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Researching placement machines - where do I start?!

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Researching placement machines - where do I start?! - Oct 29, 2009 by JeffreyJ  

#60214

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 29 October, 2009

Hey folks... been reading the threads here the last couple of weeks and don't seem to be getting any smarter (and given my level of ignorance about this equipment, I was sure I could only go up from here...).

I've been an independent design engineer for the last 10+ years and before that I worked for companies that mostly outsourced production, so like a lot of engineers I haven't had much exposure to the nitty-gritty of the production process. Well, now I am a partner in a small company making dc drives for electric vehicle conversions and two things I have learned the hard way are that it's not smart nor cost effective for the engineer (me) to assemble boards by hand but relying on the accuracy and timeliness of contract assemblers ain't so brilliant, either.

So I was thinking why not buy an older pick and place machine since I designed the boards with hand-assembly in mind (all passives 1206 or larger, only a few SOT23 and SOT363 parts, nothing with a pitch finer than 0.65mm) and we expect to run a relatively low volume, moderate mix of components so even the slowest machine will be able to keep up (component volume of around 18,000 per month). That said, we would need what would appear to be a large number of feeders: (38) 8mm, (16) 12mm, (2) 16mm, (2) 24mm, (1) 32mm and (1) 44mm, plus a few vibratory sticks and trays.

Anyway, I've been looking at the Quad IIc and IVc machines, but opinion seems to be evenly divided on them and well, now that Quad is owned by Tyco that is definitely a strike against them (no one exceeds Tyco when it comes to caring less about the customer, that's for sure). On the plus side, there seem to be lots of companies out there that provide 3rd party support.

I've also been look at new "table top" size machines, but these seem to be resoundingly despised. Certainly the Madell stuff looks like junk, and the Manncorp stuff seems a little iffy, but how about the Mechatronika M50 ECO?

What's making this so difficult is that there is so little data (both hard and subjective) on the older machines that I really can't tell whether, for example, a Samsung CP11 going for $10k on eBay would be a good choice for us. Or whether a Universal GSM-1 is a better choice or not than a Quad IVc given our production/mix levels?

So, rather than lurking, I thought I'd post a thread that I know has been posted many times before... Thanks in advance for any interesting opinions and advice.

-Jeff

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#60215

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 29 October, 2009

Buying used machines can be tricky business.
Things to consider:
*Does the used equip. dealer offer a guarantee?
*Parts availability
*Available support if it breaks
*Capability...will it be able to handle future jobs.

I have been doing this for over 20 years and I would recommend you look at Juki.They are excellent machines.

We do not receive any benefit from Juki.


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#60216

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 29 October, 2009

Thanks for the reply, Sr.Tech.

Sure, I'm considering all of the things you've mentioned. It certainly seems that service and spare parts are easy to obtain for the Quads, which is the main reason I am even considering the dinosaurs (that and they can be obtained within our nominal budget).

The Jukis I have seen, however, look like they are meant for much higher volume, less-flexible production lines and so don't appear to be a good match for us - why did you recommend them? For example, their lowest end current model, the JX100, can place more components in 2 hours than we would need placed in a month. Seems a bit excessive, no? Also, w/r/t future needs, there is nothing wrong with buying a smaller/slower machine now and upgrading later on should we need to. Nothing kills a new business faster than taking on more debt than cash flow can service!

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#60217

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 29 October, 2009

For low volume and larger sized parts, as you stated, I would go with a GSM. There are plenty on the used market at fair prices. But as Sr. Tech said buying a used machine is tricky. Having a technician or engineer who is very familiar with the machine you want to buy is the way to go.

I have yet to run into trouble with finding spares for our GSM's, however, I have heard of parts that aren't going to be in UIC's stock any more. There are several other places to look for parts though.

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RLM

#60218

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 29 October, 2009

A Quad IV C would fit your application well. They are work horses. Repair parts are available but they just don't seem to breakdown often.

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#60220

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 29 October, 2009

Hmmm...The Juki machines are designed for high mix frequent change over. They are very flexible.

I am not familiar with a JX100. We have KE2000 series machines.

One of my buddies owns a small contract business. He has an older Quad. I believe it is a 2C. Anyways it's a turd all the way around. IMO. I'm not sure on the 4c's

"Nothing kills a new business faster than taking on more debt than cash flow can service"
I understand that...But you need to be realistic.. It takes good pick and place machines to put the parts on the pads. Again, I would make real sure that the machine you decide on does what you want it to BEFORE you pay. I have seen so many people get hosed.

