Author Topic: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.  (Read 28551 times)

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Offline mrpackethead

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Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« on: October 22, 2014, 07:09:08 am »
I'm wanting to investigate what it will cost me to buy a small PNP line for in-house small volume jobs.  I'm constantly sending 20 and 30 boards away for manufacture all the time, and the time might just have come to buy a manufacturing line.

I'd like to be able to do 5000ish parts per hour, thats not so many,  reliably, down to 0402 and .4mm pitch QFN's etc.   i'll be looking for a stencil printer, placer and oven. 

I'd consider good 2nd hand gear, or new.

Any Suggestions.
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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2014, 09:25:50 pm »
I am looking for the same thing for the same reason. I already have a printer and convection oven, just looking for the PNP system that makes sense. what I have found so far is that for small volume, the bigger brands are not such a great choice because of the complexity of setup time. I have a 5 axis CNC machines shop that educated me about reality of operating manufacturing in-house. Finding something simple, reliable, and capable of .4mm QFN's seems to be a tall order. This is especially true if you are not interested in single 8mm carriers that cost $2,500 each.

I have looked at the Manncorp FVX since it seems targeted to low volume, fine pitch work for a reasonable cost. I am hoping to demo it soon.
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Offline krivx

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2014, 09:56:22 pm »
I don't know much about PnP but I don't think anyone can really suggest anything without an idea of a budget...
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2014, 10:49:01 pm »
I don't know much about PnP but I don't think anyone can really suggest anything without an idea of a budget...
For 5K cph you'll be lucky to get below $20K used/refurbed, maybe $10K if you have plenty of space and luck out on a used big old machine as-is
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Offline Corporate666

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2014, 10:54:56 pm »
I'm wanting to investigate what it will cost me to buy a small PNP line for in-house small volume jobs.  I'm constantly sending 20 and 30 boards away for manufacture all the time, and the time might just have come to buy a manufacturing line.

I'd like to be able to do 5000ish parts per hour, thats not so many,  reliably, down to 0402 and .4mm pitch QFN's etc.   i'll be looking for a stencil printer, placer and oven. 

I'd consider good 2nd hand gear, or new.

Any Suggestions.
Just out of curiosity, if you are only making 20-30 boards at a time, why do you need 5000pph capacity?  When you say "constantly", do you mean every couple of days?  And are these large boards with a lot of parts (like dozens of separate BOM line items)?

I am a big fan of Quad 4C's.  They are relatively cheap, but I would ALWAYS buy any P&P machine only after seeing it work and verifying it was trouble free (and that parts and support were available).  The 4C is rated for 3600pph, but that's optimistic, as with any P&P rating.   But even with a realistic throughput of 2000pph and a large board with 100 components, you're looking at 20 boards per hour.

Running a line is a giant pain in the ass.  We still run a manual stencil printer and manual reflow, but I have a few 4C's for P&P'ing.  Most of my boards are small, two sided and have 10-20 unique BOM items.  I get them panelized in 10's and I can easily paste, place and reflow 100 sheets of 10 in a day, which is 1,000 boards. 

It's a bit of a pain in the ass to set everything up for a run, so if you are just thinking of 20 at a time, I'd perhaps reconsider.  I'm running around 500 boards a month and I'd estimate I am at the very bottom end of what makes sense for in-house assembly with automated machinery.   I don't bother with an in-line printer and reflow... I just use steel stencils and print manually, and manually reflow as well.  P&P is the time consuming part, but having the right machine (one designed to be flexible) helps.  The nice thing about 4C's is they are relatively dumb.  You just program it to go to X, pick, go to Y, place.  So you can pick from feeders, waffle trays, whatever.  And you can mount feeders wherever you like on the table.

Contrast that with my previous Fuji IP or Dynapert - they had extensive component management included in their firmware which is great for the original owner but when you're the second owner and aren't paying for a service contract, all that stuff just adds headache. 

