compression on the nozzle etc.

My experience with the older machine to prevent parts moved away when placed is not to let the nozzle compressed at all by setting the "placement height" carefully, parts should fixed to the pcb only by the solder paste surface tension.

If the N4 had more feeders i'd be in like flin.  having less than 80 feeders is just problematic for me.

Two N4 in series will fulfill your requirement :D, other option with 80+ feeders won't be below $100K i think.


Will try panelized board today and add the two fine pitch ic, after that will start loading the machine with all the components for production - hope can start a full run tomorrow.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 15, 2016, 05:18:33 am
Mr Packethead,

Our situation and requirement is sounding remarkably similar to yours - shame we're not both in the same city.

Our typical build has something in the range of 60-90 component types, and although we aren't constantly creating new designs, our project is suited to JIT build and delivery.

I was holding out for something 'better' from NeoDen, but I think any hope of that is further into the future than I can afford to wait. Our solution will therefore be to buy 1 machine now, and satisfy ourselves of it's capabilities, then add another joined by conveyor. This will allow us to keep the machine loaded with sufficient components [when you include an array of IC Trays [customised for each board] constantly loaded in the machine/s.

I assume you were intending running your machine in NZ, not Melb?

BTW - there is an early video on YouTube of a small fab using 2 N4s interfaced by a conveyor.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 15, 2016, 09:40:03 am
Quote
Our typical build has something in the range of 60-90 component types, and although we aren't constantly creating new designs, our project is suited to JIT build and delivery.

Our parts between boards are ofte[qun the same with only a few differences.  When I looked at things, I may well be able to keep 50+ reels of parts on a machine and very rarely need to change them.
 

Quote
I was holding out for something 'better' from NeoDen, but I think any hope of that is further into the future than I can afford to wait. Our solution will therefore be to buy 1 machine now, and satisfy ourselves of it's capabilities, then add another joined by conveyor. This will allow us to keep the machine loaded with sufficient components [when you include an array of IC Trays [customised for each board] constantly loaded in the machine/s.


For a similar amount of cash,  and speed, the SmallSMT machines ( the servo motor version ) with 90 feeders does look good. What concerns me with SmallSMT is that its a one man operation out of Germany, with Chinese machines.. I Saw there software and it looks better than the Neoden. Oh what to do.


Quote
I assume you were intending running your machine in NZ, not Melb?

id move to Melbourne, the wife is not so keen.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: wraper on March 15, 2016, 10:07:56 am
Here is a new Neoden 4 video of it placing LED's on a 1.2m panel.

The machine is shaking like crazy  :wtf: I wonder if its on the Neoden 4 Stand they sell?
They have a crappy laminate floor, no stand will save the day, unless it's a 150kg piece of concrete.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 15, 2016, 10:38:49 am
I wonder how easy it would be to modify the N4 so it has an easily exchangeable feeder bank, to allow for a bigger range of parts in one design.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 15, 2016, 11:22:11 am
Definitely possible I believe.

I suggested this to them a couple of months ago.
While we're at it we may as well place the tape feeder and tape cover puller on a single sheet of s/steel.

Would love to be able to retro fit a cheap Main Stream feeder to this.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 15, 2016, 03:19:19 pm
Unsatisfactory result today, the placement shifted to the left (Y- direction on the machine), and the bad board detection feature seems not working.

(http://s20.postimg.org/81o1e5zql/Shifted.jpg)

On the video below, i meant the tray to be started at row 4 (the tray is too near to the front) but the machine looking at row 3. I cut the rest of the video as it is a boring repeated attemps of rearranging the chip on the tray.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ns6_BbLzvU4 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ns6_BbLzvU4)

Will try again tomorrow, will add a dummy part as "first chip" for a more accurate reference and will do calibrating the nozzles first.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 15, 2016, 04:00:01 pm
Ichan: Check your mark point settings very carefully... I spent a long time trying to figure out why parts were placing slightly off and it all had to do with this. Try the Vision Align feature in the placement screen to see where the parts will go. Use Step to get the board loaded and the mark points detected and then turn on Vision Align and you can move back and forth in the chiplist and see where the machine THINKS it will put the part. This is the best way to check the alignment before actually wasting parts.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 15, 2016, 05:02:34 pm
Thanks Elmood, i will try it tomorrow.

How to set the mark points in import file mode? The align function is disabled, i fill the coordinates from the CAD manually on it.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 15, 2016, 05:24:56 pm
Here is a new Neoden 4 video of it placing LED's on a 1.2m panel.

With really poor choice of feeder position!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 15, 2016, 06:30:33 pm
Icahn,
I really think that 'any' attempt to get a production quality result without fiducial markings, will always deliver a hit and miss outcome. They are designed specifically to provide the machine with a reliable coordinate system to match a board with the machine.

I commented on this point in an earlier post.

We've seen plenty of videos where the machine successfully repeats its placement accurately on panelized boards (with fids). The fact that the first board is mostly correct is a promising start.

Do you have any boards or panels with fids?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 15, 2016, 06:36:02 pm
I've been meaning to ask this question for some time.

Is the software version information available in the interface?
If so, what versions are you two guys running? Is it the same?

This may explain why Ichan sees different options to Elmood.

Thanks Elmood, i will try it tomorrow.

How to set the mark points in import file mode? The align function is disabled, i fill the coordinates from the CAD manually on it.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 15, 2016, 06:48:30 pm
Question for anyone with the rail option - will it cope with nonstandard thicknesses?
Presumably you can disable the rail feed and use a static fixture?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 15, 2016, 06:53:29 pm
Ichan,
I remember Elmood reported a similar issue on 2 Mar in reply# 429, about the head going to wrong position on IC Tray. Didn't quite make it clear if that was User or Machine error in the end.

Elmood - perhaps you can comment?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 15, 2016, 07:34:22 pm
Question for anyone with the rail option - will it cope with nonstandard thicknesses?
Presumably you can disable the rail feed and use a static fixture?

It looks to have springs that push up on the conveyor belt and apply pressure to the PCB board so from what I have seen it should work with just about any size PCB thickness.

You can see this in some of Ichan's latest videos where they are tightening up the steppers that run the rail system.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 16, 2016, 02:22:43 am
I believe I have 4.0.2.6 version of the software. I noticed in one of the recent Neoden videos that they have a shiny logo on the main screen which I don't have. I'm hoping that means that a new one is coming soon.

Not sure how I would get it though... I'm hoping that they will contact each customer since I doubt it will be available for download.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 16, 2016, 02:36:05 am
Which raises the question:
Do NeoDen provide lifetime free software upgrades, as the features roll out?
I assume they supply lifetime updates for fixes and other mods - pls confirm if you're aware, both of these circumstances.

I believe I have 4.0.2.6 version of the software. I noticed in one of the recent Neoden videos that they have a shiny logo on the main screen which I don't have. I'm hoping that means that a new one is coming soon.

Not sure how I would get it though... I'm hoping that they will contact each customer since I doubt it will be available for download.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: matseng on March 16, 2016, 02:47:24 am
Which raises the question:
Do NeoDen provide lifetime free software upgrades, as the features roll out?
I assume they supply lifetime updates for fixes and other mods - pls confirm if you're aware, both of these circumstances.
Another rather important question is: How long is "lifetime" for a product like this?  How long before they stop manufacturing a particular product and at the same time stop issuing updates and fixes for it? 

The professional big-irons have support contracts lasting for a very long time like the machine rx8pilot got. But how long will companies keep on fixing the firm- & softwares and keep spares for $10K machines - or even worse $3K ones?  Maybe for the latter price range it's not really important since it's basically pocket change for a company....
   
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 16, 2016, 03:40:50 am
My machine shows version 4.0.2 B7 - i wonder which one is newer.

The Vision Align as Thommo said is never enabled, i am waiting for the answer from Tony now.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 16, 2016, 04:14:19 am
I'm guessing your version is 'beta7', which would normally be later than 'version 6' Ichan.

Do you have any boards with fiducials on them Ichan?

I'm absolutely positive you'll solve the align/drift issue once you run a batch of boards with a border on the panel. You can place the fids on those borders.

I know you feel limited in PCB height, but you can limit the borders to left and right only if need be.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 16, 2016, 04:35:08 am
@matseng: At least for my machine not really an issue. You can buy an almost identical head, feeders and stuff on sites like robotdigg. The only real issue is the software. If they stop working on it I'll either have to live with it or make my own.

Regards, Axel
 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 16, 2016, 05:02:31 am
Hi Ichan,

When I commented this morning I [mis]understood, and thought you meant the components gradually shifted/drifted to the left as they got further away from your 0.0 reference.

Looking at your pic now on a large screen, I see that ALL of the components appear to be displaced by the SAME amount over to the left of where you expected them to be.

How did you load the PnP reference data into the N4?
Was is a manual input, or were the co-ordinates imported from a PnP file?
Seems simple to conclude that what you considered to be 0.0, is in fact not.

This could also be the result of using a 'reference' footprint to set up the panel on the machine where the 'anchor point' is not in the middle of the component, and yet the machine assumes it IS in the middle. Sounds like something fairly simple whatever it is.

Unsatisfactory result today, the placement shifted to the left (Y- direction on the machine), and the bad board detection feature seems not working.
(http://s20.postimg.org/81o1e5zql/Shifted.jpg)

Will try again tomorrow, will add a dummy part as "first chip" for a more accurate reference and will do calibrating the nozzles first.
-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 16, 2016, 05:24:19 am
The shifted amount is not the same, the least shifted is the left top board while the worst is the right bottom board.

Tried using some different reference (first chip and mark points) still got some shifted placement, verified using step - vision method (works now, it need all the mark points recognized first)

Now i wonder if the pcb is not accurate in dimension, or the step / mm setting of the machine is not true.

I do not want to try with another pcb for now, this one is what i have to do asap.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 16, 2016, 05:28:19 am
Elmood, how is the Button “to curr p” works?

I always got error pressing this button.

-ichan.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 16, 2016, 05:48:29 am
The shifted amount is not the same, the least shifted is the left top board while the worst is the right bottom board.

Tried using some different reference (first chip and mark points) still got some shifted placement, verified using step - vision method (works now, it need all the mark points recognized first)

Now i wonder if the pcb is not accurate in dimension, or the step / mm setting of the machine is not true.

I do not want to try with another pcb for now, this one is what i have to do asap.

-ichan

Do you suppose it's possible that at some point it is skipping a few steps. Maybe the decel/accel is too aggressive. Does it have rotary encoders on the X/Y steppers?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 16, 2016, 06:55:45 am
Ichan,

Elmood had this to say in his 'reply item #639' in this forum.
I had a look for it elsewhere, because I thought it had been mentioned before this, but couldn't locate it.

Button “to curr p”
The button "to curr p" (cannot be completely read on the button text) on the file edit screen is used to recalculate all of the part locations and rotation based on the PCB mark settings.  When doing this, the rotation of each part is calculated incorrectly, it seems to keep adding additional rotation each time the "to curr p" button is pressed.

Elmood, how is the Button “to curr p” works?

I always got error pressing this button.

-ichan.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 16, 2016, 07:21:10 am
Thommo yes i read that, the term "based on the pcb mark setting" is not clear to me and i always got error message clicking it.

Do you suppose it's possible that at some point it is skipping a few steps. Maybe the decel/accel is too aggressive. Does it have rotary encoders on the X/Y steppers?

I think it is not loosing steps, because loosing steps usually have some strange sounds when it happen.

I quickly check the step/mm of the machine by printing a square of 200x200 mm on a paper then verify the dimension of that printed paper on the machine. The error i got is not more than 0.2mm for 200mm length - seems the setting is true.

The pcb should be in the right dimension too because it is ok on my other machine.

Headache i had now...  :(

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 16, 2016, 07:52:48 am
@Ichan  Did Neoden send you the practice PCB + PNP file so you can populate that demo board?

I'm wondering if they had the PNP file available if you could load it and see if the machine places it perfectly or if its off on that also?

If it does run it perfectly then look at the PNP file and see if there is anything you can learn from it.

Just talking out loud here.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 16, 2016, 08:46:53 am
Which raises the question:
Do NeoDen provide lifetime free software upgrades, as the features roll out?
I assume they supply lifetime updates for fixes and other mods - pls confirm if you're aware, both of these circumstances.
Another rather important question is: How long is "lifetime" for a product like this?  How long before they stop manufacturing a particular product and at the same time stop issuing updates and fixes for it? 

Probably until the next machine comes out, or their software guy leaves.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Kjelt on March 16, 2016, 12:10:04 pm
Probably until the next machine comes out, or their software guy leaves.
What software guy  >:D
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 16, 2016, 02:45:47 pm
@Ichan  Did Neoden send you the practice PCB + PNP file so you can populate that demo board?

Yes they provide the sample pcb and working files, but then i have to prepare the components for that board which i may not have it all handy. Besides, i have to solve the problem with this board.

I will step back a little trying a single board tomorrow, seems this software had problem with angled position. Any non zero angle will need matrix transformation calculation, it may suffer an accumulated rounding error - just a thought.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TankSparks on March 16, 2016, 07:07:25 pm
Ichan  can you send me your csv file. I will be might able to spot what's wrong with it.   I've gone through the same type of problems you are having... but I have now mastered the software with single or panelized boards.
Are you using a conveyor?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 16, 2016, 09:20:41 pm
I think it was mentioned before but TankSparks is the owner of the machine I have used, he has a very good understanding of the software. I think we've seen pretty much every bug there is other then perhaps conveyor related stuff as we don't have that option. If you recall we also had the parts drifting off location as it placed them. There are subtle operation selections/order of operation selections that can cause the problem.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 16, 2016, 09:24:19 pm
What would it take to get @TankSparks to make a video or write up for how to properly setup the NeoDen 4 software so you get reliable placement?

Seems like that would help others out greatly when it comes to getting started.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 16, 2016, 09:30:01 pm
The community support for the N4 is very impressive. It's a shame that NeoDen are not following this more closely and stepping in.

I have been speaking with them a bit lately and they keep reiterating that their Chinese users aren't reporting these sorts of issues. So, this points to language, and probably better direct phone access.

There seems to also be a few from outside China that also have managed to 'crack the code' (not literally), and got their machines working reliably now.

Whatever happens, on behalf of all users - current and potential, please publish a step-by-step procedure for this fix when it occurs guys (hopefully today).

Good luck Ichan, TankSparks and TheSteve
and THANKS from everyone!

I think it was mentioned before but TankSparks is the owner of the machine I have used, he has a very good understanding of the software. I think we've seen pretty much every bug there is other then perhaps conveyor related stuff as we don't have that option. If you recall we also had the parts drifting off location as it placed them. There are subtle operation selections/order of operation selections that can cause the problem.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 16, 2016, 09:45:21 pm
IC Tray

Guys, I spoke with Hiami from NeoDen yesterday to clarify a point about configuration of their IC Tray.

In particular, I wanted to know how many different sized components the machine could handle when using the trays - or more specifically, how many different tray cubicle sizes it could handle.

Not surprisingly, she confirmed that all cubicles in a single row were required to be the same size - that's a given.

What I did learn is that the machine can handle up to 10 different rows. Each can be a different length, and located in any position that the head can reasonably get to.

My intention is to use this feature and customise trays for specific board builds. As usual, there are many items that only have 1 instance in many BOMs. So this will instantly increase the machine capacity to a further 10 components. Eg 48 X 8mm feeders + 10 tray options = 58 different components.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 16, 2016, 09:55:47 pm
I was hoping it could handle more than 10 rows so you could get way more parts in these custom trays if you needed.

I wonder if what the custom tray limit is on the  TVM802A machine that @Axel has? I think he say you can do as many custom trays as you have space for.

Seems like it's just a Neoden 4 software limitation cause I see no reason it couldn't do more than 10 different rows.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 16, 2016, 10:31:06 pm
I think the 10 row limit is a consideration built around their 'rail/conveyor' version of the machine - which is the feature that makes it attractive to us.

I imagine you'd be hard pushed to get many more than 10 rows of larger components/ICs in between the rail and feeders, but I agree that you could potentially get say 2x 10 [half length] rows in this space - if the SW allowed it, even it the max component count was say 15 pcs, we'd be happy to reload the trays every 16th board.

BTW - Ichan's reply #682 contains a video of a set up featuring a 10x row Waffle Tray

I was hoping it could handle more than 10 rows so you could get way more parts in these custom trays if you needed.
I wonder if what the custom tray limit is on the  TVM802A machine that @Axel has? I think he say you can do as many custom trays as you have space for.
Seems like it's just a Neoden 4 software limitation cause I see no reason it couldn't do more than 10 different rows.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 17, 2016, 05:02:25 am
@rwb: I can define up to 10 trays, single or multi row, 1x10, 2x5, 3x4, no problem as long as I stay within the limits of the work plane and the rods of the PCB holder.