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#60221

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 29 October, 2009

Using older quad equipment is all about experience and knowing the right people/engineers....If you dont....you will end up thinking the machine is a 'turd' when its really just a lack of knowledge or knowing the right people. The manuals will not help you much so training is a must.

Good luck.

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#60230

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 30 October, 2009

Any comments on a newer Essemtec CSM 7000 or 7100?

How about an older Multitroniks Intelliplacer 10 ('00 or '01 vintage)? The latter seems a bit excessive for our purposes, and the fact they are now under Tyco's umbrella is definitely bad news, but if the price is right and service/parts are available.... why not?

Oh, and for a real left-field one, how about the Polish company Mechatronika? Their M50 ECO looks perfect for our use but the exchange rate is definitely not working in our favor these days... Just under 12,000 euros is what I was quoted, which is around $18,000US these days.

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#60235

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 30 October, 2009

I know of a machine that has:
- 54 8mm slots
- Single up JEDEC tray holder
- And the availability to present tube parts without taking feeder slots.

This product has full vision and can pick and place 0201 components and "fine" pitch to .020". With a maximum size of a 40mm X 40mm.

This is a new benchtop machine with a warranty and support and is provided by Manncorp. I would be more "iffy" about looking into a machine with very few (if any) installations in NA (M50 ECO).

As you will find and have seen already with this post is that users are loyal to their equipment supplier or they dislike suppliers and they will freely present their opinions which is to be expected.

I would suggest getting your board or a demo board and having potential suppliers build this for you on the machine you are looking into.

Happy Hunting!

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#60244

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 31 October, 2009

Hello Jeffrey J
I could share our experience in using used P& P machine type Philips (Yamaha) and Juki (Zevatech)
We had three machines Philips (Yamaha) vintage about1990g, which work till now.
They have same type of feeders, which is simple to find and they are cheap.
These type machines fit your demands and are very simple in service.
Best from this type of machine is Philips CSM84VZ with Z coordinate and video camera.
Such working machine with feeders is possible to buy for about 3000-5000$.
Machines Juki FS730 (we have 2 such vintage about1996g) work excellent but are more complicated in service.
If you want more advice do not hesitate to contact
Best regards
Peter

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#60245

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 1 November, 2009

I've been using an Essemtec machine for about 2 years now. I have VERY limited space and power, but yet I wanted more than a desktop model. I have been happy with the machine's performance and I've been extremely happy with the support I have received.

My first machine was from Manncorp, and I was not at all happy with support. I even had to pay a translator to translate a manual that was written in Japanese.

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#60247

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 1 November, 2009

Interesting suggestions so far - keep 'em coming as I do a search on every one of them.

Speaking of, it seems that if the humongous size of the older MyData machines isn't an obstacle then they seem to be a good choice for us... (to recap: we need to run three different boards, in relatively low volumes (say 30-40 of each board per month, probably in batches), with many different parts but all relatively coarse pitch (finest pitch/smallest part is 0.65mm/SOT-363)).

There's an equipment broker not too far from us with a couple of TP9 machines, variant "UFP" that is asking a reasonable price. As a bonus, I just found out that our Swedish programmer worked for MyData about 10 years ago, so it's almost like we have built-in tech support (so long as we buy a machine of that vintage.. and run software of that vintage, too... ok, probably not a good idea).

The pair of Multitroniks SEEM like a steal, but it doesn't appear they were ever very popular over here in the US, so getting more feeders, service, software, etc. may be difficult or impossible???

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#60251

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 1 November, 2009

You can get an used GSM1 for little money, used pneumatic feeders are cheap and reliable. Software is excellent and there's a lot of spares on the second-hand market. Initial investment is low and you get excellent machine, superbly built, that will be able to place almost anything. Also, being American company is advantage to you.

The only drawback (as far as I am concerned) is it's size, but on the other hand, that provides excellent mechanical stability.

We started in a similar way as you do and now we are buying another one to increase throughput...

- Deni

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#60252

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 1 November, 2009

Size is absolutely no problem for us, and neither is the need for 3ph. power.

I've been shying away from the Universal GSMs because it appears their feeders can only index a certain distance which sounds like a real hassle. Also, I'm not too keen on having to pay $2000 to re-register the machine just so I can then buy factory service parts, software, etc... That said, if the total price is compelling then paying to re-register it isn't a deal-breaker.

wait - looks like they have a "multi-pitch" feeder option as well... hmmm... So a Universal GSM1, huh? Might have to reconsider. There's one listed on equipmatching.com in Florida right now for $7500...

