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SMT Line Utilization Rate

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SMT Line Utilization Rate | 6 September, 2019

In regards to machine utilization of an automated in-line SMT Placement equipment, is there any statistical data that may indicate what a typical line should expect to achieve? What is a reasonable target for a low volume high mix production environment?

Machine Up-time (runtime) versus Machine Downtime (stoppage): Machine/Job set up is most certainly the dominate consumer of available production time. Getting the machines to place parts more minutes in the available production time is the objective. Obviously this is typically achieved by deploying a “Pit Crew” or set-up team and providing that team with the tools necessary so that the “Pit Stop” is as efficient and Pit Stops (machine downtime) are as short as possible.

In either case, whether set-up personnel are available or not – is there any available data or standards on what utilization rate is expected for a typical SMT placement line?

This message was posted via the Electronics Forum @ SMTASMTA

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SMT Line Utilization Rate | 3 March, 2021

This thread is not new, but this is a great question- wish we'd seen it sooner. In our experience, manufacturers are only using 10-50% of their machines' capacity. Many on here will agree that it's common for electronics manufacturers to accept low SMT line utilization as an unfortunate (and expensive!) cost of doing business, not because any single problem is impossible to solve once found, but because identifying the problems is a time-consuming, manual process that must be repeated line-by-line, product-by-product, day after day.

Our team has developed an automated, cloud-based SMT Utilization Suite that lets us identify actionable root causes of low SMT line utilization such as line imbalance on all lines at once by combining rich machine data with advanced statistical data analysis techniques. This has enabled us to consistently find at least 5% absolute LU improvement during an initial trial and sometimes as high as 20%, especially in high mix environments where manual process optimization is even more challenging.

We'd love to chat more, see how we can help you define what your lines could and should be achieving!

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SMT Line Utilization Rate | 3 March, 2021

Dr Lasky has a blog and has some posts on this subject. If I have time I will look for them later.

Realistically you can expect a no excuses utilisation rate around 15%. You will believe it after I find the blog posts.

Of course everyone uses some version of "but you can't count that time" method. I find almost everyone thinks in terms of measuring the operators performance. I think that is very much the wrong way to look at it.

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SMT Line Utilization Rate | 5 March, 2021

15%? Now I'm curious to see the blog. I know everyone plays games with the numbers to back into something acceptable to management, but 15% seems incredible low, even if you factor out the BS.

Hope you find it, my google-fu wasn't good enough.

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SMT Line Utilization Rate | 6 March, 2021

Are we talking about this one & posted on here not that long ago ?

I run a small line doing low volume runs, the "utilisation" is probably close to as low as it can get. But I would struggle to find a way to define it as low as 15% on anything but the most complex builds with high component mix and even then, that is a choice we have made based on the value of the product, the gains we might make by having 2nd/3rd operator do some manual stuffing, having more feeders to prep more of those products in advance etc. We cost this into our quotes, those same assemblies are quoted on by others but we're the ones building them. Utilisation isn't everything, sometimes the people and equipment needed to improve it fail on the ROI front. As long you you know where you can improve when the need arises, whatever works for you and your clients, works.

The key to SMT uptime is always feeders, annoyingly in the last few years for us at least, the average complexity of an assembly has radically increased and sadly the number of unique parts even more dramatically so. That makes having enough feeders harder and more expensive, and the concept of high running parts staying on feeders almost permanently basically impossible because they no longer exist.

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