What is Your Real Output?

How should you define your output? Highest area productivity, lab speed, actual speed, optimum speed, IPC speed, or maximum speed? And is it speed or throughput we should be looking at? Neither is clearly defined, and we all have our rules of thumb (e.g., actual speed is 60% of IPC speed, which is 60% of maximum speed).

Currently, there is only one standard representing a fair comparison between pick-and place equipment: IPC-9850. It measures equipment speed (providing that components are placed within the specified accuracy of the equipment itself). IPC established IPC-9850 in 2002, defining the measurement procedures for specifying, evaluating and verifying surface mount placement equipment. With machine manufacturers producing a wide range of accuracies and outputs, it details how measurements must be made consistently, and is therefore the only real way to compare them. It has become a basic industry reference, but unfortunately doesn’t tell the whole story. Several pick-and-place machine manufacturers, for example, currently claim the industry’s fastest placement speeds on the basis of the IPC reference speed.

One key difference lies between the IPC-9850 speed and the actual speed you will reach in a particular application. And that is where IPC-9850 falls short.

For this reason, IPC published an updated version in January 2012: IPC-9850A. Since the release of this update, it has been adopted by…practically nobody. Admittedly, the new standard is far from perfect, as applications are usually still more complex than even it allows for. It is a step closer to the truth, though. Why have so few adopted it? Why do most manufacturers avoid publishing the results? It seems that this minor change in specification degrades output results so drastically that it is commercially too sensitive.

IPC-9850 and IPC-9850A: The Differences

IPC-9850 speeds are measured by placing a simple matrix of components (for example 80 SOIC-16s or 400 identical 0603 capacitors) on a 200 x 200 mm substrate. However, the standard says nothing about the electrical value of these 400 capacitors, for example. That allows sequential placement machines to use gang pick (simultaneous pick by multiple placement heads) using an optimized placement path. Gang pick, however, artificially inflates the performance figure since it can virtually never be used in an actual customer application. You just don’t get many circuits incorporating hundreds of identical 27-nF capacitors on a board in a small matrix in a 200 x 200 mm area.

Read the full column here.


Editor's Note: This column originally appeared in the March 2014 issue of SMT Magazine.

Back

2014

What is Your Real Output?

04-02-2014

Columnist Eric Klaver asks, "How should you define your output? Highest area productivity, lab speed, actual speed, optimum speed, IPC speed, or maximum speed? And is it speed or throughput we should be looking at? Neither is clearly defined, and we all have our rules of thumb."

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SMT Trends and Technologies: What is Your Real Output?

04-02-2014

Columnist Eric Klaver asks, "How should you define your output? Highest area productivity, lab speed, actual speed, optimum speed, IPC speed, or maximum speed? And is it speed or throughput we should be looking at? Neither is clearly defined, and we all have our rules of thumb."

View Story

Goodbye to Trial and Error?

01-29-2014

Trial-and-error runs take precious time away from your "real" production time. How do you minimize the entire trial-and-error process to ensure that, when a program starts up and feeders and toolbits are already on the system, the first board coming out of the machine is immediately good? Columnist Eric Klaver provides answers.

View Story

SMT Trends & Technologies: Goodbye to Trial and Error?

01-29-2014

Trial-and-error runs take precious time away from your "real" production time. How do you minimize the entire trial-and-error process to ensure that, when a program starts up and feeders and toolbits are already on the system, the first board coming out of the machine is immediately good? Columnist Eric Klaver provides answers.

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Back

2013

SMT Trends and Technologies: Pick and Paste

12-04-2013

Columnist Eric Klaver writes: "What defines a good electronic product coming from a production line? All process variables need to be 100% without any influence from outside, which means all machines producing in exactly the same way, in exactly the same environment."

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SMT Trends and Technologies: Doing More Than One Thing at a Time

10-02-2013

With women being renowned for multitasking abilities, perhaps they should be designing production lines--it could make our processes more efficient. Look at maintenance. Although hardware can last for years, it will pick up dirt during production--with just how much varying from shift to shift. You can plan fixed maintenance slots per day, week, or other fixed period, but production goes down during those slots.

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SMT Trends & Technologies: Clash of Clans - The New Expansion of PCB Assembly Equipment

08-06-2013

Most assembly sectors are (or actually, were) defined by their own unique equipment, with equipment manufacturers competing only with manufacturers of similar equipment. But the combined drive for speed, accuracy, reliability, and mounting complexity has opened up the other segments to traditional PCBA equipment, which is at the center of all segments.

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