Author Topic: Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly  (Read 11594 times)

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Offline digsys

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Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly
« on: June 04, 2012, 11:41:49 am »
Hi folks,
I constantly have small runs (5-20) of several S/Mount PCBs to make up.
I currently use a very nice 3D stereo boom video system and full JBC S/Mount stations, but it's becoming too much to do manually.
Anyone know of / sell / hire / advise / swap / new or 2nd hand - a semi? manual pick and place assembly machine?
I can justify up to $20K-ish. I have huge stock of loose parts - 1206s, SOT23s etc, is that an issue.
All ideas / comments appreciated.
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2012, 11:52:44 am »
You can justify $20K for that??  :o

Have you actually priced an assembly house? They usually do small runs by hand, but even if you insist on pick and place, at maybe say $400/job (one-off NRE cost screen+setup), you can still get a lot of different jobs for $20K!
Seriously, you will spend most of your time learning to use the machine and the headaches to run it, it's more trouble than it's worth. Not to mention the consumables etc. Then you need a reflow oven and paste dispenser too.

Ian from Dangerous Prototypes talks about that here:


Lose parts are useless for pick and place,  you need to have them all on reels.

I use a guy in Melbourne (Vutronics) to do sort runs (<100) by hand. No setup fee, first class results. Cheap and quick, and works from exact number Digikey packets. Email me for the contact.

Dave.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 11:55:04 am by EEVblog »
 

Offline 8086

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Re: Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2012, 11:58:55 am »
That's quite an outlay for 5-20 boards at a time...and loose parts are not your friend, as Dave said.

I'll take the opportunity for a little plug  ;) - I can assemble short runs at good prices, loose parts no issue, quotes are free of course: http://www.circuitology.com/assembly/
 

Offline digsys

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Re: Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2012, 12:13:37 pm »
Quote
You can justify $20K for that?
Yep. I used to do quite large runs and had access to production lines / assemblers, so I am familiar with amount of work required JUST to set it up.
I also used to send work off to contract manufacturers, and that also was (is) a lot of work / setup. I've also hired full / part time assemblers, but
my last GOOD one died on me .. that sucked. Been through it all in 40+ yrs. The deal killer is not being able to use my loose stock ... bummer.
So I guess, it's either look for another assembler (a live one) or keep doing it myself.
Like I said, using a contract company, as you suggest, is a LOT of setup, plus I'd have to re-purchase a lot of stock (or hire someone to stick it back
into reels :-) ).
I do MANY designs a year, so have to watch purchase quantities.
Thanks for the reply, I'll check out the video and mull it over.
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Offline digsys

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Re: Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2012, 12:22:35 pm »
Quote
I can assemble short runs at good prices, loose parts no issue
I appreciate the offer, but it needs to be VERY local. There is a lot of associated CNC / metalwork to be run at the same time,
and I OFTEN change something at short notice. It's the nature of my work.
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2012, 12:49:27 pm »
Like I said, using a contract company, as you suggest, is a LOT of setup

But they handle it all. Just give them the gerber and pick and place file.
Or if they hand assemble, then they require no more info or setup than the one-man-band assembler.
My hand assembler guy just needs a sample board, and an overlay/partslist

Dave.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2012, 01:10:03 pm »
Quote
plus I'd have to re-purchase a lot of stock (or hire someone to stick it back
into reels :-) ).
Do you really have so much stuff that's worth salvaging@ - most reeled parts are so cheap that it isn't worth the time reusing.

It is possible to get a useable P&P machine with feeders for under $20k (used) but  it is very much down to luck in what you can find used, what condition it's in and whether you have space for something big like an old Mydata TP9.

I'd suggest the best bet is to do some hunting for a subcontractor that suits your quantities and ways of working. Another important aspect, especially when you have a lot of different designs, is to streamline the setup process as much as possble - talk to the assembler about how they like the data, what jellybean parts they normally keep loaded, and minimise numbers of differemt parts (even at the expense of using more parts total).
 
Quote
I currently use a very nice 3D stereo boom video system and full JBC S/Mount stations, but it's becoming too much to do manually.
If you aren't already hand-assembling by stencilling, picking with a foot-operated vacuum pen from laid-out tapes and reflowing, you're doing it wrong and wasting a lot of time - this would save you a ton of time and give more consistent quality.

Even polyester stencils ($10) are perfectly useable for small runs of low to medium density parts, although stainless stencils ($80+) in a decent manual printer ($1-2k) is something worth aiming for as good paste print quality is the biggest factor in final assembled board quality. 
As regards reflow oven - a <$100 toaster oven is all you need.

