Author Topic: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.  (Read 3839 times)

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Offline Rat_PatrolTopic starter

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We are expanding this summer, and need to up our PnP game a level or two. Currently running a few Charmhigh 48VB machines and a small army of Controleo reflow ovens. It works, mostly, but the machines are of course finicky, and I feel we have been lucky so far with the lack of show-stopping problems. Not to mention, the converter software for them is flaming hot garbage.

Needs: automated stencil printer, PnP machine that has at least 60 lanes worth of 8mm, but we will be mixing in some large tapes trays and also a couple vibration feeders because why not. Need a reflow oven that can keep up. Currently using and very happy with AgnosPCB neural inspection software, so I figure the lane will either pause at that station (I can build that over a conveyor) or the first cell of production can stop there. We will be building a new facility, so I need to know how long it needs to be, hence I'm working on which line we will go with and how it will be setup. I'd like it to be modular enough that we can integrate more niceties as we continue to grow. I need at least 15mm component height capability.

Budget is of course as cheap as I can get non-junk for. I'd LOVE to keep the entire line under $100k, but I can be talked into a bit more. Less is better.

Was looking at the Fox2 with the paste jetting, but I have zero experience with the company or paste jetting in general. We will be doing BGA components.

And go.
 

Offline Rat_PatrolTopic starter

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2023, 04:55:16 am »
I should add that plan B (if no good options for plan A exist) is to simply upgrade the PnP machines (still want advice) to get less finicky, more precise, feeders that don't totally suck, get at least a semi-automatic stencil printer (manual stencil printing is the pits), and get a new reflow oven. This option would not need to be on an automated conveyor system, just go back to feeding boards into each machine by hand.
 

Offline Jackster

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2023, 10:50:40 am »
I can put you in contact with HWGC who makes affordable PnP machines and also sell other line equipment.

The Charmhigh machines are quite crap relatively speaking and are known to have problems with the feeder system.

HWGC charge about $12,000 for a 64 feeder 6 head and $15,000 for a 100 feeder 8 head.
Can use pneumatics or air-triggered electric feeders with all their machines.

Automated stencil printers are about $20-25k.

As for reflow ovens. I highly recommend upgrading to a mesh/rail oven. I personally would not use anything under a 6 zone (6 top 6 bottom).
Rails cost a bit more but are worth it if you do double-sided assembly or want fully automated lines (at least being able to stack boards on the end of the line).


Feeders, 8mm are around $50 for pneumatics and $150 for electrics.
The $50 pneumatics are fine for 0406/0804 caps and resistors. But for diodes, LEDs, etc use electrics.

Note that the 15mm component height can be done with these machines. You just need to setup manually the pick order for said tall components.

As with any Chinese budget machine, you can run into issues. I have run into a couple, all of which were sorted out by HWGC or our group chat.
For $100k, you could easily get 2 pnp machines, auto stencil, unloader & loader, reflow oven, inspection table, and shipping.

Offline loki42

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2023, 01:18:52 pm »
Are you looking for good, cheap or new?  Choose 2. I'd get a refurbished PnP from a major brand (Fuji,  Panasonic, ASM, UIC, Samsung/Hanwha, Yamaha) a screen printer from MPM, Ekra or Dek and any used oven,  depending on your size preferences.  My line cost around that,  2 UIC Genesis machines, tray feeder, MPM printer and essemtec oven. I'd find someone you can pay for install and training.   
 

Offline loki42

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2023, 01:20:32 pm »
Oh and ask on Smtnet.  Much more experience there with more brands. 
 

Offline DLE

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2023, 04:46:12 pm »
If you are going for speed you might want avoid the jet printer, but if space/stencils are an issue it's not a bad option.  I looked at it at one point, and it doubled my processing time for a 1' square LED board.  I expect that is probably a decent rule of thumb but not sure.  Jet printing will slow down the line doing both printing/placing in the same machine.  BUT if you are doing a lot of low-volume stuff it may be worth it to avoid stencil ordering time/storage.

