Ask the Experts
September 27, 2018 - Updated
October 24, 2011 - Originally Posted

Pick and Place Placement Rate

What is the best way to calculate, and verify the placement rate for a pick and place system prior to purchase?

S. B.

Expert Panel Responses

The best way would be to take your highest volume board and have it assembled by the different machines you are considering while you time it. Second best is to use the IPC 9850 test board to test the actual speed on the machines. No honest supplier of Placement Gear will object to either test.

Bob Black
North America Sales Manager
Essegi Automation
Mr. Black was the President and Co-Founder of Zevatech in 1977 and introduced first Pick and Place System at Nepcon West 1980. Bob is now the President, CEO and Co-Founder of Juki Automation Systems. He is also a Co-Founder of the SMEMA Council of IPC. He serves as a member of SMTA and SEMI..

Ask each machine manufacturer your looking at to run a cycle time analysis using your products, it's best to have them do more that one. I would pick a board that represents the size and type of boards you build the most for the first, then I would pick a product that represents the worst case scenario for my factory. Worst case can mean largest number of components types and placements, unusual board shape, thickness or weightand possibly placements that are currently placing by hand. This exercise will not only show the real cycle time on your boards, but can also show the limitations of each platform. Also make sure to ask about other features that you may not need today but may require tomorrow such as; 01005 placement, PoP and Flux Dipping, Mechanical Chuck and Specialty Nozzles, Auto Calibration, Auto Back-up Pin Support, LED Support, Adhesive Dispensing, Off-line Maintenance Tools etc.... Finally, go see the machines, there is a big difference between running and running well! Good hunting.

Scott Wischoffer
Marketing Manager
Fuji America Corporation
Scott Wischoffer has been in the SMT industry since 1986 with experience in service, training, sales & applications, and marketing.

A typical good rule is to derate the placement rate by 40% for real time environment. If they are stating IPC speeds you should be safe with a 20% derate from that. I would always recommend sending CAD files to the company that you are looking at and have them run simulations on the machine to give you a good rough rate. This of course will not take into account real time errors such as running out of parts, lunch etc.. So I would still figure 10-20% off their findings.

Chris Ellis
Sales Manager
Chris Ellis is a Sales Manager/Engineer for Manncorp with 19+ years experience in the PCB assembly equipment industry. Chris worked as a Manufacturing Engineer for 5 Years. Prior to going into sales, he was with PCB assembly equipment suppliers. Before joining Manncorp, Chris was an independent rep in the Carolinas for several years.

There is only one sure fire way to know which machine will perform best on any given task and that is to request the pick and place manufacturer do a test with actual board in question and then guarantee the placement rate. Product or PCB board size and component mix along with lower runs with a lot more changeovers you may find the fastest is not always the best. X-Y travel is the killer of thru put.

Terry Jeglum
Electronic Technology Corporation
Mr. Jeglum has 35+ years experience and is the founder of Electronic Technology Corporation. He is responsible for 22 years of program management for the Company.
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