There are a few hints for fast hand SMD assembly in this video I did a while ago:


 
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2012, 01:22:27 pm »
Like I said, using a contract company, as you suggest, is a LOT of setup

But they handle it all. Just give them the gerber and pick and place file.
Or if they hand assemble, then they require no more info or setup than the one-man-band assembler.
My hand assembler guy just needs a sample board, and an overlay/partslist

Dave.
It's worth finding out what front-end processing tools they have, and what formats they can use, as there may be scope to streamline their process to save you money, for example my assember can take P-CAD PDIF files, which include all the gerber, pick/place and part value info, and they can convert this very easily into what they need, to the extent that they no longer charge me for setup apart from the paste stencil. 
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Offline digsys

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Re: Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2012, 01:54:39 pm »
I appreciate the suggestions, but as I say, I've been doing this for a lot of yrs, and have used outside contract on several occasions.
Some of my contracts customers still do it that way. I am just looking into the option of setting up a S/Mount machine system.
Tried the stensils and and related stuff, but always go back to semi-manual. It suits what I do now. So, just seeing what options
there are in S/M machinery. Thanks
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2012, 02:18:56 pm »
So, just seeing what options there are in S/M machinery. Thanks
In which case it's just down to what you can find used - $20K won't get you anything new and probably never will, but it could get you something old & used but still useable if you happen to find it - being in Oz is going to limit you somewhat.
Probably the best machine in terms of size and value for money is a Versatronics RV1s or RV4s from the late 1990s, which I've seen go on ebay for well under $5K with feeders, it's small, easy to use and needs no air supply. However AFAIK these were only ever sold in UK and South Africa - although probably the smallest & lightest machine out there, shpping cost would still be significant.   
Maybe a TWS Quadra, but avoid the ones with mechanical alignmnet instead of vision.
If you have the space you can probably find some bigger stuff going cheap, but you need to know what you're doing to avoid ending up with a piece of junk that's useless due to needing some unobtainable part.
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2012, 02:47:58 pm »
I have set up a pilotline in the lab a few years back. I bought a manual stencil printer for about 1k$ , a small flow through oven , bench type . The brand o forgot but you can find them from various makers. Madell has them , amongst others. They are 3 or 4 zone , flow through and fit on a toolcart.
I bought a used zevatech/ juki 750 with two vision system ( one down looking , one up looking , a couple of vibrafeeds , a tray stacker and reels. I converted the machine from flowthrough to 4 sided parts mount. Worked perfectly fine for a couple of years.

We had a flow where we would send out gerber data on friday , order parts and stencil on monday .
Tuseday the machine was programmed and parts loaded. Wednesday boards came in and wedensday evening the first 10 or so had been run... Worked like a charm. Was run by 1 person.
Juki has some really compact machines. Quad is also a good machine.
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2012, 09:51:53 pm »
So, just seeing what options there are in S/M machinery. Thanks

http://www.resurface.com.au/

Used SMT machines are not plentiful or cheap to get in Oz though.

Dave.
 

Offline digsys

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Re: Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2012, 11:38:05 pm »
Quote
Used SMT machines are not plentiful or cheap to get in Oz though
Yup, that's what I came up with during my initial searches, one reason I ended up here.
PCB assembly in OZ is near extinct .. sure miss the ol' days.
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Offline electroguy

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Re: Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2012, 05:49:11 am »
but even if you insist on pick and place, at maybe say $400/job (one-off NRE cost screen+setup)

where? last quote i got (over a year ago, so prices might have changed now) was well over that.
got any good pick and place assemblers that are that cheap?
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2012, 06:07:16 am »
but even if you insist on pick and place, at maybe say $400/job (one-off NRE cost screen+setup)
where? last quote i got (over a year ago, so prices might have changed now) was well over that.
got any good pick and place assemblers that are that cheap?

I use Ramzonics here in Sydney.
They charge $250 for the stencil
SMD machine programming was $150 for a panel the complexity of my uCurrent.
Both of those are one-off of course.
Then you pay for SMD machine time, and that would include paste, handling, percussive maintenance etc
Then it's $0.35/min for any hand assembly/solder time.

I really can't see how anyone could justify say $20K for their own PnP machine and the time invested in learning to use it and run it etc.
Even if I got an SMD machine for free, it still probably wouldn't be worth my time to run it myself, apart from novelty value  ;D

Dave.
 

Offline electroguy

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Re: Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2012, 12:18:24 pm »
thanks for that dave!
i'll see if i can find a similar deal in vic otherwise ill give them a call.
cheers!
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Offline SeanB

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Re: Pick and Place Surface Mount assembly
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2012, 03:46:21 pm »
Dave Jones, Midnight Engineer, printing his own videos, and making uCurrents day an night in the other office, with only robots for company......
 


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