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

Printed Circuit Board Assembly & PCB Design Forum

SMT electronics assembly manufacturing forum.


Where do I Start?

We are a company that designs a product but gets the PCB fab... - Sep 06, 2002 by genny  

[removed commercial post - brian] ... - Sep 06, 2002 by Melo_Guy  

[removed commercial post - brian] ... - Sep 06, 2002 by Melo_Guy  

I apologize for the double post. ... - Sep 06, 2002 by Melo_Guy  

You are very welcome. ... - Sep 10, 2002 by bobm  

genny

#21429

Where do I Start? | 6 September, 2002

We are a company that designs a product but gets the PCB fabricated and the surface mount assembly done out of house. The product then comes in house and we test it, do some final assembly on it, and ship it.

We recently had a prototype run of PCB's (~50pieces) that had several random parts missing on most PCB's when they came from the assembly house. Now the company wants to take a look at putting in our own SMT line, so we're in control of our own destiny and not depending on outside builders. I am a little concerned - you don't just throw a pick and place machine and an oven down on your production floor and success! I have read this forum long enough to know that there are a lot of issues to deal with. The few I can think of are solder paste choice, cleaning, printing, stencil design, oven zones, oven profiles, pick and place machines - feeders, linearity, accuracy, for fine pitch,... It is a huge learning curve. However, if a company wanted to do a serious proposal on what would be needed to start stuffing boards in-house, where do I begin? What equipment do I need? What space would I need? What power considerations might I need? Any environmental issues? I'm in Canada. etc...

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Melo_Guy

#21431

Where do I Start? | 6 September, 2002

[removed commercial post - brian]

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Melo_Guy

#21432

Where do I Start? | 6 September, 2002

[removed commercial post - brian]

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Melo_Guy

#21433

Where do I Start? | 6 September, 2002

I apologize for the double post.

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genny

#21434

Where do I Start? | 6 September, 2002

I'm not talking about buying components.

I want to know how would you go about setting up an SMT line from scratch. Or, maybe more specifically, how do I convince management, with data to back up all my arguments, that this is not a good idea. That this should be left outsourced, to people that have worked hard at developing these specific processes. SMD assembly is complex enough to be an industry all to itself, as we can see easily on this forum. Many businesses represented here are just assembly houses and nothing more. At most I'm trying to convince them to limit it to prototype quantities, and don't even think about doing all our production run builds in house

I think we will just open a pandora's box of problems if we start trying to do production runs.

I just took two sample parts lists, and on one there are 58 different 0603 components, 145 different surface mount components in total. On the other parts list, there are ~35 each of 0603, 0805, and 1206 and there are 162 different surface mount components total. The number of feeders we'd need alone makes me run screaming away from this idea.

I need other concrete information about starting up a line. We would go with used equipment since there seems to be so much available right now. I would prefer that salesmen do not respond to this message. I need facts, not sales pitches.

Best regards, Genny

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bobm

#21438

Where do I Start? | 6 September, 2002

I have been in smt for about 4 yrs. I would say you need to evaluate what type of components you are going to place. How many boards your orders will be for. I use Quad pick and place equipment. These are all around good machines for placing everything from chip caps to fine pitch down to 5mil. If you are going to place mainly resitors and chip caps you would probably want to look at a high speed chip shooter like Panasonic or Fuji. I use DEK screeners which I like. You would want to consider a paste inspection camera if you are going to run a high speed line. I use Conceptronics model 60 4 zone convection ovens which work out very well. You will need some type of vision inspection machine. I use "NSPEC". There is still a lot more to look at but I am kind of busy right at the moment. But I hopr this little bit of information will help you.

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#21439

Where do I Start? | 6 September, 2002

Genny

How complicated is the board that you need to build (does it only have ten 1206 resistors or is it a couple hundred parts with some of them being fine pitch)? Will you use the machine for the same board or do you have others? What types of quantities are you looking at?

Give us a better idea of what you want to do. I could get you in touch with someone, please email me if you are interested.

