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When to implement high speed pick and place machines?

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When to implement high speed pick and place machines? | 4 February, 2014

Dear all,

Our company is using middle speed pick and place machines for LCD TV power boards and am considering to use high speed pick and place machines. Are there any methods to evaluate the profitability of implementing high speed ones?



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When to implement high speed pick and place machines? | 4 February, 2014

Take a look at the ROI tools supplied my MyData and others and draw inspiration from there. Presumably if you are looking at a higher speed line you are looking at higher throughput than you currently achieve or possibly fewer/shorter shifts? The economics will be vary depending on your costs and work methods. You should look at your existing line and establish what time you spend on what. Does kitting/changeover cost you downtime, if you have multiple machines in your line, is the load balanced? Every formaula out there will be somewhat biased towards whatever point the creator was trying to prove, and will also make assumptions as to your companies structure.

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When to implement high speed pick and place machines? | 4 February, 2014

Whenever your line doesn't cover your requirements and you can't build your boards in schedule, it is time to go to higher throughput machines. Of course you should have some contracts for the next year or two that will cover your line. You should know that you have enough work.

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When to implement high speed pick and place machines? | 4 February, 2014

You should ask yourself a bunch of questions before you consider going down this path.

The first being where are the bottlenecks in your existing line and is there anything you can do to eliminate or decrease there bottleneckness (made up word).

I worked in a small operation that I did some work for, there problem was more the way the machine was being used. I estimated (roughly) that it could turn out about 4 times the volume by just running 4 boards on a panel instead of one because the girl who had to hand stencil, had basically to run in a circle from stencil machine to putting the plate that the board sat on into the macine pull the made board out , then feed it into the oven , hand correcting moved misplaced components, restart the cycle. She didn't really like running fast and doing that many boards . if she ran more boards the oven became a bottle neck. She got bored with just sitting between the SMT machine correcting etc. Then the product had to be programmed in a jig (three boards were then separated out and if good leads attached etc this involved 3 women. So even if the machine had more productivity the Company then needed another 9 women to do hand attachment of leads (you might think why not automate this part but it being the product that it was (it came in contact with water) it had to be made that way. To cap along story 240 boards were made and delivered each day because thats what the customer wanted and making a thousand wasn't going to make any difference (so the real bottleneck was demand).

You will probably have a similar situation on a complex board like you make. If you have multiple machines in the line there maybe a small advantage in higher speed for your chipshooter. But again all the line has to be considered as a whole, It is worth further study and even prototype your solution by hiring a Higher speed machine and putting it in your existing line, and seeing if your productivity rises.

In this day and age it is very easy to see chipshooters as the answer to every productivity problem. But all the other bottlenecks can eliminate there major benefit (raw, unadulterated speed). Even better placement optimisation can help. Eliminating dead time like reel changeover say on your 10k 100nf parts etc. When you go to a higher speed machine these take up a much greater percentage of operator time as reel changeover starts to dominate. When you have a higher productivity machine walking time from store to machine will become important you might consider getting a feeder cart system so you got a whole changeover of reels ready for a quick change. Another option might be getting an older machine and splitting the placement on your larger components, or your hand placed ones with some of those Throughhole placement machines.

So getting back to your ROI question, it hinges very much on the actual productivity improvements you get and obviously the cost of the new machine.

regards sarason

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