If it's practical is another question. Single row trays might be less prone to user error when you load them up manually. If you have multiple trays you will definitely want to label them clearly or even better have them in different colors (no problem with 3D printing...)

Regards, Axel


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 17, 2016, 05:24:23 am
TankSpark, i attached the working file in here so the other can check it too, and here the reference points i use for that working file. Thanks in advanced.

(http://s20.postimg.org/dxpi9pc19/Board_Ref.jpg)

Close up photo of the right bottom board where the worst shift happen.

(http://s20.postimg.org/uk72is4z1/Most_Shifted.jpg)

I re-read the thread back and found your post in here: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/neoden-4-pick-and-place/msg857078/#msg857078 (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/neoden-4-pick-and-place/msg857078/#msg857078)

You said that the X value for left top and left bottom need to be the same, whew... that is what i thought, it can not handle angled position!

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 17, 2016, 05:33:00 am
About the tray, 10 is the software limitation.

The software has 58 slot for feeders, 48 of it had been assigned to reel feeder, 10 more for extra feeder including trays.

Anyway, i found the machine always get the wrong edge of my board as picture below:

(http://s20.postimg.org/y6cvvfbcd/Board_Edge.jpg)

My board have a copper pour edge about 0.5mm before the board edge, the machine detect the copper pour edge not the board edge.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TankSparks on March 17, 2016, 07:46:13 am
@Ichan
Neoden doesn't ask you for the size of the boards in the panel  but it does want to know the location of first component in your file.  With that info it will make the necessary calculations.  I create a dummy component with x,y value of 0,0 and skip=yes so it won't try to place it.  I put this component first in the list.  It will make the following steps easier.

For the 1st chip, bottom left use the align button to enter value, so if I'm using my dummy component it will be the bottom left corner of the bottom left board.
Here's the twist....
For the 1st chip, top left board and 1st chip top right board  mathematically enter values as if your board was perfectly square. Type those x,y values in do not use the align button.    Its a bit of pain and requires a calculator,  but I found no other way.  The neoden video examples do not use  fiducials, or have an example with manual data(absolute values) . I see you also use the bottom left corner as your 0,0 reference as I do.
Don't worry if board is not perfectly squared in machine,  its impossible.  I verified that this method will work even if your board is at a angle
Click Create panel list button,  don't forget this,  if you change any values you must click this button afterwards

type in  the values of your mark points  bottom left,  then top right.  Two marks points for the whole panel,  these values will be relative to the 0,0 reference which in your case is the bottom left corner of your board.

I also noticed you have vacuum test set to no for each part,  which would be a good idea to have it checked or you may end up with missing parts on your board.


Mount file
Click Step   It will step through the two mark points you entered,  then machine will stop
Now align button will no longer be grayed out.  You can now use align button for each part to verify where it will place parts.   You can also select different boards in your panel

Tips
Make sure your x,y data is the center of the part,  I got caught on that one.
Do not use 3 mark points unless I made an error 3 mark points caused parts to be way off.   Use 2 mark points  bottom left and top right.  I have not tested with 4 mark points.
You can do a dry run if you change test no    to  test yes, it will run the job but doesn't turn on suction.   Unable to put it in that mode with their gui software, so you will need to edit file manually,  haven't really had any need to use it but its good to know.   






Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on March 17, 2016, 09:58:02 am

2pcs Mark point (FED) they must be made on IPC standards and not as a hole like you. This error is possible in the accuracy of the installation.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 17, 2016, 04:24:15 pm
Hi Ichan
I don't think the fact that the N4 sees the wrong 'edge' of your board will have anything to do with what problem you are describing.

TankSparks can you pls confirm this?

Board edge detection should only be an aid to tell the rail/conveyor system when to stop advancing the board into the machine. From there the N4 should begin its 'search' for the pre-determined marks (fiducial).
So 0.5, or even 1.0mm ought not be an issue if valid mark points are used.

Once the fiducials are identified, the machine to board/panel relationship, including rotation, should be known and automatically calculated.

It will then use the 0.0 (or first component) reference to identify the relative positions of all the footprints on the first board.

The reason for identifying the same 0.0 or first component on the top left and top right boards should be to determine the offsets between one board and the next/others.

What TankSparks said about only requiring 2 marks or fiducials does confuse me a little however. Without 3 marks to form a right angle, I'm not sure how it determines the panel rotation unless you are equiped to actually enter the coordinates of each of the 2 marks.

I recall something in a video, which requires identifying a vertical line, but think this is for single boards only, without fiducials.

TankSparks, thanks for the detailed explanation.
Can you please confirm my understanding from your practical experience?
Will be interesting to see how it work out now.

I still think you'll continue to have inconsistencies without proper markings however, but I hope for your sake that not the case Ichan.




Anyway, i found the machine always get the wrong edge of my board as picture below:

(http://s20.postimg.org/y6cvvfbcd/Board_Edge.jpg)

My board have a copper pour edge about 0.5mm before the board edge, the machine detect the copper pour edge not the board edge.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 17, 2016, 05:35:38 pm
I'm with Jefferson and thommo here. The problem might very well originate from using holes/vias as fiducials (or "marks"). If the software expects the fid to be 1mm in diameter (a common size) a larger or smaller hole might throw it off. Likewise, if the software looks for disks rather than circles what's under the hole/via might confuse it.  One way to test this would be to close the holes with some tape on the bottom of the pcb.

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 17, 2016, 05:48:11 pm
Holes are not good fiducials. On top of that, there should be more than 2 for a panel that size. Chips land on pads. The pads are made by the same process and the same time as a FID. Drills, are a separate process where the alignment may not be great AND drills wander unpredictably for every hole.

I got inconsistent results using holes for fids. It has been perfect since I started putting real fids on every board. Granted, I don't have an N4 - but it's worth noting. I also had some trouble with HASL boards if the pads are domed. The irregular doming, would make the pad appear distorted to the top camera and the fiducial would be shifted. The flat pads on an ENIG board are more consistent.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 17, 2016, 06:14:18 pm
I do really understand how a standard fiducial will be much more preferable, but the fact is this board has none of them - i have to find the solution for this board, even the machine now already fully loaded with all the components for this board.

Has no time with the machine today, plan for tomorrow:

- check and if required realign the rails
- verify the board size on the machine coordinate
- try single board
- try TankSpark recommendation
- slow down the speed
- try manual mark point recognition

The last one is Neoden recommendation i got by email.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 17, 2016, 06:16:48 pm
- try manual mark point recognition

I did that on about 50 PCB's that did not have fids. Got me through the batch with perfect placement, and I learned my lesson.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ar__systems on March 17, 2016, 06:52:16 pm
If you don't have fiducials it is not a big problem for a small batch. You can use any pad. For example take one of the any 0603 resistors pad. You have exact coordinates for them from your CAD. Then do manual alignment. If you are lucky the s/w can use square mark to do automatic alignment.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 17, 2016, 10:58:01 pm
Ichan - from what I understand 'rail alignment' can have no effect on your outcome.

It doesn't matter if they are parallel to the travel axis or not. The N4 will determine the position and angle in the software.

You only need to be able to identify the 'mark' or fiducial accurately, and then input the number of rows and columns in the panel, and then the 2 offsets which represent the 'step and repeat' dimensions of your boards in the panel, relative to the 'first component'.

eg - if your boards are 50 x 100, and you have no panel borders in between each board [they butt up to each other on both the x & y axis, then the 'step and repeat' offsets are 50mm and 100mm respectively.


I do really understand how a standard fiducial will be much more preferable, but the fact is this board has none of them - i have to find the solution for this board, even the machine now already fully loaded with all the components for this board.

Has no time with the machine today, plan for tomorrow:

- check and if required realign the rails
- verify the board size on the machine coordinate
- try single board
- try TankSpark recommendation
- slow down the speed
- try manual mark point recognition

The last one is Neoden recommendation i got by email.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: elmood on March 17, 2016, 11:44:42 pm
ichan: The edge of board detection shouldn't matter too much. It's really mostly used to know roughly where to find the mark points.

As for alignment problems, I fought with this for ages before finally trying some more controlled tests to see what was going on. I was convinced that there was a bug or some problem with my data.

It turns out that using only 2 mark points is not enough. I moved to 4 spaced evenly as far to the corners of the board as possible and this made it work better. But two of my points were mounting holes of about 3mm diameter. Although they LOOK centred in the image during detection the machine doesn't actually show where it's zeroing in on. It turned out that probably lighting, etc. was making these points not really reliable. I'm now using small vias and this works MUCH better. But be careful to choose holes that don't have other ones very near them... one of our holes often detects the adjacent one and this causes all kinds of problems. (like putting parts on the rails)

Neoden said basically not to have any other holes within 3x the diameter of the mark point. I'm not convinced that this is correct and think it might need to be even further. But if you use the standard 1mm pad in a 3mm square cutout from your solder mask with some space around it I'm hoping that this will be acceptable most of the time. We found that by temporarily covering the adjacent hole with something helped detection... we just removed it before running the actual job.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 18, 2016, 12:05:32 am
This is a fiducial layout i use on the rails of any panels i make.  ( See attached )

It is a 1mm dot of copper, and then a 6mm diameter copper track around it.   THe purple area is solder mask, ( inverted ), so there is never any solder mask anywhere near it.
This works very well across a range of machines.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 18, 2016, 12:10:13 am
@Elmwood So how is the machine running for you now that you have figured out how to use it? How many boards have you made with it so far?

And I will share this for the guys interested in manual stencil paste machines: https://www.tindie.com/products/CYBRES/cybres-sp2421-stencil-printer/ (https://www.tindie.com/products/CYBRES/cybres-sp2421-stencil-printer/)

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 18, 2016, 08:43:15 am
I think i found where is the problem ;).

First as planned i check the alignment of the fixed rail, X changes along 336mm Y travel is only 0.07mm - that is almost perfectly aligned!

Then I verify the board coordinates on the machine, below is the points measured.

(http://s20.postimg.org/ejxb85hkd/Ref.jpg)

And here is the result.

(http://s20.postimg.org/4xz5e410t/Ref_Check.jpg)

See the difference in red, it is about a confirmation of the worst shifted amount of the right bottom board like on the close up photo before.

While doing this test i found that the automatic fiducial (mark point) recognition on the 1 mm drilled pad is almost exactly the same with the best my eyes can do.

Next i will try to re-align all the components manually (yes for all 88 parts), and try to use panelized mark points.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 18, 2016, 08:58:04 am
Just remember that on my LS60V the fiducial defined for each board (= panelized).

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: metalphreak on March 18, 2016, 11:42:07 am
Did you create the panel yourself or was it done by the board fab house? If they created the panel, they might've added a small gap between each copy of the board, to allow for the V-score groove?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Kjelt on March 18, 2016, 01:06:43 pm
Just a p&p noob question, if the fiducial is multi axis symetrical like the two rings example then the machine can not determine the board orientation (say 10x5cm pcb is placed as a 5x10cm pcb)
With an asymetric fiducial the machine can automatically correct the orientation or is this when multiple fiducials are used to make this decision, or what is the logic behind this?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ar__systems on March 18, 2016, 01:16:51 pm
Just a p&p noob question, if the fiducial is multi axis symetrical like the two rings example then the machine can not determine the board orientation (say 10x5cm pcb is placed as a 5x10cm pcb)
With an asymetric fiducial the machine can automatically correct the orientation or is this when multiple fiducials are used to make this decision, or what is the logic behind this?

Machine can't determine orientation of the board by two fiducials. It is told a general area to look for those and only use them for precise positioning. It does not scan entire area looking for them.

Doing automatic board orientation also serves no purpose, imho.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 18, 2016, 01:35:38 pm
One reason for using 3 fids is so it can detect a wrongly oriented board
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on March 18, 2016, 02:49:11 pm
Pcb orientation isn't important. Two fiducials enough to ensure high accuracy. It's provided to Samsung, DEK, Topaz, ... and other industrial professionals placer without problems. Provide enough precision to supply board assembly line and the movement of the nozzle unit.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 18, 2016, 04:10:30 pm
Pcb orientation isn't important.
Tell that to anyone who has accidentally loadad a PCB upside down.
The panel spec from every subcontractor I've dealt with shows 3 fids, and explicit instructions to NOT put a fid in the 4th location, as an orientation check.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on March 18, 2016, 04:36:21 pm
Violation enough. Few observes IPC standards among fans. If you are familiar with the IPC standards, 2 pcs fed asymmetrically placed necessarily,  the feed and the head are oriented correctly.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TankSparks on March 18, 2016, 06:59:17 pm
@Ichan   

did you try my method?
I looked at your file,  its not going to work
Look at the sample file from neoden attached 
Notice where I circled.... how 272.0 =  272.0  if these values are not equal it will not work.
 use align on bottom left only
then enter the values manually for x,y where I crossed off the align button by adding board height and board width

Your board does not have to be perfectly aligned. 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 18, 2016, 07:23:28 pm
Pcb orientation isn't important.
Tell that to anyone who has accidentally loadad a PCB upside down.
The panel spec from every subcontractor I've dealt with shows 3 fids, and explicit instructions to NOT put a fid in the 4th location, as an orientation check.

This is wide spread industry practice to do this..
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 18, 2016, 07:29:43 pm
@Elmwood So how is the machine running for you now that you have figured out how to use it? How many boards have you made with it so far?

And I will share this for the guys interested in manual stencil paste machines: https://www.tindie.com/products/CYBRES/cybres-sp2421-stencil-printer/ (https://www.tindie.com/products/CYBRES/cybres-sp2421-stencil-printer/)

Thats a fun kind of way to make a stencil printer, with easily avaialble bits..  Its nearly awesome, but there are a few little issues;

- it might be tricky to do double sided boards, as the pcb is sitting on a flat platfrom. its needs some standoffs
- The way of adjusting the pcb with those "paddles" while possible would be unbeilably fustrating and slow.. Particually when you are getting to fine pitch...   A little bit more work required.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 18, 2016, 07:47:17 pm
@Elmwood So how is the machine running for you now that you have figured out how to use it? How many boards have you made with it so far?

And I will share this for the guys interested in manual stencil paste machines: https://www.tindie.com/products/CYBRES/cybres-sp2421-stencil-printer/ (https://www.tindie.com/products/CYBRES/cybres-sp2421-stencil-printer/)

Thats a fun kind of way to make a stencil printer, with easily avaialble bits..  Its nearly awesome, but there are a few little issues;

- it might be tricky to do double sided boards, as the pcb is sitting on a flat platfrom. its needs some standoffs
- The way of adjusting the pcb with those "paddles" while possible would be unbeilably fustrating and slow.. Particually when you are getting to fine pitch...   A little bit more work required.
The pin-locating system used on Eurocircuits' stencil printer  avoids the need for any adjustments, though you  really need more of an up/down motion to engage than a swing-up mechanism. A simple lift-off  frame with locating pins may be all that's needed
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 19, 2016, 07:30:45 am
did you try my method?

Yes, but the problem is still - verified by vision align.

I just tried single panel, the result is pretty good, not perfect yet but enough - will show the video and photo later.

I tried the panelized mode of mark points, but do not work. Anyone tried this?

From coordinate verification i found that may board units of length is about 0.002mm/mm larger than the machine, it is 0.2mm/10 cm - not good.

Panelized mark points will keep this error per-board not accumulated across the panel, eg the placement error for each board will be about the same as single board.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 19, 2016, 10:00:22 am
Hi Ichan,
I guess you must be getting fairly frustrated by now.

I think you're trying to do something that can't be done - at least not as it's currently set up.

My suggestion is that you get from NeoDen the same copy of the software application that TankSparks is using. Once you've tried it with the same software as TankSparks, if you get a great success you'll know it was in your particular Software version. If you get the same unsatisfactory result with the TankSparks software version, using the same method, you've been using to date, you'll know to look at the Hardware, or it's in you usage of the software with that PCB / Panel.

If you check TheSteve's post 'reply # 601  6th March' you'll see the N4 is definitely capable of the results you're seeking, when the right combination is used.

BTW - how many of those blank PCBs do you have on hand? The sooner you can get your hands on some boards with Fids the better I think.

Peter

did you try my method?

Yes, but the problem is still - verified by vision align.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 19, 2016, 04:07:05 pm
I guess you must be getting fairly frustrated by now.

Not really, quite motivated today ;D.

Below is the video and photo of single board test today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UltRCeVNlSs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UltRCeVNlSs)

(http://s20.postimg.org/pf26q60j1/Single_Test.jpg)

My problem is more on the fact that 1mm on my pcb is not 1mm on the machine, the pcb is about 0.2mm/10cm larger than the machine, which one is true i do not know yet.

BTW - how many of those blank PCBs do you have on hand? The sooner you can get your hands on some boards with Fids the better I think.

