I was fortunate to be able to attend the SMTAI Exhibition Oct. 18-19, 2011. While I was walking around looking at the booths and talking to the exhibitors, I got this idea that I would report back on things that I found interesting. You know spread the news, since not everyone was there.
- I'll get the important things out first. At the SMTnet.com booth, Peter and Roland introduced their new search engine tailored for people in our industry. It will be neat not to have to filter through all the garbage that we get from a Google search.
- Count-On-Tools, the replacement nozzle company, showed two interesting products. First, they have a new nozzle designed to overcome the two main problems when placing LEDs … (1) because the lens is rounded, it’s hard to pick the component and (2) after it’s picked, the ‘stickiness’ of the packaging of some LEDs makes it difficult to release the part.
- Next, for all of us that receive their production components in foot-long strips, with no leader and packed in a sandwich bags, I’ve got good news. Not so much for sales-types of 2-sided tape. Count-On-Tools makes an aluminum plate with fiducials, grooves milled to match tape width and reusable sticky tape. After placing the strips of components in the groves, the plate can be positioned anyplace that your machine can pick. They can customize the spacing of the grooves to your requirements.
- Seika Machinery, the McDry Cabinet folks, showed two special use machines aimed at resolving issues relating to solder paste. The first machine reclaims solder paste by separating the metal from the flux. The other machine is used to clean under-stencil cleaning roll. RIGHT!!! It’s something that you use to clean the thing that you use to clean with. So, you can get multiple reuses of your under-stencil cleaning rolls.
- MES [Manufacturing Execution Systems] are add-ons to your ERP, MRP, etc. and appear to be a growth market. MES are intended to provide ‘ACTUAL’ shop floor status information for high mix shops. They’re more accurate, timely and efficient than floor expediters. Who doesn’t want to know ‘what’s going on?’ Kanban never seemed to work for us.
- There’s a lot of very good dispensing and jetting equipment suppliers out there and you’ll have a tough time choosing, but if you’re underfilling, Asymtek needs to be on your list.
- RPS Automation views lead tinning as a growth business. If all you do is place SMT, stop snickering and move on. OK, among through hole components supply problems are: parts are available, but they have the wrong plating; parts are available, but plating is corroded, missing, unsolderable, etc.; we have end-of-life product inventory, but it wasn’t stored properly; and on-and-on. Recently, RPS reengineered a lead tinner design from a decade ago and delivered it to a customer in Mexico.
- We've all seen chip shooter lines as long as three school buses. Sadly, they are getting rarer in the US, but they just keep running. Panasonic is one of the players in that part of the business, but you wouldn’t recognize their new placer. It takes-up the space of four gray desks pushed together. Changing market, baby, changing market.
Other things that don’t relate so much to equipment that I saw, but might be interesting:
- Shows like this are perfect opportunities for marketing-types to demonstrate their word-smithing skills. My favorite at a graphic displays booth: "BUILT-IN INTELLEGENCE"
- I flew to DFW and back on American Airlines. If you check your bags, they charge you $25 for the first bag and $35 for the second one. On each of my three connections, before boarding the people at the gate offered to check passengers’ bags and forward them to their destination without charge. Go figure. Your mileage may vary.
- While in queue to board the plane at DFW, the ticket agent checking us in cheered-on her team with the Rangers hat-wearing passenger in front of me. When my turn came, I told her that I hoped the Cards didn’t sweep the Rangers, because I like watching baseball. She replied, “I can make it so that you’ll never board that plane” with a smile. Touchy!!!!
- I hate that word processor ‘feature’ that finishes the word for youkilis. Youkilis have go back and read everything.
- Boston Red Sox had 7-20 record in September.