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SMT Machine preference

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SMT Machine preference | 16 May, 2016


I am interested to see what kind of preferences pop up in regards to SMT PnP machines that fit our production model. Currently we have an old Contact 3Z machine that is giving us nothing but problems in regards to support, spare parts, feeder issues, and an abundance of other issues over the years. Our MFG model is low mix/low to medium volume with a few special builds thrown in. I am looking for something that is relatively reliable, easy to program (preferably through circuit cam), good support/parts availability, and most importantly inexpensive. Throughput is important, but not a driving factor considering our volume. If we were to get another machine it would most likely come from the used market.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Joe

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SMT Machine preference | 17 May, 2016

We have been pretty happy with second hand Universal Instruments GSM machines from the mid 90's. They are pretty affordable on the used market for a small company like ours and there seems to be a good supply of new and used parts. Support is good from UIC and they have an online database with all of the manuals and technical information. Registering a used machine is a fair fee of $500 to gain access to the online database and parts store. We've only been running them in low-volume for our own products and we've had to wrestle through some issues (mostly learning the details of the machines) but we're beside ourselves with the incredible results we've gotten from a 20+ year old line of equipment. We're placing 0.5mm pitch qfn's with ease. There are lots of feeder options and the machines have a decent feeder capacity. The OS/2 operating system and UPS software on these machines is great and continues to impress us the more we learn about them. You can import product data through a basic CSV file and programming is fairly quick after that. Hope this helps!

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SMT Machine preference | 2 June, 2016

You have to define inexpensive. Good machine will be Juki or Samsung that cost less than Siemens, Fuji or Universal.All of them good in a different way and just like everything else, the more expensive it is the better. If these are expensive you should go and grab cheap new Asian machine, without expensive support. Everything second hand(good brand) will be more expensive, because of the maintenance and repair costs. After you get one used, you will have to pay to register it, to get it running and then the real costs will start to build up.

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SMT Machine preference | 3 June, 2016

If you are going to stay in business more than 5 years buy a non-Chinese made machine. Flame me if you want, but that is my opinion.

Here is some of the best advice I could offer you:

Call the tech-help line of any equipment you are considering buying. See if you can get anyone/human to answer. If you do get connected to someone, ask them about the specific model you are considering. You will have to read between the lines of what they say. Remember, any decent company will monitor their inbound calls so the technician/engineer will not openly trash their own product.

Other than that, do your research. type in the make/model of any machine you are presented with and the word "review", or "junk", or whatever till you get a good feeling that people that bought the same machine before you are generally happy with. Treat it like you would as if it were your money and you were buying a used car. Do your diligence now to save yourself future headaches. If you are not the person that will be maintaining the equipment, bring in the person/people that will be. Get their input as well.

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SMT Machine preference | 3 June, 2016

"and most importantly inexpensive"

Define inexpensive...

I always get fired up about "expensive" Expensive compared to what is my question ? A car? a house? If you want what you are speaking of, you will be spending some coin.

If you want, semi reliable, easy to program, parts/support my guess is that you will be in the minimum 80K range just for the machine. Remember feeders are a BIG additional cost adder.

I have been personally working with used SMT equipment for over 25 years. BEWARE and do your due diligence is my best advice. I have seen a lot of people have less than favorable experiences. It is very important that you establish a very clear expectation from the seller in regards to functionality, warranty(if any), and support.

I might suggest Mydata, but they charge out the yang for spares and can get flakey on support unless you bought it from them. They are good machines and easy to program and operate.

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