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First time Pick and Place Machine

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Hey all, We are a small electronics manufacturing company... - May 22, 2017 by rb_ics  

#77622

First time Pick and Place Machine | 22 May, 2017

Hey all,

We are a small electronics manufacturing company who has been using the solder reflow process for years, but we have been hand placing components. We only run the system 2-3 days per week.

I have been looking at buying a used pick and place machine and it looks like the Philips Assembleon is very common. I would not be interested in paying some expensive technician to work on this, I would prefer to do everything myself. I have a number of CNC machines that I have bought and built, so I can do a fair bit myself.

I was wondering what suggestions all you experienced P&P people would have for buying a machine, as well as which one you would recommend. I am not too concerned about speed. More concerned about inexpensive.

Thanks, Rick

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#77623

First time Pick and Place Machine | 22 May, 2017

I always would like to go with new equipment compared to used. You will get free technical support with the deal for 2-3 years including parts, repairs, proper training..... If speed and quantity are not the key, there are dozen of small machines out there for descent price(many of them you can find on this website under pick and place equipment). Your best options is to get smaller footprint(cheaper platform) from Juki, Mydata or Europlacer...or go further down to companies like, Quadra, Autotronik, Fridge, Essemtec, MannCorp.....or one of the many other. Start calling and collecting quotes and see where this takes you.

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#77627

First time Pick and Place Machine | 23 May, 2017

When you buy pick and place machine there are few things to consider:

1. Always buy fastest and greatest machine which you can afford, faster machines has lower cost per placed components and you have room for your business to grow.

2. Always buy machine which has local support and easy to obtain spare parts. Simple $10 conveyor belt break may cause you week of down time and you lose money.

3. New machines always come with decent documentation, support which you could ask how to do this and that and you will be set in no time, old machines often come with no or incomplete documentation and if you have no one to ask it may take you months to run it properly.

Philips Assembleon as company do not exist now. Do not buy such machine even if they give it to you for free :)

Again my advice is: do not buy scrap, wait a bit more and save some money for decent machine. Buy old machine only if it comes with full documentation, lifetime software updates and commitment from the seller to help you with technical support.

Contact me off the list if you need more help.

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#77633

First time Pick and Place Machine | 23 May, 2017

No matter what machine that you decide to buy some of the things you want to know especially concerning used machines are how readily available are spare parts for the machine. How hard is it to program the machine and are there programs available to help program the machine straight from bom's. If you are doing the work yourself make sure the machine comes with all the manuals or you will be totally lost if you do not have support for the machine at some point and time. And if you can get support for the machine do so especially if you have never worked on or used that particular machine before.

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#77634

First time Pick and Place Machine | 23 May, 2017

My best suggestion would be to write a contract that says "payment in full upon our acceptance."

The problem with used pick and place is getting support. All of the manufacturers decided that unless you bought the machine from them, you are going to pay a service fee to get support.

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#77635

First time Pick and Place Machine | 24 May, 2017

> Hey all, > > We are a small electronics > manufacturing company who has been using the > solder reflow process for years, but we have been > hand placing components. We only run the system > 2-3 days per week. > > I have been looking at > buying a used pick and place machine and it looks > like the Philips Assembleon is very common. I > would not be interested in paying some expensive > technician to work on this, I would prefer to do > everything myself. I have a number of CNC > machines that I have bought and built, so I can > do a fair bit myself. > > I was wondering what > suggestions all you experienced P&P people would > have for buying a machine, as well as which one > you would recommend. I am not too concerned about > speed. More concerned about inexpensive. > Thanks, Rick

Whatever you do, you will not have enough feeders within six months. Don't let feeder maintenance build up, keep them maintained.

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#77675

First time Pick and Place Machine | 5 June, 2017

Rick,

You might want to consider a Quad 4000C. Even though Quad is out of business, parts and support are available from Precision Placement Machines. They are rebuilt with a warranty and run Windows 7. They offer intelligent feeders and if you don't need a conveyor I think you can get up to 136 feeder slots. I think its the best of both worlds: support and warranty at a cost lower than poorly made imported machines (factor in the feeder prices on new equipment).

Am I affiliated with PPM? NO. Do we run Quads? YES. The Quads seem to fit our small company's needs for 0603 and above and 20mil QFPs. Just a happy customer.

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#78419

First time Pick and Place Machine | 17 July, 2017

Hi, I am evaluating equipment for a new SMT line that I will run myself as a side business. I have so far settled on Assembleon as the machines are available and I have heard good things about them.