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genny

#21440

Where do I Start? | 6 September, 2002

Management is talking about the ability to do all our assembly in house. I would assume that realistically that we would eventually limit it to a few key products, but we are a high mix, relatively low volume company with volumes going up. We have probably 10 core products, that can have 500 to 3000 in a year. Build sizes are often in the 200-500 size for production runs. There are at least 5 new products in development right now. We have one product under development that uses a BGA but so far no others. Our finest pitch IC is 20mil PQFP - and we use a lot of this device. Lots of varying SOT's, SOIC's, TSOP's, and some odder shaped parts. Resonators and mixers and electrolytics and tantalums, Dpaks, and baluns, along with all the standard passives, nothing smaller than 0603, so far. We would probably need 20 different types of feeders (or nozzles?) on a typical board, and over 100 different component values on average on a product. Most products probably have 600 or more parts to be placed on one board. What other info might you want to know?

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#21441

Where do I Start? | 6 September, 2002

Genny, we recently went through the same scenerio. First to consider is your budget. Second , what type of components (fine pitch, bga, chip components)that you would be placing. Also consider board size max. that you would be doing and would see yourself doing in the future. You may want to purchase a text book on smt manufacturing to give yourself a little background on the subject prior to getting serious. Make sure that some training is available and support which is probably more important than anything especially if you are new to the process. There is also mucho help here. IPC is a valuble resource for info too. The piece of equipment for us that was the most diffucult to deal with was the pick and place machine. The training we recieved for it was vey brief and we could of spent a week on just that piece of equipment. Take andvantage of local reps. as sometimes the can provide useful info especially on solder paste selection (they will give you free samples). We were nervous, but for the most part it was the smartest thing we did. Good luck to ya.

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J.Brown

#21442

Where do I Start? | 6 September, 2002

I believe we can help. See our web site at http://www.contactsystems.com

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#21444

Where do I Start? | 6 September, 2002

I would think you would start by looking in the SMTnet directory for another supplier. The failure of one is a poor reason to get into the type of business you are considering, when that is not your type of business.I would be very leary of starting when there are so many good suppliers out there hungry for your business. If you are dependent on state of the art manufacturing technology to get your end product to market, then having your own line would make more sense perhaps. But you seem to be doing relatively mundane work. Perhaps a prototype house for such work and more then one supplier for your production.

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bdoyle

#21445

Where do I Start? | 6 September, 2002

[removed commercial post - brian]

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#21447

Where do I Start? | 7 September, 2002

I agree with Peter. Trying to locate another supplier is your best option. If you still decide to do it in house, then I highly recommend you purchase new equipment as opposed to used. I say this and I am a used equipment dealer. Based on your lack of experience in this industry, you will really need significant training and guidence from your equipment supplier.....much more than most equipment dealers are going to be willing to supply to you. Some of the larger equipment OEM's have their own used equipment divisions so you could save a few bucks AND get the training and support you require.

Regarding equipment, anything from Speedline (MPM, Electrovert)is a good choice. For pick and place I'd start by looking at the Philips Topaz X series if you can get by with one single flex mounter. Stay away from Quad and Contact Systems. They may not be around in 6 months.

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#21469

Where do I Start? | 10 September, 2002

I wish I knew where Mr. Fastek worked so I could contact his customer base to tell them his company may not be here in 6 months. I don't know where you get your information but you are reckless with it. These forums should be based on experiences and facts, not rumors. Contact Systems is alive and well and would be very happy to assist anyone in setting up a complete SMT line and training your people. We have done this numerous times in the past and OEMs like yourself are a large percentage of our business.

As for finding a new supplier to build your boards, of course this is an option. However, you face the risk of that supplier not being around when you go back for another run of boards. This industry is still quite fragile at this time. Bringing the work in-house is a sure way to control your own destiny but it comes with some pain. Perhaps the best approach is to set up a line and begin producing product in-house while still having boards assembled outside. When you are comfortable with your in-house capabilities you can complete the transition.

As far as used equipment is concerned, yes there are some good buys out there. These are great buys for those people who already have lines setup and are expanding there capacity with the same equipment. You will need the type of training on your pick and place equipment that only the OEM can provide. OEMs also have great deals on used equipment.

I know you didn't want any sales people replying but I couldn't resist. Anyway, I'm not actually in sales.

Good Luck,

Greg Pompea, Chief Mechanical Engineer Contact Systems

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genny

#21470

Where do I Start? | 10 September, 2002

Thanks, I appreciate all the responses. I think I have the starting point now. I just have to find the finish line...