But if you want to give it a shot, look at the 4C's.  But what sort of budget are you looking at, and where are you located?  If you are thinking of buying new, you're probably looking at the $200-300k range for a new entry level line from a brand name supplier. 
« Last Edit: October 22, 2014, 10:57:50 pm by Corporate666 »
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Offline mrpackethead

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2014, 04:38:19 am »

Quote
Just out of curiosity, if you are only making 20-30 boards at a time, why do you need 5000pph capacity?  When you say "constantly", do you mean every couple of days?  And are these large boards with a lot of parts (like dozens of separate BOM line items)?

yes, multiple times per week.   would be making 200-300 boards per week at the moment.   BOM count varies of course,  one of my more common items has 56 line times ( across both sides ),   others are 30, 72, 14


Quote
Running a line is a giant pain in the ass.  We still run a manual stencil printer and manual reflow, but I have a few 4C's for P&P'ing.  Most of my boards are small, two sided and have 10-20 unique BOM items.  I get them panelized in 10's and I can easily paste, place and reflow 100 sheets of 10 in a day, which is 1,000 boards. 

Yes it is. But its more of a pita,having to work around Subbies. I want more control!

Quote
It's a bit of a pain in the ass to set everything up for a run, so if you are just thinking of 20 at a time, I'd perhaps reconsider.

On the Juki we use now, ( at the sub contractor ) that can set the jobs up in sub 1 hour.   Thats not so bad, i have thought. 


>I'm running around 500 boards a month and I'd estimate I am at the very bottom end of what makes sense for in-house assembly with automated >machinery.

Quote
But if you want to give it a shot, look at the 4C's.  But what sort of budget are you looking at, and where are you located?  If you are thinking of buying new, you're probably looking at the $200-300k range for a new entry level line from a brand name supplier.

I'm looking at New, but $200k seems a lot, there are options that seem feasible around the $50k mark.
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Online NANDBlog

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2014, 02:20:06 pm »
I dont think an assembly line really makes sense, if you cannot have it running 16+ hours a day. You just need to find the right manufacturer. If you are sending out  200-300 boards per week, this is a stocking issue, not manufacturing. Are you really sending orders for the manufacturer's ten times a week? Cannot you just stock some 5000 of them and have the manufacturing ready for a three months, instead of doing the pick and place on a daily basis?
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2014, 02:47:55 pm »
I dont think an assembly line really makes sense, if you cannot have it running 16+ hours a day. You just need to find the right manufacturer. If you are sending out  200-300 boards per week, this is a stocking issue, not manufacturing. Are you really sending orders for the manufacturer's ten times a week? Cannot you just stock some 5000 of them and have the manufacturing ready for a three months, instead of doing the pick and place on a daily basis?
You should really consider an alternative before you make a slave from yourself.
It's not just about throughput - sometimes latency and flexibility is more important. Moving in-house is a big step and will take time and effort, but can certainly be worthwhile, even at low volumes.


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Offline Corporate666

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2014, 05:03:26 pm »
Quote
Yes it is. But its more of a pita,having to work around Subbies. I want more control!

For me, the biggest advantage is "just in time" manufacturing.  When I outsourced, we had to buy the components and ship them off to the assembler.  Of course, you never use full reels of every component at the same time, meaning you often have leftovers of expensive parts that you have paid for just sitting collecting dust. 


Quote
On the Juki we use now, ( at the sub contractor ) that can set the jobs up in sub 1 hour.   Thats not so bad, i have thought. 

An hour isn't too bad... but you definitely need to consider whether you are doing high mix low volume or low mix high volume, or something in between.  A machine with cheap feeders means and that can accept many feeders means you can leave even lesser used components on the machine and save on setup time.  If you are doing lots of boards, ease of programming is important as well.



Quote
I'm looking at New, but $200k seems a lot, there are options that seem feasible around the $50k mark.

May I ask what brands you're looking at?  $50k seems the extreme low end for new equipment, especially if it's an automated line (automatic printing and reflowing, conveyors in between and elevators on each end).  When I was looking at new, the cheapest "real" machine I found was APS Gold, which was around $30k for the P&P, and that was about 10 years ago.  They are now "DDM Novastar" and I'm sure the machine is a lot more now, even though it's still very entry level.  The main brands like Juki/Assembleon/MyData/Universal I think start more like the $200k range for the machines, IIRC.
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2014, 05:08:31 pm »
Don't forget that many of the big manufacturers offer  supported used machines. No idea what entry cost is though.
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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2014, 05:10:00 pm »
For a short-run in-house setup, I would say that CPH throughput is the last measure of success. As I have been researching this for a while and very near the point where I purchase, flexibility and ease of use are at the top of the list. Changeover and setup time will likely eclipse the actual placing cycles. I learned that lesson when I built my 5 axis CNC shop to do in-house prototypes and short production. Technical and parts support are also important which is why I am not looking at used machines that have huge costs for service contracts even if the purchase if the machine was reasonable. Many of the used machines that looked good at first are past to point where service is available at all. The more current machines are much more expensive and generally geared toward high volume speed.