I still have several hundreds of them. On the video above 1mm drilled round pad is reliable enough to be used as fiducial, even on dirty pads caused by the use of transparent adhesive.

I also tried the panelized board with mark points in panelized mode today, will post it soon.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 19, 2016, 04:24:30 pm
@ichan  It's nice to see some proper placement from your machine now  :D

It's also good to see it properly placing the  VFQFPN 16L chip accurately even though you do not have the machine place file perfectly setup yet.

I'm starting to lean towards buying the Neoden 4 now. Just need to see how all your boards end up going.

Hoping you get this all worked out soon.  :popcorn:
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 19, 2016, 04:46:04 pm
Also since were talking about 2 vs 3 Fudicals on PCB boards I figured I would share these pictures of a Evaluation board that I have here from TI.

TI has a company called Krypton do all their Evaluation board designs and manufacturing. Krypton assembles tons of boards for TI and use state of the art machines to do it.

If you look at all 6 of the EVM boards I have from TI you will see they use 3 Fudical marks on both the front and back of the boards.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 19, 2016, 04:58:35 pm
@rwb: you will have to make up your mind some day and take the plunge ;-) - Good to see that ichan is making progress. I think it has become clear that one cannot expect plug-and-play or turn key with that kind of equipment. You must be willing to experiment and learn as you go.

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ar__systems on March 19, 2016, 05:33:52 pm
My problem is more on the fact that 1mm on my pcb is not 1mm on the machine, the pcb is about 0.2mm/10cm larger than the machine, which one is true i do not know yet.

Sounds easy to fix, just make the correction in the export script when you extract the data from the CAD.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on March 19, 2016, 05:59:24 pm
Also since were talking about 2 vs 3 Fudicals on PCB boards I figured I would share these pictures of a Evaluation board that I have here from TI.

TI has a company called Krypton do all their Evaluation board designs and manufacturing. Krypton assembles tons of boards for TI and use state of the art machines to do it.

If you look at all 6 of the EVM boards I have from TI you will see they use 3 Fudical marks on both the front and back of the boards.
Hi rwb! Old IPC-7351 described three points on two straight lines. And these lines are perpendicular. This is on TI pcb. However, other standard allows for diaganal two points, but with a shift or be asymmetrical PCB midline.

These pcb of not the best example, as must also ring as in the att. photo.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 19, 2016, 07:52:02 pm
Also since were talking about 2 vs 3 Fudicals on PCB boards I figured I would share these pictures of a Evaluation board that I have here from TI.

TI has a company called Krypton do all their Evaluation board designs and manufacturing. Krypton assembles tons of boards for TI and use state of the art machines to do it.

If you look at all 6 of the EVM boards I have from TI you will see they use 3 Fudical marks on both the front and back of the boards.

I think having 3 is a great idea - the boards we use generally have one in each corner, not symmetrical though so a backwards board will not detect properly. However we have not been able to get the Neoden 4 to work properly with 3, it always places parts with an error. If we use two in opposite corners it works quite well. It is totally possible we are doing something wrong but what that is eludes us and since 2 is technically enough that is what we use now.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on March 19, 2016, 08:13:33 pm
Fiducial 3 pcs in the standard way, everybody does it's simmetrical. See att.
Why not simmertical?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 19, 2016, 08:40:03 pm
Icahn,

I have made a bad assumption in my comments, and would like you to clear it up for me if you don't mind.

I always considered that in the set up menu, of the 3 options;

Single
Panelized
Manual

you were working with the 'Single' option. Is this correct?

For those without knowledge of NeoDen's GUI, 'Single' means you have decided to use a single set of fiducials or mark points for a set of boards on a panel - typically placed on a panel's external borders, as opposed to using fiducials which may be specific to each board and measuring each board individually.

In my view it would be better labelled as
Panelized -
Individual - measure each board in the panel separately
Manual - no fids or marks


If you take a close look at the still photo in your last post and zoom in on j5 and compare it with j6 , there is considerable difference in the hole positions compared with the pads. This is what you have to deal with when you don't have proper marks or fids unfortunately. There certainly appears to be 0.2mm in there, and that's over a couple of centimetres, not 10.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 19, 2016, 08:46:38 pm
Fiducial 3 pcs in the standard way, everybody does it's simmetrical. See att.
Why not simmertical?

I think there may be some confusion here Jefferson.

If your illustration had a 4th fid, it would be symmetrical. What this drawing shows is asymmetric.

But it does form a right angle, which is a good thing.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 19, 2016, 08:59:41 pm
Ichan,
You are correct in that it appears to read those through holes as mark points.

In your video, did you notice the final adjustment move/correction the vision system made on your 1st mark point?

It appears to identify the centre correctly at first, and then makes a final move which, appears to me to be off-centre. Do you see this too, or is it just me?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TankSparks on March 20, 2016, 12:00:44 am
With 2 FIDs it can still be asymmetrical,   I put mark point 10mm from the edge and on the other side its 15mm from the edge,  if board goes in wrong it will not find FID and give error.
Also note that Neoden sample files only use 2 FIDs.   I do have FIDs in all 4 corners but just using 2 of them on the Neoden.


 

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 20, 2016, 12:46:15 am
TankSparks - do you guys do your own panel layouts for board manufacture? eg - supply a fully panelized board layout to you PCB supplier?
If so, what application do you use?

With 2 FIDs it can still be asymmetrical,   I put mark point 10mm from the edge and on the other side its 15mm from the edge,  if board goes in wrong it will not find FID and give error.
Also note that Neoden sample files only use 2 FIDs.   I do have FIDs in all 4 corners but just using 2 of them on the Neoden.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 20, 2016, 02:54:58 am
Thommo , here is a piece of software that will allow to you create panels from a single file. I received a email about this software a few months ago.

http://www.pentalogix.com/single-design-panelizer.php (http://www.pentalogix.com/single-design-panelizer.php)

Not sure if its what your looking for but I figured I would post it in case it's useful.  ;)

https://youtu.be/0ValVipYIvw (https://youtu.be/0ValVipYIvw)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 20, 2016, 04:26:47 am
Here is my test on panelized board yesterday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QkxG69JLCY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QkxG69JLCY)


For panelized mode marking points (fiducial), just define it on the first board (left bottom on the machine), before this i define it on all board which just did not work.

Using this mode will localize the placement error within board boundary, not accumulated across panel.

The video above untrimmed, still some more to tweak
- at 1:38 it fail to find the mark point, i do not know why - helped it manually.
- at 2:07 some retry picking part on feeder 4, i found later that the nozzle not aligned good to the center of the pocket.
- at 2:30 feeder 16 on the back doesn't peel (like what TheSteve said), seems the feeder box and peel box not perfectly inline.

Below is the photo of the result, not like before the placement error is much better and about the same on each board.

(http://s20.postimg.org/js5tsoy0d/Panelized_Test.jpg)

Next i will try to:
- adjust the data coordinates to solve the dimmension error.
- add a dummy first chip with a more accurate refference (now the first chip is R10)
- use via as fiducial, i think smaller diameter is better.

About a week delay from the plan for now...

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 20, 2016, 06:36:12 am
I think at this point I would have decided to have the machine only do the 1206 and SOTs, they will orientate properly during soldering anyway. Then do the fine pitch stuff manually - just to get the boards out of the door.

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TankSparks on March 20, 2016, 05:23:52 pm
TankSparks - do you guys do your own panel layouts for board manufacture? eg - supply a fully panelized board layout to you PCB supplier?
If so, what application do you use?
I make my own panels,  I use Diptrace, it does have a panelize feature.


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 20, 2016, 06:14:07 pm
Theres an important lesson here.  Dont' buy a new PNP machine so you can complete a project, there is a learning curve!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on March 20, 2016, 07:30:14 pm
also I agree. A few points that bothered me:
1) The high price, poor description of N4; You can buy JUKI XJ-100 for this price, which is much better!
2) Looking for their little part of 'professional, if we look IPC-9850. Many don't correspond.
3) Stated high parameters of the new product, which isn't achieved quickly. Support sales good, bad engineering.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 20, 2016, 07:33:03 pm
1) The high price, poor description of N4; You can buy JUKI XJ-100 for this price, which is much better!

Where can you buy a Juki XJ-1000 for sub USD10,000 ?
 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on March 20, 2016, 07:39:05 pm
yes friend bought JUKI XJ-100 not JUKI XJ-1000, paid a little more, but in good condition and with support. We need to hunt for a good pro machines only.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 20, 2016, 07:43:05 pm
yes friend bought JUKI XJ-100 not JUKI XJ-1000, paid a little more, but in good condition and with support. We need to hunt for a good pro machines only.

Sorry I meant a XJ-100.  But now you say its more expenive, and sounds like it was 2nd hand.   Thats just not a vialble option for everyone. there is'nt a stack of $10,000 Juki machines with feeders lying around sir.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on March 20, 2016, 07:51:27 pm
... perhaps second hand, there is the basic support, this market is very good.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 20, 2016, 07:52:36 pm
... perhaps second hand, there is the basic support, this market is very good.

I searched ebay... coud'nt find a single machine.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TankSparks on March 20, 2016, 09:37:16 pm
@Ichan
I pointed out your problem,  reread my post #738, 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 21, 2016, 12:33:08 am
... perhaps second hand, there is the basic support, this market is very good.

I searched ebay... coud'nt find a single machine.
Production machinery tends to go through specialist brokers a lot more than ebay, as many users will want to buy with support.
And there aren't exactly huge numbers of machines to start with .
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: MTNELECTRONICS on March 21, 2016, 02:48:26 am
A bit of an update:  I have now produced dozens of panels (thousands of boards) with the machine, and I can say that it has been working great for me now that I understand the "ins and outs" of the machine.  I have been placing quite a few 0603 and even some 0402 and the placement accuracy is excellent---good enough that I don't have to worry about it as long as it is set up correctly.  It has taken some experimentation and experience to get the feed, pick, and place settings to where things are reliable enough to let the machine run with hardly any intervention.  You really have to spend some time and tune in each part to get it to the point of excellent reliability; some parts work well with the default settings, but many require some significant adjustment. 

I have been using 3 fiducials on the panels ("single" panel fiducial in the software), and I don't get any placement offset, but maybe I am setting things up in a different order than you are.  I always use "manual" mode, even though I import the coordinates (offset in excel) and then mark the fiducials manually in the machine the first time without moving the board.  I have not had as good of results using fully imported coordinates of the panel + fiducials.  It seems like for some reason the angle/offset of the board does not get updated correctly if the board is not perfectly straight.  Backwards, I know.   |O  I have also done some panelized boards where each panel has its own fiducials, and they are also accurate. 


I have had one peel box burn up and quit working.  I replaced it with a spare and went on my way, but I haven't contacted them yet about it.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 21, 2016, 03:01:19 am
Thanks for the update @MTNElectronics  :-+

Great to hear the machine has done it's job for thousands of boards now.

Can you share any pictures of the boards your producing? Just curious.

Also I would need to place IC parts with .5mm pitch pin spacing. Are any of your parts using .5mm pin spacing and if does the machine handle placing them right just fine once you have it dialed in?

Also what version of the machine software are you using? 

Has Neoden ever contacted you about updates to their software?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 21, 2016, 03:36:30 am
I pointed out your problem,  reread my post #738,

TankSpark, i already test it as on reply #742 - tried to set the X to be the same for left-botom and left-top also same Y for left-top and right-top, the problem is still.

I am pretty optimistic today, seems using fiducials in panelized mode and scaling my data to fix the dimensional difference will make my day, hopefully ;D.

I am now setting it up to use all the components.

A bit of an update:  I have now produced dozens of panels (thousands of boards) with the machine, and I can say that it has been working great for me now that I understand the "ins and outs" of the machine.  I have been placing quite a few 0603 and even some 0402 and the placement accuracy is excellent---good enough that I don't have to worry about it as long as it is set up correctly.  It has taken some experimentation and experience to get the feed, pick, and place settings to where things are reliable enough to let the machine run with hardly any intervention.  You really have to spend some time and tune in each part to get it to the point of excellent reliability; some parts work well with the default settings, but many require some significant adjustment. 

I have been using 3 fiducials on the panels ("single" panel fiducial in the software), and I don't get any placement offset, but maybe I am setting things up in a different order than you are.  I always use "manual" mode, even though I import the coordinates (offset in excel) and then mark the fiducials manually in the machine the first time without moving the board.  I have not had as good of results using fully imported coordinates of the panel + fiducials.  It seems like for some reason the angle/offset of the board does not get updated correctly if the board is not perfectly straight.  Backwards, I know.   |O  I have also done some panelized boards where each panel has its own fiducials, and they are also accurate. 


I have had one peel box burn up and quit working.  I replaced it with a spare and went on my way, but I haven't contacted them yet about it.

Begging to see it in action please...

-ichan

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: kayvee on March 21, 2016, 04:24:25 am
... perhaps second hand, there is the basic support, this market is very good.

I searched ebay... coud'nt find a single machine.

Equipmatching.com and smtnet.com are your best places to look.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 21, 2016, 04:32:40 am
... perhaps second hand, there is the basic support, this market is very good.

I searched ebay... coud'nt find a single machine.

Equipmatching.com and smtnet.com are your best places to look.


SMTnet.   "There were no results for xj-100 in any of the components on SMTnet. Suggestions:"
Equipmatching.com  "No results found for specified criteria."

If they are the best places, then there is little hope..  :-DD
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 21, 2016, 04:51:54 am
After looking at what is for sale on those 2 website it's pretty clear how revolutionary the NeoDen 4 is and can be if we can all figure out exactly how to get the machine up and running without needing a week to set it up.

The machines being offered for sale are crazy old large dinosaurs. All the equipment and parts look like they come from the 60's  :palm:  I can see how people say they are build like tanks but it looks like you would need to rebuild the electronics to get them up and running on modern software.

These smaller PNP machines are a step in the right direction for sure. Now they just need to work on the software quality.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 21, 2016, 04:53:35 am
After looking at what is for sale on those 2 website it's pretty clear how revolutionary the NeoDen 4 is and can be if we can all figure out exactly how to get the machine up and running without needing a week to set it up.

The machines being offered for sale are crazy old large dinosaurs. All the equipment and parts look like they come from the 60's  :palm:  I can see how people say they are build like tanks but it looks like you would need to rebuild the electronics to get them up and running on modern software.

These smaller PNP machines are a step in the right direction for sure. Now they just need to work on the software quality.

there might be a few bargins from time to time, but this isnt an option really for the market that is emerging..
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 21, 2016, 05:28:24 am
Hi Ichan,

I'm curious to know how you determine the measurements you've made.

You said in a previous post that the machine/board measurements are out by 0.2mm per 100.0mm. Where are you measuring these points from and by what means?

On a different note, I'm certain you're buoyed by MTN's success. I'm sure it'll get there in the end. That said, it is still very odd that you are the only one who seems to see the 'step' increments not relating to real-world measurements. Could it be the SW version, or just a mistake ???

I pointed out your problem,  reread my post #738,

TankSpark, i already test it as on reply #742 - tried to set the X to be the same for left-botom and left-top also same Y for left-top and right-top, the problem is still.

I am pretty optimistic today, seems using fiducials in panelized mode and scaling my data to fix the dimensional difference will make my day, hopefully ;D.

I am now setting it up to use all the components.

A bit of an update:  I have now produced dozens of panels (thousands of boards) with the machine, and I can say that it has been working great for me now that I understand the "ins and outs" of the machine.  I have been placing quite a few 0603 and even some 0402 and the placement accuracy is excellent---good enough that I don't have to worry about it as long as it is set up correctly.  It has taken some experimentation and experience to get the feed, pick, and place settings to where things are reliable enough to let the machine run with hardly any intervention.  You really have to spend some time and tune in each part to get it to the point of excellent reliability; some parts work well with the default settings, but many require some significant adjustment. 

I have been using 3 fiducials on the panels ("single" panel fiducial in the software), and I don't get any placement offset, but maybe I am setting things up in a different order than you are.  I always use "manual" mode, even though I import the coordinates (offset in excel) and then mark the fiducials manually in the machine the first time without moving the board.  I have not had as good of results using fully imported coordinates of the panel + fiducials.  It seems like for some reason the angle/offset of the board does not get updated correctly if the board is not perfectly straight.  Backwards, I know.   |O  I have also done some panelized boards where each panel has its own fiducials, and they are also accurate. 


I have had one peel box burn up and quit working.  I replaced it with a spare and went on my way, but I haven't contacted them yet about it.

Begging to see it in action please...

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 21, 2016, 07:45:50 am
Out of curiosity: Are the PCBs fixed or clamped down while on the conveyor? Or are they only hold by friction and can move more or less freely (longitudinal and/or transversal)?

