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42 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2018 One of the major challenges for an elec- tronics assembly manufacturing engineer is determining how an SMT machine will impact throughput. Typically, an SMT equip- ment supplier will ask for a few (5-10) prod- ucts to simulate the throughput capability of their machine. Unfortunately, if the engi- neer works in a high-mix, low-volume envi- ronment, he may need to know the impact of a new machine on 1,000 or more prod- ucts. Currently, there are no simulation tools to effectively model this. This is confirmed in the 2015 IPC International Technology Roadmap for Electronics Interconnections, which states, "In order to better deal with the demands for increased interconnection density and respond to market demands for better return on capital investment in assembly equipment, there is a need within the manu - facturing industry for continued improvement in tools and software for modeling and simu- lation. Needs in this area include better meth- ods of load balancing and improved machine utilization. The tools for determining the balance on assembly lines will need to be flex- ible to handle the mix of assembly types that manufacturers now face." [1] Rockwell Automation partnered with Univer- sal Instruments to develop a tool to model a large quantity of products and the impact of varying SMT line configurations. The infor- mation used for the modeling includes place- ments per panel and components placed per hour. With these tools, an electronics assembly plant can be analyzed to identify improvement opportunities and perform "what if" analysis to model impact of machine changes. Goals for the SMT Line Model 1. Determine the right machine for the product mix. 2. Determine if products are running as fast as they should. 3. Determine if electronics assembly products are built on the optimal line configuration. This is crucial in plants with multiple line configurations. Article by Gregory Vance, ROCKWELL AUTOMATION INC., and Todd Vick, UNIVERSAL INSTRUMENTS CORP. Modeling an SMT Line to Improve Throughput

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