My interest in a line is quick turnaround of specialty PCB's and total control of each one as they come off the machine. Sending to a CM is not only expensive, but even worse, it's slow. I have to work with whatever schedule they have, get the BOM setup to perfection, kit the parts, etc. Our current manual placing process is generally much faster than a CM at low volumes. I am able to test, inspect, change, etc as the process happens. Since I designed the circuit, I don't have to ask anyone what something is.
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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2014, 05:17:21 pm »
.....They are now "DDM Novastar" and I'm sure the machine is a lot more now, even though it's still very entry level.  The main brands like Juki/Assembleon/MyData/Universal I think start more like the $200k range for the machines, IIRC.

DDM Novastar has some compelling low-volume options. They specialize in low-volume prototype. They can probably make .4mm QFN placement in the ball park of $50k. I have spoken with them and they are high on my list of options. "MyData" class of PNP is far beyond what I ever want in-house.
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Offline Corporate666

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2014, 05:39:43 pm »
.....They are now "DDM Novastar" and I'm sure the machine is a lot more now, even though it's still very entry level.  The main brands like Juki/Assembleon/MyData/Universal I think start more like the $200k range for the machines, IIRC.

DDM Novastar has some compelling low-volume options. They specialize in low-volume prototype. They can probably make .4mm QFN placement in the ball park of $50k. I have spoken with them and they are high on my list of options. "MyData" class of PNP is far beyond what I ever want in-house.

The big thing I didn't like about the DDM/Novastar was that it was slow as hell for placing larger chips and I didn't like their centering.  They used centering fingers for small passives and a kind of "nudge box" for QFP's and such.  Maybe it works well, but I haven't seen any of the big guys doing that and I'm always suspicious of methods that deviate from tried-and-true norms.

On the price though... $50k for a machine that can do 0.4mm is one thing.  But IIRC the guy is looking at $50k for the whole line, so you have to include an automatic screen printer and reflow oven, plus at least a couple of conveyors and (really, if you're linking it all up in a line) a couple of board elevators at each end, otherwise you wind up with someone running back and forth loading boards in and out.  There's also feeder cost... I've seen brands that have feeders that range from $200 to $3,000 (not even talking vibratory feeders).  On my old Dynapert, the tape advance mechanism, tape cutting and cover removal was all handled on the machine itself... so the feeder was basically a bent piece of sheet metal with an air plunger to advance a cog and index to the next part.  On my Fuji IP, the feeders were "smart" and had motors, air, a data connection and parts counters built into them.  They also cost well over $1k each, IIRC.

To me, buying used is the best deal going, especially if you get feeders (and you usually do).   But P&P's are complex electromechanical beasts and there's always a reason someone is selling theirs... my limited experience is the majority of those being sold have some kind of issue.  I like the idea of buying used from the OEM.  At a minimum, I'd only buy something that had factory support available, if it was for a production environment.
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2014, 05:56:49 pm »
.....They are now "DDM Novastar" and I'm sure the machine is a lot more now, even though it's still very entry level.  The main brands like Juki/Assembleon/MyData/Universal I think start more like the $200k range for the machines, IIRC.

DDM Novastar has some compelling low-volume options. They specialize in low-volume prototype. They can probably make .4mm QFN placement in the ball park of $50k. I have spoken with them and they are high on my list of options. "MyData" class of PNP is far beyond what I ever want in-house.

The big thing I didn't like about the DDM/Novastar was that it was slow as hell for placing larger chips and I didn't like their centering.  They used centering fingers for small passives and a kind of "nudge box" for QFP's and such.  Maybe it works well, but I haven't seen any of the big guys doing that and I'm always suspicious of methods that deviate from tried-and-true norms.

