The Balancing Act

Zarrow, Phil; Hall, Jim
October 2003
Circuits Assembly;Oct2003, Vol. 14 Issue 10, p16
Trade Publication
A fundamental aspect of automated surface mount assembly is having a process that runs at optimal efficiency, with the least amount of waiting time between machines. Having a machine waiting for the one in front of it to supply printed circuit boards is very inefficient. When an automated assembly process runs at optimal efficiency with little or no wait time, one can have a balanced line. The printer at the front of the line is rarely the gating factor. Though specific formulas for calculating oven conveyor speed exist, basically the longer the oven, the higher the volume that can be passed through a reflow profile that takes four to five minutes. One should first determine the placement rate of each pick-and-place machine in the line. The rates should be measured while the placement machine is running continuously and should not include any stops for setup, repair, assists or component replenishment.


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