Regards, Genny

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#21472

Where do I Start? | 10 September, 2002

I should ignore this, but I can't help myself... I'm still living in Barney's world.

What would become of this forum if everyone posted to every thread, stating that, while they can't provide you with any valuable input for this thread, they might be able sell you something else, whenever you develop a need for it?

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bobm

#21473

Where do I Start? | 10 September, 2002

You are very welcome.

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dragonslayr

#21474

Where do I Start? | 10 September, 2002

Melo- with all due respect, please keep your schilling for customers to some other forum. This is a technical help forum, not an opportunity for a sales pitch.

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Melo_Guy

#21475

Where do I Start? | 10 September, 2002

First of all I apologize for offering you my product. If it was a "sales pitch" it would have been much different. second of all, you have no idea how to be polite dragonslayer. Your use of the word "shilling" was not respectful in any way. so my response is "With ALL DUE RESPECT (which is none) dragonslayr STUFF IT!"

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dragonslayr

#21476

Where do I Start? | 10 September, 2002

Genny - one more reply from the chorus. Do consider why Contract Manufacturing came into vogue in the first place. It allows OEMS the opportunity to focus on what they do best, design and marketing/sales. It also reduces the overall costs of doing business for the OEM by not having to invest huge sums of money in manufacturing equipment, labor overhead, etc.

Do a root cause failure analysis on what ever it may be that is causing the grief from your CM. Either your CM is unaware of how to satisfy your needs or incapable of producing quality product. If you determine to disqualify that particular CM, then use your recent experience to qualify the next one. From your product description provided, it sounds like common materials and nothing black magic about producing a good assembly. Could it be that the assembly is OK and the problems are design related? Have your engineers eliminated that possibility?

Get your management out of panic mode. Get them to understand it may not be a wise choice to take on more than your organization is capable of, in terms of cost and expertise. Consider an analogy - you go to the local transit bus stop and miss the bus, it was running either early or late. Would you decide to start your own transit company just to be on time?

Good CM's have the expertise, have already expended the cost of machinery and labor. Good CM's can help you bring a product to market, from design to maturity and SAVE you money.

Now, my sales pitch. If you are in the SF Bay Area, please contact me direct and I will do my best to help you through this process. I've been nearly 15 years in the CM game, as a Process Engineer, Production Manager and QA Manager.

Regardless of your location, feel free to ask questions, I am more than happy to help.

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#21479

Where do I Start? | 10 September, 2002

I'll keep this short and end with another CM sales pitch.

I do not suggest "cutting the bleeding arm" as few others suggested. There are good CMs sending "fully" populated boards. And there are good overseas ones where their average wage is US$4 who also sends "fully" populated boards.

Let me know if you wanna know more. :-)

Erhan

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mk

#21488

SMD assembly | 11 September, 2002

Whoaaaa Genny, Its not that bad!!!

The difficulty factor is in assembling your own boards is all releative to how many, and how difficult they are.

Most studies show that the vast majority of defects in smd assembly are generated in the application of the solderpaste and subsequent placement of the components into the wet paste. Its not really even the printing that is difficult but the placement. Z axis pressure from component leads causes squeeze out, smearing, and eventually, shorts and opens etc.

If your company has not invested in an expensive printer than you could start looking at a solution to the scrap generated in printing by considering solid solder deposit technology (ssd)for your boards. This method brings the boards in with the solder paste already on the boards in a solid form, coated with adhesive flux so no printing is necessary. Simply place the boards into a pick and place machine where the components are placed into the adhesive flux, then run it through the reflow oven to fuse the solder to the component leads. Sounds simple huh? There is a little more to it than that but believe me, many companies have eliminated the biggest scrap generator in their line by using solid solder deposit. Again, there are some issues that pertain to the technology being used on your product however, before you spend 50-100k on a printer look into ssd. It may be the answer to a lot of headaches especially in the beginning. Try http://www.sipad.com for starters.

