Goodbye to Trial and Error?

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All the time you spend at the production line for trial-and-error runs, just to get your production board right, takes away from your real production time. It comes on top of the time spent for trial and error at the screenprinter, and any other equipment in the line. All this can take an hour or more for each production board but, with all the tools now available, it can easily be significantly reduced. In addition, though, there are time-consuming actions (like loading all the feeders) to get right before the first error-free board comes out of the machine.

So, how do you minimize the whole 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?

A perfect first board would mean that the correct components were all picked from the correct feeder and placed on the correct location at the correct placement angle. Guaranteeing this means ensuring that all the many pre-defined variables are correct: enough paste, exact board positioning, precise artwork, correct components picked by the correct toolbits and placed exactly. The more variables that are incorrect, the longer the ramp-up will take. The more programs each shift that require correcting, the shorter your effective production time and thus fewer boards produced. And during ramp-up, it’s better that the system stops to signal a fault than finding it out at the end during board test. It also helps save ramp-up time if all components are actually picked to get the program started immediately without false starts.

Read the full column here.

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


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