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April 2015 • SMT Magazine 79 rEDuCiNG SMT priNT CyClE TiME continues speed and reducing wipe frequency to within the suggested window of a widely used solder paste can increase throughput in this example. Figure 4 shows a 42% reduction of print cycle time in this example. results and Discussion Some argue that increased throughput only benefits an assembler if they can sell all they can make. This may be true for a single line con- tract manufacturer or a small OEM. However when a company has dozens of lines and works three shifts per day, six days a week, increased throughput can have a major effect. Even if one assumed that a 20 SMT line fac- tory could engineer a 5% increase in throughput by increasing the squeegee speed. This means that one line could be shut every week for pre- ventative maintenance and calibration of the printer, solder paste inspection unit, pick-and- place equipment and the reflow ovens. I won- der how many factories would improve process capability with increased PM and calibration ef- ficiency? In addition, if one or two lines were down because they were not needed, less energy and labor would be required, proportional to the in- crease in throughput. Also, peak demands could be less difficult to fulfill during pre-launch and prior to the holiday seasons in the West and Asia. These process improvements are being made by nimble, competitive and growing SMT as- semblers. If your print process is the bottleneck in your throughput, and you are printing slowly and cleaning your stencils too frequently, there are opportunities for process improvement. SMT Mitch Holtzer is global director of customer technical service (CTS) for Alpha. To reach Holtzer, click here. Table 4. ACross the boArd

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