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Going Green: Europlacer Upcycles Old Machines into New Solution

Feb 12, 2013

Europlacer, a manufacturer of market-leading flexible SMT placement machines, debuts Project iico, a concept that combines outdated systems with new, innovative parts to result in an environmentally smart, technologically advanced assembly system.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Europlacer manufactured then-progressive placement systems, EP600 and Progress6. Since that time, new technologies and capabilities have become available; however, Europlacer has found that some customers are still using their EP600 and Progress6 systems. While the company is pleased that its systems are robust enough to remain in use after 20 years of production, it realises that these users are very limited in the types of boards that can be produced. For example, in 1993, the 0402 was the smallest chip, BGAs had not yet been invented, etc. The only choice for these customers would be to buy a new machine with better specifications and relegate their old machine to the waste pile. Since few parts would be recyclable, this would result in a negative environmental impact. To remedy that — and to provide those customers with a system capable of the high placement accuracy required by today’s latest electronics boards — Europlacer has created the iico system.

To build an iico, Europlacer upcycles the EP600 and Progress6 systems into a machine that meets the latest electronic production needs. iico is compatible with other machines in the Europlacer range and is built to the Europlacer standard. This “green” product starts with the pre-owned EP600 or Progress6. Europlacer exchanges all critical mechanical parts and installs new encoders on the X and Y axis to improve accuracy, and the nozzles are changed for “smart” nozzles with a new magazine. The complete head is changed and fit with an 8-position turret head with optical sensors and high-resolution digital cameras. Additionally, the system gets a new cover with a flat screen and control panel. Finally the PC is exchanged for a new one that features the latest machine software.

The iico can place a variety of components, including chips, MELFs, electrolytic capacitors, SO, PLCC,
QFP, TSOP, QFP, BGA, μBGA, LGA, CSP, connectors and odd-form SMDs, and can place from a minimum of 0.4 x 0.2 mm (0201) to 50 x 50 mm as standard. Additionally, numerous options are available for iico, including 30-position automatic loader for matrix trays; feeder trolley options for bulk change of individual feeder and “mass” tape feeder ranges; electrical component verification; and a glue dispenser.

For more information about Europlacer’s newest solution, the iico Project, visit www.europlacer.com.


Europlacer has been developing machines for SMT electronics assembly since the 1970s and invented the intelligent feeder concept in the 1980s. After acquisition by Blakell Europlacer in 1991, the company moved away from split-axis to the inherently more capable X-Y architecture that underpins the company’s pick-and-place machines today. Europlacer’s policy has been to ensure wherever possible that technology purchased many years ago, especially feeders, remain compatible with the latest pick-and-place equipment. Europlacer designs and manufactures a comprehensive range of highly flexible SMT pick-and-place systems for the global electronics industry. For more information, visit Europlacer’s Web site at www.europlacer.com.

 

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