Printed Circuit Board Assembly & PCB Design SMT Electronics Assembly Manufacturing Forum

Printed Circuit Board Assembly & PCB Design Forum

SMT electronics assembly manufacturing forum.


Thank you.

John Peterson

#6123

Wet behind the ears | 28 April, 2001

Well, I hope I don't offend anyone. I'm brand new to this. I am considering starting my own assembly line to handle my own products but would like to be able to utilize my downtime as an opportunity to keep the machines running by trying to pick up any overflow work I can (I know i'm dreaming in this current market). I was wondering if there is any kind of standard or general parameters in a spreadsheet form or general formulas for pricing pick and place projects on consigment and turnkey. I'm doing the work up for an investment proposal now and have been given some good leads but want to look at more material before I show investors what I am planning. I know the economy is bad right now, but I also don't think it won't stay down forever, even though my portpholio disagrees with my opinion. If anyone can help me with this issue it would be greatly appreciated. I am thankful to have found this site. I have read some of the postings and feel that this must be the most professional forum around for EMS. I'm going to be shooting 201's and it is great to see such a difinitive knowledge base here. Thank you

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#6124

Wet behind the ears | 29 April, 2001

Call me wet behind the ears!!! I'd kinda like to see you refine your processes on your products before you go-out drying-out your ears on someone else's products.

The worst contractors in the world seem to be those with their own product lines and want to get into contracting. There are plenty of BIG name companies that tried this and failed. The smaller companies seem to do this to help bury the cost of their poor equipment buying decision. [Oooops, I bought all this equipment and only have a 30% utilization rate. Talk about ...] [I guess I should add a smiley here. ;-)]

Or are they sooooo smart that they can subsidize their contracting business by absorbing their overheads with their product and marginal pricing their contract services? Keep them away from me!!!

Then, they do a poor job of deciding which customer [eg, product customer, service customer] has priority.

Then, they don't do a good job keeping-up with technology.

Then, they can't support product devlopment well, because manufacturing is sooo expensive.

And on and on ...

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John Peterson

#6126

Seeking a professional response to my inquiry please. | 29 April, 2001

Well, I quess I will have to go forward in order to go backward. Thank you for replying Dave (I think). I intend to hire professional (EXPERIENCED) Manager/Engineers and operators that are already well entrenched in the business. I am a businessman and know what I don't know. However, to get the whole thing funded so I can hire those who are not wet behind the ears, I need to write up a cost/benifit plan for my capital friends. I was hoping that you, or someone else on this board could be helpful with regard to my inquiry.

With the current market slowdown I don't imagine that business will be pouring in, but I do believe the economy will sometime within the next millenium turn back into a growing market as opposed to a receding one. Mainly, I would like to build my product because I believe it will save lives when it is brought to market. I figure the more folks I can keep alive with my product the fewer chldren will be without thier parents. I have read many very professional messages on this board and this is the first one I would consider quite the opposite.

I have spent a lifetime encouraging others to pursue thier dreams in the classroom and in life, and have seen many kids and adults achieve thier dreams by such encouragement. I hope that spirit of encouragement can be shared by all in a manner that carries us into a better future.

I was under the impression this is a mature and professional message board where people can trade pertinent data about the EMS business. If I was mistaken, I'll just keep looking. Now, if you are able to answer my original question, I would greatly appreciate it. If not then maybe someone else could help. Thank you.

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#6127

Wet behind the ears | 30 April, 2001

So, you have big plans for your future.

What�s your timeschedule ? Cause it needs a lot of time to start from ZERO, that�s where you are starting, right ? If it�s a serious undertaking get the best consultants in your boat you can get.

The equipment you need depends on the the things you want to do ( ...and with 0201`s you are well in the high end class of equipment and personal)

First you have to define your processes with all the requirements depending on the complexity of the products you want to run. This usually generates a checklist with particular equipment pieces you need and the features each item should have to accomplish the specific task

With this list you can scan the market and pick the raisins out that will suit you. (that will give you a coarse idea what $$ you need)

There are of course companies that will set up complete lines for you and also offer the complete planning and implementation service ( I know here in Germany Siemens and Phillips will do ) but you need things to produce and people to LEARN the specific line to get that whole thing running.

