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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter

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We just obtained a Radial 5 Inserter with no documentation... - Jul 19, 2007 by gmoritz  


Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 19 July, 2007

We just obtained a Radial 5 Inserter with no documentation on how to run the software or to operate the machine.

All I have is some hastily handwritten notes from the limited instructions that the installer gave me.

Does anyone know anyone who has one of these tools that might have something that they would be willing to copy and send along to me.

Naturally, I'd pay for their time and postage, but I need something since what we have now is just a hunk of machinery that we can't use.

The vendor just promises, but does not deliver. Any suggestions of other forums would also be appreciated.

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 19 July, 2007

Did you buy this from an equipment dealer or an end user?

If you bought it from an equipment dealer and they said manuals included I would call them daily with questions that a manual would probably provide until they give up and send you manuals.

If you bought it from an end user you should register with Universal Instruments and buy new manuals. You will eventually need technical support and it's much faster to already be registered than to wait for your registration to go through.


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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 19 July, 2007

Radial Leads (I've had IIs, IIIs, and Vs) do the job nicely, but they need weekly maintenance to keep them running. I don't know if you can get parts for them or not if you're not registered with UIC, but you WILL need parts for it.

You will need also a machine manual to get parts, not just an operations manual to run it. Do you have a pattern programming utility?

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 20 July, 2007

> If you bought it from an equipment dealer ...

OK, the dealer has come through and is (allegedly) sending a full compliment of documentation to arrive by Monday.

> ... they need weekly maintenance ... > ... you WILL need parts for it. ...

> Do you have a pattern programming utility?

I don't have anything except a couple of program examples. The programming part is not likely to be much of an issue.

My problem is that we have only programmed one board. If I were to get another board with a starting hole(s) somewhere different than the current board, then I'm SOL because I don't know how to 'train' the machine to find a new location. Presumably, the manuals will help with that.

I also don't know if there are adjustments that can be made for:

(1) part standoff - how far the base of the part rests from the top of the board. (2) lead length - is the final length of the lead adjustable, so that we can control the amount of lead that sticks out of the solder after waver? (3) installation force - people are concerned that the install head is hitting the board too hard - causing warpage

I also don't know how to program for clearance; The board will be run through SMT first such that there will be existing parts on the board that might interfere with the installation of T/H components.

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 20 July, 2007

Invest in some training.

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 23 July, 2007

(1) part standoff - how far the base of the part rests from the top of the board.

Seating plane will rest flush with the board, whether it's the bottom of the part or a lead form.

(2) lead length - is the final length of the lead adjustable, so that we can control the amount of lead that sticks out of the solder after waver?

You can't really adjust lead length except to clinch it tighter to the board, which can lead to other problems. It can be too long due to setup issues, though.

(3) installation force - people are concerned that the install head is hitting the board too hard - causing warpage

The springs on the insert foot control insert force. If the jaws are hitting the board hard either the head is coming down too far or the cut and clinch is coming up too far. You don't want to be pinching the board. All of these settings are detailed in the manuals.

IIRC, the clinch should come up to just below the plane of your board supports (or maybe flush with them...can't remember), and the head should come down to that same plane plus board thickness plus a few mils (don't remember the specifications).

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 23 July, 2007

Steve Thomas:

Thank you for the well-written, helpful explanations.


You must be an accountant. Your advice was totally correct, but of absolutely no use whatsoever. Why even post it?

I was basically told; Suprise! You are in charge of our new machine. BTW, can you come in early and stay late and work on Saturday for the install and training.

I have no problem doing it, but I wasn't in charge of planning, purchasing, or anything else and am just looking for wisdom from others who have been around these machines for more than a week or so.

In the last run of the machine, it threw the pusher tip that holds the top of the component when inserting.

Supposedly, there was a spring that also got 'thrown,' but it was not in evidence. The vendor is shipping a few new heads since he says this is a common ailment.

He also says that there is a new upgrade to the part (also being shipped) that has a self-retaining tip that doesn't require a spring.

This might have an effect on failed clinch/cuts when the head is inserting in the 90-deg L position.

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 23 July, 2007

"This might have an effect on failed clinch/cuts when the head is inserting in the 90-deg L position."

A missing pusher tip would effect everything, I think.

If you've got failed cnc's at one rotation, there's something else wrong but I'll be damned if I can rememeber what it is. Have you tried running it in step mode? That way you can watch every step, from top and bottom, to see what's failing.

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 23 July, 2007

> Have you tried running it in step mode?

