Terry York – Kulicke & Soffa Industries, Inc.
Fort Washington, PA
With the growth of Surface Mount Technology (SMT) driven by new technological innovations and next generation products, machine feeder density becomes extremely important in electronics manufacturing.
As products become more intelligent, diverse and efficient, the associated product BOM (Bill of Materials) and parts diversity increases in scope. This increase in parts count and diversity per product drives the necessity for higher feeder density per Pick-and-Place (P&P) machine.
This per machine feeder density also becomes critical when constructing and accurately determining the potential SMT production lines to fulfill customer needs without resulting in an excess or ‘over capacity’ situation. Constructing a SMT production line based on the requirement of feeder input vs. CPH (components per hour) increases the capital equipment cost of the P&P segment of the line. With a larger percentage of the P&P equipment cost associated to CPH rather than the amount of feeder inputs available at the machine level, in essence end users pay more for CPH vs. feeder inputs. With current and future consumer demands for ever increasing product intelligence this creates an under achieving or underutilized capacity production line for manufacturers.
A balance between machine feeder inputs needed for product diversity and CPH to meet customer required volumes is essential for the highest efficiency production lines.
One way to increase the feeder machine density is to utilize the thinnest feeder possible or to combine feeder positions, for example, 2 for 1 or 2 for 3. A disadvantage of a combined feeder input solution is reduced ease of use and flexibility. Utilizing a single input feeder increases ease of use and adds the highest level of flexibility to accommodate the most diverse products now and in the future.
Feeder per machine density can be measured in 2 ways, either by total amount of 8mm inputs per linear meter or total amount of 8mm inputs per m². Of course a higher number results in higher production flexibility to address product diversity without creating an over capacity production line.
In order to keep up with the fast moving consumer products technology and diversity, P&P machine suppliers must increase feeder density in traditional ways or by means of new creative innovations to better serve the end user.
There is little doubt that consumer products have already and are continuing to become more intelligent, more efficient and more diverse resulting in a need for higher density feeder P&P machine solutions. This increase in product intelligence and diversity remains decoupled from volume requirements. Even if production volumes were to hold steady or decrease the problem of increased feeder capacity and feeder density remains and must be solved to keep up with the ever changing and increasing diversity of products. As shown above there is a unique balance between feeder density and expected CPH within P&P machine solutions that must be accounted for by manufacturers of electronics when designing and equipping new and current manufacturing lines for future product designs and challenges.
In order to keep up with the fast moving consumer products technology and diversity, P&P machine suppliers must increase feeder density in traditional ways or new creative innovations to better serve the end user.