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#60268

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 2 November, 2009

Pneumatic feeders are fixed-pitch, which is quite OK for most 8mm tape parts (except 0402 and smaller). Multipitch feeders are electric and cost a lot more, so you should see what pitches do you need and is it worth buying MP feeder(s). We have 30% if 8mm feeders MP and 70% are pneumatic. 12mm we have only 4mm pitch and use them in double-stroke mode for 8mm pitch. 16- and 24mm are MP, as well as 32mm.


We bought our machine on an auction and brought it to life ourselves (with a bit of luck, though). We paid 500$ for sw. registering 2 years ago, for machine that is not supported any more (maybe the price was lower because of that).

- Deni

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#60296

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 4 November, 2009

Thanks for suggesting the GSM-1, Deni. There is a dealer not too far from us that has one in stock so I'm going to go check it out today or tomorrow. Got a few quick questions for you:

1. can you load cut tape onto the feeders, or only reels?
2. how about parts on trays (like Atmel AVRs in the QFP package)? [apparently, yes]
3. is it possible to add glue and/or solder paste dispensing to the head?
4. does it take a lot of fiddling and tuning to keep it working?

Also, I remember reading somewhere you need to get machines of a certain "block" or later to be able to upgrade the software, etc... I think it's "L Block" or the like?

Thanks again.

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#60311

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 4 November, 2009

>1. can you load cut tape onto the feeders, or only reels?

You can, but you have to use cover tape extender (pretty cheap, though)

>2. how about parts on trays (like Atmel AVRs in the QFP package)?

You need tray feeder. But you can "make" your own - just use some kind of support to raise tray to the pickup plane and set it somewhere aside. Then teach machine feeder's position (simple).


>3. is it possible to add glue and/or solder paste dispensing to the head?

There's almost identical dispensing machine (GDM), but I am not sure if you can combine dispense and placement heads on the same machine.

4. does it take a lot of fiddling and tuning to keep it working?

Honestly, no. The only thing we have take care about is the propper room temperature (22-26C) and occasionally lubricate linear slides and spindles. I also bought calibration kit (without it you can't replace cameras) since one of cameras died. I bought 3 cameras (just the camera, not the whole assembly) on e-bay for 50$ each, so I am safe for now...

If you can choose, take 4-spindle Flex heads. They are much simpler and require almost no maintenance. Also two ULC's are better than one. We have 4-mil front and 2.6mil rear cameras. For 0.5mm pithc that's OK. The only thing we have a problem with are some QFN packages with Palladium plating. Pins are VERY reflective and due to the camera construction look invisible.

Regarding machine block levels, only L and later are upgradeable by UIC, but forget the upgrades if you buy an
used machine.

We have I-block and USOS ver. 1.41. It seems old, but software is so well done that it can do almost anything.

One thing to look for is Ethernet card - get one if you can and then you can connect GSM to your LAN and simplify data transfer and backups. I've configured our GSM with OS/2 to act as Microsoft LanMan client so I can access shared folder on our office server.

Also, for standalone operation you will need SMEMA manual interface to simulate board-in and board-out commands (which normally come from the other equipment). Without it you won't be able to load the board into the machine.

There's a lot of other small advices I can share. If you buy GSM, we can switch to e-mail as otherwise we will flood this forum :-)

- Deni

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#60312

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 4 November, 2009

Considering the volume it would seem you are better off to go to a small contract shop. If you let us know what area you are in Im sure you could find one that would be acceptable. You should not have problems with accuracy or lead times with the type of parts you are using.

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#60313

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 4 November, 2009

The GSM sounds great except for one thing--you won't fit all your feeders on it. That is, assuming your feeder list is what you want to have resident on the machine at all times. I think you could rule out 80% of the machines you are considering based on feeder capacity alone. My humble opinion...you should have all parts on your machine for all assemblies at all times. Then you could run one off of any assembly with no feeder changes. Also, stay away from "ebay" machines...buy from the OEM and establish a relationship. It will seem like more money up front but in reality will save money in the long haul. You will get the support you will undoubtedly need considering you are new to the process.