Yes, and more. The installer asked me to run a few tests:

1> Intentionally make the machine miss insert a part then put a part in manually to see how the leads align to the cutter head. 2> Push the repair pushbutton, ... verify cutting action per cutter/anvil set - one lead at a time. 3> Manually put component in PCB. Push repair pushbutton. Check part in board for cnc.

Step 3 produced a fine cnc unlike normal behavior.

We are missing a lot of parts on the chain. cnc is erratic.

Since we have so many problems, the vendor has arranged a service call probably by Thursday. I'll use that time to review 'teaching' the machine for future new boards.

With the new documentation and another personal visit, I'm assuming that we'll be running boards by the end of this week.

To help make the thread a useful resource, I'll post results after that time, but any other good tips, warnings, etc are most welcome.

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 23 July, 2007

Sorry guy.........just trying to state the obvious is all.

Not an accountant....just an old equipment guy around since the days when thru-hole equipment ruled the earth.

But until you get some proper training, no amount of staying late and working weekends is going to solve your problems. The fact is these machines will go down very often and you'll have to have someone around to fix them..that knows what he's doing.

Take heart in knowing that once your upper management realizes the machine is down for repair more often than it is running you'll have training funds available.

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 24 July, 2007

I have to agree with Fastek on the issue of having someone with enough experience or with proper training. Having knowledge and being flexible about tweaking the machine to make it work thats all you really need. We used to call it black magic. I used to make living of these machines. We used to call it our bread and butter machines. Then again if you do not have too many change over,you might be ok. Good luck..............

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 27 July, 2007

If you have'nt had the pleasure of working on these machines, plan on spending a few weeks in Binghamton to get the basics, this will just get you started. I've worked on these machines for more than 20 years and am presently training two of my guys to also repair them. Once you understand them, there fairly easy to keep running. It's getting to understand them that takes a while. Good Luck and hang in the there.

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 30 July, 2007

I'm posting a diary of the major repair experience that we had this weekend. I'll follow up with a shorter post that sort of summarizes a few things.


The service guys showed up at our facility about 8:30 Sat 28 Jul to work on the Radial 5 Inserter machine purchased used earlier.

The company that did the service work sent two guys who only spoke Spanish and a team lead that could translate. Although this is not particularly significant, I mentioned it because that was the reality of the job.

To start, they confirmed that the machine was up and running OK in their El Paso facility before it was sold to us. ------------------------------------------------------ On initially seeing the machine, one of the service guys cocked his head and observed that the chain was mis-aligned and they immediately started working on this.

(The machine was originally set up to have 60 part-feeders hooked up to place parts on the chain, but to save space, we took the option of using only one of the feeder modules for a total of 20 feeders.)

The insert head was not properly installed, so everything was completely removed, disassembled, and reassembled.

It was noted that the CnC (Clinch and Cut) head will need replacing about every three months during normal use.

Also, this machine will need some service at least once every month to keep it running properly.

[09:30] Took the inserter head over to a granite level and performed some measurements/adjustments to make sure of the alignment.

Adjusted pneumatic mechanism that powers the insert head.

[11:00] Took apart the button assembly and rebuilt the switches that are used to start the jobs on the machine. During install, it was merely noted that the [Start] button did not work properly.

The table where the PCB sits to receive parts was not rotating CCW as it is designed to do. To fix this, the PCB boards were checked for proper jumper configuration. Missing jumpers were the problem.

Explained how the MISSING PART button and RECOVER button works to prevent gaps in the job due to mis-insertion of parts both on the chain and on the board surface.

[11:30] Started a run, but the LEDs were leaning over as they approached the insert head. It was discovered that the 'bad part reject mechanism' was not attached and was merely sitting in the machine on the path of the chain. The mechanism was hitting components and knocking them over as they fed into the insert mechanism.

Found a new problem where clinching was only happening on one of the two leads. Adjusted and repaired.

[11:40] Inserter head still has problems so removed again and made more adjustments.

[12:05] Found out that the push tip we were using is wrong.

Fortunately, one of the three new ones that the vendor sent is the right one. There is a push tip that is designed to accommodate components with round (domed) tops like those of the LEDs we are working with. The one we had was a square-shaped tip that can cause insert errors.

[12:15] Cutter head that trims off the tape from the leads of components was not working properly. This problem took a long time to work and was not completed for an hour.


[14:00-15:00] Some fine-tuning is happening, but basically, the machine is running fine at this time.

Re-programmed the big 256LED board and ran off a few examples making sure that the CnC works in all positions.