Your comment gives me pause. Is it really such a bad idea? There is a K&S service center that's a 20 minute drive from me, this is the company that's taken over Philips Assembleon. Is it such a bad idea to get these machines, are they unreliable or too expensive to maintain? I am not running high volume time-critical production, I just need a decently fast, reliable machine with available parts & support for at least a few years. Good software is a big plus.

I plan to visit the service center this week to speak with them about the machines and support/training they offer, and see what impression I get from them.

My budget for a full SMT line is <$150k including everything, shipping, etc... I've settled for now on an MPM Accuflex printer, Heller reflow oven, an Assembleon Topaz Xii (2005) and/or an Assembleon Emerald X (2005), and a few other accessories such as a compressor, conveyors, etc...

The Assembleon machines are about $35k each, used. Do you have any advice for me? I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you for any help.

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#78423

First time Pick and Place Machine | 17 July, 2017

with this budged you can buy new machines, not tombs

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#78426

First time Pick and Place Machine | 17 July, 2017

Which new machines would you recommend with equal capability for <$150k? This means stencil printer, reflow oven, conveyors, feeders, etc...

Even a Manncorp machine with a complete set of feeders is $150k alone.

What do you suggest?

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#78427

First time Pick and Place Machine | 17 July, 2017

Sergey,

it will be probably hard for the money, but running/trying to run 2005 machines is not going to be fun. Probably is better to outsource your products for now and wait until you can prepare better budget for it or you find better machines for the money. New machine with warranty, service, spare parts and everything else will start return investment immediately if you have enough product to run.

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#78428

First time Pick and Place Machine | 17 July, 2017

Evtimov, I thank you for your response. I posted a thread about this on EEVBlog but there is less experience there for this type of equipment it would seem. If your interested there's a lot more detail about what I'm after: http://www.eevblog.com/forum/manufacture/advice-on-setting-up-a-low-mid-volume-smt-line-for-lt$130k/

I take your point about productivity and uptime to heart, but I'm not trying to compete in the mainstream PCBA business. I have an upcoming contract with a client for 5k boards by the end of the year. The boards are relatively simple but I see this as an opportunity to acquire a private lab that I would own and could use for my own projects and for startups and small companies in the area. Nothing time critical. I'd like a capable system that's not hobbyist level. I COULD outsource it but I'd prefer to put that money towards increasing my own capabilities and making the client happy - if the line is set up and running well I can turn around boards for them very quickly with no back-and-forth between PCBA houses, fabs, etc... Affordable turnkey solution for them, fun toys for me, everyone wins.

It would appear that Assembleon is supported through K&S and there is a service/training center just 20-30 minutes from me. If they can train me and support it for a reasonable cost I can live with that. If the software is a little slow or buggy compared to new machines, I can live with that too. If however the machines are constantly needing maintenance and breaking down, pushing schedules and racking up huge bills...that's another thing altogether. The Assembleons do seem well regarded and reliable, and if I'm wrong on that point I'd certainly like to know what the problem areas are.

While I'd love to wait to acquire a larger budget, the fact is that this contract is the only feasible entry point for me. Without it there is no point until I can save up $400k on my own, which would take years and be a far greater risk. I'd rather get non-optimal equipment and grow from there.

Despite not having strict schedules, I don't want a hobbyist level or very slow machine, primarily because those machines turn *every* schedule into a tight schedule. If I have 2 months to assemble 5000 boards, an Assembleon might be able to do that with a week of run time. A hobby or slow machine might need 4-6 weeks of runtime. So even if the Assembleon breaks down for 3 weeks I still come out ahead. I would imagine it's less likely to do so than a very old or hobby level machine.

These are my assumptions and hopefully adding some context has made my thought process clearer. As long as I can do the boards, through blood, sweat and tears, if I come out with finished boards and working equipment it will have been worth it for me even if I have to work for free for a few months.

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#78429

First time Pick and Place Machine | 17 July, 2017

Sergey, The Assembleon GEM Series machines were built by Yamaha. They currently support them via Trans-Tec, their distributor. At least in Asia and NA, I'm a Yamaha/Trans-Tec Rep in the southeast US. Remember it is buyer beware in the secondary market. A big advantage in running the machine before you buy it. Good luck!

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#78433

First time Pick and Place Machine | 18 July, 2017

I recently bought:

PCB Loader, Full Automatic Printer with vision with 10 seconds print time, 1 meter Inspection Conveyor, Samsung SM482+Feeders, 1 meter Inspection conveyor, Reflow oven

for similar budged, all machines new.

