Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The best for the flexible electronic manufacturing
Press release, March 11, 2009
By Adrian Schärli, Marketing-Ingenieure.ch
It is not by chance that the pick & place machine FLX2021 had been the most sold flexible placer in Austria in 2008. “The users love the flexibility and the simplicity of the operation” Christian Thonhauser, sales manager from Vienna, summarizes the experiences of his customers. “The FLX2021 enables an unusual quick reaction to the request of the customers”. In central Europe this is exact they key for success. The one how can react to changing conditions immediately has better chances in the competition.
What is the difference of flexible pick & place machines in comparison with others? Which features enable them to produce small lots as efficient as greater charges? The followings are belonging to the most important specifications:
1. A great taking in capacity for feeders so that a lot of components can remain on the machine continuous, respectively that there is enough space available for the components of the current and the following order.
2. The machine and the feeders have to be programmable offline so that the
following production can be prepared during the current order.
3. The feeders for the components have to be intelligent, they have to be perceptible
by the machine automatically and have to be programmable at the feed.
4. Feeders have to be exchanged without an interruption of the current production.
By this no waiting periods between the orders are caused.
5. The machine has to be able to process all sorts of components and printing boards
to make it possible to react flexible to requests of customers and specialities.
6. The flexible pick & place machine has to offer a high placing rate to keep the time
of production short.
7. A perfect quality of placement from up the first printing board is necessary to
exclude refinishing work.
The placing machine FLX2021 (fig.1) has been developed for the flexible manufacturing completely. Therefore this machine offers unique features for the varied manufacturing. For example, up to 190 feeders fit into the FLX2021-V (310 at the large version) and the programming of the feeders can take place quick and safe with the barcode reader (fig2). A special programming station is not necessary for this.
The component area extends from the smallest chips (01005) up to the extensive QFPs (50x50 mm) or plugs. Sizes of printing boards can be small as a stamp, as an A3-sheet (400 x 300 mm, standard version) or as large as a kitchen table (780 x 600 mm, large version). The machine FLX2021 operates parallel with two independent modules; therefore the capacity of placement reaches 12,000 components / hour.
Also suitable for special components
But the high flexible pick & place machine from Essemtec also offers more very interesting features:
• Space saving: Essemtec constructs the most compact feeders of the world; by this the standing area of the machine is very small.
• Redundancy: The both parallel operating modules can be also used individual, if one is at a standstill for maintenance work, for example.
• Graphic user software (fig.3): Wysiwyg principle (What-you-see-is-what-you-get),by this the operation is easy understandable for everyone and quick learnable.
• Virtual view function: This feature enables the quality control even before the
placement and makes corrections at the placing programme very easy.
• Feeder cassettes: By the use of cassettes instead of single feeders components can be exchanged up to 10 times quicker.
• Interchangeable: For still more capacity another placing module can be connected. By this a FLX2031 results from a FLX2021.
• Integrated software for planning and quality assurance: The software package MIS (Management Information System) is responsible for the store management of the components, the evenly sharing of the placing work on the two parallel modules, the control of preparing, the saving of the production data and a lot more.
Another specific feature of the FLX2021 machine is the possibility also to be able to process belt sections and special components. At the construction of prototypes or the wage placement, which are necessary for the demanded amounts of printed boards, only the exact amount of components are often available. By the universal remaining belt feeder system from Essemtec smallest scraps can be feed and processed unproblematic as well.
The software of the pick & place machine is as open for all, that even feeding systems from outside can be used without an electric connection with the machine. More and more are also Not-SMD-components, for example screens or similar, are picked & placed at the same operating cycle.
More and more batch operation
A high flexible placing machine can be used for the qualitative perfect manufacturing of a single prototype or the production of small or middle lot series. For a lot of manufactures it is difficult to decide between standalone and inline production at such a range. On the one hand one want to automate as much as possible, but a full integrated inline production-line can only be flexible in limitation. On the other hand on does not want employ personnel just to feed the machine with single printing boards.
The way out of the dilemma and obvious a trend of the industry is the batch or island solution. The printer with an automatic loading/unloading system represents a standing alone production cell, for example. Or the pick & place machine is equipped with a magazine loader at the entrance and the exit. By such solutions the time for handling reduces to the change of the magazine and nevertheless, the advantages of the automation can be fully exhausted.
An additional advantage of this system is the possibility to prepare or adapt the single systems while the other islands are still in work with the “old” orders. The batch principle makes sense concerning the process, too. Lot paste in move, for example, should be processed continuously.
A reflow oven in batch operation saves energy: He must only be operated with full power for a short period of time and operates for the rest of the day at the stand-by modus or will be switched off.
A pick & place machine of the type FLX2021 supports this concept too and makes even a step further: Both modules of the machine can be loaded, if requested, from the right or the left independent and process two complete different products at the same time.
A flexible concept
A FLX2021-placer is suitable for a lot of users, from small businessman up to the big wage placer. Who adapts often, has to react quick and flexible to requests of customers profits the most of the outstanding features of this machine. By its compactness it fits also in small fabrications, through small doors or through a window in the 4th floor too. A customer summarized the features as follows: “The FLX2021 offers exactly the placing quantity, taking in capacity and flexibility which is needed in the European market.”