We're currently moving from a 36VA to an N9 from Neodenusa.  I don't have the equipment yet but they have been great to work with so far.  I've also ordered a YX630 6-zone oven that was inexpensive.  I haven't seen reviews on it, but I've seen a lot of comments about the Neonden IN6 3rd zone heating element dying frequently.  The N9 is a 6-head, ball-screw, and much heavier than their previous versions.  Watching Unexpected Makers videos on his N8 has been helpful. 

Still looking for a good small-size semi-auto, or auto printer but haven't found a good option yet.  Considering making something with some linear rails so I can set squeegee pressure/angle.  Just haven't spent the time to do it.
 

Offline jmelson

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2023, 07:02:21 pm »
Are you looking for good, cheap or new?  Choose 2. I'd get a refurbished PnP from a major brand (Fuji,  Panasonic, ASM, UIC, Samsung/Hanwha, Yamaha) a screen printer from MPM, Ekra or Dek and any used oven,  depending on your size preferences.  My line cost around that,  2 UIC Genesis machines, tray feeder, MPM printer and essemtec oven. I'd find someone you can pay for install and training.   
I'd strongly second this!  I have documented here my purchase of an off-brand Quad/Samsung machine from an auction and how I have had a number of issues with it.  What I didn't know was that it had been sitting for SIX years before the auction.  Before that I had a Philips/Yamaha CSM84 that ran for 13 years with VERY minimal issues, but it just wasn't accurate enough for fine-pitch ICs.  I bouglt this machine from a running shop that was using it two weeks before I made the deal.  After reading all the issues here with these low-cost Chinese machines, I think I did make the right choice.  My Quad QSA30 has flying vision and is plenty accurate for down to 0.5 mm lead pitch devices.
I did my own install and training, using the manuals for the machine.  The Philips manuals were pretty good, but the Quad Samsung manuals were quite awful, just a guide through all the screens, with minimal explanation on how everything interacts.  I have had NO ISSUES getting repair parts for the Quad machine, but sometimes I have to order from the far East.
Jon
 

Offline jmelson

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2023, 07:03:36 pm »
Oh and ask on Smtnet.  Much more experience there with more brands.
Yes, good place to check in, but most of the people don't want to talk about anything more than about 5 years old.
Jon
 

Offline Mangozac

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2023, 10:48:35 pm »
Get some good secondhand Assembleon machines (later Windows based, not the earlier DOS ones). They're plentiful and cheap in the US. We have just installed the first of two Yamaha YG series machines (these are the same thing, just sold under the Assembleon brand in US) and so far we're very pleased! These are extremely well built machines and there are plenty of spare parts still available. You can even still get technical support.
 

Offline jmelson

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2023, 12:20:15 am »
Note all the Assembelon "Gem" series machines (Emerald, Topaz etc.) need 3-phase power.

Jon
 
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Offline Rat_PatrolTopic starter

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2023, 05:04:02 pm »
Sorry I went AWOL, my son went in for emergency hernia surgery. He is fine now though!

Anyway, not strictly opposed to used name brand, only catch is we can't get 3 phase power. We are low volume high value, so I I'm not overly worried about speed, much more concerned with reliability. Right now we call our Charmhigh units the "children" because they are always needing full supervision and correction.

My employee that runs the line absolutely hates the manual solder paste method we currently use, is drooling over a jet paste machine, and if feasible financially I agree. Can these jet paste machines handle the paste for bga components?
 

Offline Rat_PatrolTopic starter

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2023, 05:05:05 pm »
I can put you in contact with HWGC who makes affordable PnP machines and also sell other line equipment.

The Charmhigh machines are quite crap relatively speaking and are known to have problems with the feeder system.

HWGC charge about $12,000 for a 64 feeder 6 head and $15,000 for a 100 feeder 8 head.
Can use pneumatics or air-triggered electric feeders with all their machines.

Automated stencil printers are about $20-25k.

As for reflow ovens. I highly recommend upgrading to a mesh/rail oven. I personally would not use anything under a 6 zone (6 top 6 bottom).
Rails cost a bit more but are worth it if you do double-sided assembly or want fully automated lines (at least being able to stack boards on the end of the line).


Feeders, 8mm are around $50 for pneumatics and $150 for electrics.
The $50 pneumatics are fine for 0406/0804 caps and resistors. But for diodes, LEDs, etc use electrics.

