New generation feeding
Introducing the FI feeder for the MC platform
The introduction of the MC-12 also brings with it a new feeding platform. The MC-12 is a result of changing demands from manufacturing:
·Line length (occupying floor-space) should shorten while maintaining and/or increasing the integral output of the SMT line.
·Feeder quantities should increase to support a wide variety of board changeovers on one feeder setup. A higher number of feeders reduces the time needed for a New Product Introduction.
·Feeder setup times should be reduced and handling simplified ensuring accidental settings in feeder pitches are not made by the operator’s guesswork.
·On top of this, components are becoming smaller and smaller, whilst the demand for pick reliability and quality in component placement increases.
25% more feeding on a 25% smaller machine length
With the introduction of the MC-12 these demands are met. A higher output is achieved even though the machine length has been decreased by more than 25%. However, a smaller system with the same amount of feeders results inless feeder positions, while the requirement is to have more. To reconcile these contradictory requirements a new slim feeder is presented: Feeder Intelligence (FI). A feeder of only 11.5 mm wide gives the MC-12 up to 120 feeding positions; or 25% more than with machines from previous generations.
Handling and ease of use is another key feature of the new FI feeder:
·Compact. The feeder is compact. Because it is short and thin it does not protrude from the machine.
Light weight. With a weight of only 700 g the feeder is portable. Its ergonomic grip allows the feeder to be operated single-handedly.
·Self-centering. V-Slots in the interface and feeder let the feeder slide easily and lock into the system. When inserted inbetween other feeders the closed body of the feeder allows it to slide smoothly into the right position.
·Cutting. Carrier tape is guided to a tape cutter in the base while the covertape is led into a bin in the feeder, which is emptied. Moreover, the cover-tape bin has an integrated “cutter” in the latch of the cover, so there is no need for a pair of scissors.
·Automatic pitch setting. This is taken care of by the host system. The component database in the system defines the pitch required, which is then automatically transferred to the feeder. This removes the guesswork from pitch settings. Additionally, there is only one feeder for embossed (plastic) or paper tape, 0402M (01005), 0603M (0201) or larger, making it easy for an operator to select the correct feeder (as there is only one feeder for 8 mm). Moreover, it will reduce the feeder inventory.
·Easy interactive interface. Together with the operating monitor, the feeder identifies itself immediately. For example, the monitor indicates when a feeder is running empty and specifies which slot by a blinking LED. Therefore, the operator is immediately led to the correct location.
Guaranteed pick and output performance
The MC-12 is a 10-headed system that is best utilized when picking 10 components in one action – also called gang-pick. This feature is relatively easy to accomplish with larger components. However, with the smaller components of 0402M or 0603M (that is 01005 or 0201 non-metric), the tolerances in the tapes or from tape to tape (when spliced) start to become increasingly important, making gang-pick virtually impossible. The FI feeder overcomes these challenges.
The true benefit of intelligent feeding, apart from all the setup advantages, lies in the communication between the feeder and its host. The host measures the components and applies the necessary corrections. But if the pick correction disables the gang-pick feature, because the components are not presented anymore in one straight line, it immediately impacts the output of the system.
Now, instead of correcting the pick position, the MC-12 equipped with the FI feeder aligns the position of the component presentation. The FI feeder will line up the new pick position with the rest of the feeders, thus enabling gang-pick.
In short, and as a general rule of feeding, the more accurate the pick position, the better the pick rate, resulting in less component waste and better placement quality.