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32 SMT007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2020 Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team JUKI's Bill Astle and Bob Black discuss inventory storage and management, and the important role it plays in SMT manufacturing. They also detail JUKI's newest storage offer- ing, stemming from the company's partnership with Essegi Automation. Barry Matties: First of all, the equipment we're talking about is inventory control. Can you please give us a quick overview of that system and its capabilities? Bill Astle: Our bread and butter is our ISM UltraFlex 3600 storage cabinet, which has the capability to automate picking complete kits, 27 cases at a time. Or if you have two reels in there, that doubles the output. The system is under full humidity control which gives the added benefit of not having them in desiccant bags when you put them back in. Also, when they go to the floor, they're fully tracked. The MSD software is built-in. Primarily in these units, the users see a tre- mendous increase in the pick-and-place line's productivity. How that happens is in the setup time. It has been reduced drastically by pull- ing complete kits and having them ready to go for the setup crew or the pit crew. In addi- tion, if there is replenishment needed in one of the machines, that can happen automat- ically through the software. It's line utiliza- tion, pick-and-place setup time, operator time set up, and space savings because we can fit 3,600 8-millimeter reels in a fairly small floor footprint. Matties: Certainly, you have done the financial analysis and ROI. What case are you making in terms of the economics behind this piece of equipment? Bob Black: We have two major classes of cus- tomers: EMS companies, both large and small. For example, there are several areas of sav- ings. The first area is labor costs. If you go to an average customer and ask them how long it takes them to pull a 100-piece kit, they'll probably Automating Inventory Control ISM3900 UltraFlex (behind ISM3600 silhouette)

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