Note that the 15mm component height can be done with these machines. You just need to setup manually the pick order for said tall components.

As with any Chinese budget machine, you can run into issues. I have run into a couple, all of which were sorted out by HWGC or our group chat.
For $100k, you could easily get 2 pnp machines, auto stencil, unloader & loader, reflow oven, inspection table, and shipping.

Id take you up on that contact info so I can check them out!

How is their converter software?
 

Offline Jackster

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2023, 06:48:50 pm »
Id take you up on that contact info so I can check them out!

How is their converter software?

I'll DM you shortly.

The software imports CSV and TXT files really well.
I have customers supply me stuff from Altium, Kicad etc and they all work fine.

Offline jmelson

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2023, 09:11:47 pm »
Anyway, not strictly opposed to used name brand, only catch is we can't get 3 phase power. We are low volume high value, so I I'm not overly worried about speed, much more concerned with reliability. Right now we call our Charmhigh units the "children" because they are always needing full supervision and correction.
There are plenty of high-end machines that do NOT need 3 phase.  In 2007 I bought a Philips CSM84 (made by Yamaha) that ran on single phase power.  It used mechanical jaws for centering parts on the nozzle.  That wasn't accurate enough for 0.5mm lead pitch parts, but the machine was VERY simple to program and built like a tank.  The only other issue was the feeders were a little weak on pulling the cover tape.  Now, I have a Quad QSA30A (made by Samsung with Quad electronic feeders and Quad alignment cameras).  Also single phase power, the feeders are better than the Philips/Yamaha style, programming is more complicated due to the vision.  You can look at Samsung CP30, CP40 and CP45 machines.
Jon
 

Offline 48X24X48X

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2023, 05:24:16 am »
I can put you in contact with HWGC who makes affordable PnP machines and also sell other line equipment.

The Charmhigh machines are quite crap relatively speaking and are known to have problems with the feeder system.

HWGC charge about $12,000 for a 64 feeder 6 head and $15,000 for a 100 feeder 8 head.
Can use pneumatics or air-triggered electric feeders with all their machines.

Automated stencil printers are about $20-25k.

As for reflow ovens. I highly recommend upgrading to a mesh/rail oven. I personally would not use anything under a 6 zone (6 top 6 bottom).
Rails cost a bit more but are worth it if you do double-sided assembly or want fully automated lines (at least being able to stack boards on the end of the line).


Feeders, 8mm are around $50 for pneumatics and $150 for electrics.
The $50 pneumatics are fine for 0406/0804 caps and resistors. But for diodes, LEDs, etc use electrics.

Note that the 15mm component height can be done with these machines. You just need to setup manually the pick order for said tall components.

As with any Chinese budget machine, you can run into issues. I have run into a couple, all of which were sorted out by HWGC or our group chat.
For $100k, you could easily get 2 pnp machines, auto stencil, unloader & loader, reflow oven, inspection table, and shipping.

Id take you up on that contact info so I can check them out!

How is their converter software?
Not sure why on all these P&P machines needs a converter for the position file. The HWGC machine just take whatever you throw at him and you can then select which column is which. Simple as that and it should be this way. Also watch my videos on how to use the machine if you think you need more assurance. Liu at HWGC is really a nice chap to talk to. He helps all he can although I bought my machine through a distributor before they started selling directly to customers outside of China.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2023, 05:27:38 am by 48X24X48X »
 

Offline jmelson

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2023, 05:44:56 pm »
My Philps and Quad machines have human-readable placement files.  I wrote a simple C program that reads my Protel 99 P&P file and extracts the needed fields.  Component ID, centroid (R123), rotation and part type (1.0K0805).  It also reads a component definition file that gives the part type and rotation fixup to compensate for how the parts come rotated in the tapes.  it then writes out two files, one for the front and one for the back side of the board, correcting for mirror image of the X coordinate and rotation on the back side.  It also adds all the boiler plate stuff needed in these files to import to the machine.  Maybe the Quad could actually read a raw P&P file but that would require a lot of fiddling, and there are LOTS of columns in the Protel file that could be confusing, like the pin 1 centroid as opposed to component centroid.  So, this program know exactly which fields to use.
Jon
 

Offline jayx

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2023, 08:21:49 pm »
You've mentioned Fox2 in the first post, I guess you're talking about Essemtec. I've seen one of this machine with jet printing option and was really impressed. It is faster than I thought (you can send them a file and ask for a jet time estimation) and the most usefull thing is that you can easily increase/decrease the amount of paste on a particular component if needed. However there are a few drawbacks.