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bdoyle

#21489

Where do I Start? | 11 September, 2002

[removed commercial post - brian]

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Stephen

#21492

Where do I Start? | 11 September, 2002

I worked for a private OEM then a public CM and somehow forgot that privately owned OEM's are a wild card because the owners can believe whatever they want. I recommend using CM's. we can't here because of the extreme mix we have. somthing like 50 PCB's and up to 20 options per PCB. We have new products every week, and ECO's everyday. Our runs are typically 20-30 or 3-5 for prototypes. Some other things to consider are programming the machines, inpsection drawings, and handling changes to assemblies. Otherwise what happens is, you get boards with lots of parts missing,and other such problems. The single most important factor that I have found is consistency. You need to be a process oriented business. You will need formal procedures, and good record keeping. private OEM's don't always see the need for these, but if they are not in place, you will be spinning your wheels making changes (you think) and not making much progress. The tendancy is to look at people and the mistake they made, but the only legitimate thing to critize people for is not following procedure. The preceding is based on what I have seen at places that work and ones that have constant problems. P.S. I'm in Canada too, and when you are choosing a paste ask the sales rep about disposing of unused paste.

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CAL

#21501

Where do I Start? | 12 September, 2002

YOU think I could let this posting go by with out a reply??? PLEEEEASE.

Genny- No matter what direction you go do your home work. This will require a lot of home work on you and your staff. If you go the contract manufacturing route GREAT!!! But have proceedures in place to monitor the incoming assemblies. A good vendor control policy is well worth the head ache. Have a random sample plan set up as the assemblies come in. Get a list of references the CM does work for. Visist the CM Factory. What equipment do they use? If they are using mature products (Mechanical centering) to place 15 mil QFP's I would be concerned. If you need some reputable CM's please contact me off line (cdriscoll@manncorp.com)

If you go the new machine direction again, do your home work. 1) Buy with the future in mind and not buy for what you build today because down the road you will have an Eng. change and your machine may not meet the specs. 2)Look at the New machines company from a support structure Field service, Warranty, Applications, Logistics. All these can effect the performance of your machine no matter the company be it Siemens, Universal, Fuji, Quad (By the way is Tyco now FYI Fastek), Contact Systems, Assembleon, Mirea, Mydata,Suzuki, Sony, Essemtec, Juki, and so on and so forth. Identify your budget there are machines that run from $15,000 to $500,000. Printers and reflow ovens the same deal evaluate carefully.

Now the used equipment market....There are tons of deals out there and there are tons of "Sharks". If you do go the used/ refurb market DO YOUR HOME WORK and find a reputable company. You can get good used machines right from the Vendor directly. If you use a third party used supplier See what they offer on warranty, and service. In your case I do not suggest buying from a reseller.

If you do have any questions please feel free to contact me. Best of Luck Cal

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genny

#21505

Where do I Start? | 12 September, 2002

Thanks, all. Natasha, thanks for your private email - probably the most beneficial of anything I received. I can't seem to get the reply function to work, so I'm posting here.

Just a general suggestion (personal feeling) for posting on this forum. If all you are going to do is send a sales pitch, send it to the thread originator's email. If you actually have useful technical info, post it. It would remove a lot of clutter from this.

Please don't reply to this thought on this forum thread. Regards,

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Randy V

#21610

Where do I Start? | 18 September, 2002

I have over 15 years experience in manufacturing, both microelectronics and board assembly. I currently work for a large CM and I have worked for large OEM's. I understand your situation and your companies concerns. It would very difficult to go into every detail on this site on how you should proceed. My best advice is to hire a good SMA consultant. In the long run it will save you a considerable amount of time and money.

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bdoyle

#21612

Where do I Start? | 18 September, 2002

[removed commercial post - brian]

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JoAnn Stromberg

#21635

Where do I Start? | 19 September, 2002

I think the SMTA could help you. We are offering a number of courses at SMTAI next week in Chicago. They cover topics such as SMT: Principles and Practice and Equipment Selection. All details can be found at http://www.smta.org/smtai.

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bill yates

#21651

Where do I Start? | 20 September, 2002

Hire a seasoned SMT process eng and buy used equipment.I would use Fuji. There is a glut of used stuff out there and you can set up a whole line for under 200K. I have done this in the past and have set up over 10 lines myself using different equip manufacturers. It may sound hugh but it really is not. If you dont want to hire your own get a consultant like John Stimadorakis at AMT in the earlier replys He is well seasoned and will make your venture a success!