It needs time until you have a well functioning line that you can depend on ( some of us would say it needs years ) So be prepared that more $$ go into it before you really can start.

(... it�s IMO the best to do a slow start to warm up the engine carefully to get the best results )

I personally don�t know about such an enterprise the way you are planning it, the normal way is the way where you start small and evolve with new demands. A good EMS provider is a mature one what means that he�s gone through all that learning and improving that�s essential for maturity.

....and the "S" stands for "services" and that�s the "Knackpunkt" ( I know what Dave is talking about from live experience with EMS providers who do it all just to keep their lines busy, .... it�s not working in the way that a customer needs the full service and support and that differs from OEM in the way it is performed ).

So you won�t get me as customer the way you described your enterprise.

Although it�s a nice idea for some experts to buy what they want and form a "dreamteam" to perform the "dreamjobs" for "dreamcustomers".

Make it two independent businesses, one is the EMS provider and the other acts like every other customer as product owner with no superior rigths. But that could mean that you just look for a good EMS provider who can build your product unless you have fun, time, idealism and $$ to build up an EMS center ( ... please don�t do it half-hearted).

This is meant serious

Wolfgang

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#6129

Seeking a professional response to my inquiry please. | 30 April, 2001

I�m sorry. I missed the announcement that designated you are the arbiter of the appropriateness, maturity, and professionalism of this forum. I think you will have a difficult time with your company if you explode in a childish rant like this every time someone gives you an answer you don�t expect or like. I�ll for one will take you up on your threat about going to another forum. You'll be be missed. Good luck with your venture.

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CAL

#6130

Wet behind the ears | 30 April, 2001

John- Just few ideas at random (brainstorming) - While times are slow invest in training of your current staff. There are some great training facilities out there offering valuable knowledge. Knowledge is a valuable thing to have and will prove to be beneficial. - If I were in your situation, I would try small (500qty) prototype runs. There are tons of people needing this type of work. Universities are in great need for this type of work. Tap into some of your local colleges for assistance. Also, there are tons of Photonics (At least here in the states) that are just starting up and need assistance in product build. Photonics has a great future and has only tailed off modestly compared to the whole industry.Also doing small prototype builds like this will allow you flexibility when your product takes off (I gather this from the conversation previously that you product is still in the marketing pipeline). You can also make your PCB design experience available for hire, not just machines. -If you do get heavy into the CM or EMS route know your end product. Know where it goes and how it is used.You not only want to build boards for customers but you want customers to recognize you as an authority- this plays strategic in the small prototype world. Knowing if the PCB assembly should be conformal coated or meets class 3 requirements is value added.This is where many OEMs fall short when trying to utilize there equipment and downtime for CM or EMS. - find a niche that you are good at and promote it. Just taking any job because it is a job is not good.

A lot of this is basic business but if it helps ...........

best regards, Cal

Caldon W. Driscoll ACI USA 610-362-1200 cdriscoll@aciusa.org

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kaopsahl

#6132

Seeking a professional response to my inquiry please. | 30 April, 2001

Greetings. I have noticed quite a few postings lately to the effect of "hi, I want to be a SMT pro and make circuit boards, help me". Try to understand why folks on the forum are cringing at your proposal. All of the feedback I have seen regarding your posting is valid and should be gratefully heeded - most of us have been in this biz for at least long enough to know what most of your chalenges will be. Pursue your dreams, but take advantage of the opportunity to learn from others' experience before you do something you and your investors will regret later (or sooner!). Besides the process issues which others have stated, plan on adding additional staff requirements. You state that you are planning on headhunting an experienced engineer/manager. Good. Now what about inspection? AOI or manual visual? Who will train the personnel to inspect or run AOI equipment? Parts procurement - get someone with EXPERIENCE as a commodities buyer in the SMT industry. You will probably still run into "interesting" problems in this area. When you handpick your engineer(s), the workload for them will include machine process management, programming all of the equipment, ESD control program, reflow process control, inspection criteria development and training, as well as training operators and technicians. Not impossible, but plenty of work just to get started. Plan on six months of production-level operation to get a handle on all of your processes for your own product. Know that when you even consider building for someone else, your product must be PERFECT, ON-TIME, and AFFORDABLE or the customer will drop you like a bad habit - there are plenty of outfits out there with a track record (good or bad), you don't even have a record yet so you can't afford to disappoint anyone. Be extremely cautious who you partner with for purchased services such as bare boards - their problems will quickly become YOUR problems. Get all the info you can before you do ANYTHING, and be prepared to spend the money to fix problems and do things right when you DO start. Good luck on whatever you decide to do, but do not dismiss advice found here as being "unprofessional". These are the people who live it every day - if they seem like they are being negative, it is because they see real problems they are trying to warn you about.

