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GSM Machines

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GSM Machines | 1 May, 2007

Does anyone have experience with a Universal GSM machine. My boss wants me to buy a used one. I need to know if that is a good idea.

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GSM Machines | 1 May, 2007

GSM's are great machines but before you buy used get some info. You will need a complete options list as well as the Block Series of the machine. This will let you know what upgrades need to be done and if they are possible. If you get the serial number you can call UIC and get the full service history.

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GSM Machines | 1 May, 2007

I have been working with GSMs since 1999. Mostly, I've been programming them but for the past 2 1/2 years or so I've also gotten to know them mechanically. I think they are great machines. If you are looking at Flex head GSMs (4-spindle) they won't be very fast, but they are very capable.

Look for L-block or newer. UIC will be able to tell you the block letter based on the serial number. Anything older is really not upgradable. The types of parts you expect to pick and place will determine your machine configuration... such as which cameras you might need or whether you need a PTF (tray handling unit).

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GSM Machines | 2 May, 2007

Check with Universal on service. The GSM is a solid machine. Very well built. The older machines will run under IBM OS2 OS. Nothing wrong with this OS. There have been some vision system upgrades also. The older GSM might have the AIS3500 or newer Lantern vision system. It used to be that Universal would not support a used GSM machine unless it was brought up to current software revision and certain hardware was upgraded. When I was going to purchase a used GSM in the late 90s it was better to purchase a refurbished GSM from Universal. Pricing was better on refurbished GSM from Universal than buying used and upgrading to latest software level.


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GSM Machines | 2 May, 2007

Make sure you get a good upward looking camera combo. 4.0 on rear and 2.6 for PTF (platform tray feeder) parts is my favorite. Easy to wrench on, calibrate (if you have a cal. kit), and easy to program. Single beam will run at 2000+ cph and dual beam about 4000+ cph or so to guess. Used feeders and parts are fairly easy to find. Logicomm error codes are pretty easy to figure out if you have full manuals. If you get a service contract with UIC, they have great service people.

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GSM Machines | 3 May, 2007

We just recently registered with UIC a GSM that we obtained used from another company. I don't recall exactly how much it was, but I believe it was in the $1000-$1500 range. All they are really charging you to register is the software, not the machine. We had to register it before they'd send a service technician out to help us with a problem that stumped us.

We didn't have to do any upgrades or anything to register the machine or get support, and this is a G-block GSM from 1994 or so!

We also have a RAMTF (old-style tray handler). Technically, you are supposed to pay to register that as well. UIC decided to be nice and not charge us to register it.

The calibration kit for a GSM costs somewhere around $10,000. You need it if you unmount/remount a camera or the head. If you do that and you don't have a cal kit, you'll have to pay for a service call to have the machine calibrated unless you can find someone nearby to lend it to you.

The refurbed machines UIC sells are probably a good route to go. They tear the machines down to the frame and rebuild them (so I've been told by the sales guy). You get a one year warranty.

I don't work for UIC or rep them. I like the machines and I like their service. The only UIC equipment this company has ever purchased was on the used market, not from UIC. Despite that, their service and support have always been great.

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GSM Machines | 4 May, 2007

I have been working with the UIC GSM platform for 6 years now in an EMS environment. Operating, programming, configuration, and line installation. I do not work for Universal or represent them in any way.

UIC is a 1st rate company with excellent and professional service and support.

Just to expand on the many good ideas presented above. 1st off, UIC no longer manufactures the GSM platform. They now make the Advantis and the high end Genesis machines. They do and will continue to support the GSM's and still do stock most all parts.

As far as configuration goes, stay far away from any pre-L Block machines as has been mentioned above. They will not support a PTIF (Platform Tray Feeder - Tray Tower) nor would you be able to upgrade the Operating System beyond IBM OS2 Warp4. What you really want is a machine already running or capable of running UPS+ 6.xx (Universal Program Software - Windows 2000 based OS).

The actual Head/Camera configurations will depend on your own product/component mix. Probably the most flexible combination of component compatibility/throughput would be a 7 spindle Flexjet head (with an on the head 2.6mil camera - providing "on the fly" vision processing capability). You will also need a rear mounted 2.6 mil (or better - Magellan digital camera preferred) for your larger packages (QFP's, BGA's, etc.). This config would probably be the most flexible as it gives you the best speed/capacity package.

A PTIF (Platform Tray Feeder) will be a valuable addition to the machine as it will give you the possibility to add as many as 58 separate additional trayed components (QFP's, BGA's, SOIC's) to the setup. The PTF will however cost you 8 feeder slots (for the transfer belt), so if you run mostly passives it could limit your overall feeder capacity.

The above configured GSM will happily place 0402's on up to QFP 304's all day, every day (with the right nozzle/feeder/camera configuration you can sucessfully place 0201's)

Although they no longer make the GSM's you can still get a remanufactured machine as mentioned above. We bought one in '03 (and 2 new T Block GSM's in '06) which has run great for us. Overall, we're very happy with UIC and the GSM platform.

Best of luck.


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GSM Machines | 4 May, 2007


If you are continuing to research the Universal GSM, please contact me via email at

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GSM Machines | 15 May, 2007

The best buy you can do right now. There's a lot on the market at cheap price. Easy to find feeders & spare parts at good price. You can find a good machine for $20-25K

Dont buy with FlexJet head unless your use to work with these heads. Complicated, fragile & expensive to repair. Stay with C4 or Flex head. Contact me for more info.

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GSM Machines | 17 May, 2007

Universal is having some excellent deals right now. Call Universal at 1-800-842-973 and they'll get you in contact with your area sales rep. Right now you can get new machines at used machine prices. Also, should you need feeders repaired and/or rebuilt Hover Davis has a feeder repair division for that as well. They will clean, barcode, repair and calibrate at a fraction of the cost of what it costs to maintain a spare stock location and employing somebody to do the work.

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GSM Machines | 26 May, 2007

We are in the market for a 4684A TAB bonder.

If anyone knows where 1 might be??? Regards Bryan Hanton

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