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#60327

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 5 November, 2009

gregp - that's the main problem I am having here: there is so little basic information available about these machines. It's almost like the sellers intentionally put as little information as possible in their listings on this site, equipmatching, etc., to force you to call them up and listen to their sales spiel. And these people can be very pushy, I have found. Worse than used-car salesmen, actually.

As far as number of feeders go, yeah, it would be nice to fit every component for all of the boards onto one machine, but that's a bit unrealistic and I don't see having to swap out up to a dozen or so feeders between boards to be all that onerous. Certainly not compared to populating those boards by hand or bundling up components for a contract assembly house to do it for me. Which segues nicely to:

adlsmt - we considered, tried and rejected contract assembly. For the price we would pay to have the 3 boards for our main product assembled (~$130) the type of pick and places we are looking at would break even in about 4-6 months. It's hard to argue with that sort of pay back time, not considering the time savings, etc.

Deni - I'm going to take a look at a GSM-1 today and I really appreciate the tips you've given so far. Extremely helpful, actually. I can now ask some intelligent questions about the machine rather than succumb to glazed eyes syndrome. One other question - how do you load and unload the boards from your GSM-1? Manually, using an SMEMA-interface "cheater" like you mentioned, or do you have a stencil printer/conveyor delivering the boards and another conveyor carrying them to a reflow oven?

My nominal goal here is to set up a rather minimal line with a manual stencil printer and a separate reflow oven, but not really go crazy with conveyor belts and such since our volumes (and therefore our budget) don't really justify it.

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#60328

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 5 November, 2009

Before you buy a manual screen printer try to do it by hand. We hand stenciled boards with 19mil pitch parts for three years with decent results, with your parts it should be simple. lay the board on a piece of ESD bubblewrap, the kind with small bubbles, and lay the stancil over it, either buy a hand squeege from Permalex or someone or make you own from any squeege blade you can get off ebay or you can even use a putty knife. At least try it, it works fine for simple boards. Put your money in the placement machine and oven to start. You can usually get one of the reps for oven profiling systems to come out and do a few demo profiles for you and that should get you started with the oven without spending any money on a profiler if the oven does not have that capability. You can also just used a meter and some long thermocouple wire.

The GSM is an excellent machine with a great history of reliability and there are a ton of used parts out there.

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#60329

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 5 November, 2009

There are a bunch of GSM's going for around $3,000 on a go-dove aution ending in a few hours. You could buy a few of them for spare parts at that price.

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#60330

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 5 November, 2009

You can buy a couple of conveyors for loading and unloading machine or a real half aced way is to jump SMEMA cable pins with tweezers to get boards in and out. With that method, you could end up with one on the floor at some point with a smashed, delaminated corner but it works.

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#60339

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 5 November, 2009

I would not disagree with you...GSM has 64 feeder slots...in my mind not the right machine for you...if I had something for you I might be a little pushy myself...we make machines for exactly what you need but I think your expectations of price and what I have to offer are not in sync. As a start up venture I still recommend getting on board with the OEMs...even if that means finding the right machine elswhere and then going to the OEM...they will want you pay up (machine registration) but in the end they will look at you as someone who will upgrade sooner or later. BTW...my company does not charge for machine registration.

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#60344

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 6 November, 2009

You started here discussion that interesting for many OEM
firms.Recently I was asked to give recommendation for one such firm. What kind of equipment they could buy for
producing small series?
I have learned many types equipment from different firms as you do. New equipment is very expensive but old
Machines took much place.
Besides that qualitative SMT producing needs permanent control at all Process: paste printing, SMD component assembly,paste melting.
You will need special staff.
I recommended this firm using contract manufacturer. If you are very persisting To produce SMT devices yourself
may be it is sense to wait for new type machine, that
Offer to design Locotpp in this thread
http://www.smtnet.com/Forums/index.cfm?fuseaction=view_thread&CFApp=1&Thread_ID=12841&mc=29
here on SMT forum.


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#60347

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 6 November, 2009

adlsmt - I do apply paste (Kester EP256) by hand to the boards now with 5 mil thick stainless steel stencils. A few of the parts almost always need rework, though, either because I didn't place them accurately or there's too much paste, or it got smeared. I dunno, I'm a design engineer that is comfortable making his own prototypes but not so thrilled to be thrust into the role of producing them (definitely a temporary situation, which is why I started this thread).

gantry - I've seen videos of the Manncorp 7722FV in action and the whole thing shakes and shudders with every placement. That's what I mean by "iffy". Being constructed out of aluminum frame rail certainly doesn't help that.

gregp - I have some misgivings about the GSM-1 as well, but not because of the number of feeders it can hold. Rather, its mostly because of its age (G block, c.1995, but v3.0.3 software) and that it is clearly geared towards a higher production environment and therefore may be more of a PITA for people like us that need to do short runs of several different boards. As for our budget, we are not willing to spend a lot on a USED machine. We would like to buy a new machine and would certainly pay a lot more for one - leased, of course - but we aren't going to fork over, for example, $50k for an Essemtec CSM 7200 plus another $30k for feeders.

