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Prototype SMT & Ltd Prod Line Choices & Advice

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#53990

Prototype SMT & Ltd Prod Line Choices & Advice | 12 March, 2008

Hi All,

I know some of this has been covered - but nothing recent that I could find - so please bear with me... Seems like the used/refurb market is kind of fluid so would like some current thoughts....

I'm looking to setup an inexpensive prototype line. Would like to get used/refurbished equipment. Range of parts 0402/0603 to 25mm sq. & 20 mil pitch. Lead-free process.

Board sizes 2x3 to 5x10. Typical runs 5-10 to maybe 50.

My questions are these: 1) Recommended P&P machines & ones to stay away from I've used a Quad 4c in the past - kinda finicky but workable. Going to want something that will be easy to program and setup for the casual and occasional user. What machines have good used reliable feeders that are easy to get & fix if needed?

2) No experience with ovens for no-PB. Looks like max temps from paste profiles is ~265*C with melting point being ~20*C higher than std paste I've used. Most ovens should handle that, I'd think - any tips or advice there on what to look for? Any thoughts on batch style ovens?

3) Printer: have only used semi-manual - push button print with knob align - found it difficult to get alignment done at 20 mil on qfps. Maybe it's just my bad eyes.

Thanks in advance for the advice everyone. Matt.

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#53991

Prototype SMT & Ltd Prod Line Choices & Advice | 12 March, 2008

We use both a 4C and a Mydata TP. If the work ever picks up the 4C is pone and a second TP is in. Easy to work with, program and maintain. Ideal for your operation

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#53995

Prototype SMT & Ltd Prod Line Choices & Advice | 12 March, 2008

MyData are great for your size. Stay away from BTU ovens. A lot of bearing issues. semi-automic screen printers made by the big two or three should be able to handle anything you have. Always remember to include spare parts availability and service when coosing equipment too.

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#54023

Prototype SMT & Ltd Prod Line Choices & Advice | 13 March, 2008

MyData PNP machines are good for high mix/low volume because change over time between jobs is lower than with many other PNP machines. They also handle parts on cut tape strips easily and you will have these with low volume runs.

As for lead free oven: Liquidous point of SAC305 lead free solder is 218C and you need to reach a peak temp of around 230C for a good solder joint. You will need the air temp of the oven in your spike zone higher than 265C to acheave a 230C joint temperature unless you run your belt speed really slow.

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#54025

Prototype SMT & Ltd Prod Line Choices & Advice | 13 March, 2008

Thanks all for the advice so far.

I'm definitely considering the 4C & the TP9-U. I've also seen a Zeva 575, Philips Eclipse, & Juki 720. These seem to be a little more expensive. Any feedback on these machines - is the extra expense worth it?

How easy is it to get support on the used Mydata equipment - can you go direct or is 3rd party the best option? How friendly is the Unix based system?

On the oven, is a 280*C max zone temp enough or is 300 or more needed to get good no-pb reflow. Speed should not be an issue since it's low volume. Just don't want to over cook the board.

Thanks again, Matt

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#54070

Prototype SMT & Ltd Prod Line Choices & Advice | 17 March, 2008

We have had VERY GOOD free tech support from Mydata. However, we bought a refurbished TP9 directly from them. I believe if you by a used MyData machine from someone else there is a fee to register your company and the machine in their system before you get the tech support.

The Unix based software is fairly easy to learn and use. You do not need to be a Unix expert to be able to run the machine.

As for the zone temp in the oven, that depends a lot on the characteristics of the pcb you are running through it. How thick is the pcb? Are there large copper power/ground planes in it? What size is it? We have differnt profiles for different boards. We do have several lead free profiles where the oven temp in the spike zone is 290 top and 260-275 bottom. With a 280 max temp you may get by if you slow down your belt speed a bit but most reflow ovens that claim they can do lead free have higher max temps.

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#54074

Prototype SMT & Ltd Prod Line Choices & Advice | 17 March, 2008

Something to consider is the ability to pick from 2mm tape if you're going be placing 0402s. Quads can't really do it (at least they couldn't do it about 6 months ago when we inquired), but you can program two feeder locations for the same feeder and nab the extra part every other pass. If you've got odd numbers it's a pretty inefficient kludge. In fact it's a major PITA.

Can't speak for Mydata on that note (surely the Agilis feeders could handle it but what can you use on a TP?).

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#54077

Prototype SMT & Ltd Prod Line Choices & Advice | 17 March, 2008

If you update the MyData TP machine with the latest version of the TPSys software you can use Agilis feeders (and magazines) on a TP machine. Of course, they will charge you to do that.

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#54123

Prototype SMT & Ltd Prod Line Choices & Advice | 20 March, 2008

Much thanks again for the replies.

Does anyone have any experience with UIC GSM1 machines & feeders & overall programming & use therein?

I've come across a couple of these that are in the same price range. I seem to remember UIC having a decent rep.

Thx, Matt

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#54125

Prototype SMT & Ltd Prod Line Choices & Advice | 20 March, 2008

I did similar investigation a while back and what I concluded is that the GSMs would be more trouble to set up than the Philips Topaz we were also looking at. It is trouble enough, but we only use it for our longer running jobs and we use FES carts to cut down setup time. It's a better machine overall than the Quads, but they are MUCH better for short run jobs than the Topaz.

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