I bought them directly from Asia skipping local distributors which make price double.

The machines come with all technical documentation, manuals, etc.

The only trade off is that you have to pay for installation and support if you don't know what to do, but you will have to do this anyway with the old machines too.

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#78434

First time Pick and Place Machine | 18 July, 2017

Sergey,

I understand your thought process kinda, but you are not going to justify yourself a pick and place line based on a "simple" 5K board contract unless you know something we don't. You do not want a machine that has buggy or slow software. Any of that will turn into a journey of BS that you do not want any part of.

The terms "turnkey","used","not hobby", do not go hand and hand.

I'm not saying it can't be done, I am saying get prepared for a huge education.

Working for free on any level does not compute in my brain.

In my opinion this does not seem like a solid business plan. There is too much assumption and speculation.

From what I see here, you would be better off researching contractors and building your base from there.

I don't know that this helps but it gives you some more to maybe consider.

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#78436

First time Pick and Place Machine | 18 July, 2017

Sergey,

we understand your dilemma very good. Still the key words in your post are "having a capable system" and this is not given with that old machine. You should probably research the Samsung Tsvetan is talking about - it has 4+1 placement heads or something similar. If the price is in the same range, it looks like much better alternative.

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#78438

First time Pick and Place Machine | 18 July, 2017

That does sound like a great deal Tsvetan. Can you share any information about who/where exactly you purchased the machines, and which printer/reflow you have? I do have friends and colleagues in China that could ease the process if anything is coming from there. How much did the PnP alone cost with feeders? I would also need to have these shipped to the US.

Sr. Tech, I agree on the software and that's the sort of advice I need. Are you saying that the mid-2000s Assembleons have poor software? I am certainly prepared for the education. I do not have a long term business plan for this venture. The reason for that is that I have a full-time job. I am doing this purely because I want to have my own industrial space with a lot of useful equipment that I can use for my own purposes and to do work for a couple of relatively close knit engineering communities I am a part of. In order to do that I need to fulfill this contract.

What I mean by "turnkey" is that the client has to do very little beyond tell me how many boards they want. I have designed the boards, set up the BOM, spent all the time optimizing the BOM for cost, collaborated with suppliers both here and abroad, ordered PCBs, stencils, dealt with issues, etc... It is easy for us to brush off and say "outsource it" but please remember this is very hard for a small company (client) that has a million other things to deal with. For them to work through these things would take months before the first board is made. That time is very expensive, and matters a lot more to them than shaving dollars and cents off their unit price at this point. I offered to take all of that off their hands for a fixed cost per board that is attractive to them, nearly as cheap as outsourcing to China after the first batch. That is what's funding this.

In terms of working "for free," what I mean is that if I end up running into issues and have to spend the entire profit from this project on the machines, that is OK with me because this is not my main source of income. If it becomes that way one day - great, but I am doing this because I want to. I understand that it might not make sense, that it's a lot of speculation, that it will be a lot of learning, etc... I get that. I still want to do it purely because I want to and I can currently afford X amount as stated above, not because I NEED to see an ROI in a year. That's all there is to it.

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#78439

First time Pick and Place Machine | 18 July, 2017

SM482 has 6 heads and can place parts from 0603 metric (0201 inch) to 55x55 mm with ISO benchmark 28Kcps

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#78440

First time Pick and Place Machine | 18 July, 2017

Tsvetan that really is an amazing machine. I have looked at it but assumed it was way out of my price range. Is it really possible to get a new machine with 50-60 feeders for under $100k? That sounds like a steal.

What is the maximum component height?

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#78443

First time Pick and Place Machine | 18 July, 2017

Found it, it appears to be 15mm.

I received a reply from K&S (Kulicke & Soffa) who support the Assembleon machines. They say they do offer full support and training. The support offer is $7,500 per machine for the first year, including:

* Annual agreement for planned maintenance and calibration service * Agreement begins January 12, 2017 and ends January 11, 2018 * Covers qty. 1 Topaz X and qty. 1 Emerald X * 2 services per machine (1 major PM with head rebuild & 1 light PM) * Machine calibration performed following each PM service * Includes Assembléon PM parts kits * Includes priority dispatch of engineer & parts if repairs are needed * Includes a 5% discount on other after- market parts and services

In addition they offer a 4-day on-site training program for $2,000.

I was assured by telephone that they guarantee they will get the machine working if there are any issues.

I assume this sort of support is included with any new machine purchase, but if they can guarantee me a working machine and training for this price that comes out to a grand total of $45k per machine, which IMHO is not so bad.