Peter - is that locostpp thread a joke? Regardless, I realize that given our mix and volumes we SHOULD be getting our boards contract assembled, but even with relatively coarse pitch and low component density the places we have tried so far have managed to screw them up. It doesn't make any sense to pay to have boards assembled then end up having to rework 30-50% of them...

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#60348

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 6 November, 2009

We have a nice auction coming up for Celestica in Minnesota. They have several GSM1s and GSM2s available.
www . xlineassets.com

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#60349

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 6 November, 2009

Sounds like your contract assembler has some serious issues. You should not be getting defects anywhere neer that amount. If you do decide to go that route again find one with a good AOI machine at a minimum and you should also supply them with a funtional tester and have all the boards tested at thier facility. We are a contract assembler and we would not be in business if we had half of that fallout. I also got into this buisness due to poor performing contract assemblers so I do understand your frustration but there are a lot of very good ones out there. We went through 3 in six months but if I knew then what I know now one of them would have worked out fine and I never would have done business with the other two.

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#60350

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 6 November, 2009

Veering back over to table-top stuff, any comments on the APS Novastar models? Specifically, the LE and LS40 with and without vision? I'm assuming I'll probably need vision, but maybe since the finest pitch parts on my board (SOT-363) are 0.65mm pitch the laser centering system is acceptable?

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#60356

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 6 November, 2009

I use laser centering with 0.5mm lead pitch, with good results.

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#60369

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 9 November, 2009

I absolute agree with Adlsmt that your subcontractor was slipshod worker.
It’s impossible for normal subcontractor make such fault.
For last 15 years I worked for subcontractor firm here in Riga Latvia.
Our company was not very advanced. As I said before we used Philips and Juke equipment vintage 1990- 1995 years.
But we never had such failure. Of course we made check paste dispensing,
component pick and place before reflow oven, and final visual (manual) control and repair if it was necessary.
Some time if it was possible we made functional control and repaired units.
And at every customer’s complain we tried to improve our quality.
I suggest that is normal practice for any subcontractor.
And our customers some time ordered only about 50-100 pieces of PCB.
I suppose that you can find such subcontractor in USA if not please send your order to Riga. (Joke)
And I do not think that Locostpp offer is only joke, because now many company offer bench type P$P machine starts from 18k$, as Manncorp did with their 7700FV together with feeders.
Almost same offers make Mechatronic from Poland and APS Novastar.
I suppose you will be easy to see Manncorp equipment in USA than Essemtec in Swiss.

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#60373

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 9 November, 2009

Unfortunately that is what new machines cost. When spending that kind of money you need to select a supplier that will give you top notch support.
As for auctions my advice is stay away. I recently bought some machines we manufactured on an auction for my machine refurbishment program. Had to pay more than I wanted because I was bidding against someone (blindly)...turns out the auction company was outbidding me to drive the price up.

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#60374

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 9 November, 2009

I am sure I know which video you are talking about with the 7722-FV shaking. It is a video where the camera was on the table next to the machine. It was not a sturdy table to begin with. This was done by one of our customers in NYC. It does make the machine look like it shakes, but I can assure you it does not shake like that. If you want to see on let me know where you are and I can arrange it, or if you want to speak with a customer that is using it and compared it to APS etc.. let me know and I would be happy to get you in touch with them.

I forgot if you have any questions call the east coast office and ask for Chris

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#60378

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 9 November, 2009

I keep circling back to my initial choice, a Quad IVc (or IIc) because there are so damn many of them and despite their quirks/foibles/whatever, they are clearly capable of getting the job done. Specifically, I've got my eyes on a few refurbished models from QC Electronics that with 60 feeders might come in around $15k.

I have to admit that the pair of Multitroniks that were on eBay last week with an $8k starting price and like 100+ feeders were really, really tempting, but in the end I didn't bid mainly because I am reluctant to go with a brand that had virtually no foothold in the US (and no one here has commented at all about them, which sort of proves it).