Regards, Axel

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 21, 2016, 07:49:27 pm
Not much time available today, only able to try single board with full components. The result is acceptable but there are some anoying pick failed issue, still need some adjustment. I make some notes of the feeder issue:

- the feeders had some play, the pocket hole is not always on the same position - need several trial to get the right pick position, using small nozzle will help.
- thick components in 8mm feeder is hard to feed, need to remove (or replace) the white plastic base (mentioned before by TheSteve).
- the feeder box and peel box have to be perfectly inline, if not the peeled cover will tend to shift and later failed to peel.
- the rear feeder can not be aligned using camera, have to use the nozzle and your eyes
- pick height default is 0.5 mm, let it be like that just change the placement height as required
- seems it is not possible to use more than one nozzle to pick parts from the same feeder (correct me)
- seems the feeder spit too many components on pick fail retry (no setting for that)

I'm curious to know how you determine the measurements you've made.
You said in a previous post that the machine/board measurements are out by 0.2mm per 100.0mm. Where are you measuring these points from and by what means?

I write coordinates of some points on the pcb from the CAD then put the pcb on the machine, navigate and write the corresponding points coordinates of the machine, then calculate it like below.

(http://s20.postimg.org/d543p6yel/Measure.jpg)

This way will only find the difference, not telling which one is true. I will try this again on my older machine later, should be interesting as that machine use 2um resolution linear encoder feedback (Renishaw RGH41G).

Out of curiosity: Are the PCBs fixed or clamped down while on the conveyor? Or are they only hold by friction and can move more or less freely (longitudinal and/or transversal)?

The pcb pressed by some spring through the belt on the conveyor (you can see it on "machine stup" video), held firm enough on position.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 22, 2016, 12:06:36 am
I saw this on Adafruits blog today and figured I would share here.

https://blog.adafruit.com/2016/03/21/updated-visionbot-pick-and-place-shipping-in-europe-manufacturingmonday-makermovement/

(https://blog.adafruit.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/VisionBot-SMT-Placement-Equipmenet-Laboratory-BIT-TECHNOLOGIES-1030x648.jpg)

If only the Neoden 4 had this software with it.

https://youtu.be/ewQUH6qBHEM

I asked the guy to come join the party over here.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 22, 2016, 12:35:26 am
96 feeders (unspecifiied) for 6500. Decent start if speed is not your goal (like me)

The software looks reasonable, the hardware strikes me as rather rotten but seems to work. I will buy slow/reliable over fast/unreliable any day.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 22, 2016, 12:39:00 am
Yea I don't need the super fast speed either.

Another video of it doing panels. The software looks to be much better.

Also you can see the machine speed up when picking parts and slow down when placing parts which is what @mikeselectricstuff likes to see  :D

Also he says they are now using Juki nozzles and it has a built in nozzle changer.

Hopefully this guy shows up over here to talk about all this.

https://youtu.be/52fK5Ej-88I
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 22, 2016, 12:43:36 am
Speed ramps are important. I wonder if they will sell the software to a hardware developer. It has the look of a toy.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 22, 2016, 01:03:26 am
This is what it looks like to program your parts. Lots of different options, almost too many  :)


https://youtu.be/anw01OADcbM
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 22, 2016, 01:04:20 am
Guys, we're all obviously worn out with the N4 travel path but, for mine, this machine and the N4 are galaxies apart. Sure it has more feeders, but others like SmallSMT offer this also with a MUCH BETTER HW build.

Good luck if you want to replace a reel in the middle of the stack once it's empty on this machine - it has 1 common axle.

The N4 [even though I haven't ordered one yet] now has an English speaking community who have it running successfully, including MTNElectoronics who says he's loaded thousands of boards now, and TankSparks and TheSteve too.

Hopefully soon, Ichan will join them.

I don't think that reviews of the N4 where normal, if not optium, conditions for producing machine loaded PnP SMT components are not followed - like having good, readable Marks/Fiducials, are true reflections of the machine or how it was intended to be used.

For mine, the rail and conveyor set this machine apart.

If we could just get one of the current, successful users to create a start-to-end video including the GUI and actual machine video, I think we'd all be converts.

Accuracy vs Speed
I don't need speed either, but the N4 is capable of it.
Accuracy is something it is also capable of according to TankSparks, TheSteve and MTNElectronics.

It's still N4  for mine.

The ONLY potential contender for me is the CharmHigh with changeable Yamaha pneumatic feeders [but only if they increased the max qty from 30 to something like double that number].

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 22, 2016, 01:10:35 am
Yea that new Charmhigh machine with the Yamaha pneumatic feeders would probably solve the feeder issues that people are talking about having with the Neoden 4 and Servokit's smaller machine. Seems like feeders are a problem with both machines eventually. That's probably why Charmhigh when the direction they did.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 22, 2016, 01:20:27 am
Guys, we're all obviously worn out with the N4 travel path but, for mine, this machine and the N4 are galaxies apart. Sure it has more feeders, but others like SmallSMT offer this also with a MUCH BETTER HW build.

This machine is not much more than a hobby..   There's a whole lot to be desired..     The Charm, Yunghsung and SMT machiens all are way better than this for a whole bunch less cash.     

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 22, 2016, 01:31:10 am
It sure is interesting to see all these people try to solve the problem of a high quality PNP machine for under 10K.

Nobody has hit the nail on the head yet.

The NeoDen 4 comes close but it sounds like the feeder design needs updating and the software needs repaired. The hardware looks amazing though.

Based on AR_systems feedback on ServoKit's machine it sounds like its not really a reliable solution either.

 :-//

I was hoping that Ichan would have his 2000 boards almost done by now. Sounds like he is almost ready to get started though.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ar__systems on March 22, 2016, 02:20:35 am
I'm not sure I like VisualBots software. The screen is cluttered, fruit salad of millions of controls. Needs cleaning up.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 22, 2016, 04:57:52 am
@rwb, thommo: I don't think that the Charmhigh is an alternative right now unless you want to be a guinea pig. As I see it, the TVMs and the N4 represent the two ends of affordable vision based P&P, price wise and feature wise. Both are actively used, for both communities are beginning to form. Now all we have to do is getting the manufacturers listening to us. Obviously, both machines have their issues but at least you know what they are and can plan accordingly.

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 22, 2016, 05:16:49 am
I also see the openpnp system becoming a force to be reckoned with,  its come a long way in a short time frame, and you can get a slow but reliable vision based system for $1500 + effort.   

I've been investigating this as an option.. there are plenty of "parts" shops in china will sell you just about everything you need.  Pickup heads and feeders..  Some good plans are coming together nicely now..

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 22, 2016, 05:29:19 am
Likewise, I would love to see OpenPnP succeed, but I also have commercial requirements that can't be fulfilled with love alone.

Some weeks ago we loosely discussed options to 'pool' some funds and produce a 'deliverable' piece of equipment. Regrettably, OpenPnp wasn't able to jump in and get the work done that would be required, and no one has time to go fishing for the contractors. It seems the only way this would work however is if it was coordinated by OpenPnP.

I agree it's come a long way in recent times [just look at the latest feature to include machine vision] and it certainly has potential to be a great option. But the real question is will NeoDen progress faster than even the very best efforts of an OpenPnP programme. Unfortunately, I think not. NeoDen, although we don't agree with how the prioritize things, do have a commercial manifest driving them, and they do have successful history in delivering hardware to the market.

Trust me when I say 'hang on for about 4-6 weeks' before you make any decisions in this space. I'm fairly certain it'll be worth the wait.


I also see the openpnp system becoming a force to be reckoned with,  its come a long way in a short time frame, and you can get a slow but reliable vision based system for $1500 + effort.   

I've been investigating this as an option.. there are plenty of "parts" shops in china will sell you just about everything you need.  Pickup heads and feeders..  Some good plans are coming together nicely now..
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 22, 2016, 06:17:39 am
Some weeks ago we loosely discussed options to 'pool' some funds and produce a 'deliverable' piece of equipment. Regrettably, OpenPnp wasn't able to jump in and get the work done that would be required, and no one has time to go fishing for the contractors. It seems the only way this would work however is if it was coordinated by OpenPnP.

I'm still game for this. I've been hoping someone would post a little bit of information about the workings of the machine so I can get a better feel for the level of effort in reverse engineering it. Some things that would help a lot:

* Screen captures from Windows device manager showing any connections the machine has to the computer.
* Manufacturer and model of the cameras, and their connection methods. Are they UVC? Do they require a special driver?
* If the machine connects via USB to Serial, a serial dump would be magnificent. There's http://www.eltima.com/products/serial-port-monitor/ (http://www.eltima.com/products/serial-port-monitor/) which makes it pretty easy. Install that, run a job, capture the output.
* Detailed pictures of the main control board. Not the PC board - that doesn't really matter, but the board that interfaces with all the motors.
* Pictures of any other electronics involved in the thing.
* Captures of the CAN data on the feeder bus. I don't have any experience with CAN, so I don't know how complex this would be, but I suspect something like a Bus Pirate would do the job.
* Information about how the peel boxes connect to the machine and what is controlling them. I know the feeders are CAN, but the peel boxes are analog. What controls them?

If I can get some of that information I can make an informed decision on whether this is something I can get done in a reasonable amount of time and then we can move forward, but right now I am in the dark.

Further along on that topic, do I remember correctly that someone in Vancouver, BC has one of these? I'm in Seattle, so if someone in Vancouver wants to let me drive up for the weekend and poke through their machine I'd be up for that. Even better if someone in Seattle has one :)

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ar__systems on March 22, 2016, 06:29:03 am
I hope you don't think you can decipher a comm protocol just by looking at logs of a random job, without knowing what the machine does at the time?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 22, 2016, 06:33:21 am
I hope you don't think you can decipher a comm protocol just by looking at logs of a random job, without knowing what the machine does at the time?

Depends very much on the protocol. I think the likelihood is very high that it's just using Gcode with possibly some extensions for running the feeders, lighting, etc. If it's Gcode then that's enough for me to say "Yea, I can probably do this." If it's something else there's a pretty reasonable chance I can figure it out anyway. Reverse engineering weird protocols and file formats is something I've got a lot of experience with.

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TankSparks on March 22, 2016, 07:32:05 am
I hope you don't think you can decipher a comm protocol just by looking at logs of a random job, without knowing what the machine does at the time?
Fortunately the Neoden has a GUI screen with all the test command buttons. Commands for feeding, suction, nozzles up/down rotate etc.      So it would not be that hard to decipher the protocol.   
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 22, 2016, 07:55:32 am
Hi Jason,

Great to see the activity level rise and the discussion happening again.
What I actually meant [and I understand MrPackethead meant also] was creating a machine from 'scratch'. This is no mean task, but certainly has potential if NeoDen ever went off the rails.

What is more exciting is the prospect of buying N4s, and using your OpenPnP code to drive it.

This means those of us sitting on the fence still  have some options and would likely move more quickly:
   put up with N4 GUI and software in the interim,
   look forward to enabling custom commands via OpenPnP application when, and as, they get released, developed, or requested - or write ourselves.

Heck, it's even possible to toggle the option at 'start up' and decide who's Software you wish to run.

Let's know if I can help in any way. FWIW - is it an option to change out the controllers in the N4 if you already have OpenPnP code that works with them? I know it's an additional cost, but it may also be the quickest and, in the end, cheapest way forward. [I say this blissfully unaware of the relative cost of the controllers you have designed for in the OpenPnP project].


Some weeks ago we loosely discussed options to 'pool' some funds and produce a 'deliverable' piece of equipment. Regrettably, OpenPnp wasn't able to jump in and get the work done that would be required, and no one has time to go fishing for the contractors. It seems the only way this would work however is if it was coordinated by OpenPnP.

I'm still game for this. I've been hoping someone would post a little bit of information about the workings of the machine so I can get a better feel for the level of effort in reverse engineering it. Some things that would help a lot:

[/quote]
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 22, 2016, 08:07:47 am
Likewise, I would love to see OpenPnP succeed, but I also have commercial requirements that can't be fulfilled with love alone.

From what i've seen, i'd trust openpNP and some custom built hardware before i trusted this N4 stuff.  40 feeders just dont' cut it for my Low Volume High Mix box.   The only other thing i've seen that comes close was the Small SMT, but i'm uncomfortable about that, and how it might be supported.   

I see that an open hardware / open software solution even if its a llittle less stable to start with is a much better long term solution..
everyone has to do what they think is the right thing for them, and nobody should be expecting that everyone should follow their choosen  path.

Quote
I agree it's come a long way in recent times [just look at the latest feature to include machine vision] and it certainly has potential to be a great option. But the real question is will NeoDen progress faster than even the very best efforts of an OpenPnP programme. Unfortunately, I think not
I think it will.

Quote
Trust me when I say 'hang on for about 4-6 weeks' before you make any decisions in this space. I'm fairly certain it'll be worth the wait.

Anther mahine released before its ready?

I also see the openpnp system becoming a force to be reckoned with,  its come a long way in a short time frame, and you can get a slow but reliable vision based system for $1500 + effort.   

I've been investigating this as an option.. there are plenty of "parts" shops in china will sell you just about everything you need.  Pickup heads and feeders..  Some good plans are coming together nicely now..
[/quote]
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 22, 2016, 08:13:53 am
Hi Jason,

Great to see the activity level rise and the discussion happening again.
What I actually meant [and I understand MrPackethead meant also] was creating a machine from 'scratch'. This is no mean task, but certainly has potential if NeoDen ever went off the rails.


Theres a couple of documented builds and boms you can follow now and get your self into a working machine for under $2000. Yeah it will be simple,  ( cut strips and parts in trays.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 22, 2016, 08:47:00 am
What attracts me is a path I can spend around $10K on, and build forward with that same platform - hence the interest in mods to the NeoDen product - N4 or otherwise.
What I can't afford now is another project in the workshop which, although I may be able to build upon for the future, is one which I can't commercially work with out of the box. I think I'd be better off with the N4.

48 x 8mm feeders is a limitation and I agree with MrPackethead on that one for sure. I think the idea of assembling the feeders into a single removable Cart [left and right sides] is a good one, but let's see what coming along in the pipeline.

If there was an OpenPnP design the worked for around $10K and available NOW, I think we'd all be saying yes.
If the N4 had an OpenPnP interface right now, I think we'd also be saying yes to that.

That said, TheSteve, TankSparks, MTNElectronics are having continued success after around 1 week of combined work with the N4 and produced 1,000s of boards apparently. This is something I don't expect to be able to say about  $2K OpenPnP project in its current state, any time soon, which is a shame really.

My thoughts are to adopt the N4 and use it out of the box for now, see what happens at NeoDen, help adopt the OpenPnP path to the N4, and eventually become sufficiently knowledgeable to either by a bigger machine, or design and build one from scratch using the OpenPnP. Hopefully, before then, someone else publishes a design that does exactly this [with separate commercial, inexpensive feeders - wishful, but the Yamaha pneumatic ones are certainly reasonable and available with up to 24mm tape width].

Hi Jason,

Great to see the activity level rise and the discussion happening again.
What I actually meant [and I understand MrPackethead meant also] was creating a machine from 'scratch'. This is no mean task, but certainly has potential if NeoDen ever went off the rails.


Theres a couple of documented builds and boms you can follow now and get your self into a working machine for under $2000. Yeah it will be simple,  ( cut strips and parts in trays.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 22, 2016, 09:42:01 am
96 feeders (unspecifiied) for 6500. Decent start if speed is not your goal (like me)

The software looks reasonable, the hardware strikes me as rather rotten but seems to work. I will buy slow/reliable over fast/unreliable any day.
UI looks a bit of a mess IMO - initial impression is that it's showing far too much stuff for many tasks at the same time.
P&P is easily divided into distinct tasks - job setup, feeder setup, part setup, running jobs, and for each job the UI shouldn't be cluttered with unnecessary stuff.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 22, 2016, 09:47:53 am
I hope you don't think you can decipher a comm protocol just by looking at logs of a random job, without knowing what the machine does at the time?
That is entirely possible, it all depends on the protocol. At the very least some logs would indicate how easy/hard it's likely to be.
Chinese SW is likely to be using very something simple and specific to the task with minimal thought given to expansion etc. It ain't going to be XML!
I'd be surprised if it's even as complex as Gcode.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 22, 2016, 09:52:09 am
I wonder if the SMallSMT machiens use Gcode.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 22, 2016, 10:00:26 am
Anther machine released before its ready?
Many specialist machines are released before they're ready - the critical thing is how quick and responsive the manufacturer is to improve things. Neoden have so far seemed to only address very specific issues rather than doing any general improvements. The fact that there are things like passwords just to make it speak English  doesn't look promising.

3rd party SW driving the N4 looks like a good approach, and could potentially run on the N4 embedded PC.
Unfortunately the Chinese place little value on software, so it seems unlikely that a significant discount could be possible for buying the machine without SW.