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Dick Russell

#21657

Where do I Start? | 20 September, 2002

Wow, you have received a lot of suggestions and opinions. Here is one more for the record. First try to improve the performance of your sub-contractor. While you are doing that start bringing in low quantities of parts to develop your in-house capabilities. You will have a lot to coordinate with your Materials Department, and Stock Room, Engineering etc. Develop a listing of your parts, how many per assembly, size etc. Slowly bring in one piece of equipment at a time. The last thing you need is three tractor trailers backing up to your receiving dock with equipment and your boss looking at his watch asking when you will be up and running.

Pick a good reflow oven and (I know it is a commericial - but bring in low quantity sipad boards). That way you don't have to worry about printing and all of those issues. Hand place a few board, and set-up, optimize your reflow process. Lock it in.

Then select and bring in a pick-n-place. You have already received many suggestions and they are all good. Then program, set up dedicated feeders based on you heaviest usage and used on the most assemblies. This will reduce your set up between runs. This reduction in set-up will make your return on investment even better. Once this process has been running sucessfully and optimized then evaluate sipad vs. printers and again their have been a lot of good suggestions.

Just take it SLOW and OPTIMZE your process one step (piece of equipment) at a time.

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Brian Doyle

#21665

Where do I Start? | 20 September, 2002

Just wanted to make a comment about the thread. I'm going to be watching it as its moving towards sales pitches. If you feel your company can help the original poster then contact them off the forum.

Lets keep the sales pitches off this forum please.

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matherat

#21676

Where do I Start? | 21 September, 2002

Wow, this has been real interesting reading. Kind of like a Jerry Springer Forum. "Today on SMTA Forum, cranky engineers and over zealous sales people square off to decide if the replies to the thread are appropriate"

When some one asks a questions like ___________________________________________________________

if a company wanted to do a serious proposal on what would be needed to start stuffing boards in-house, where do I begin? What equipment do I need? What space would I need? What power considerations might I need? Any environmental issues? I'm in Canada. __________________________________________________________

Who do you expect to answer? The questions are valid and surely need to be researched further and more in depth than the forum can provide. When you actually go to produce a "serious proposal" who will you call for advice, pricing, technical specs etc? Someone sitting in a dark CAD room who designs boards for a living? Someone who works on an assembly line or quality control lab? No, you call a horrible scummy low life sales person and they then spring into action. They will listen to your needs, spend time researching the right equipment, generate prices and present a proposal to you. All for free with no financial commitment from the potential customer. Then, the person soliciting the quote will take that info and many times use the data that was provided by the first nasty hateful sales person, to bid it out, pit supplier versus supplier in a bidding war, lie about target pricing, and then, turn around and tell them all that times are tight and their company has decided to continue to do things the old way so there will be not purchase order at this time.

Be careful about condemning sales people universally. Some of them work hard and sincerely try to help. While I am sensitive to the commercialism issues I think that in these days and times y'all need to "lighten up". (No, that's not a plug for a weight loss program)

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Brian Doyle

#21677

Where do I Start? | 21 September, 2002

Actually I feel its generally great customer service for an individual when a sales person can come in and solve the problem. But we'd rather they solve the problem here than paste sections of their sales brochure.

We have to keep some level of control here on the SMTnet forum or else it will drive away a lot of the discussion. Its a fine line and not always easy to decide what is blatantly commercial and what is not. Often times I just wait for complaints about posts.

I think you'll find by searching the SMTnet forum archives that we've really debated this issue in the past.

Here's a link to a thread from about a year ago that is pretty good. Please don't bump the thread though (that's another issue).

http://www.smtnet.com/Forums/index.cfm?fuseaction=view_thread&CFApp=1&Thread_ID=4507&#Message17560

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Stimadorakis

#21686

Where do I Start? | 23 September, 2002

I have performed many insourcing vs. outsourcing analyses. The following are the key issues that are normally evaluated:

 Cycle time requirements for product development and manufacturing  Cost of manufacturing (in-house vs. subcontracted)  Inventory levels  Work-in-process  Material handling  Product development support requirements  Administrative cost  Establishing baseline disciplines  In-house capability requirements and cost Space requirements Facility improvements Equipment, tools, fixtures and furniture Materials Personnel Implementation and personnel training  Implementation schedule (this project schedule should identify all resources needed to accomplish in-house production)  Estimated return on investment

It appears that we are not able to send attachments with the e-mails that are generated from these postings.

If you send me your e-mail or mailing address off line I can send you detailed information on Manufacturing Technology Implementation and Make/Buy Decision-Making.