Cellis, a serious question: what would I get with a Manncorp 7722FV that I wouldn't get with a refurbished Quad like the above?

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#60380

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 9 November, 2009

The biggest thing you will not get is the vision system like this. The 7722 has flying vision for most components and an upward looking vision camera for large components and BGA's. The older Quads had the Quad Align system which is laser vision. It is ok for non leaded parts but not so great if you had leaded parts. There is no direct CAD input into a 2c or 4c and it is a dos based system. The 7722FV has a windows based operating system, direct cad input.

You also do not get the 1 year warranty with a Quad like you do with the 7722FV. We even offer extended service contracts that cover parts 100% for years 2,3 and on.

The other thing to really think about is Quad is no more. Tyco is gone for this industry. They have a support group but that is on its last legs. We even have an ex Quad guy here at Manncorp that was a product/service manager.

There is also the fact that even though reconditioned the 2c or 4c are also almost 20 years old. No one knows how long the vision system board mfg will even continue to sell boards etc... I myself would be very cautious of a machine that the mfg is not even in business anymore.

Hope this helps.

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#60395

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 10 November, 2009

GSM's are only 500 to register with UIC.
There are a ton of GSMI's around.
We have always run chipshooters with GSM's and now the new Advantis machines from UIC. GSM's are very accurate, but a bit of a pain if your running lots of chips (thus we run chipshooters). GSM's have been workhorses for us. Go with the lantern vision, not the old 3500EX box vision with an EPC-9 board if you can.

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#60423

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 12 November, 2009

Quad is a very economical solution for you. We bought the rights to build the "c" series machines from Tyco. We have a contract to support Tyco parts for their existing customers & in return they support us on the labor side to do installs, training, service, etc. We have designed a Windows interface for the "c" series machines that will be available Jan. 2010. We refurbish all Quad's & can sell a 1 year parts & labor warranty.

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mij

#60452

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 16 November, 2009

Firstly if you buy a used machine you may be inheriting someone else's headache, the reason its being sold is probably because it's old, worn or unreliable. We have had a JUKI KE 2060 from new, it has been worked hard everyday for several years with very few problems. At least check it out.

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#60455

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 16 November, 2009

Whether the Juki is a great machine or not is irrelevant as we just can't justify the "starting from" price of $87k (€58k). So, thanks for the suggestion, but we're trying to keep this under $20k and given that sort of budget we could either buy a crappy new machine or a fairly capable, if a little shopworn, older machine. Keep in mind that we might place the same amount of components in a month that your Juki could place in an hour or two, and we don't have

And there is another option besides buying used and inheriting someone else's problems; you can buy one that's been refurbished. Both PPM and QCare will sell me a guaranteed working Quad IIc for somewhere in the $10-$15k range. Kinda hard to argue with that if you have relatively low monthly volume and would like to turn a profit rather than over-capitalize.

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#60466

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 18 November, 2009

Here is the address of Samsung SMT India sales engineer.

d_kanhed@rediffmail.com & w.dhaval@samsung.com
Best : Juki & Fuji Good : Samsung SM400 series

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#60472

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 18 November, 2009

Please let us know how a 10-15K Quad 2C works out for you if that's what you decide on.

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#60483

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 19 November, 2009

I will, though I have to admit that the process thus far has been about as pleasant as getting a tooth pulled. I still wish - as the topic of my thread implied - that there was more information available on production and assembly equipment in the first place, and not just the used/obsolete stuff. For example, I mentioned to some salesman the other day I was also interested in getting a reflow oven and he asked how many zones I need... hell if I know, but I'm not exactly keen on relying on the salesman's recommendations for the obvious/usual reasons.

Anyway, a decision is imminent. I may fly up to a couple of places in the next week to look these smarmy characters in the eye, kick the tires, etc... I'll keep you Juki lovers updated regardless ;)

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#60485

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 19 November, 2009

Hi Jeffrey,

I bought my first used p&p last year, and I wholeheartedly agree the process of picking out one of these things is daunting! I am a small OEM with a strong tendency toward vertical integration. I'm just not satisfied unless I control as much of the process as possible. I bought a well used (~15,000 hrs) Philips CSM84VZ (~1992) which holds up to 84 feeders and has top and bottom vision. It weighs in at almost a ton and was clearly built to last. By making an inquiry on an auction site I wound up with an equipment broker who was involved in an upgrade where this machine was to be taken off of a running line when a buyer was found. Knowing the thing was running helped with the purchase decision. The broker was very helpful with my questions and got the thing shipped very promptly. The unit turned out to be very simple to set up and operate and I was running the first pcbs in just a few days. The machine actually paid for itself in about four months doing just one pcb that was being partially assembled by a sub. From my modest first experiences I would suggest full vision is a must-have, and don't be bashful about getting a machine that holds a lot of feeders. The slots fill up faster than you might think, and the more parts you can keep resident, the less you have to change when you switch between products.