What do you guys think? Is this service contract tolerable?

The only other thing of course is the start/end date. It would not make sense to start such a service contract so late in the year.

Of course if I can get a new Samsung SMT482 with feeders for the same $80-$100k these machines would cost that is a total no-brainer.

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#78445

First time Pick and Place Machine | 18 July, 2017

Apparently the dates were just an example, and the contract can start anytime.

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#78450

First time Pick and Place Machine | 19 July, 2017

contact me directly info at olimex dot com

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#78462

First time Pick and Place Machine | 21 July, 2017

I am not going to give you any names of equipment manufacturers as I believe most people tend to recommend only what they are familiar with. I have my favorites as, likely, most everyone else does as well. What I will tell you is equally important.

Look up the phone number, email address, or even website for the machines. Find the tech support contact information. Contact them. Will they talk to you for free, or do you have to buy a service contract first? Ask them about spares for the exact machine you are considering buying. I have been to the Phillips Assembleon factory and they told me that the spares are no longer guaranteed so many years after the last machine, of each model, has been built (they still sell what is on the shelves, but when its gone, it’s gone). I imagine most manufacturers have a similar policy, but the times may vary. How long will it take to ship spares to your location? If they are in China, or any other country, you may be down for a while. Does the tech support even exist? Here is a story I like to share to people that are looking to buy equipment: My company got what they thought was a great deal on a Brand-Spanking New wave solder machine designed and built, and shipped from China. I inherited this machine from the previous person in my position.One day I had an issue and tried to read the manual to help me diagnose the peoblem. The manual was only a collection of pictures with arrows pointing to what buttons to push to program the machine. There was little to no text to be found. No wiring diagram. I searched the machine physically for a phone number and found one. It was a Chinese phone number (outside of country call). I got permission to call the number. When I called it no one answered it. Must be a time zone difference right? Nope. I called the number once every 2 hours for a whole day. No one ever answered it. I emailed the email address for the manufacturer many times, with zero response. Through contacts I was able to find another person who’s company also has one of these machines, and between he and I we are able to help each other fix our machines, but it is way more work than it should be.

Do your homework before you buy anything, and if your budget allows to do so (money, floor space, power,air), buy 2 pick and place machines. You can double your output when both machines are up, and if 1 of them goes down you can continue to run by moving all the parts to one machine.

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#78466

First time Pick and Place Machine | 21 July, 2017

Hi Sumote, thank you for the advice!

I actually visited the K&S service center, they are the company that now handles the Assembleon line. They have service/training techs there who have been around since it was part of Philips and are very familiar with the machines. They have a feeder service center and a warehouse with spare parts. They offer both training and a service contract on the Assembleon machines. They told me an annual service contract was $7.5k which includes support, a full head rebuild, a light head rebuild, and calibration after each rebuild. A 5-day onsite training program is $2k. I met the tech who does the training and he seems very knowledgeable, he's been working with these machines for 20+ years, since the Philips days.

In addition the Yamaha training/service/parts center is ALSO about 30 minutes from me, and they would be able to support it as well since it's basically their machine.

I feel pretty comfortable on the service accessibility front. Whether they still make the parts or are just depleting old stock I will need to ask. The machine I'm evaluating now is an MG-8 which is 2007 vintage with ~15k hours. Serviced by the same service guys near me regularly and running production currently.

This is really the main reason I'm worried about a different machine, even a new one - no nearby service. If a tech has to fly down every time vs. drive half an hour that's a big cost. I have been talking with Tsvetan and he strongly recommends buying a new machine. I would love to do this and I'm still waiting on a quote for a Samsung SM482 which looks like an excellent machine. However even in the best case I think it will be $20-$30k more with shipping for just the PnP + feeders, not including the oven/stencil/etc... If I just had a little more money I could do this easily! I seem to be in a dead-zone however where it almost makes sense to get a new machine but not quite. It's a difficult decision.

2 pick-and-place machines would be great but I simply don't have the room right now.

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#78467

First time Pick and Place Machine | 21 July, 2017

I commend you for doing your diligence. It sounds like you have a solid plan, and a few decisions to make. I have used Assembleon machines before, a Topaz X and a Emerald X. They seem to be a good compromise between speed and cost.

If you are close on capitol, look around for something that isn't being used, or will be replaced with the new equipment and see if you can trade it against a portion of the cost of the new machine, or maybe just ask if they would consider taking less money for it. There is usually some wiggle room in the cost.

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