John Stimadorakis Phone: 727-864-6054 e-mail: jstimad1@tampabay.rr.com

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dragonslayr

#21691

What did I start??? | 23 September, 2002

Genny - are you still out there? I'm just a bit curious how your progress has been since your original question was posted weeks ago.

It appears you have received a wealth of information. It also is evident that your posting has taken on a new tangent. What are your views with regards to this sub-discussion?

I can well imagine you may be a bit frustrated and have formed the opinion that maybe the SMT world is too much bother and you are ready to embark on a new career.

Then again, all in all, this discusssion is certainly lively, if not entertaining.

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genny

#21692

Where do I Start? | 23 September, 2002

OK, back into the fray after being silent for several days.

Yes maybe I was a little cranky. Sorry about that. However, I was starting from scratch, I knew nothing. I was nowhere near the point of evaluating whether XYZ machine was better than 123 machine and was frustrated with the pitch. I didn't even know what I needed. The most helpful posts, private emails, and conversations with companies over the phone were ones that told me what to research, places to look for information, how to figure out what I need (evaluate my BOM's) or gave me the basic generic setup of equipment components I might require. They gave me advice like 'look at your worst-case PCB and size the equipment for that, not the average req'ts', or 'you build RF - that generally requires a greater than average number of feeders' or 'If you buy used equipment from the OEM rather than an equipment broker, you may get better support and training.' or 'you are a high mix environment, it might not be worth it, no matter how fast your equipment is, if you have to completely change your setup three times a day' That last one is impressive honesty, coming from an equipment supplier. He wasn't going to sell to me if it didn't make sense. Messages like 'I represent ZYX, I can help' could go to the email of the thread originator. Messages like 'ovens that we have found to be reliable with good support are brands XYZ, ABC, and 123.' are helpful on the thread. I might have only been aware of 'ABC', so now I had two more companies with good reputations to check into.

Hiring a consultant is a thought, and I appreciate the offers in my email but I need to be educated about the basics before I turn it over to someone else, and my co. tends to have a 'do it for yourself' mentality, so spending several thousand on consulting fees would be a hard sell.

Like the thread is entitled, 'Where do I Start?', I knew almost nothing about the segment of SMT production outside our doors and needed to know where to begin to learn.

I REALLY appreciate all the useful advice I've gotten here, and feel kind of thrilled to generate one of the longest threads to hit this forum in a while.

I know a lot more now than I used to and appreciate the complexity of this segment of the industry. I have actually moved on to getting some equipment prices for budgetary purposes (we have not yet decided whether to go ahead), and really appreciate the severe economic hit this industry has had. Some of the prices available are incredible for hardly used or top-of-the-line equipment!

Thanks, and now let's let this rest for a while. I will try to post more specific questions in the future - this was rather a broad topic to cover in one thread. But now I have more knowledge to break it down. Regards, Genny.

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#21706

What did I start??? | 23 September, 2002

Actually, I have found this thread interesting as well as lively, especially since I may soon be in a similar position. I have thru hole background, but my smt experience is mostly at the prototype level. Of course, I'm in a good position, John Stimadorakis of AMT Corp lives less than 10 miles from my plant. When it is time, I'm hoping to convince my management to get him in for at least some consulting/training on starting up an smt line.

One thing I do want to remind Genny, don't forget to chek on how much available power you have at your plant. Some of this equipment draws a lot of power, and it would be a nasty surprise in the middle of setting up your line to find out you have to get an upgrade to your power panels, or get the local power company to upgrade your feeder lines.

Good luck, Mike F

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#21712

Where do I Start? | 23 September, 2002

Commercial postings

The level of commerce in the following two threads is way out of hand: * This thread �Where Do I Start?� * �AOI� http://www.smtnet.com/Forums/index.cfm?fuseaction=view_thread&CFApp=1&Thread_ID=5521&mc=9

Please stop!!!

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dragonslayr

#21729

Where do I Start? | 24 September, 2002

thank you Genny for your update. You will find in the future that there are very helpful people and suggestions here for specific issues. I would encourage you not to worry about the nature of the request - general info or specific. In my opinion, there are never "dumb" questions, just dumb answers are possible.

In any event, your original question certainly helped bring out a sub-issue that is now debated and working towards closure that would ultimately benefit all in the community. Thanx again.

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