Re. CAN decode, the 4-channel Agilent MSO/DSO 6/7000 series scopes  have a CAN decode option, and all options are easily enabled by a very simple hack so if someone has access to one of those that would be an option.
It would be good to find out what they are using for the CAN interface, as that may give some clues as to the API.

For feeders I'd be surprised if it wasn't something extremely simple like a few digits of <feeder number> <number of indexes>

BTW how are feeders addressed ? Is there a switch on each feeder, are they daisychained or do they all go to individual connectors ?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 22, 2016, 10:22:08 am
Quote
The fact that there are things like passwords just to make it speak English  doesn't look promising.

That really made me go WTF. Why would they do this?

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 22, 2016, 10:40:51 am
Quote
The fact that there are things like passwords just to make it speak English  doesn't look promising.

That really made me go WTF. Why would they do this?

Regards, Axel
It's possible that it's just to prevent Chinese users getting it into a state where it speaks a language they don't understand, but  may be a licensing thing or a way to attempt to control grey exports
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ar__systems on March 22, 2016, 01:08:44 pm
Regarding reversing the protocol remotely, without having the machine for tests - good luck with that :) Yes it is "entirely possible", in a sense that it is also possible to jump off a 5th floor and not break anything. Possible but highly unlikely.

I'm speaking from experience - I have nearly finished reversing TVM802B protocol and in the past I reversed a couple of other protocols. For TVM802B it is quite simple and straightforward, but it requires collecting several dozens of independent logs for very specific scenarios. It just would not be possible to do that remotely. And then of course comes up an issue of testing... Do you want to run a s/w on your machine that nobody knows what will do to it?

It is just an unrealistic path.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ar__systems on March 22, 2016, 01:14:16 pm
I wonder if the SMallSMT machiens use Gcode.
I'm fairly certain that it is not. G-code is too complex for the things that low level controller does.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 22, 2016, 01:23:53 pm
Regarding reversing the protocol remotely, without having the machine for tests - good luck with that :) Yes it is "entirely possible", in a sense that it is also possible to jump off a 5th floor and not break anything. Possible but highly unlikely.

Not sure anyone is suggesting fully reversing it remotely, simply remotely  evaluating the feasibility of reversing it once a machine is available.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 22, 2016, 01:25:16 pm
Could very well be a GRBL clone that only supports a GCode subset, like no arcs etc. GRBL runs on a 328P and the STM32 in the TVM would be easily powerful enough for that.

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: g00se on March 22, 2016, 02:50:50 pm

* Screen captures from Windows device manager showing any connections the machine has to the computer.
See attached (nothing much except the cameras)

* Manufacturer and model of the cameras, and their connection methods. Are they UVC? Do they require a special driver?
Cameras are CG Imagetech CGU2-130M/C http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_b7cb32ce0102v458.html (http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_b7cb32ce0102v458.html) Uses special driver CGUSB2.dll

* If the machine connects via USB to Serial, a serial dump would be magnificent.
It looks like rs232 directly
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: coppice on March 22, 2016, 03:10:45 pm
Quote
The fact that there are things like passwords just to make it speak English  doesn't look promising.

That really made me go WTF. Why would they do this?

Regards, Axel
It's possible that it's just to prevent Chinese users getting it into a state where it speaks a language they don't understand, but  may be a licensing thing or a way to attempt to control grey exports
Its common for production equipment to have everything the production people don't need access to behind password protection. Otherwise people hitting things at random can get a production line pretty messed up.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 22, 2016, 03:40:58 pm
@Thommo  what is this supposed to mean? 

Quote
Trust me when I say 'hang on for about 4-6 weeks' before you make any decisions in this space. I'm fairly certain it'll be worth the wait.

A new machine will be released by NeoDen that you are not allowed to talk about? Something else? How can you leave us in the dark on this?  O0
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 22, 2016, 03:47:27 pm
Pretty good result  today, just watch - it should be not a boring 9 minutes video for all of you  ;D.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZoZlsa4xWI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZoZlsa4xWI)

Nine minutes per-panel, much below my early expectation but still more than double the throughput of my other machine.

The pcb is adhesive sprayed lightly using 3M spray mount, i forgot about the edge that will be clamped by the conveyor so i put masking tape on the edge covering the adhesive.

(http://s20.postimg.org/4m3jts0j1/Panelized.jpg)

Will start production tomorrow with 50 panel as the target.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 22, 2016, 04:09:34 pm
Quote
The fact that there are things like passwords just to make it speak English  doesn't look promising.

That really made me go WTF. Why would they do this?

Regards, Axel
It's possible that it's just to prevent Chinese users getting it into a state where it speaks a language they don't understand, but  may be a licensing thing or a way to attempt to control grey exports
Its common for production equipment to have everything the production people don't need access to behind password protection. Otherwise people hitting things at random can get a production line pretty messed up.
True, though this ought to be done via an installer-settable password with options on what to allow or disallow in production mode.
It's also not uncommon to hide more advanced options behind passwords to avoid support calls for things that less capable end-users will not normally need to fiddle with. Just having it for language does seem a little odd though.   
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 22, 2016, 04:19:39 pm
The crossout on that panel made me wonder - does the Neoden SW have a sensible way of dealing with panel cross-outs?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on March 22, 2016, 04:28:55 pm
I wonder if the SMallSMT machiens use Gcode.

Sorry no GCODE we have a special protocol because of lots of parameters to set.
But it's open for our customer.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 22, 2016, 04:56:11 pm

* Screen captures from Windows device manager showing any connections the machine has to the computer.
See attached (nothing much except the cameras)

* Manufacturer and model of the cameras, and their connection methods. Are they UVC? Do they require a special driver?
Cameras are CG Imagetech CGU2-130M/C http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_b7cb32ce0102v458.html (http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_b7cb32ce0102v458.html) Uses special driver CGUSB2.dll

* If the machine connects via USB to Serial, a serial dump would be magnificent.
It looks like rs232 directly

Thanks g00se, this is very helpful!

Would you be able to capture a serial dump? Doesn't need to be a huge job or anything - even just firing up the machine, moving it around a bit and maybe running a feed operation would do the trick. Just looking to get an idea of the scope of the work.

I can't find very much online about those cameras and even less about their software stack. That's a potential show stopper there, or at least show complicator. Is anyone familiar with this company? I did find a shop that I think might be theirs on Taobao: https://shop111849796.world.taobao.com/category-1011394905.htm?search=y&catName=USB2.0%B9%A4%D2%B5%CF%E0%BB%FA (https://shop111849796.world.taobao.com/category-1011394905.htm?search=y&catName=USB2.0%B9%A4%D2%B5%CF%E0%BB%FA)
And one of the items seems to show documentation for an SDK: https://img.alicdn.com/imgextra/i3/15794551/TB2wsoEcFXXXXbfXpXXXXXXXXXX_ (https://img.alicdn.com/imgextra/i3/15794551/TB2wsoEcFXXXXbfXpXXXXXXXXXX_)!!15794551.jpg

So, to keep everything on the up and up I'd probably need to talk to the manufacturer and potentially buy one of the cameras to get access to the SDK. The cameras are pretty cheap, so that's not much of a burden, although one thing that concerns me is that the product link for that specific camera goes to a page that says (translated) something along the lines of local laws and regulations don't allow me to buy the item: http://world.taobao.com/item/42474854441.htm?fromSite=main (http://world.taobao.com/item/42474854441.htm?fromSite=main)

They do claim to support OpenCv, Halcon, Labview, etc. so it might be easier than it looks.

Anyway, the more info we can get the better. A serial dump is priority #1 and from there I can see what else might be needed to make a good determination.



Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: timbo73 on March 22, 2016, 05:09:04 pm
Further along on that topic, do I remember correctly that someone in Vancouver, BC has one of these? I'm in Seattle, so if someone in Vancouver wants to let me drive up for the weekend and poke through their machine I'd be up for that. Even better if someone in Seattle has one :)

Jason

Hi Jason et al.

I've been quietly watching for the sidelines, waiting to see how the N4 plays out for the 'beta testers'.

I need a prototype / low volume production machine (100~500 boards) that can reliably place 0201 passives, and tiny 0.35mm pitch board to board connectors (e.g. Molex 504622 series). Has anybody had success placing these small parts? Other than Neoden sales propaganda, I couldn't find anything.

I'm very much in support of getting openPNP working with the N4, so if I buy one, Jason you are most welcome to come over and hack and packet-sniff our machine.

Tim.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 22, 2016, 05:10:28 pm
@ichan Nice to see you up and running multiple panels now  :-+

It will be interesting to see how the machine holds up over the course of a full day.

So did you basically just go through every part and off set the placement data by the amount it was being placed incorrectly?

If you knew what you know now about getting the file setup how quickly do you think you could have had the machine up and running after you got it setup?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 22, 2016, 05:13:48 pm
Let's know if I can help in any way. FWIW - is it an option to change out the controllers in the N4 if you already have OpenPnP code that works with them? I know it's an additional cost, but it may also be the quickest and, in the end, cheapest way forward. [I say this blissfully unaware of the relative cost of the controllers you have designed for in the OpenPnP project].

As I said in a couple other responses, the biggest help will be a serial dump of the machine running a job.

It's possible to use a different controller, but it's not ideal. The N4 has a lot more outputs than a typical DIY pick and place and it has a board that has been designed for it. If we can just use that board it will be much easier. I think this is probably the easiest path and should be explored fully first. If it turns out to be a dead end and if there is enough interest then a custom controller would be a good next choice.

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 22, 2016, 05:14:54 pm
Hi Jason et al.

I've been quietly watching for the sidelines, waiting to see how the N4 plays out for the 'beta testers'.

I need a prototype / low volume production machine (100~500 boards) that can reliably place 0201 passives, and tiny 0.35mm pitch board to board connectors (e.g. Molex 504622 series). Has anybody had success placing these small parts? Other than Neoden sales propaganda, I couldn't find anything.

I'm very much in support of getting openPNP working with the N4, so if I buy one, Jason you are most welcome to come over and hack and packet-sniff our machine.

Tim.

Thanks Tim! If that happens, will you let me know? Drop me a line at jason@vonnieda.org.

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 22, 2016, 05:29:01 pm
I've been looking at the pics, hard to tell under the mess of cables but AFAICS the MB has 4 USB cables, a ribbon cable and a 4-core cable which are candidates for the interface. The ribbon cable seems to disappear off somewhere, not sure about that 4-core.
Looks like their board controls everything - motors, pumps etc. so if this is on a serial /usbserial interface it shoud be pretty simple.
As regards cameras, it would be annoying, but by no means the end of the world if you had to replace them with something better supported. It might be interesting to just plug one into a Windoze box, as they may be accessible via UVC.

How /where do the feeders connect? Someone mentioned CAN - where did that info come from ?


   
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 22, 2016, 05:35:54 pm
I've been looking at the pics, hard to tell under the mess of cables but AFAICS the MB has 4 USB cables, a ribbon cable and a 4-core cable which are candidates for the interface. The ribbon cable seems to disappear off somewhere, not sure about that 4-core.
Looks like their board controls everything - motors, pumps etc. so if this is on a serial /usbserial interface it shoud be pretty simple.
As regards cameras, it would be annoying, but by no means the end of the world if you had to replace them with something better supported. It might be interesting to just plug one into a Windoze box, as they may be accessible via UVC.

How /where do the feeders connect? Someone mentioned CAN - where did that info come from ?

It's possible the cameras support UVC, but I don't think it's likely. Most of the industrial cameras I've seen don't, this one appears to have an SDK that requires a DLL, which makes it even more likely. Maybe g00se can confirm, though? Just scroll up in Device Manager and see if they are listed under Cameras, Capture Devices, or anywhere else?

As for CAN, I bought one of these feeders a couple months back and tore it apart. It's got 4 wires and there is a CAN controller chip. The four wires are power, ground and two signals directly to the CAN controller. You can see it here: http://i.imgur.com/XVQudSA.png (http://i.imgur.com/XVQudSA.png)

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 22, 2016, 05:47:30 pm
So where does the feeder plug in ? And how are addresses assigned? Did that feeder come with any instructions ?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ServoKit on March 22, 2016, 05:47:43 pm
I'm fairly certain that there must be another controller of some sort in the machine, likely a USB to CAN interface, this one should also show up in device manager. The pics from the motherboard show several USB connections (note text on cables and wire colors typical for USB). We already established the GPIO chip (ITE IT8781F), likely for limit switches, solenoids and the like. I too think that the cameras are plain USB devices.

Regards, Axel
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 22, 2016, 05:48:15 pm
So did you basically just go through every part and off set the placement data by the amount it was being placed incorrectly?

If you knew what you know now about getting the file setup how quickly do you think you could have had the machine up and running after you got it setup?

1. No, i just scale up the cad data coordinates by 1.002 using spreadsheet (now i am thinking how to install ms excel on  the machine ;D), including the mark point / fiducial coordinates.

2. Within one day, well add one more day to setup the feeders ;).

I have to say that N4 software is already workable, yes there are some bug and strange behavior, but all softwares are like that they all will have many revision before become stable, right?

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 22, 2016, 05:56:05 pm
So where does the feeder plug in ? And how are addresses assigned? Did that feeder come with any instructions ?

All things I'd like to know too :) It did not come with any instructions or documentation.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 22, 2016, 06:39:43 pm

I need a prototype / low volume production machine (100~500 boards) that can reliably place 0201 passives, and tiny 0.35mm pitch board to board connectors (e.g. Molex 504622 series). Has anybody had success placing these small parts? Other than Neoden sales propaganda, I couldn't find anything.

I'm very much in support of getting openPNP working with the N4, so if I buy one, Jason you are most welcome to come over and hack and packet-sniff our machine.

Tim.

The SmallSMT ( check the other thread ) folks claim they can place 0201s'  they posted some pics. 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: ar__systems on March 22, 2016, 06:47:30 pm
The SmallSMT ( check the other thread ) folks claim they can place 0201s'  they posted some pics.

What I noticed from my experience is those pics or videos are very misleading. Sure they populate 20 parts that would look decent. What about 1000 or 10000 parts? How many times will you have a mispick or part lost or installed crooked? I really would like to see those specs from manufacturer.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 22, 2016, 07:00:43 pm
The SmallSMT ( check the other thread ) folks claim they can place 0201s'  they posted some pics.

What I noticed from my experience is those pics or videos are very misleading. Sure they populate 20 parts that would look decent. What about 1000 or 10000 parts? How many times will you have a mispick or part lost or installed crooked? I really would like to see those specs from manufacturer.


In deed, and its unlikely they are going to post pics that show such events.. Heck even the $250,000 line that i use for my large scale production screws up from time to time.  ( often assisted by operator stupidity )
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 22, 2016, 08:16:36 pm
Congratulations Ichan !!!
I'm so happy for you, and it's great to know you've developed a method that will allow you to proceed to production now.

Looking forward to the next stage where you produce the first batch.
Is the N4 connected to your reflow oven now?

Your mentioned installing Excel onto the machine. Is your intention to try and interface it with the application somehow?

Also, did you get a response from NeoDen about multiple heads loading from the same feeder?

So did you basically just go through every part and off set the placement data by the amount it was being placed incorrectly?

If you knew what you know now about getting the file setup how quickly do you think you could have had the machine up and running after you got it setup?

1. No, i just scale up the cad data coordinates by 1.002 using spreadsheet (now i am thinking how to install ms excel on  the machine ;D), including the mark point / fiducial coordinates.

2. Within one day, well add one more day to setup the feeders ;).

I have to say that N4 software is already workable, yes there are some bug and strange behavior, but all softwares are like that they all will have many revision before become stable, right?

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: timbo73 on March 22, 2016, 08:30:38 pm
Quote
The SmallSMT ( check the other thread ) folks claim they can place 0201s'  they posted some pics.

Thanks, I'll check it out. Our boards are tiny, with only a couple of dozen off-chip components (most of the work is done by an ASIC). If all boards need to be visually inspected and 10~20% need an 0201 nudged back into place, that would be sufferable. But if it routinely screws up the placement of the fine pitch connectors, that's a deal-breaker.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 23, 2016, 07:26:56 am
https://youtu.be/aeW66c9oN5Y (https://youtu.be/aeW66c9oN5Y)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZb9YtTLT1E (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZb9YtTLT1E)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 23, 2016, 04:57:55 pm
We run the machine for about 5 hours non-stop today, finishing 31 panel (124 board). Still some pick failed happen but better than my other machine, really!

Here is the video, taken from several angle - watch something at the end of the video ;).

https://youtu.be/pBTZm1Lf3WM (https://youtu.be/pBTZm1Lf3WM)

Congratulations Ichan !!!
I'm so happy for you, and it's great to know you've developed a method that will allow you to proceed to production now.

