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Manual SMT equipment

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Manual SMT equipment | 1 December, 2014

My company is considering purchasing manual SMT equipment. I don't have any experience with manual equipment. Can anyone suggest a good supplier?

Also, is there a advantage using low volume automated equipment?

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Manual SMT equipment | 3 December, 2014

Manual placement aids are often very similar, I would suggest it is quite difficult to tell them all apart. Most of them include some kind of carousel for bins of loose parts and have the option of a few tape "feeders". If you are building small volumes of simple product they work fine but bear in mind the downsides: Human placement accuracy limited capacity Human error for placement location if there is no laser guidance reliance of being able to read silkscreen markings Need for regular access to datasheet for pinouts/orientation (not always easy to tell) If you really manage 400cph I'd say you were doing well. Work rate is hard to maintain, I speak from experience you really cannot do this all day. Speed and accuracy go out of the window, attention wanders... Fine pitch is quite hard, some machines do have assistance for this e.g typically with a feature to lock XY and then use a camera and fine tuning screws to dial in the placement.

In the UK available machines come from Fritsch,Essemtec, Dima and DDM Novastar there are several mickey mouse version on eBay too.

I still use a manual screen printer for all our work this includes products with 0.4mm pitch qfp's and TLA05 micro BGA's. I get very good consistent printing but it does take some time to get a 'feel' for it. Manual printers come in a bewildering array of options including those that can handle the small freebie stencils you get with prototype PCB's. These start at the basic clamshell and move up to those with vertical seperation, PCB fixtures and a powered squeegee. At around £6k/$10k however you can get semi automatic printers with camera aids or even refurbished fully automatic models.

If you gave us an idea of volume, product complexity etc I'm sure those of us who have worked at this end of the spectrum could advise on your best course.

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Manual SMT equipment | 3 December, 2014

I used to use a Festo branded Hand placement machine to rework boards. All I can say is don't waste the cash. A vacuum tweezer system and a well laid out tray stuck to the bench was at least twce as fast as the Festo. The reason is plainly obvious your hands and eyes are evolved over millions of years , the Festo was probably engineered in under one.

regards sarason

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Manual SMT equipment | 4 December, 2014

I have no idea what your Festo looked like. But the ability to move a component freely in xyz and rotate it is what you get from a typical manual placement station. You don't get that with tweezers or vacuum pickup pens. I've seen people make all sorts of ridiculous claims as to how quickly they build a board using a pair of tweezers, its all BS. How often do you pick something up with tweezers only for it to ping off into the unknown. Manual stations are very useful tools, however you will probably find they cost far more than you might reasonably expect. You could probably build a reasonable approximation of one using parts for a DIY 3d printer. Low end low volume pick and place machines are still fairly expensive pieces of kit and in many cases look a little shoddy for the money. 2nd user pick 'n place can be a bargain and are well worth stretching for.

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Manual SMT equipment | 5 December, 2014

When I was a younger man with a younger mans eyes it was easy to outplace a hand placement machine. Good hand eye co-ordination is all that is required now I would find it easier to use the machine , but my fine motor skills are still just as good. A good pair of surgeons tweezers are what you should use , not some of the stuff you would find at a $2 dollar shop. Or a good Vacuum pickup tool. The surgeons tweezers are often available secondhand. They are thrown out after eery operation in this day of blood infectious diseases.


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