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Buying stenciling and pick and place equipement.

Clarissa L. Ortner


Buying stenciling and pick and place equipement. | 17 December, 1999

We are a small start up. We will be buying a stenciling machine and semi automated pick and place. ( We have the oven) We are presently stenciling without any assit and loading leadless parts only(no fine pitch) by hand. We need to improve thruput and quality of delivery with less error. Does anyone have experience with this level of purchase. Is it risky to buy used?(there seems to be alot of used machinery out there that would save $ but what about support?). Is there any one entry level favorite for a stencil machine and "semi automated pick and place" machine that any of you liked? Our boards are as large as 20x20 and highly populated. TKS

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Re: Buying stenciling and pick and place equipement. | 18 December, 1999

Do you have strong technical support team that have related experience SMT EQUIPMENT in your company? If you do, use machine would be alright. If you don't, you need to hire afew because even with brand new machine, you still have a problem either with the machine, program, and/or process. Stencil(printer)you might want to look in MPM-SPM version, it's cheap and easy to use. as for leadless placement, i prefer fuji-cp4 series use is ok as long as you do maintenance properly. and for the ic placer, mid volume machine you might want to try for AMISTAR laserpro. pretty easy to use and not so expensive.

anyone feel free to tip in the suggestion. clarissa, if you want to discuss, feel free to email me.

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Re: Buying stenciling and pick and place equipement. | 18 December, 1999


like in the other response if you have good technical support internally you can have good results with used equipment. We have run used chipshooters and pick and place equipment, but if we didn't have qualified personel internally to service them we would have been in a lot of trouble. I have gone through exactly what you are in the last couple years and may have some good feedback to any specific questions you have. If you would like to discuss your requirements feel free to e-mail me at I did recently buy a few pieces of equipment that may fit your needs as well.

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Re: Buying stenciling and pick and place equipement. | 18 December, 1999


Even with a sound support team, buying used equipment is always risky.

Some things to consider 1) Call the manufacturer, and make sure they still support the equipment, Parts and Technical. 2) Look at the machines with somebody who knows them and knows what to look for, watch them run some product before buying (watch the used equipment guys some of them are, well shall I say, Crooks). 3) Make sure the machines can handle the current (and foreseeable future) components and/or needs. Nothing worse than buying a machine and in six months finding out you need to place 0402's and can't.

That's my short list, For large boards and/or low volume, I would recommend Mydata,

Good Luck


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Re: Buying stenciling and pick and place equipement. | 19 December, 1999


Buying used equipment should not be risky if you do your homework. As M COX said, you should find out if the manufacturer still supports the machinery but don't take everything they tell you as gospel. Remember, they want to sell you a new machine.

Myself and many other reputable used machinery dealers have been in business for a very long time selling good used machinery. As in all industries, there are some bad apples in our industry as well but I've only meet two crooks in 20 years. One is long gone and the other is still out there.

There are also bad apples among the new manufacturers. I know one that has been selling many used machines each year and calling them factory demo's.

I suggest to everyone in the industry that they should attend at least one trade show such as NEPCON or APEX every year so they know what is available out there and they can see much of it at one time. Regarding screen printers: If you don't have a large volume of boards to do I suggest that you look at manual screen printers. They cost less new than most semi-automatics or automatics will cost you used.

Regarding pick & place machines: Everyone asking me for a used machine is asked a few basic questions that they should answer so I know what kind of a machine they could use. Here are some of the questions that I ask:

1. What is the size of your largest board. This gives an idea of the machhine that can handle your largest job. 2. How many parts do you have to place each hour/day/week so I can know how fast a machine you will need. 3. How many different parts are needed on your largest board and how many do not come in reels. This tells me how many and what kind of feeder positions are needed. 4. And finally, do you have a requirement to place fine pitch parts. This question usually determines the price range you will need to be in to find a machine that will do your job.