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John Peterson

#6140

Thank you. | 1 May, 2001

I really appreciate your advice. Dave did not offer much in the way of real advice, his response was mostly diatribe. I am looking at visual inspection at this time as AOI might be overkill in my case. I believe that it, in combination with the machines I am looking at which have onboard component testing, combined with a visual inspection system should be sufficient to eliminate a fairly high degree of completed board failure. That combined with a test procedure post assembly will bring me up to the level of safety I desire.

I know that nothing can replace experience but everyone has to start someplace, which is why I ask questions. I am intending to start with half the cash in the line and half to cover the learning curve. I intend to start with my own product and will also attend training classes as well as rely on the experience of others. Perfect on time and affordable are great goals and that is what I will shoot for but Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is a new business.

I very much appreciate the advice on the bare boards as that will be a big determinant obviously. I will have to look into the complexity and reliability of the various manufacturers. Lately I am in a habit of not only asking for references but doing deeper background checks that go beyond the efforts of a D&B report. As far as being ready for problems as they arise I will keep a large cash reserve at the ready. I promise I will not dismiss any professional advice I receive here and very much appreciate you professional response.

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CAL

#6141

Thank you. | 1 May, 2001

If there is anything I can help with - I am sure we can provide a service be it training, Lab services, Transition, Design, CAD, ESS,........you name it(does not hurt having 35 Scientistsand engineers on board). Touch base with me at cdriscoll@aci-corp.org if you need more information. Cal

Caldon W. Driscoll ACI USA 610-362-1200 cdriscoll@aciusa.org

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John Peterson

#6142

Thank you. | 1 May, 2001

Thank you Wolfgang,

My time table is the amount of time it takes to get it right. I hope to have product by next December if possible. Yes, I am starting from ground zero. I need to go 201 because of the size limitations as to what I need to fit in a very small space. IN general my product will be fairly simple to build as it will have 28 parts per board and about 9 per panel due to size limitation (board warp possibilities).

Other than that, I figure that a medium volume high mix capability will suit the expansion into the general market, but I will not make a final determination until I have spoken with a lot more people and fleshed out the market a little better. I have been asking around about demand and volume with regard to what I need verses what others may need. I am guessing at this point that a proto capability with the Mydata MY12 or 15 (if that�s the company I go with) and the 21k CPH shooter (top end- guess with mix probably around 14 to 16k in reality � I�m placing two fine pitch and a part that requires a custom head). In actuality my product does not need anything more than the MY9 since I�m only packing 29 parts, but I am examining the market to determine the average number of parts that the mean board placement needs. I know I could run the board twice if need be and one of the neat features is the changeover time on the Mydata because you can program while the system is running. In general that machine seems to have a lot of very nice features that are conducive to keeping the work flowing.

Considering what I am looking at right now, the line is looking like $600k to $750k and I will keep as much in reserve capital. I really like what I heard from Phillips but I am leaning on the Mydata because of its tolerance testing capability on the fly. That is a big plus from my point of view. If you have any knowledge about this company that I maigh wish to question I would be very interested in that. I realize everyone has a tendency to end up with a preference and its usually what they are used to working with but from the outside looking in that little feature is a big point for me unless there is something I�m missing about that particular equipment.

Regarding starting small and growing into it I am hoping that by hiring experienced personnel that should give me an edge on the learning curve. I have only had one experience with one EMS provider and it was terrible and so was he, that is in part what motivated me to decide to go this route. Believe me, if I do decide after all my research that this is the route that I choose to follow, I will not go at it half hearted, That is just not the way I do anything. Thank you for your sincere advice.