Looking forward to the next stage where you produce the first batch.
Is the N4 connected to your reflow oven now?

Your mentioned installing Excel onto the machine. Is your intention to try and interface it with the application somehow?

Also, did you get a response from NeoDen about multiple heads loading from the same feeder?

Thank you. Yes the pcb goes to the conveyor oven on the first floor, before that some manual placement done plus visual inspection and correction.

I am not very serious about the Excel, just quite annoyed that i have to go back and forth to another pc.

I do not have many conversation with Neoden so far, besides i know they follow this thread closely - let they decide themselves want to win the competition or not.

In general i am fairly happy with the machine, not in big amount but for me i win the bet - it will be a jackpot if later i can use the feeders on the other machine.

Jackpot? I bought also N4 extra feeders 8x8mm + 4x12mm + 4x16mm, the cost of similar feeders for the LS60V will be enough to buy N4 machine with full feeders! (using their 2010 price when i bought the machine).

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 23, 2016, 05:25:16 pm
It's really nice to see the machine up and running consistently for you now :-+ :scared:

I see that you placed some weights or quarters on one of the part lines. Tell us more about this.

Are any particular parts being miss picked consistently?

Are those small USB no lead .5mm pin chips being placed accurately every time?

Is anything needing fixed up on each board by hand consistently?

Now I did find a place that does small scale fabrication. They have a online pricing tool and I was wondering if you could load your design into to and see what kind of cost they would charge you to run the same 2000 boards vs what you think your cost is by doing it in house. The cost savings of having a Neoden 4 machine is something that is really hard to calculate and its something I would love to see more comparison on.


The company that does this small scale fab is here: https://macrofab.com/
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 23, 2016, 05:25:56 pm
Here is the video, taken from several angle - watch something at the end of the video ;).


This is a really great video, thank you for posting it! I noticed several interesting things:

* They are not using linear interpolation on the motion planner. This tells me that they are probably not using one of the common open firmwares available for CNC machines since most of these don't implement G0 properly. They could be using TinyG, I suppose, since I think that it does implement it properly, but based on how jerky the motion is I doubt it.

* It looks like they can only image all four nozzles for very small parts. A little tough to tell, but it looks like the upper limit is SOT-23. This seems to be the case for the nozzle calibration as well. During startup it images all four nozzles once and then appears to image the larger nozzle separately.

* It appears the camera only captures one image at a time, rather than a stream. I noticed that as it's loading a board with the conveyer it's strobing the top LEDs instead of just leaving them on. This makes me think their camera API consists of something like "strobe and capture" versus "turn on strobe", "capture", "turn off strobe". I would not be surprised to find that the LEDs are wired to the cameras for triggering.

Very cool to see all this in action. Maybe not that interesting to a machine owner/user but for someone who develops PnP software it's very enlightening! :)

Jason
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 23, 2016, 06:39:10 pm

On the cost equation..  For me at least, i know that getting a machine, and loading  more than afew 10's of boards will actually cost me MORE than having them fabricated in China, in a PCBA factory.   Our labour costs kill it every time a monkey.

The reason for me to do this, is the sub < a few 10's of boards, where speed and time is of the essense.  Yes, they will cost more, but the cost of time is way more valuable.  I figure i'll be able to save 30% in elapsed time on projects from design --manufacturing sampel.


It's really nice to see the machine up and running consistently for you now :-+ :scared:

I see that you placed some weights or quarters on one of the part lines. Tell us more about this.

Are any particular parts being miss picked consistently?

Are those small USB no lead .5mm pin chips being placed accurately every time?

Is anything needing fixed up on each board by hand consistently?

Now I did find a place that does small scale fabrication. They have a online pricing tool and I was wondering if you could load your design into to and see what kind of cost they would charge you to run the same 2000 boards vs what you think your cost is by doing it in house. The cost savings of having a Neoden 4 machine is something that is really hard to calculate and its something I would love to see more comparison on.


The company that does this small scale fab is here: https://macrofab.com/
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 23, 2016, 07:10:50 pm

* It appears the camera only captures one image at a time, rather than a stream. I noticed that as it's loading a board with the conveyer it's strobing the top LEDs instead of just leaving them on. This makes me think their camera API consists of something like "strobe and capture" versus "turn on strobe", "capture", "turn off strobe". I would not be surprised to find that the LEDs are wired to the cameras for triggering.

but it doesn't do this when looking at fids. Wonder if it's due to alternating move-rail and take-image commands.

Quote
* They are not using linear interpolation on the motion planner. This tells me that they are probably not using one of the common open firmwares available for CNC machines since most of these don't implement G0 properly. They could be using TinyG, I suppose, since I think that it does implement it properly, but based on how jerky the motion is I doubt it.

Is this actually a problem? I can see how it could actually be a benefit, as it means each axis always goes through a consistent speed profile. With interpolation, speeds will be very variable, which may cause issues with resonances at particular speeds, causing possible part movement/drop issues.
 
As noticed before, at slow speeds it still goes slow when there is no part - I can't see any excuse for this and suggests to me that the controller is pretty dumb and has only a global speed control. ISTR some mention that Z speed couldn't be independently set from XY speed, which is even more dumb.

Can you set it up so you can place the next PCB(s) in the rail and have it auto-load the next when the last one is done? Can PCBs be loaded end-to-end to fill as many as will fit the rail?
 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 23, 2016, 07:14:52 pm
Is this actually a problem? I can see how it could actually be a benefit, as it means each axis always goes through a consistent speed profile. With interpolation, speeds will be very variable, which may cause issues with resonances at particular speeds, causing possible part movement/drop issues.

Nope, not a problem at all. I've been preaching for years that we (OpenPnP) need a dead simple motion controller that skips all interpolation and just does per axis acceleration and and velocity.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 23, 2016, 08:23:50 pm
Thanks for publishing this MrP.

Well done Jason. The Fids interface looks very clear - something we can't say for the N4 at present.
And the machine vision is coming along great too.
How close do you feel you are to estimate work on the N4? Are you still waiting on those serial bus dumps?

Are you able to turn off the top camera LEDs while you're using the bottom camera yet?refucing extraneous light sources will definitely improve resolution and definition.

I made a comment in SmallSMT just before about the bottom camera LED array being square/rectangular, instead of circular. Is this what you are doing? You will get MUCH better results illuminating pads and legs etc if the light source is parallel to the edges rather than in an arc. All the large commercial machines appear to use box configurations of LEDs rather that circular or tube arrangements.

Image sensors and components are square/rectangular after all. Only lenses are circular ;-)

https://youtu.be/aeW66c9oN5Y (https://youtu.be/aeW66c9oN5Y)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZb9YtTLT1E (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZb9YtTLT1E)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: vonnieda on March 23, 2016, 08:33:06 pm
Thanks for publishing this MrP.

Well done Jason. The Fids interface looks very clear - something we can't say for the N4 at present.
And the machine vision is coming along great too.
How close do you feel you are to estimate work on the N4? Are you still waiting on those serial bus dumps?

Are you able to turn off the top camera LEDs while you're using the bottom camera yet?refucing extraneous light sources will definitely improve resolution and definition.

I made a comment in SmallSMT just before about the bottom camera LED array being square/rectangular, instead of circular. Is this what you are doing? You will get MUCH better results illuminating pads and legs etc if the light source is parallel to the edges rather than in an arc. All the large commercial machines appear to use box configurations of LEDs rather that circular or tube arrangements.

Image sensors and components are square/rectangular after all. Only lenses are circular ;-)


Hi thommo,

Yes, the serial dumps are the main thing I need to be able to estimate the work. Still waiting and hoping :)

Re: turning off the LEDs: Not yet, although I've got a plan for it. Just need to do some wiring. Right now I'm finding I don't need it so I am holding off until I finish the first pass at bottom vision.
Part of the pipeline that processes the image for bottom vision masks out everything within the green circle that you see in the video, so the LEDs from the top camera are not considered in the image.

In case you are curious, here is my current bottom vision processing pipeline: http://pastebin.com/fCp7JbkB (http://pastebin.com/fCp7JbkB)
The filtering portion of the pipeline primarily masks out the circle and then subtracts green hues from the image, which pulls out the large disk above the nozzle as well as the green part of the nozzle itself. This is working very well so far, although I have to add scaling of the circle mask for tall parts since the disk "shrinks" with respect to the image when the nozzle is higher.

I do want to switch to rectangular array of LEDs but I have not been able to find one pre-made. The rings were cheap on eBay. I'm probably just going to design one and make it a low angle light at the same time. Just another thing on the TODO list :)

Jason


Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 23, 2016, 10:54:21 pm
We had a very successful build today - the best yet. Powered the machine off for a bit, when we turned it back on it made a thunk sound(pretty normal) and then died. It is currently dead, no signs of life.
We're opening it up now.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 23, 2016, 11:42:25 pm
We had a very successful build today - the best yet. Powered the machine off for a bit, when we turned it back on it made a thunk sound(pretty normal) and then died. It is currently dead, no signs of life.
We're opening it up now.

Ewww....
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 24, 2016, 12:16:36 am
Well nothing too scary in the end, just the main fuse. It is only rated at 3 amps which seems awful low to us. I wonder if Neoden has spec'd different fuses for 120 and 240 VAC. The fuse is integrated into the IEC mains input and actually holds a spare.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 24, 2016, 03:21:56 am
We had a very successful build today - the best yet. Powered the machine off for a bit, when we turned it back on it made a thunk sound(pretty normal) and then died. It is currently dead, no signs of life.
We're opening it up now.

How many boards did you guys run? Were they the same red boards that were pictured in the post you made not that long ago?

Are you have any other feeder issues now that you have put some weight on end of the reels that were giving you some trouble in the past?

What exactly is that weight accomplishing?

It's stating to sound like everybody has finally figured out how to program the machines to the point they can run thousands of boards without to much trouble which is very promising.

Having looked at the more expensive and stable machines on the market it becomes very clear how revolutionary the NeoDen 4 is when it comes to price, weight, and size.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TankSparks on March 24, 2016, 04:16:53 am
We had a very successful build today - the best yet. Powered the machine off for a bit, when we turned it back on it made a thunk sound(pretty normal) and then died. It is currently dead, no signs of life.
We're opening it up now.
How many boards did you guys run? Were they the same red boards that were pictured in the post you made not that long ago?
Yes, same red boards,  We ran 5 panels with 560 parts on each.  So over 2500 parts,  no stoppage.  It was nice to be able to get some work done while the machine ran.   I can hear it in my office upstairs so I know if stops.  One panel takes about  24 minutes.   I was running most parts at 60% speed.   2 different nozzle sizes,  3 small and 1 larger one for the IC.
0603 parts and .65mm pitch IC
I'm using 2 fiducials bottom left and top right.

Last time we had a 12mm feeder problem with parts jumping out.  at the time didn't know if was a bad feeder or a crappy feeder design problem...turns out it was just a bad feeder/peeler.  I used a different feeder this time and it went very smooth no parts jumping and tape peeler working like it should and no retries.   
Also had feeder issues with the 24mm feeder with another board,  still need to test again with the 2nd 24mm feeder that I have. 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 24, 2016, 04:45:00 am
Hi TankSparks,

Did you say 24mm N4 feeder?

I asked recently and they said they no longer support the 24mm feeder. It has some 'undefined issues' and they are trying to redesign it [at least that's what I took from the conversation].

Great news about the general stability all the same! Thanks for the feedback too.

We had a very successful build today - the best yet. Powered the machine off for a bit, when we turned it back on it made a thunk sound(pretty normal) and then died. It is currently dead, no signs of life.
We're opening it up now.
How many boards did you guys run? Were they the same red boards that were pictured in the post you made not that long ago?
Yes, same red boards,  We ran 5 panels with 560 parts on each.  So over 2500 parts,  no stoppage.  It was nice to be able to get some work done while the machine ran.   I can hear it in my office upstairs so I know if stops.  One panel takes about  24 minutes.   I was running most parts at 60% speed.   2 different nozzle sizes,  3 small and 1 larger one for the IC.
0603 parts and .65mm pitch IC
I'm using 2 fiducials bottom left and top right.

Last time we had a 12mm feeder problem with parts jumping out.  at the time didn't know if was a bad feeder or a crappy feeder design problem...turns out it was just a bad feeder/peeler.  I used a different feeder this time and it went very smooth no parts jumping and tape peeler working like it should and no retries.   
Also had feeder issues with the 24mm feeder with another board,  still need to test again with the 2nd 24mm feeder that I have.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 24, 2016, 05:52:28 am
It's really nice to see the machine up and running consistently for you now :-+ :scared:

I see that you placed some weights or quarters on one of the part lines. Tell us more about this.

Are any particular parts being miss picked consistently?

Are those small USB no lead .5mm pin chips being placed accurately every time?

Is anything needing fixed up on each board by hand consistently?

Now I did find a place that does small scale fabrication. They have a online pricing tool and I was wondering if you could load your design into to and see what kind of cost they would charge you to run the same 2000 boards vs what you think your cost is by doing it in house. The cost savings of having a Neoden 4 machine is something that is really hard to calculate and its something I would love to see more comparison on.

The company that does this small scale fab is here: https://macrofab.com/

1. The weight mean to add a tension on the tape. Small parts in plastic tape like to do circus flea actions, that because the plastic tape had some springy action when some (unwanted) force applied making the parts jumping out of the pocket. The weight i use is a small spanner held in position by some magnets, adding some tension will damp that springy action.

2. That is the usb chip who like to do the acrobat, the others are all calm.

3. On these boards we found about 1 out of 5 panel need correction on those two small ic, seems it caused by not good reference point (fiducial) used / available. Can be seen on the video sometimes the fiducial recognition is not good finding the center point of the drilled hole. I do not want use manual recognition, i just want to enjoy pressing that tempting green start button and go.

4. About outsourcing, if you have good control over them then it would be a good choice, IMO.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 24, 2016, 05:57:59 am
* It appears the camera only captures one image at a time, rather than a stream. I noticed that as it's loading a board with the conveyer it's strobing the top LEDs instead of just leaving them on. This makes me think their camera API consists of something like "strobe and capture" versus "turn on strobe", "capture", "turn off strobe". I would not be surprised to find that the LEDs are wired to the cameras for triggering.

The camera on N4 used as a still image camera, not a video camera.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: alexandru on March 25, 2016, 10:04:02 am
Quote from: rwb on March 22, 2016, 11:06:36 AM (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/index.php?topic=59827.msg900669#msg900669)

I saw this on Adafruits blog today and figured I would share here.

https://blog.adafruit.com/2016/03/21/updated-visionbot-pick-and-place-shipping-in-europe-manufacturingmonday-makermovement/ (https://blog.adafruit.com/2016/03/21/updated-visionbot-pick-and-place-shipping-in-europe-manufacturingmonday-makermovement/)

(https://blog.adafruit.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/VisionBot-SMT-Placement-Equipmenet-Laboratory-BIT-TECHNOLOGIES-1030x648.jpg)

If only the Neoden 4 had this software with it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewQUH6qBHEM (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewQUH6qBHEM)

I asked the guy to come join the party over here.

Hi rwb and you guys! I am Alexandru from VisionBot SMT Pick and Place machines (http://visionbot.net/). Really sorry for responding late to your questions, but I am still a junior college student and I had exams last week. We are still developing VisionBot because it is not yet 100% finished and many new features will be added very soon. This is a review from one of our VisionBot users based in the UK from MegaPoints Controller. He installed and powered on for the first time the VisionBot just a couple of hours before making the film (yesterday). And this is his first day impression of using a VisionBot PnP machine  in doing a simple TEST PCB. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGW-_7knZBQ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGW-_7knZBQ)

In the mean while, we bought the Juki nozzles and holder and we started to change from making our own nozzle system with a fine mechanics lathe to use the Juki nozzles. The hardware was intended let open to be easy for hacking in case someone wants this. We didn't want to close it in a plastic box like N4. If you will remove N4's plastic box, you will discover a TM240 PnP with two cameras :) . Actually, I truly believe the production cost of N4 is almost if not equal with TM240. Also we designed our own electronics to be really easy for hacking and debugging. We give our electronic layouts to our users.

I understand that you guys are complaining about the software User Interface that is too complex. I will graduate as a computer scientist and not as an EE engineer. If is possible I would trully love to get some feedback from you of how should I improve the User Experience. Btw: I developed the entire VisionBot Software by myself, so major UX can be added very fast if I know what should I change in my bad design.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 25, 2016, 02:18:46 pm
If you will remove N4's plastic box, you will discover a TM240 PnP with two cameras :).

Whew... really? Re-read this thread from the begining you will find all people who own N4 say that the machine is mechanically impressive.

