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88 SMT Magazine • July 2016 As mentioned earlier, many suppliers offer lots of time-saving capabilities with their soft- ware, but a good rule of thumb is to test drive a number of different types to find your sweet spot, which will be a balance between perfor- mance and price. There's no need to pay more for a capability that you will rarely use. A trial will also quickly help you decide whether the software will be easy for your staff to learn. Use patience in your evaluation process. Every manufacturer's software is very different from the other's, meaning there's very little uniformity among selective programming rou- tines compared with what you may experience in other assembly processes. But choosing a se- lective machine is a major investment, and it deserves any amount of time you can afford to give it a proper evaluation. Check References Remember to consult a variety of machine providers, talk to the manufacturers themselves if possible, and get references to contact before making a purchase. An important consider- ation for a complex machine such as a selec- tive soldering system and associated options is factory support, specifically training, software, upgrades and spare parts. SMT Next chapter: Selective Soldering Wrap-up Robert Voigt is VP of global sales at DDM Novastar Inc. To reach Voigt, click here. Figure 4: Easy Windows interface example. SELECTING A SELECTIVE SOLDERING SYSTEM, PART 4

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