If you can answer the questions it should be easy to determine what machines will work for you. You shouldn't even talk about price until then. Maybe you'll find, like many people do that you can't afford the machine you really need so you knowingly settle for something less.

In general the older, cheaper machines that have mechanical centering as opposed to vision centering will be the cheaper machines. They'll work fine as well as you don't need fine pitch capability. If you need fine pitch, you'll pay more. Besides the manufacturer, there are many third party maintenance companies that service and support many models of used machinery.

If I think you don't have a clue as to what you want I will tell you to call in three or four manufacturers to help educate you so you will have an idea what you may need. After you talk to them you can then call a used machinery dealer and see if he has available what you are looking for.

In conclusion, don't be afraid to buy used machines. Used machines are purchased every day, even by very large companies.

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Re: Buying stenciling and pick and place equipement. | 20 December, 1999

Hi Clarissa,

seems to be a real start up situation you are in. For the printing there is IMO no need to buy any sophisticated automatic-vision-alignment-self-cleaning-inline-and-more-machine. Features you need: - adjustable in X-,Y-,Z-axis (individual control at all 4 corners to obtain parallel between stencil and PCB) and angle for the PCB - stencils should be framed or streched by pressure operated frame system - squeegees should have a guidance feature over the whole length to maintain also parallelity and same pressure - two squeegee for either direction print are a good feature - squeegee pressure adjustable for the two seperately - loading and printing by hand - PCB-support you have to look for yourself (you could tape a fixture with PCB-material of the same thickness to the plate), that is something in the low price area that is not supported New systems with those features cost about 5K-10K $.

With semi automated pick and place I think you mean something that has some software supported where-to-put feature but you still pick, adjust and place by hand. The placement data is easily converted from CAD-data, feeders(parts) are added and on it goes. With this you normally get quite good results with acceptable throughput compared to hand placement and if you are not in the mass production. Have a couple of operators available for changes, the work is quite boring. There�s only one brand I can recommend, if you are interested in something like that contact me directly. Next step would be a full automated pick�n place but that�s a different story and should be thought over and over (ROI). Decide for systems you can upgrade in the future(feeders cost a lot of money and they are unique for the choosen brand)so normally you stick with the first choose brand or you through aways the old stuff ( or sell it as a used one) but I haven�t seen companies runnig different machines for the same jobs.



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g cronin


Re: Buying stenciling and pick and place equipement. | 20 December, 1999

bill is right about finding a reputable dealer, i do have a horror story about buying a machine that was not what it was sold to be. But there are some good ones out there.. if you do have interest in a machine feel free to ask the forum our opinion on it. The one thing that kills me is to find out that a company got caught by a less than honest dealer...

I do have to say that I recently bought a Heller reflow oven from Bill and everything worked out good.... This is not an advertisement for petlock but i do have to give the good dealers the credit they deserve....

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Re: Buying stenciling and pick and place equipement. | 20 December, 1999

Printer and Pick/Place manufacturers will often take used equipment in trade from potential customers that want to buy new, if they know they can sell it. Inquire to the manufacturers for used or refurbished models they sell and support. If you buy a used machine from a used equipment vendor be sure to contact the manufacturer, not only for support, but for a history of the machine by serial number. Some model types have been around a long time and may even have been bought used before, some manufacturers keep these kind of records.

Lastly, stencil by hand until the pick and place is up and running, it always paces the operation. No sense getting a nice printer if the pick and place can't handle the thru-put. dan.

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Re: Buying stenciling and pick and place equipement. | 21 December, 1999

Clarissa, Like any used equipment, make sure both you and the dealer know what you expect from the machine. Ask questions! Make sure you understand what is involved in the refurbishment, if anything. Things like Technical support will be important if the machine is new to you and your company. Make sure you list everything that is expected and is spelled out in the purchase order, never assume they are going to do something. Like the previous threads have mentioned, find a reputable dealer, know what you're buying and on many occasions, buying used equipment does make sense!

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