I myself have a thought that people beyond Neonden is very good in design, they do design milimeter by milimeter of the machine - and as i remember all other similar machines out there are actually follower (more like imitation) of their TM2xx machine.

I open their feeder today, it is not a perfect feeder but once again it impress me! Forgot to take some picture, but Jason post it some pages before. Look at the brushless motor, it is integral part of the aluminum casing, not a stock motor mounted in there!

I will sniff the CAN bus soon...  ;)

Anyway, we run the machine almost 8 hours non-stop today - no problem so far.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 26, 2016, 03:57:24 pm
@ichan So how has all the following days gone with the machine? How many boards have you guys completed so far?

About that charging chip that your having to move a tad after the machine run them due to not have proper fudicals , I did see in the video where the machine did not properly track the holes your using as fudicials so that makes sense.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 26, 2016, 06:15:47 pm
@rwb, this machine running every day since the last video i make, for four days now with average running time 6 hours per day. As per today it had made 148 panels (592 boards), roughly the rest of the job left is about 100 panels, most of the panels had been done by the other machine.

The machine is running very well, but do not expect the machine can be left running unattended - it will need someone to 'help' the machine sometimes, mostly on failed picking. In my case it happens at about every 3 panels in average.

Visual inspection and some placement correction is not a problem for me as i have a pack of skilled manual placer in here :).

My interest now is on the feeder, why sometimes the chip jumps over the pocket and how to make it more stable. I am thinking to take a slow motion video capturing the event when the chip doing the acrobat, but  i need to finish current job first.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 26, 2016, 08:07:17 pm
@rwb, this machine running every day since the last video i make, for four days now with average running time 6 hours per day. As per today it had made 148 panels (592 boards), roughly the rest of the job left is about 100 panels, most of the panels had been done by the other machine.

The machine is running very well, but do not expect the machine can be left running unattended - it will need someone to 'help' the machine sometimes, mostly on failed picking. In my case it happens at about every 3 panels in average.

Visual inspection and some placement correction is not a problem for me as i have a pack of skilled manual placer in here :).

My interest now is on the feeder, why sometimes the chip jumps over the pocket and how to make it more stable. I am thinking to take a slow motion video capturing the event when the chip doing the acrobat, but  i need to finish current job first.

-ichan


1 in 3 panels fails?  Wow.  Thats Huge.   
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 26, 2016, 08:38:18 pm
1 in 3 panels fails?  Wow.  Thats Huge.   

Yes that is true, but not a huge thing for this class of machine, IMO. Even my LS60V had some problems too with the feeders, especially the bank feeder.

Maybe i just hasn't found the right setting for the feed and peel strength, it seems different setting for different component type - i hope Neoden people can provide suggested settings for that.

The most failed happen is where the cover not peeled correctly, the second is parts jumping out of the pocket, the rarest is failed to feed.

I will dig more about this machine feeder later.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 26, 2016, 09:05:03 pm
Ichan, out of the 592 boards, approx how many parts 'failed' due to those feeder issues?

Others have reported issues with feeders also.

Is it always the same feeder/component, or does it occur randomly?
Do you have some spare feeders to try swapping it/them out to see if the issue persists?

The others report the issue disappearing after a feeder swap.

Would be interested to know.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 26, 2016, 11:31:05 pm
Thommo - You are correct. I remember recently TankSparks said he was having parts jump from a feeder consistently and that stopped as soon as he replaced it with a different spare feeder. It was a bad feeder that was causing the part to jump. Try swapping it out and see if the problem persist.

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 27, 2016, 03:49:14 pm
Ichan, out of the 592 boards, approx how many parts 'failed' due to those feeder issues?
...
Is it always the same feeder/component, or does it occur randomly?

I do not know as i am not the person who operate the machine daily, but not much. Most failed can be handled within a minute, just by manually pull the tape cover and re-seat it properly on the peel box plastic gear.

Always on the same feeder, on two feeders for my case.

I remember recently TankSparks said he was having parts jump from a feeder consistently and that stopped as soon as he replaced it with a different spare feeder. It was a bad feeder that was causing the part to jump. Try swapping it out and see if the problem persist.

Yes i remember that post, i do have some spares but i decide to wait until the job done, it is only about four days more than i will play intensively with the feeders. My main suspect is the peel box, it is an innovative device but still need some enhancement.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 27, 2016, 09:07:52 pm
Hi Ichan - when these feeder failures occur, what actually happens?

Does the machine execute some retrys, then stop and sound an alarm or flash a light?
Continue, without any feedback?
Become destructive and do things like continue 'stabbing' at the tape until the machine is physically stopped?
Cause any issue with components that are already sitting on the solder paste footprints?

In other words, is it a destructive problem, or a delaying annoyance?

Glad to hear it is localised to some extent, and thanks for the feedback too!

Ichan, out of the 592 boards, approx how many parts 'failed' due to those feeder issues?
...
Is it always the same feeder/component, or does it occur randomly?

I do not know as i am not the person who operate the machine daily, but not much. Most failed can be handled within a minute, just by manually pull the tape cover and re-seat it properly on the peel box plastic gear.

Always on the same feeder, on two feeders for my case.

I remember recently TankSparks said he was having parts jump from a feeder consistently and that stopped as soon as he replaced it with a different spare feeder. It was a bad feeder that was causing the part to jump. Try swapping it out and see if the problem persist.

Yes i remember that post, i do have some spares but i decide to wait until the job done, it is only about four days more than i will play intensively with the feeders. My main suspect is the peel box, it is an innovative device but still need some enhancement.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 28, 2016, 04:43:32 am
On pick failed the machine will do some re-try, do not know how many times it do the retry and seems there is no setting for that.

If still failed the nozzle will go to park position, sounds a beep, and pause asking to continue or stop. If we click YES the machine will continue with another re-try, clicking NO will stop the current job. I would like to have another option in here which is SKIP, to skip current component and continue with the next.

-ichan

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 28, 2016, 06:06:26 am
Yes - 'skip' sounds like a good suggestion.

Glad to learn that it is a non-destructive type of issue nonetheless - just inconvenient


On pick failed the machine will do some re-try, do not know how many times it do the retry and seems there is no setting for that.

If still failed the nozzle will go to park position, sounds a beep, and pause asking to continue or stop. If we click YES the machine will continue with another re-try, clicking NO will stop the current job. I would like to have another option in here which is SKIP, to skip current component and continue with the next.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 28, 2016, 06:43:54 am
Tonny just inform me about several nozzle taking from the same fedder by email without i asked him first, clearly they follow this thread.

Here is what he writes:

It's very easy,pls try to do nozzle selection like 1,2,on chiplist,then the nozzle 1 and nozzle 2 will
pick components together and then go to camera area to take photo.
If you set 1,1,2,then the nozzle 1 will pick one only and after finish the placement,then nozzle 1 and 2 pick two components.


Yes that is easy, just put several nozzle definition by comma on the chip list - but no information of that anywhere.

And for the feeder problem:

About another problem currently you met(peel box),one fast solution is change a new one.


Well, at least they care enough...  ;)

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 28, 2016, 09:10:57 am
Tonny just inform me about several nozzle taking from the same fedder by email without i asked him first, clearly they follow this thread.

Here is what he writes:

It's very easy,pls try to do nozzle selection like 1,2,on chiplist,then the nozzle 1 and nozzle 2 will
pick components together and then go to camera area to take photo.
If you set 1,1,2,then the nozzle 1 will pick one only and after finish the placement,then nozzle 1 and 2 pick two components.


Yes that is easy, just put several nozzle definition by comma on the chip list - but no information of that anywhere.

And for the feeder problem:

About another problem currently you met(peel box),one fast solution is change a new one.


Well, at least they care enough...  ;)

-ichan

The do care, and they do provide support.  It seems that support is not the exclusive thing by a ChineseGerman? company, who wants you to pay a 50% premium
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ice-Tea on March 28, 2016, 09:44:49 am

The do care, and they do provide support.  It seems that support is not the exclusive thing by a ChineseGerman? company, who wants you to pay a 50% premium

I thought it was 30?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 28, 2016, 10:11:45 am
On pick failed the machine will do some re-try, do not know how many times it do the retry and seems there is no setting for that.

If still failed the nozzle will go to park position, sounds a beep, and pause asking to continue or stop. If we click YES the machine will continue with another re-try, clicking NO will stop the current job. I would like to have another option in here which is SKIP, to skip current component and continue with the next.

-ichan
There should also be an option to make it automatically go to the next feeder, and alert the user at the end of the job to go back and to the parts it missed.
Retry number should be configurable in the part definition.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 28, 2016, 07:32:39 pm

The do care, and they do provide support.  It seems that support is not the exclusive thing by a ChineseGerman? company, who wants you to pay a 50% premium

I thought it was 30?

depends which maths you use i guess...

34,000RMB vs  $10,499
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ice-Tea on March 28, 2016, 07:53:36 pm

The do care, and they do provide support.  It seems that support is not the exclusive thing by a ChineseGerman? company, who wants you to pay a 50% premium

I thought it was 30?

depends which maths you use i guess...

34,000RMB vs  $10,499

From what I can see: not the same configuration. So I'm not sure if that is 100% fair...
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 28, 2016, 08:05:40 pm

The do care, and they do provide support.  It seems that support is not the exclusive thing by a ChineseGerman? company, who wants you to pay a 50% premium

I thought it was 30?

depends which maths you use i guess...

34,000RMB vs  $10,499

From what I can see: not the same configuration. So I'm not sure if that is 100% fair...

Maybe its the  $9499 version..   Still  $5240 vs $9499.       * Thats about an ~80% markup. 

the real point was that support is'nt the exclusive offering of one company
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 29, 2016, 04:04:22 am
NeoDen N4 video

Has anyone ever seen video of the N4 mounting 0201, or TQFP240 size components?

This is from their website:
Component sizes with vision:   
Smallest Component size:0201
Largest Component size:TQFP240
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rwb on March 29, 2016, 04:31:08 am
@Thommo - As what ever sales lady your talking with at NeoDen for a video showing it placing these parts. I think we would all love to see it.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: timbo73 on March 29, 2016, 08:55:56 pm
There's one video from Neoden here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mIneSvqm7E (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mIneSvqm7E)

...placing 0201's, albeit on double sided tape.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 29, 2016, 09:00:56 pm
I don't think placing them on double sided tape really counts for anything.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 29, 2016, 10:20:03 pm
I don't think placing them on double sided tape really counts for anything.

Why?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: thommo on March 29, 2016, 10:21:12 pm
Surely it counts for 'something' TheSteve.

It illustrates that it can successfully pick the component
Determine its alignment on the head, and modify to 'zero'
Rotate it as required
and finally,
Place it in the desired position on the board

Agree that it says nothing for the placement pressure, or component's paste displacement, but surely it's a big achievement just getting this far. Those factors are largely handed over to the quality of the stencil and paste applicator.

Have you guys tried placing any 0201's yourself yet?
What is the finest component that you've tried to date TheSteve?

I don't think placing them on double sided tape really counts for anything.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 29, 2016, 11:20:58 pm
There's one video from Neoden here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mIneSvqm7E (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mIneSvqm7E)

...placing 0201's, albeit on double sided tape.
Pity they couldn't be bothered to get a decent photo...
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 30, 2016, 12:22:10 am
Pity they couldn't be bothered to get a decent photo...

I love the loose screw rolling around.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 30, 2016, 01:23:47 am
We use mainly 0603 and don't have plans to go smaller. Without an independent Z speed adjustment anything smaller will take forever as you'll need to also slow the pick and X/Y. The machine is anything but gentle when placing parts otherwise. Even with 0603 sized parts it's very easy to see the difference between paste and tape. So having used the machine I still think them showing 0201 with tape doesn't really count.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on March 30, 2016, 01:28:42 am
0603 used to seem small. and then 0402 did.. and then ...
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: rx8pilot on March 30, 2016, 01:50:15 am
0603 used to seem small. and then 0402 did.. and then ...

No kidding. The margins are so small now. I have been moving toward smaller and smaller parts and each move requires some learning on the assembly side. They all look big in CAD on my 30" monitor. In assembly it looks like dust.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: sedelman on March 30, 2016, 04:02:01 am
@TheSteve - do you mean that the Neoden4 does not appear to implement S-Curve deceleration to minimize jerk in the head movements? I would imagine that if they didn't implement some form of this the simple stand that they provide would not be sufficient to prevent the machine from shaking heavily and walking all over the room when running at full speed.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on March 30, 2016, 04:52:26 am
@TheSteve - do you mean that the Neoden4 does not appear to implement S-Curve deceleration to minimize jerk in the head movements? I would imagine that if they didn't implement some form of this the simple stand that they provide would not be sufficient to prevent the machine from shaking heavily and walking all over the room when running at full speed.

At full speed I am sure the machine can easily move itself around. What I am saying(and that has been said before) is that the X/Y/Z speeds are all set by a single parameter. So if you want it to place a part at a slower speed you have to slow down all aspects of the placement for that component, which includes the X/Y speed and the pick speed.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on March 31, 2016, 05:24:11 pm
We finished the job today, the machine do about 300 panel (1200 board) while the rest 4800 board done by the other machine (for almost two months). The last three days we run the machine for about 12 hours/day in 8+4 hours overtime with 2 hours off time in between.

Two days ago the machine suddenly stops and hung in the middle of the work, restarting the machine giving an error "camera initialization failed" - found the bottom camera connector dislodged, perhaps caused by vibration, everything back to work after reconnecting it.

After running this machine for about 1 week, i can say that the machine is very much worth it for the money spent. First thing that need to be improved on this machine is not the software, but the feeders - they spits many chips daily! (please do not ask the percentage as i do not have numbers in detail).

I have a simple 100 board job to do, will gonna play with the feeders on this job.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TankSparks on March 31, 2016, 08:41:42 pm
Ichan what speed were you using... 60% or faster?
I had a 12mm feeder with parts jumping out, it was ok after switching feeder,  99% sure the problem was with the peel box,  but did not switch one at a time to verify if it was feeder or peel box

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on April 01, 2016, 04:31:09 am
TankSparks, i use feeder speed 100% for all 1206 and 50% for the others, general speed setting is on 100%. The machine shaking a little.

The last job is time constrained, i have to run the machine as fast as possible no time to try to switch feeders - i let the spitted parts handled manually.

Problems with feeders i found, started from the most happen:

1. Spitted parts. Mostly on thick 8mm plastic tape where the white plastic base need to be removed to accomodate the thick tapes. SOT23 in plastic tape is thin enough, no need to remove the base - but they also spitted frequently, seems the bang-bang action of the peeler is the cause (i never like picking SOT23). Happen also on wider plastic tape (ic) but can be reduced by using some weight tension.

2. Mylar cover not peeled. Most of the time because the mylar shifted to the left (never found to the right) on the peel box plastic gear.

3. Tape does not feed. Only one cause, blocked reel.

What "strength" values that you use?


-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on April 01, 2016, 04:40:01 am
TankSparks, also what values that you use for pick and place "delay"? What units are they, milisecond?

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on April 01, 2016, 06:08:36 am
Just what percentage of parts are placed properly at the speed you're running?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TankSparks on April 01, 2016, 07:16:08 am
We had no problems with the sot23 transistors. 
Feeder strength 50,  peel strength 80,
pick delay 30  and place delay 30, it appears to be milliseconds.  I set it to 500 for testing and looked like 1/2 a second.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on April 08, 2016, 10:57:30 am
How is everything in planet Neoden?   Everything going well.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on April 08, 2016, 12:55:49 pm
Too well lastly, 100 simple board in 15 board panel finished in a blink of eye, which make me missed to take any photo or video of it...  ;D

Slowing the machine down and put some delay on picking surely calm down the feeders.

Still can not found my CAN Analyser tool, will Saleae works too sniff CAN bus?


-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: TheSteve on April 08, 2016, 04:40:06 pm
For those running the machine on 120 VAC the fuse in the IEC socket should be 5 amps. Our fuse blew as they shipped our unit with the 220 VAC fuse which is 3 amps.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on April 08, 2016, 05:38:10 pm
@ICHAN
MHS has a nice tool for CAN monitoring.
The software is open source
http://www.mhs-elektronik.de/index.php?module=content&action=show&page=tinycan_monitor (http://www.mhs-elektronik.de/index.php?module=content&action=show&page=tinycan_monitor)

http://www.mhs-elektronik.de/index.php?module=content&action=show&page=can_cool (http://www.mhs-elektronik.de/index.php?module=content&action=show&page=can_cool)


This is a cheap interface
http://www.mhs-elektronik.de/index.php?module=artikel&action=artikel&id=16 (http://www.mhs-elektronik.de/index.php?module=artikel&action=artikel&id=16)

I use
http://www.mhs-elektronik.de/index.php?module=artikel&action=artikel&id=3 (http://www.mhs-elektronik.de/index.php?module=artikel&action=artikel&id=3)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: l0wside on April 08, 2016, 10:08:34 pm
Re CAN: IIRC, CAN analyzer is in Saleae SW. Just try it wirh a 5$ Saleae clone, thereis nothing to lose :)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: AaiRIz on April 09, 2016, 04:16:41 am
Hello Friends,

1st post in This EEvblog. read almost all the discussion in N4 PNP machine. we are thinking to buy the PNP machine for startup. I do not a familiar with the PNP machines because do not work on any PNP before.