Provided some training to operators who are likely to be using the equipment.

Talked a little about performing mechanical work on the part-dispensing stations.

Agreed to come back Sunday and perform some programming training. ----------- Other notes: ----------- IMPORTANT: Recommended getting separate WBH (Work Board Holder) for each size of PCB that we will be running. Currently, the board needs to be latched and unlatched for each run to insert parts. The hardware on the current WBH is ***NOT*** going to be reliable enough to prevent misalignment which will cause false starts and wasted time.

We sent the service people back to El Paso with one sample of each of the four boards that we will be running to have someone look at and give an estimate for separate WBH rigs for each of the four board sizes that we have to run as of today. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Air pressure drop is happening when inserting that is causing intermittent problems with part dispensing and cutting.

This is likely to be an operational issue at our facility when the Pick and Place machines, and other air-consuming equipment is on line and drawing down the pressure.

It is recommended that a hard pipe air line is brought down as close to the Rad 5 as is possible before connecting (as short as possible flexible air lines ) to the machine.

Currently, we run air from a 1.5" pipe that is about 200 ft from the compressor and is tapped in about five or six places upstream of and downstream of where the Rad 5 taps in using two 50-ft hoses. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Repair lead recommended sending people to Universal's Binghamton, New York facility for some training after we have gotten a feel for the machine.

Universal uses something called Magna-Lube for parts requiring grease, but SMT grease used by us will work just fine.

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 30 July, 2007

I'll respond to this one since it is the most poignant post in this thread: ------------------------------------------------------ Most of what follows is common sense, but sometimes we need to get grounded to remember these common sense things. ------------------------------------------------------ We just had a machine kind-of slammed on us. It is important to have a good understanding of what you are getting so that you can ask the right questions of the install people.

If you can't get to a working machine then get someone else (like on this forum) to suggest things to look for. It would have been real helpful to see a machine in action - running product to know what the noises and motions are supposed to sound/look like.

You need to have all the manuals available before taking delivery so that you can get a little bit of familiarity in advance and you can look up some of what you need afterward the day after the machine is fully delivered and not weeks later.

Get a really good idea of what kind of utilities such as electricity/gas/chemicals/air you are going to need in advance from someone who actually uses the machines in the field day in and day out.

Make sure that you run a few examples of the actual product that you need to produce off the machine, not just some skeleton job that is a mere shadow of the actual load the machine will be performing. Work it hard and long.

If you have x-items (mechanical and software) that are supposed to work for you. Make sure to verify one-by-one each and every one of them before sending the service people home. You may only have the use of a fraction of what you need if you assume ...

We had an issue where 2-pin components (LEDs) were being placed on the chain 2.5 mm to the right of where they needed to be because the loading mechanism was set for a 3-pin device. Changing out the insert head was not enough to make the component feed properly, so we are left with a useless dispenser until we figure out how to align the head or someone comes back to service it.

If someone shows you how to do something, don't move on to the next thing until you have demonstrated the ability to repeat the process. When it came time to teach the machine how to find a location to perform an insert, I was unable to exactly re-create the process and thus was helpless to create a new job on a new PCB. I can do it now, but only after being shown a second time.

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 31 July, 2007

If you can, put a pressure tank near the machine. It will help stabalize the air pressure, but only if the compressor is providing enough air in the first place. Throughhole PNP machines tend to take air in big gulps making the pressure go up and down. Also if you can put some kind of line monitor on the compressor power line to see if you are maxing it out.

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 2 August, 2007

We've had some experience with Universal's machines as well. Aside from the mechanical problems you're experiencing, that level of control hardware is susceptible to power spikes/fluctuations. Save yourself some trouble later on and get a good UPS. We got one that could run the entire RAD 5 for $700. Never had a hardware failure after that. Buying their cards/controllers is getting harder to do and becoming more expensive.

Also, Universal has excellent documentation on the correct setup and adjustment of these machines. If you didn't get the adjustment procedure manual, I'd recommend you get one. They detail the steps and orders that the procedures have to be performed in.

Also, when we first started, the technicians would try to program the thing by stepping parts and ajusting the insert position. We found this to be very error prone. Make use of CAD data if available. It will work much better if the machine is calibrated and programmed accurately.

As for work board holders, we used Garland Service Company back in the day (no connection guys so don't blast me). Dedicated work board holders are very beneficial. I'm sure there are many companies that can provide what you need there.

