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Highly Flexible and Fast SMD Assembly Machine - Essemtec Introduces New Cobra Pick-and-Place System at SMTA International

Sep 29, 2010

Cobra High speed Pick & Place

Cobra High speed Pick & Place

Essemtec introduces new Cobra pick-and-place system at SMTA International.

Cobra is one of the most modern SMD pick-and-place systems in the world. Latest drive and material technologies combined with quick changeover concepts make it an extremely reliable, fast and flexible workhorse for both high-volume and high-variety production. Cobra features Swiss-made quality and comes in a modern design. On October 24, 2010, Cobra will be introduced to the US market at the SMTA International exhibition in Orlando, FL.

By Adrian Schärli, Azular GmbH, for Essemtec AG

Cobra is the first machine that perfectly combines the advantages of a highly flexible pick-and-place system with the high speed of a multi-axes SMD placement machine. It offers a placement speed of 20,000 cph and an extraordinarily large capacity of 240 feeders. Feeders can be exchanged without downtime during production. The maximum PCB size is adapted to US market requirements and specified at 23.6 x 23.6".

Leading Technologies

Cobra has been equipped with the best that today's drive and material technologies have to offer: The XY gantry is driven by linear motors, a high-speed bus system is responsible for the signal processing and the machine's base is fabricated from a mineral compound with optimal damping characteristics. Furthermore, design engineers placed special effort on properties such as durability, reliability, redundancy and reduced maintenance.

The system's redundancy is particularly evident when looking at the assembly head: Each of the eight assembly axes are equipped with an individual drive system for both vertical motion and rotation. Therefore, each of the axes can be used for all component types including QFP, BGA or chip.

All of Cobra’s moving parts are weight-optimized to achieve high acceleration with minimum impact on the precision bearings. The X-beam, for example, is made from a carbon-fiber composite material. This fast-moving part is lightweight yet robust. Furthermore, it prevents temperature-related variations because it does not change its shape or size due to temperature changes.

Five Tasks, One Machine

While Cobra is a pick-and-place system for medium to high volumes, it also has the flexibility required for highly versatile production. Like other Essemtec products, the Cobra can be setup without downtime: feeders can be exchanged while the machine is running and they are detected automatically. There is a unique feature of the Cobra in feeder positioning. Although it is an in-line machine, feeders can be mounted from all four sides, even in between the conveyor belts ― a space that was always lost space on other machines. Therefore, Cobra's feeder capacity is very high: up to 240 components can be setup simultaneously.

The component range is remarkable: it spans from 01005 chips to large 100 x 150 mm modules or connectors with 18 mm height and more. However, Cobra is more than just a pick-and-place system. It can take over tasks that otherwise would require five different specialized machines. Chip and fine-pitch placement are standard tasks, and Cobra also can be used as a die bonder, a special component placer and a dispenser.

Cobra offers an accuracy of 10 µm (1 Sigma) and a speed of 20,000 cph. The board size can be up to 23.6 x 23.6” (600 x 600 mm). Cobra is a powerful all-rounder suitable for high-tech as well as low-tech, and for prototypes as well as large series. This wide application range makes the Cobra very interesting for contract manufacturers that must be able to respond flexibly on all their customers’ requirements, and for manufacturers that need to produce a large amount of different PCBs.

Cobra Relieves Operators

ePlace recently was demonstrated for the first time on the Paraquda pick-and-place system, and now it is the Cobra’s operating system as well. ePlace inspires operators that are responsible for both process and production. With its intuitive, easy-to-use graphical interface, pick-and-place operation is real simplified. ePlace also improves machine productivity and product quality.

The software checks all operator entries for validity and logic. If necessary, it proposes better values or online help. If, for example, current feeder positions are not optimal for maximum productivity, ePlace delivers a proposal for improvement. Or, if the next job requires components not installed yet, ePlace announces this in time. This is how ePlace ensures maximum usage of the resources.

The ePlace operating system is based on eez-technology that was developed by Essemtec. eez-technology optimizes applications for use on touch-screen input systems and offers automatic entry completion, a context-sensitive help system, online education and computer-based training as well as a clearly structured layout. With eez-technology, operators can learn how to run a machine more quickly.

Performance Optimized to the Last Detail

Cobra does more than other machines with eight placement axes because many details are just resolved better. For example, because of the linear motors, optimized damping and real-time signal processing, Cobra can optimize the travel path of all eight axes in three dimensions. Therefore, it always uses maximum acceleration and deceleration values when moving.

Another detail: Four of the eight placement axes are arranged in a square. With this feature, Cobra can pick up to four components from the feeders simultaneously. This feature results in a significant performance gain, particularly when mounting chips.

A third example: The new vision has a special three-level lighting system. Illumination from different component types offers a good contrast even with different component types on every nozzle. One single picture will be enough for Cobra’s image processing, while other machines need three or four flashes with different settings in the same situation. These details combine to result in a remarkable performance increase.

For Upgrades and First-Time-Users

The new Cobra offers higher placement rates, higher feeder capacity, higher accuracy and greater placement areas than other pick-and-place machines. However, feeders from CSM, FLX and Paraquda series placement machines are compatible with the Cobra, making it easier to switch or upgrade.

The assembly machine is manufactured in Switzerland and tested with the strictest quality standards. It suits the highest quality and reliability requirements and is one of the most accurate and modern machines in the world. It also is prepared for future challenges in the electronics industry, making it a good investment.

Be the First to See Cobra in the US

From October 24-28, the new Cobra will be presented for the first time in USA at the SMTA International in Orlando, FL. For a personal presentation, contact Essemtec USA to reserve an appointment.

Essemtec is a single-source system provider with global service and support network. The Swiss manufacturer delivers complete turnkey solutions: printers, pick-and-place systems, dispensers, reflow systems, handling and transport devices, and software for production planning, optimization and tracking.

The Swiss machine manufacturer Essemtec is a market leader in manufacturing flexible production systems for industrial users. Essemtec has been developing, manufacturing and marketing equipment and machines for all processes in the electronics industry since 1991: printers, dispensers, pick-and-place and soldering systems. Manual, semiautomatic and fully automatic systems are available. The range of products also includes transportation and storage systems, as well as software solutions for planning, simulation optimisation and documentation of manufacturing. All Essemtec systems are optimized for maximum flexibility. Users can switch from one product to another in no time, thus making maximum use of the available production capacity. Essemtec - Be more flexible.

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