First is obviously the speed, stencil printer will always be faster.

Second is requirement of use special, most likely expensive paste. Also I had some bad experience with high flux content dispensable paste, it was spitting solder bals like crazy! Suspect that the one for jet printing may be similar.

Finaly it's the cost of this option for the machine. Can't remember exactly but a new on was ~20-30k$! Plus the machine itself and feeders.

I operate an old MPM printer (DOS based software!) and it's absolutely fine, I think you can get similar printer for just a few thousand USD.

As for the P&P machine it's woth to consider Autotronik/Manncorp. Small size, high number of feeder slots, easy to program, single phase. Not very fast though and feeders are not cheap (second hand difficult to find), still cheaper than Essemtec ones.
 

Offline kynwav

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2023, 01:45:07 am »
Not sure why on all these P&P machines needs a converter for the position file. The HWGC machine just take whatever you throw at him and you can then select which column is which. Simple as that and it should be this way. Also watch my videos on how to use the machine if you think you need more assurance. Liu at HWGC is really a nice chap to talk to. He helps all he can although I bought my machine through a distributor before they started selling directly to customers outside of China.

Hi 48X24X48X, Happy New Year. I'm interested in the HWGC lineup. However, I see so many stores on Alibaba so where would you advise I make the purchase? Can you share any HWGC contact? This is my email address: kynrazor@gmail.com . Fully appreciate your help.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2023, 01:48:30 am by kynwav »
 

Offline 48X24X48X

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2023, 04:16:04 am »
Liu from HWGC has dropped you an email.

Offline kynwav

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Re: Shopping for a new, upgraded assembly line. Help and advice requested.
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2023, 04:04:11 pm »
Liu from HWGC has dropped you an email.

Many thanks for the help. :) Saw the email.
 

Offline onsokumaru

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Are you finally going for the HWGC PnP machines? A customer I work with is looking to set up a small prototyping line and is currently looking into those machines, so I bumped into this thread. My apologies if I'm reopening an old thread. Honestly, I don't have much knowledge on PnP machines from a practical point of view, so any insights are always welcome. They are looking also into some AOI for this prototyping line, but they think it may not be worth for the cost for short runs. Is that AgnosPCB system doing good? I did some search and at least is affordable, and looks simple enough to set up, but I'm not sure if that can keep up with regular workshop activity.
 

Offline SMTech

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Are you finally going for the HWGC PnP machines? A customer I work with is looking to set up a small prototyping line and is currently looking into those machines, so I bumped into this thread. My apologies if I'm reopening an old thread. Honestly, I don't have much knowledge on PnP machines from a practical point of view, so any insights are always welcome. They are looking also into some AOI for this prototyping line, but they think it may not be worth for the cost for short runs. Is that AgnosPCB system doing good? I did some search and at least is affordable, and looks simple enough to set up, but I'm not sure if that can keep up with regular workshop activity.

There are users of Agnos on here and some of them rate what it does quite highly, in some cases they think its doing some things their AOI did but better. Without 3rd part analysis its impossible to tell if that is because it is handling those edge cases better or the tests they have defined on the AOI systems are setup badly.
However Agnos is a comparator not an AOI machine, it can only spot the difference between a golden sample and the Article Under Inspection. It clearly beats manually looking for those "obvious faults" with a magnifier or scope but it can perform no analysis beyond alignment/missing/short/shouldn't be there. There are affordable (maybe 6x an agnos setup ;)  ) AOI machines out there, these days they all brag about being able to create a new PCB inspection in a pretty rapid time and typically there is a software tool/option specifically designed to step through a "first article" to check it has been built correctly.
 


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