Good luck with it. I felt much of the same pain when we bought a refurbished one in '99. In the end it worked okay, but they'll always be higher maintenance machines.

John S.

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 3 August, 2007

Any experience with the encoders and ball screws that drive the stage? We are seeing a pretty large y-drift from the 'top' to the 'bottom' of the board during x-travel.

I've tried to measure this using the teach function and the x-drift from the smallest to the largest y-position is nil or almost nil, but y can drift 3/100ths. I don't know if this is going to get worse.

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 3 August, 2007

You probably do not have "Drift". The rotary table and or fixture may not be square.

The rotary table can be adjusted. You should have someone who has done this before available to make the adjustment before you try it yourself.

You can check the fixture on a CMM machine if you have one, or see if there is some play in the fixture that you can adjust out while it's on the machine.

As stated before Through-Hole machines require much more maintenance and routine adjustments than most SMT machines.


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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 6 August, 2007

I agree with jdengler on the rotary table being skewed. You need a couple of dowel pins (1 1/2" long x 1/4" dia., I think) to align that disk. Each idler is held on an eccentric cam and can be adjusted to square up the rotary table by dropping the dowel pins through holes in the disk and into the table underneath it.

Do you have BEC (Board Error Correction) on that machine, and if so, did they give you the alignment plate for it?

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 6 August, 2007

> Do you have BEC (Board Error Correction) > on that machine, and if so, did they > give you the alignment plate for it?

I don't know if we have BEC on the machine. I can't even search the 550 page manual that was finally sent to us in a pdf file since it is a scanned file and has no searchable text. Since we have no 'spare' plates or fixtures floating around, I'm assuming that we have no alignment plate in any case.

Last Friday, the piston assembly that raises/lowers the clinch head sprung an air leak in one of the O-rings apparently.

This causes the insert sequence to fail after every single insertion.

The vendor is insisting that they delivered to us a working machine and is therefore, not obligated to fix "every little thing" that goes wrong on the machine.

We could guess how to replace the O-ring, but we might end up damaging something else in there. Management is currently fighting it out with the vendor.

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 6 August, 2007

BEC hardware would be on the machine as a sensor underneath the placement table, to the left of the C&C, and an emitter attached to a bracket to the left of the insert head. The two line up with each other and the sensor uses a quadrant layout to detect light intensity through component holes in the pcb to determine how close to alignment it is. There's a pcb in the I/O box too, I think.

The system setup info (don't remember what that stuff is actually called) should provide BEC sensor offset position with respect to the head if it's installed. I don't remember the numbers anymore, although it seems like Y is zero on that machine and X would be somewhere between 2 and 2.25 inches.

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 13 August, 2007

Slot 11 in the I/O box is the one for B.E.C. pcb, the offset is 2125 in the x and 500 in the y axis. The template for the B.E.C. is triangle in shape and is the length from corner to corner on the rotary table. You can also type in sh sys and look to see if you have B.E.C. software in the program mix

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Universal Instruments Radial Inserter | 27 August, 2007

I'm updating this thread and replying to the first post in the thread due to the annoying tendency for later posts to get indented to the point that you can only put one or two words per line.

Our Rad 5, hit the skids again for the last couple of weeks where the stage was getting limit errors every time it was zeroed or every time the row of inserted parts hit the edge. It is also getting more and more inaccurate at executing a program.

We tried to diagnose and repair the machine using in-house people who are good mechanically, but were not successful and wasted a lot of man-hours that could have been better used doing things that we know how to do.

Management finally called in Universal to come in an give the machine a once-over. We pulled in a guy for $150/hr including travel who basically said that he could see the machine was not installed properly (back in the first week of July). The chain has problems in addition to many parts. The FSE filled up a few pages of paper with notes on what was wrong with the machine.

The FSE said that this machine has never been refurbished and shows little sign of having had good PM work done on it. (It was run hard and put away wet over and over ...)

The end result is that it will take a week of solid work to completely get the machine up to running condition, but it *will* run after that. We don't know how much it's going to cost yet, but we will get a estimate very soon.

The vendor is going to be footing the bill since the original install guy was recommended by the vendor and cost about $4500 for the three days he spent bolting the machine together. The deal is that either we will be able to make this machine work or we will give up on it because the repairs are too expensive and get another machine in here.

As predicted by others in this thread, management is also going to set up training by Universal for us so that we will be able to more fully utilize the machine.

We've basically been sitting with a machine for almost two months that no one has any experience with that has possibly given us the equivalent of two weeks of service (I'm being generous.)

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