Good luck in your search!

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#60487

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 19 November, 2009

Regarding more info on equipment - what you need is driven by your product and process requirements and tolerance for rework, labor amt, operator dependencies ..etc. EMPF offers a bootcamp for circuit card assembly, SMT mag publishes SMT 101 guide to get cover the basics, Clyde Coombs "Printed Circuits Handbook" is a good reference. You need to understand the process before selecting equipment - maybe look for a consultant or bring on a process engineer to get things going.

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#60488

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 19 November, 2009

I'm assuming that 18k components per month represents less than 100 boards per month. I've worked for both OEMs and CEMs and if your design is stable and your volumes are relatively stable I would highly recommend going with a CEM given the low volumes. I'm all for vertical integration as I was hired to bring SMT back in-house, but only if it makes economic sense to do so. There are many hidden costs that you will have to absorb such as training, maintenance, cost of floor space, money tied up in inventory, utilities, registrations, etc. There are decent CEMs out there, preferably local.

The hard part for you (IMHO) will be understanding the PROCESS of assembly (depositing solder paste, thermal profiling for reflow, rework, inspection, etc.), not merely choosing a particular machine (that's the easy part). Its hard enough to deal with daily issues when you have a solid background, but your skills lie in other areas. Stick with your core competency (design) and you won't be sucked into a pit.

If you absolutely must assemble in-house, I'd take a well built older machine (assuming parts are available) than a new "Yugo" type. Make sure service is local. Looks like you'll need a machine with at least 100 8mm feeder slots. I've disqualified many machines just on this alone and make sure the matrix trays don't take up feeder spaces. Every machine has pros and cons...none will be perfect. Reflow ovens and screen printers will also be part of your decision...but that's for another day. BE WISE!

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#60500

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 20 November, 2009

Thanks for the rare vote of confidence, tpappano! ;)

Were you able (did you even try?) to get the broker to commit in writing that the machine was in running condition?

I also agree that the machine will pay for itself very quickly, especially given my experience thus far with CEMs. This would justify us spending more up front, but we are a small company (5 people) that just started selling our product after more than a year spent in development. Our reasoning here is that it makes sense to setup our own modest production line and then upgrade the items as we outgrow them, potentially at no loss, or even a profit.

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#60502

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 20 November, 2009

MikeS - Thanks for the tips. Coombs book has been on my "to buy" list for awhile now... Guess I better buck-up and get it. EMPF is an old gem, for sure, but one I had forgotten about, so thanks for that reminder. I couldn't find the SMT 101 guide at SMT Mag, though... it appears they were taken over by ElectroIQ or something? I confess that the only trade magazines I read regularly are Power Electronics... EDN and Electronic Products. I mean, you could spend all day reading these things and not be any the wiser ;)

I agree that first and foremost I need to understand the process - that was the point of my thread here, after all... ;)

DeanM - yes, we expect to run 30-40 each of 3 different boards right now. This strongly argues for going with a CEM, I know, but as I mentioned before I haven't had good luck with any thus far and now I have to choose between spending more time vetting them or going vertical ourselves.

I also agree that the hard part for me will then be to learn the process well enough to set things up and manage them, and that this is not my core competency. That said, I like to learn new things... it's one of the reasons I went into engineering in the first place!

If you want to spoil my fun and suggest some good CEMs, especially if they are in the Tampa/St. Pete area of Florida, then feel free to do so here or via email.

In the meantime, it still seems to make economic sense for us to go vertical, even if we've misjudged the costs by a factor of 2 (which is almost a given). It will also make it much easier for us to develop new products, which is always a plus.

As far as equipment goes, I definitely agree that an old "Honda" is often preferable to a new "Yugo", so to speak. The problem is that when it comes to SMT production equipment, it's often difficult to tell if that old Honda is really a Honda.