On the price though... $50k for a machine that can do 0.4mm is one thing.  But IIRC the guy is looking at $50k for the whole line, so you have to include an automatic screen printer and reflow oven, plus at least a couple of conveyors and (really, if you're linking it all up in a line) a couple of board elevators at each end, otherwise you wind up with someone running back and forth loading boards in and out.  There's also feeder cost... I've seen brands that have feeders that range from $200 to $3,000 (not even talking vibratory feeders).  On my old Dynapert, the tape advance mechanism, tape cutting and cover removal was all handled on the machine itself... so the feeder was basically a bent piece of sheet metal with an air plunger to advance a cog and index to the next part.  On my Fuji IP, the feeders were "smart" and had motors, air, a data connection and parts counters built into them.  They also cost well over $1k each, IIRC.

To me, buying used is the best deal going, especially if you get feeders (and you usually do).   But P&P's are complex electromechanical beasts and there's always a reason someone is selling theirs... my limited experience is the majority of those being sold have some kind of issue.  I like the idea of buying used from the OEM.  At a minimum, I'd only buy something that had factory support available, if it was for a production environment.
Auto print and conveyors would be way down the shopping list for a budget setup. As long as panel size is sensible, time to print & move is minimal compared to placement time
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Offline sacherjj

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2014, 06:22:18 pm »
We looked at Essemtec's machine at APEX and it was interesting, with high speed jetting of solder paste in the PnP machine.  It eliminates the need for stencils and stencil printer, which gives some nice flexibility.  I don't remember the cost, but I don't believe it was in your ball park.  We were looking for a faster line in the 200-300K range.  I think this was a little lower than we needed speed wise at 6000 cph.  That goes down a little with paste jetting.
 

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2014, 06:36:11 pm »
If you're in the EU look at the Polish Mechatronika machines.  I was in Poland a few years ago and saw then in use at a few places - they had a good reputation and seemed to be very good value for money.
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2014, 07:01:45 pm »
The big thing I didn't like about the DDM/Novastar was that it was slow as hell for placing larger chips and I didn't like their centering.  They used centering fingers for small passives and a kind of "nudge box" for QFP's and such.  Maybe it works well, but I haven't seen any of the big guys doing that and I'm always suspicious of methods that deviate from tried-and-true norms.

The mechanical centering is used on their lower end machines to save money. The bigger ones use vision for alignment which is what seems to make sense for me. It seems the mechanical centering systems are marketed to prototyping environments and large pitch SOIC, 0603, etc.

I have a manual printer and used batch convection oven that is just big enough for most panels. Total cost on the printer/oven was about $6k and I am hoping to spend around $50k on P&P although that could go up to $75k+ depending on how nervous I get about the fine pitch stuff. So far, I have been able to place .4mm QFNs by hand with a microscope and vacuum pen with about 99% success. The problem is that I am driving myself nuts in the process - really hoping for a machine to sweat the details.

For me, I know so little about the machines and have no time to fiddle with maintenance that new seems to be the right choice. If I had a little more wiggle room in my schedule, I would be more inclined to look at the used market of higher-end options.
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Offline mrpackethead

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2014, 10:06:51 pm »
Aggree the CPH figure is probably a little redundant.

$50k was for a PNP,  but need to add feeders and stencil printing and oven on top of that, just to be clear.   Realostically there won't be much ( any ) change from a $100 - $120 spend.

The german made autotroniks look good.   theres a machient hat will hold 288 reels which would mean 95% of my parts could continuously live on the machine..   ( BA388 ).. Might be overkill.

Quote
I dont think an assembly line really makes sense, if you cannot have it running 16+ hours a day. You just need to find the right manufacturer. If you are sending out  200-300 boards per week, this is a stocking issue, not manufacturing. Are you really sending orders for the manufacturer's ten times a week? Cannot you just stock some 5000 of them and have the manufacturing ready for a three months, instead of doing the pick and place on a daily basis?
You should really consider an alternative before you make a slave from yourself.
Without going into it too deeply, its not a question of repeatably making 200-300 of the same board.. We make LOTs and LOTs of low volume stuff.  Thats the nature of our business.     Our high volume stuff is already being made in Asia, by volume manufacturing..  the problem we are trig to solve is the in-between the 5 boards that can be hand manufactured, and the 500+ where it makes sense to outsource it.        Our business is super time critical, so being able to manage it ourselves is really very beneficial.