I want to ask to MR. @ICHAN & @TheSteve about N4 PNP machine. That, Can you prefer me about buying this machine? or you prefer any other PNP ? your answer was great help to me for buying my 1st PNP.


Thanks.   :)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Jefferson on April 09, 2016, 11:14:11 am
Hello AaiRIz!
It will be very difficult if there is no previous experience. A lot of time will be spent in vain. You must pass the practice and study for a while. Or have a specialist who will do the training. N4 has a lot of ignoring industry standards and feature innovative solutions and restrictions. It also needs to want to examine and apply.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on April 09, 2016, 12:42:23 pm
I bought Microchip CAN Analyser about a year ago, hasn't use it yet and now it is hidding from me  :(.

I have Saleae Logic Pro 8 on my bench, will try it soon. The objective is to find how to command the feeder so i can use it on the other machine.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on April 09, 2016, 01:06:09 pm
I want to ask to MR. @ICHAN & @TheSteve about N4 PNP machine. That, Can you prefer me about buying this machine? or you prefer any other PNP ? your answer was great help to me for buying my 1st PNP.

The short answer is YES.

If you do (or plan to) do a small assembly business then Neoden 4 is the right choice, mine already pay itself for about 25% of it's own cost only in 3 weeks.

If you only do your own prototype and have limited budget then i think QIHE TVM802A/B will fit better.

SmallSMT machine looks good but no real user so far reporting their experience, and reading the other thread - sending money to a personal account in china is a big NO to me.

Charmhigh is a new player, they usually on hobby cnc router business.

QIHE TVM920 may become the nearest competitor of Neoden 4, but seems at $6500 no feeders included will mean the price can be higher then N4 and without conveyor.

Borey Tech machines are interesting but limited information out there.


-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Smallsmt on April 09, 2016, 01:53:40 pm
@ICHAN
Quote
SmallSMT machine looks good but no real user so far reporting their experience, and reading the other thread - sending money to a personal account in china is a big NO to me.


You can use paypal too!
And real user reports are on our website.

How did you pay your NEODEN machine?

This was my Payment for my TM240A Neoden machine in 2013!
Looks like a personal account in China !?!

"PAYMENT: Bank Wire Transfer
SWIFT Code: ABOCCNBJ110
Bank account number: 6228480323024499713
Bank name: AGRICULTURAL BANK OF CHINA,ZHEJIANG BR.
Beneficiary's address: No. 11, Xiyuan eight road, West Lake science and Technology Park, San Dun, Hangzhou
Receiver name: Weng Guofu (????
Phone Number: 13958891178"                              

Best regards
Michael
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on April 09, 2016, 02:58:33 pm
How did you pay your NEODEN machine?

Attached is the bank info part of the Proforma Invoice of the machine purchase.

Michael, you should register a company account soon, for your own good - not only me who says NO, since the last two years our central bank will reject any bank wire transfer to a personal account in China. Guess why...  ;)

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: JohnT on April 10, 2016, 09:42:30 pm
I'm thinking of purchasing Neoden 4 for low volume inhouse manufacturing but have zero experience working with PNP machines. This thread has been awesome at answering a lot of questions and overall adding to my understanding of what is involved.

One question that I'm having difficulty answering is regarding footprints that may not be available in the 'Footprint Library' (see attached image). An example footprint might be an SD card holder or USB micro B connector. This would be the footprint used by the imaging algorithm to locate the center and rotation offsets of the currently picked part. How does one go about setting up a custom footprint? Is a foot print necessary even? Any advice and/or input would be helpful.

Thanks,

~John

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on April 10, 2016, 11:45:45 pm
If you follow teh paypal link it goes to yet another name, which has no reference to SmallSMT in it...



@ICHAN
Quote
SmallSMT machine looks good but no real user so far reporting their experience, and reading the other thread - sending money to a personal account in china is a big NO to me.


You can use paypal too!
And real user reports are on our website.

How did you pay your NEODEN machine?

This was my Payment for my TM240A Neoden machine in 2013!
Looks like a personal account in China !?!

"PAYMENT: Bank Wire Transfer
SWIFT Code: ABOCCNBJ110
Bank account number: 6228480323024499713
Bank name: AGRICULTURAL BANK OF CHINA,ZHEJIANG BR.
Beneficiary's address: No. 11, Xiyuan eight road, West Lake science and Technology Park, San Dun, Hangzhou
Receiver name: Weng Guofu (????
Phone Number: 13958891178"                              

Best regards
Michael
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on April 11, 2016, 12:32:24 am
I'm thinking of purchasing Neoden 4 for low volume inhouse manufacturing but have zero experience working with PNP machines. This thread has been awesome at answering a lot of questions and overall adding to my understanding of what is involved.

One question that I'm having difficulty answering is regarding footprints that may not be available in the 'Footprint Library' (see attached image). An example footprint might be an SD card holder or USB micro B connector. This would be the footprint used by the imaging algorithm to locate the center and rotation offsets of the currently picked part. How does one go about setting up a custom footprint? Is a foot print necessary even? Any advice and/or input would be helpful.

Thanks,

~John
Don't know about N4 specifically, but P&P vision generally only cares about a few simple parameters like part X/Y size for vision, height (for vision focus  and placement height) and a few other things like nozzle type and speed.
Vision will typically just use the overall outline and not need to know about individual pad locations, though oddball parts may need some tweaking. 
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: JohnT on April 11, 2016, 01:54:47 am
Don't know about N4 specifically, but P&P vision generally only cares about a few simple parameters like part X/Y size for vision, height (for vision focus  and placement height) and a few other things like nozzle type and speed.
Vision will typically just use the overall outline and not need to know about individual pad locations, though oddball parts may need some tweaking.

That method seems to make perfect sense and I’d be surprised if the N4 designers deviated too much from the typical implementations. Even non-rectangular footprints (ex. SOT-23-3) could be best fit into a rectangle. Thanks for your help.

Out of pure curiosity it would be nice to see exactly what's inside the N4 Footprint Library file(s). At this point my guess is that it’s a CSV with all the parameters that you mentioned. If anyone on this thread has access to the files, please share. Either an example file, a screen capture or a cut/paste.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on April 11, 2016, 06:58:21 am
Don't know about N4 specifically, but P&P vision generally only cares about a few simple parameters like part X/Y size for vision, height (for vision focus  and placement height) and a few other things like nozzle type and speed.
Vision will typically just use the overall outline and not need to know about individual pad locations, though oddball parts may need some tweaking.

That method seems to make perfect sense and I’d be surprised if the N4 designers deviated too much from the typical implementations. Even non-rectangular footprints (ex. SOT-23-3) could be best fit into a rectangle. Thanks for your help.

Out of pure curiosity it would be nice to see exactly what's inside the N4 Footprint Library file(s). At this point my guess is that it’s a CSV with all the parameters that you mentioned. If anyone on this thread has access to the files, please share. Either an example file, a screen capture or a cut/paste.
SO23-3 is a bit of an oddball - as the body is black you tend to image just the pads, but triangular outlines can be harder to interpret correctly for rotation than rectangular ones - these are parts that are more likely to need tweaking for reliable placement
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: GPA611 on April 12, 2016, 06:34:03 am
Hello guys,

As another (proud) owner of Neoden4 I would like to share my experiences from this machine as this is the main goal of this thread.
We got the machine in February, 2016. Since then we have a few hundreds of PCBs already populated on it. Because this is our first machine I can’t compare it to any similar product but it looks suitable for the needs of our business – which is quite a niche one and the quantities are in the range of 5-10 boards up to 100-200 per order.
The problems we faced so far with ND4 are the following:
-   Initially, after the installation we detected that two of the feeders don’t work – after opening them we found that the problem with the first one was mechanical – simply the upper part of the motor wasn’t put properly and there was a friction b/w both parts. With the second one there was a cable problem.
-   After couple of weeks of exploitation two of the nozzles stopped working – by consulting with Neoden the problem was located in the control board which is on the top of the nozzle-head. It seems that the step-motor driver for this side was gone. We got very quickly a replacement of this board and the problem was solved. However we had some period when the machine was operating only with two of the nozzles – a little slower but still functional.
-   Another issue we faced during the installation of few extra feeders which were purchased recently. All of them were supposed to come with address #50, however some of them came with different addresses (like 2,7,8.. etc.) which cost us some time to figure out what is going on. Talking to Neoden they told me that each feeder should come with a label with its address however our feeders were w/o such labels. So we need to ‘discover’ the address of each of them.

One point I can’t find in this thread – this is about the maintenance of the machine. I understand that just cleaning the axis from dust and putting some oil on them regularly is enough. Are there any other actions that need to be done? 


BR,
George

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on April 12, 2016, 08:12:23 am
About footprint, i don't really know how and when exactly the footprint definition used ;D sometimes i just left it empty and got no proplem.

(http://s20.postimg.org/ytuwqgxpp/Feeder_Setting.jpg)


The footprint definition itself is only the rectangular boundary and thickness of the component.

(http://s20.postimg.org/m3qoddprh/Footprint.jpg)


Some people asking me about the price detail of the machine, for that just see it on their aliexpress store:

http://www.aliexpress.com/store/group/NeoDen4/231675_504814084.html (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/group/NeoDen4/231675_504814084.html)

I was  quoted the same prices as on that store.

-ichan

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on April 12, 2016, 08:28:07 am
Quote
Talking to Neoden they told me that each feeder should come with a label with its address however our feeders were w/o such labels. So we need to ‘discover’ the address of each of them.
Can the end-user program the address of a feeder?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ice-Tea on April 12, 2016, 09:04:44 am

I was  quoted the same prices as on that store.

-ichan

What about feeders?
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: wraper on April 12, 2016, 09:23:14 am
What about feeders?
Quote
Neoden4 automatic pick & place system with vision, special version with
conveyor for pcb, incl built-in pc with monitor, keyboard and mouse, preinstalled
software, 5-lane vibratory stick feeder (2x8, 1x14, 2x16 pin SO), tray
holder, 8 tape feeders (5x8, 2x12, 1x16 mm tape)
and pedestal
Quote
Accessories
NEODEN4-8 Tape Feeder 8mm 70,00
NEODEN4-12 Tape Feeder 12mm 80,00
NEODEN4-16 Tape Feeder 16mm 90,00
NEODEN4-24 Tape Feeder 24mm - available on request
Prices in EUR ex VAT from neodentech.eu
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ice-Tea on April 12, 2016, 09:31:55 am
Heh... Was looking there yesterday, never found it or saw it. Thanks!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: GPA611 on April 12, 2016, 10:02:04 am
Quote
Talking to Neoden they told me that each feeder should come with a label with its address however our feeders were w/o such labels. So we need to ‘discover’ the address of each of them.
Can the end-user program the address of a feeder?

Yes, quite easily from the GUI –> System Setup -> Modify Feed ID  and then a dialog window appear where can be specified the new feeder address.
So it turns that the feeders itself contain their address where the feeder-connectors are equal. This means that feeder #1 can be connected to a connector in the middle of the row and it will respond again. Even more if you have two feeders with the same address connected – both of them respond  ;)

BR,
George

Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mrpackethead on April 12, 2016, 10:47:44 am

That seems pretty spendy.. You can pick up 8mm Yamaha CL feeders or about $60.00.  they are not genuine yamaha feeders but pretty good and seem reliable.


What about feeders?
Quote
Neoden4 automatic pick & place system with vision, special version with
conveyor for pcb, incl built-in pc with monitor, keyboard and mouse, preinstalled
software, 5-lane vibratory stick feeder (2x8, 1x14, 2x16 pin SO), tray
holder, 8 tape feeders (5x8, 2x12, 1x16 mm tape)
and pedestal
Quote
Accessories
NEODEN4-8 Tape Feeder 8mm 70,00
NEODEN4-12 Tape Feeder 12mm 80,00
NEODEN4-16 Tape Feeder 16mm 90,00
NEODEN4-24 Tape Feeder 24mm - available on request
Prices in EUR ex VAT from neodentech.eu
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: wraper on April 12, 2016, 10:54:21 am
Heh... Was looking there yesterday, never found it or saw it. Thanks!
That from a quote I received from them.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: Ichan on April 12, 2016, 11:32:43 am
What about feeders?

There feeder prices on the store link i mentioned before, easy to find if you sort it by price ascending, like picture below.

That seems pretty spendy.. You can pick up 8mm Yamaha CL feeders or about $60.00.  they are not genuine yamaha feeders but pretty good and seem reliable.

Remember that Yamaha CL feeder is simple pneumatic feeder, no motor, no electronics - should be low in cost but will need external air compressor.

-ichan
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: JohnT on April 12, 2016, 09:34:01 pm
The footprint definition itself is only the rectangular boundary and thickness of the component.

(http://s20.postimg.org/m3qoddprh/Footprint.jpg)

-ichan

Thanks for posting the image. Was the Footprint List displayed when the 'Footprint Library' button was pressed? Can the existing footprints be edited, and more importantly, can new custom footprints be added to the list?

Funny how alignment continues to work well even though the feeder footprint definition is left blank. Perhaps for rectangular parts the length and width are determined dynamically (based on the captured part image) if a footprint definition has not been selected. I'd be concerned that alignment may become temperamental at times without an assignment.

~John
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on April 13, 2016, 06:55:27 am

Funny how alignment continues to work well even though the feeder footprint definition is left blank. Perhaps for rectangular parts the length and width are determined dynamically (based on the captured part image) if a footprint definition has not been selected. I'd be concerned that alignment may become temperamental at times without an assignment.

All you need for alignment is centre and rotation. Size will be used for things like rejecting out-of-tolerance sizes (usually a mis-pick), and deciding if a part can be imaged in one shot or needs multiple offset views to make up the whole image.
Height/thickness is more important, for placement height and also vision focus position.
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: JohnT on April 13, 2016, 10:00:06 am
All you need for alignment is centre and rotation. Size will be used for things like rejecting out-of-tolerance sizes (usually a mis-pick), and deciding if a part can be imaged in one shot or needs multiple offset views to make up the whole image.
Height/thickness is more important, for placement height and also vision focus position.

Ah, this is all beginning to make sense. Part boundaries are found using image processing techniques (thresholding etc.), one or more edges are best-fit to a line for use in rotational alignment and the centre is found perhaps as the average x,y of the part boundaries. The secret recipe of how all of this has been implemented in software is irrelevant for the end user, what matters is the outcome and the iterative tweaks we make to get proper centring based on those outcomes.

There is a SMT micro B USB port in my design that may fit into the oddball category. By tweaking the part height I'd expect the centre to be found reliably (if the above spiel is correct) but rotational offset may prove tricky as the part outline (see link to part drawing below, with flange) deviates from a rectangular outline. I'd likely initially set the part height so as to focus on the PCB-part interface plane and see how things turn out. Have you had experience PNPing these types of parts? Any advice/cautions would be helpful.

Link to part drawing: http://www.mouser.com/ds/2/154/10118192-793027.pdf (http://www.mouser.com/ds/2/154/10118192-793027.pdf)
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on April 13, 2016, 11:00:18 am
Any tweaks will be very machine specific,so it will be trial and error. Over time you will get to know how to deal with oddities
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: timbo73 on April 13, 2016, 09:33:58 pm
Another newbie question:

what's the reason why these low-end-but-machine-vision-supported PnP machines with ~50um resolution steppers w encoders typically don't claim to be able to  place parts with 0.35mm pitch pads? If it's not due to XY accuracy, presumably it's the place head that cannot drop the part consistently, or is it something else?

Thanks!
Title: Re: Neoden 4 pick and place
Post by: alexanderbrevig on April 13, 2016, 09:45:21 pm
I'm a newbie too at this but I will hazard a guess and say that it has to do with repeat-ability and margins of error. If you say you can place 0.35mm pitch then you must be able to do it, each time - every time. Maybe call it a clearance? They could probably get the machine to place a 0.35mm pitch part for a demo, but I'm glad they don't advertise it until it is reliable.

BTW; Mike, as a viewer of your channel - may I suggest that you share your experiences with PnP machines? What statistics are important (parts per hour, or percentage error or number of feeders etc). A beginners guide to pick and place is something I'm sure at least ten of us would watch ;) Full disclosure: I am in the market for one...hehe
I know you have some videos that touch on the subject and I've seen them all more than once  :-+