We intend to go with a manual printer for framed stencils. I'll admit that I succumbed to temptation and bought one of those cheap Chinese ones off of eBay for $164 shipped (less than the cost of a framed stencil!) and, well, I'd say it's only marginally more useful than setting the money on fire. Now that I got that out of my system I'm considering the SPR-10 or SPR-20 by APS.

Reflow ovens... well, right now I admit we use the hacker's special, a toaster oven controlled by a PID loop. Don't laugh - it works very well and is excellent for - ahem - cooking up prototypes in a hurry. I chose Kester's Easy Profile 256 (no-clean, lead-based) solder paste as it is reputed to be the most forgiving and I get results every bit as good as I have in the paste using "real" production equipment (run by skilled operators, not me... I am definitely an unskilled non-operator at this point). I'm thinking that an old Heller tabletop model (the 942C seems to be common) would be a good choice, though.

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#60525

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 22 November, 2009

I didn't attempt to get any written guarantee, but took a leap of faith based on our various communications. The broker was also a refurb operation so I figured we could resolve any technical problems without too much trouble.

At this time I'm also using modified convection toaster ovens. I built a controller that can run four at the same time, but two can actually keep up with the output of the p&p. I will likely get a conveyor oven at some point, but my present location does not have adequate electrical service.

For stenciling, I'm using prototype style stencils, several of which are mounted on a table. I can bounce back and forth among several boards without having to change any setup. I will probably get a manual printer when some space issues are resolved.

Another big advantage of having the p&p is I can rapidly make model changes or engineering changes. I have a contract assembler available but he does not become practical until at least 1000 pcs. With multiple models in production, I would need to order about 8000 pcbs to satisfy my needs.

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#60754

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 1 January, 2010

Long time no update. We ended up buying a used Quad IIc for something like $2500 + shipping - no kidding - through CAE. They originally wanted $5,200 but they wouldn't commit to saying it was operational and we wouldn't commit to buying it if they didn't so after about 2 weeks of these shenanigans they instead dropped the price to a point we didn't mind so much if we were buying scrap metal. We promptly paid for the machine but it then took them another 2 weeks to process our Amex card... I would not be surprised at all if they were scrambling to find someone willing to pay more for the machine during that time (and, well, I can't really blame them, either).

Anyway... This is my first time seeing one of these venerable Quad's up close and I have to say it made a much more favorable first impression than did the Universal GSM-1. We have power it up and fed it some dried shop air and the Z axis moves around. We had to clear a couple of cryptic error codes that we traced back to a couple of flaky interlocks... THOSE will be getting bypassed. So far so good. I'll probably have plenty more questions about the nuts and bolts of operating the thing, but we are planning on hiring a local tech with Quad experience to help us get up and running.

Coincidentally, since my last post here we decided to make a new product with an EAU of 6k to 10k units, so now buying a p-n-p seems a little less ridiculous.

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#60768

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 5 January, 2010

Hi Jeff
I would recommend you to try unexpensive user friendly Juki Late Model KE760 series. you need a flexible machine that can handle components,fine pitch QFP. This machine is very unique. you can use even without an offline software optimizer, you can do optimizing or balancing in the machine. you can start from scratch. Ask any Juki technician, Other things you have to reconsider is feeder (8mm to 44mm) and nozzles. I had many years experience in almost all types of machines from yamaha, philips, Sanyo, Panasonic Create, Fuji, Siemens. Juki is the Best. Goodluck, if theres anything else, you can email me anytime...sincerely Steiner/Process Engineer

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#60772

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 6 January, 2010

Congrats on your acquisition! Looking forward to hearing how the setup and operation progresses. You might want to place some large baskets near the machine to catch all the money that will start flying out of it.

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#60775

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 6 January, 2010

Interesting read your tread.
I miss one thing, if you want a running garantee, then why not contact a manufactorer for a second hand.

Good luck on the new machine, and I hope it will make you a lot of money

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#60780

Researching placement machines - where do I start?! | 6 January, 2010

tpappano - Heh! Well, in the beginning there's going to be money flying INTO it... We decided the smartest thing to do was place a "help wanted" ad on craigslist for a Quad tech. One that lives in the area responded so we are going to hire him for a few days to calibrate the machine and show us how to use it.

demusch - Yes, it seems odd we would ask a used equipment broker for a "guarantee" but the broker, in pressuring us to buy the machine, said that they had sent their tech out to inspect the machine and that everything worked. So we said, great, put that in writing and we'll buy it right now. ;)

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