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Offline Corporate666

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2014, 11:51:57 pm »
We looked at Essemtec's machine at APEX and it was interesting, with high speed jetting of solder paste in the PnP machine.  It eliminates the need for stencils and stencil printer, which gives some nice flexibility.  I don't remember the cost, but I don't believe it was in your ball park.  We were looking for a faster line in the 200-300K range.  I think this was a little lower than we needed speed wise at 6000 cph.  That goes down a little with paste jetting.

Have you tried dispensing in the PnP?  I talked to the folks at Quad (well, the factory folks who continue to support them) and they said dispensing was "ok", which, coming from the seller, probably means it totally sucks.  They said it was useful for prototypes but not intended for production work.

I have a desktop pressurized fluid dispenser and it works OK - but the problem is that you need to keep adjusting the pressure and dispense time to keep your dots the same size, otherwise they get bigger/smaller with minor differences in temperature (paste heats or cools as it's being dispensed) and how much paste is left in the syringe.  A PnP has no way to make those adjustments. 
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2014, 12:19:41 am »
As paste print quality is the biggest factor in final quality, I don't think it's worth messing with  paste dispensing except maybe for low-density stuff (0805, SOIC).
The cost of a stencil will easily be repaid in saved rework time.
If you need it quick, then a vinyl cutter (silhouette Cameo) can do reasonable polyester stencils, but you still need to wait for the PCB, so stencil leadtime is generally not an issue.
 
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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2014, 01:44:50 am »
I have a paste dispenser and it was the reason I ended up with a real printer. The dispenser as noted by others is really only a last resort tool and nearly useless for fine pitch.

I have a few PCB's that are double sided but only have 5-6 0805 passives on side 2. For these the dispenser is great. Faster than setting up the printer and precision is not needed.
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Offline mrpackethead

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2014, 03:45:00 am »
I have a paste dispenser and it was the reason I ended up with a real printer. The dispenser as noted by others is really only a last resort tool and nearly useless for fine pitch.

I have a few PCB's that are double sided but only have 5-6 0805 passives on side 2. For these the dispenser is great. Faster than setting up the printer and precision is not needed.

Yup. Printing is the one thing you should never cheap on!
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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2014, 04:57:05 pm »
I used to work for a company where they had their own PnP and oven. One of the issues they has was that gold plated PCBs worked much better than tin plated ones. All in all it was a bitch to setup. IIRC it took half a day to change from one product to another. For low volume stuff it may be an idea to have 2 or 3 low cost low volume lines so you can keep 1 or 2 lines running while the other one is converted for a different product. And there are also things to consider like the room temperature and humidity (=airconditioning). For lead free it helps a lot to solder in a nitrogen atmosphere.
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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2014, 05:16:32 pm »
Hi Guys

Over the pass 4 years i have spent £50000 on used Assembly machines.

I run an electronics assembly company in the UK specialize prototypes to medium production runs.

Dek 248 Stencil Printer
Quad 4C SMD pick & place machine
Samsung CP40CV pick & place machine
Diagnosys Scanpoint 50 AOI
Quad QCR Reflow oven

cheers

Pete
 

Offline mrpackethead

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Re: Wanted to buy: Moderate pick and place line.
« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2014, 05:51:52 pm »
I used to work for a company where they had their own PnP and oven. One of the issues they has was that gold plated PCBs worked much better than tin plated ones. All in all it was a bitch to setup.

Gold plate vs Tin.  I use OSP finished boards mostly, unless theres a specific reason to use something else.  HASL finished boards are great if you are hand soldering them, but suffer enough surface variation that it can be a source of issues for Solder Pasting.


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IIRC it took half a day to change from one product to another. For low volume stuff it may be an idea to have 2 or 3 low cost low volume lines so you can keep 1 or 2 lines running while the other one is converted for a different product.

Thats an important factor in considering what you buy.   I sure won't be buying 3 lines. :-)  Speed of setup varies massively between machines, but its not that big a deal.
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