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22 SMT Magazine • October 2015 Las Marias: how important is reducing cycle time, and how do you achieve this in your own processes? Neff: Cycle time reduction is a key target along with quality. It helps reduce the cost of opera- tion, and increase capacity. Longer cycle times mean more capital equipment needed, in- creased overhead, more factory space required, and higher energy costs. Cycle time reduction at SMAC is accom- plished in a few different ways. We simplify design—because reducing complexity reduces cycle time. We do five at a time or 10, not one or two. We increase our output and improve quality by using mechatronic devices. SMAC moving coil actuators are low moving mass/ high acceleration/precision positioning servo devices that can do the work and confirm its success at the same time. Las Marias: Can you please give some examples as to how you were able to reduce the cycle time of a particular process or project of yours or your customer? Neff: The answer to your question is going to be different for different industries. For exam- ple, in packaging, cycle rates for dispensing in- creases from 1,200 a minute to over 2,000. Here our moving coil actuator has much higher ac- celerations than air cylinders or moving mag- net linear motors. Since the actuator is servo controlled, there is no slamming at the end of stroke so that cycle life is >10 times that of previously used devices. Similar results occur in eject/divert applications. In addition, the ability to "Soft-Land" and push an object with a selectively programmable force allows the customer to adjust to a vari- ety of work sets—full versus empty, large versus small. This means their system does not have to slow down in order to handle all the variation. Filling applications also speed up when repeat- ability in time to move improves. Air cylinders repeat with variation of ±15ms or so. The opera- tion must slow to ensure the minimum target amount is met. This also results in over filling. A moving coil actuator will repeat in the ±1ms range so fill time speeds up and over-filling is greatly reduced. Therefore the costs go down and quality goes up. In electronics assembly or chip assembly, low moving mass and thin linear rotary actuators developed by SMAC such as the LCR 13, com- bined with patented "Soft-Land" and "Program- mable Force" technology, sped up the assembly of current generation small chips that must be assembled with an assembly impact limit of 1N. Additionally, the thin physical structure match- es the pitch of feeders so that stack of actuators pick and place. So output increased since speed is faster due to lower moving mass and more parts are assembled at the same time, and qual- ity improves with the Soft-Land technology. In chip testing, the very-high acceleration (100G) LCA 32s reduce cycle time since moves of several mm can be made in milliseconds with end of stroke accuracy in microns. This, combined with proven cycle life of well over 100 million cycles, eliminates the use of cams, which damage current generation fragile parts. A new variation allows us to apply relatively high forces—30N to 50N—in very small pack - age sizes. This includes applications where duty cycle is over 90%. chooSInG the rIGht coMPonent to reduce cycLe tIMeS FeATure inTerview edward neff, SMac president.

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