I�m still looking for the answer to the financial question. I have thus far heard that high volume consignment, which I will not be doing, is in the .02 to .03 cent area (below 100k. Medium volume (100k to 1 Mil.).03 to .06 or better, and Low volume up to .20 cents. If I can get a good idea of the prices and various levels I can amortize the prices per placement by examining the place time and build a good model for board pricing. If you have any input on these lines that would be most appropriate. As I mentioned in my initial notes, this is extremely important before I even make a decision to go forward. I have to know at the least the potential and a decent financial model. Thanks again.

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John Peterson

#6143

Excellent tips. | 1 May, 2001

Thanks Cal

Excellent tips. I will add these to the cadre of engineering management and marketing team and schemas as they come together.

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#6146

Wet behind the ears | 1 May, 2001

I have to say I agree with Dave. The experience in Oz is that OEM's that dabble with EMS tend to go broke. The ones that do survive tend to have big brothers with deep pockets to get them over their lean periods but even they will only put up with so much. The calibre of people you are talking about to get this up and running do not grow on trees - machinery is pretty easy - they all basically pick up and put down, people is harder - that's why I stick to machines and processes. Get yours going properly first. Two words of warning - 1. DO NOT BUY COMPONENTS FOR CUSTOMERS _ YOU ARE NOT A BANK! 2. Don't get top heavy - you can't solve problems just by throwing money at them Now to what I really wanted to say - I'm onto you Dave. YOU ARE ALSO JOHN! and just wanted to have a blue with yourself ( no I didn't - yes I did - no I... ). as the rest of us haven't put up a decent argument for years

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#6150

Wet behind the ears | 1 May, 2001

Sorry to disappoint, bud. Believe it or not, this guy's for real. It'll be sad when his investors find out that returns on contacting are something akin to pass book accounts.

I'd do something like the prank that you imply, but this is a lame topic. [And who can stand all the pandering?] How about ENIG versus electrolytic gold for solderability preservatives? I could take the ENIG side, get everyone noddin' and then WHAPP, blitz the whole thing by pseudonymiously taking the electrolytic gold side. Wanna do it?

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John Peterson

#6151

That's funny. | 1 May, 2001

I�ve seen other boards where people come in and use new screen names just to mess with people. It�s usually pretty interesting. Thank you for your advice as well. I realize that finding the right people is key and actually, while I am in the process of deciding whether or not to go forward, I will look at who is out there first and get a prospective team assessed prior to equipment purchases since one without the other is kinda silly. I absolutely agree. And no, I�m not a bank. I�ve been in business long enough to know that people will take advantage of anything you let them take advantage of. I pay my interest payments and they will need to do the same. The farthest I will go is a letter of credit from a decent bank. I always strive to cut deals as close to the 50/50 mark as possible in the category of risk assessment.

And regarding throwing money at problems. The business will have to learn to justify itself from the seed to the growth stages. As usual it�s a balancing act like any other business. If the seed does not look like it will get enough fertilization, and water, and sun, then I won�t plant this year. If on the other hand the boys at my particular bank are anxious and say damn the torpedoes� well, then its full steam ahead as long as they are aware of the risks that we might get blown up faster. I won�t run it with the mentality that money solves everything though. At this point I�m inclined to think that I want to spend a lot on getting me educated and will invest along those lines as well as familiarization with any particular machines I end up choosing for the operators and engineering management as needed. To reiterate my answer to your consideration, I will locate qualified engineers that are available or interested in moving or I won�t do it. I am not opposed to finding a good quality EMS CM and hiring them. I am just examining all of my options and the feasibility associated with those options. Thanks again.

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#6152

Wet behind the ears | 1 May, 2001

Mate, I'd love to but we are not allowed to use ENIG (Empaestic Noumenal Ideopraxistical Gunk) here so I really couldn't enter into the debate. Surely people realise that your average SMT boffin is a mental case in a blue coat. I looked up "SMT-engineer" in the Oxford Dictionary, it says- "SMT-engineer(is-empty in-gin-hear)n.male/female (yo Vicki) idiot savant; occasional lucid moments followed by hair pulling fits of despair; sleeps poorly; dislikes buzzers and rework; likes buzzes and anything re work.[L.esemt=SLAVE, FR.engin fr. L.ingenium=skilled]. 'nough said.

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Reflow Ovens thermal process improvement