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Christmas Comes Early


We’re having an IRC chat tonight, Wednesday the 9th! Got an idea or question? Join us at 4PM MST and chat with Nate and the rest of the SparkFun gang.

SparkFun must have managed to stay off Santa’s “naughty list” because Christmas came early this year.

This past week, SparkFun production got a serious upgrade with a new pick and place machine - the Manncorp MC384. It can place up to 4000 parts per hour and has a special vision system that allows for non-contact, on-the-fly alignment of SMD components before placing them onto the PCB.  It cost us just a little over $52k, but it’s going to make our production process even smoother.

We have to give a shout-out to MannCorp for their great service in getting this thing. We made our order the first week of November and had the machine by December 4th - a four week turn-around time, which in industrial equipment is pretty darn good. Kudos, MannCorp!

In the spirit of the holiday season, I offer the SparkFun Pick-n-Place poem. {ahem}

T'was three weeks before Christmas
 and all through SparkFun,
Not a soldering iron sizzled, nor a hot air gun.
Our multimeters were hung by our labcoats with care
 in hopes our new pick-and-place would soon be here.
SparkFunners were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Arduinos danced in their heads.

http://www.sparkfun.com/images/newsimages/picknplace_1.jpg

Nate was in his office, working late hours,
Matt was in too, building PCB towers.
When out in the lot there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from their desks to see what was the matter.
Away to the window they flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash
The moon shined down on the fresh Boulder snow,
gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to their wondering eyes should appear,
but a MannCorp truck - the pick and place was here!

http://www.sparkfun.com/images/newsimages/picknplace_2.jpg

With a friendly driver, so lively and quick,
They knew in a moment it wasn’t a trick!
He hauled the pick and place in its big wooden crate,
they both exclaimed quickly, “This will be great!”
“Now, uLog!, now, WiTilt! now, Nordic! now, XBee!
On, Breakouts! on, Sensors! on, Classes! on, Tracking!”

http://www.sparkfun.com/images/newsimages/picknplace_3.jpg

The driver sprang to his truck, and gave a quick whistle,
And away he flew like the down of a thistle.
But we heard him exclaim, with a smile on his face,
“Merry Christmas to all, enjoy your pick and place!”


Comments 45 comments

  • looking forward to seeing some video of it in action.

  • That poem brought a tear of joy to my face. Who knew engineers could be so poetic. :)

    • I recently bought a used Quad 4C for about $12K loaded with 40 feeders, vibe feeder and up vision camera (in addition to the down facing camera).
      This uses a laser alignment component tracking which gives EXCELLENT placement without the need to move the component over the up facing camera (hence fast). It can place 0.65mm PSOPs without any trouble and can do 0402 with a modified nozzle.
      I have some very dense boards which it manages with no problem.
      It took a while for me to reverse engineer the file format since the base software is not very user friendly, but once I got past that it was plain sailing.
      The big issue I have at the moment though is getting my re-flow profile correct. It would be really useful to see a guide on re-flow issues and debug :) :) :)
      My discrete components re-flow great, but the larger PSOPs don’t seem to be flowing well (look like dry joints).
      It is a joy to watch running though :) a LOT quicker than my hand placement !!!

      • Hi Garfield have you wrote some more software to use the quad 4c more easly.
        thanks
        Pete

  • IMHO, Manncorp has got to be the worst Pick and place out there. Yeah, they are cheap, but you are almost better of not getting what you pay for.
    On the fly vision? HA! You’re better off placing by hand…
    Sorry. Long day/year fighting with mine. A little bitter I left my multi-million dollar Panasonic PNP for more money.

    • SMTGuy, our first Manncorp PNP machine served us very well and we’re highly pleased with Part Deux so far. Actually, I should refer to them by their proper names, Bert and Ernie. Bert is the new guy. I can assure you that either of these two machines would win a placing contest with any of our fastest manual assemblers (no offense to my crew!). Speed aside, we really have our machines dialed in so very few errors are ever made.
      What component package types give you the most trouble? We may have a trick or two figured out that we can share with you.
      Also, Manncorp is all we’ve ever known. What features do other manufacturer’s PNP machines offer that set them apart from Manncorp’s and how much more should one expect to pay for those features?

  • i look most days at the news - but am time shifted / in GMT / so the announcements of IRC chats for the day, so far, always been read after the event :(.
    two days, or even more warning MIGHT make it possible for me to schedule an early end of day to correspond with 4pm MST

  • Judging by the last picture there… I’m guessing this beasty came from Europe - on account of the fact that it shipped with 2' of Salami on board. Nice touch that. ;)
    [m]

  • Though exams have some of us down, SparkFun’s always there to pick us up. (and place us?) nvm

  • What ever happened to the webcam that was in the other PnP machine?

  • Some sick rhymes there ;-)

  • Bah humbug! What can that fancy-pants automation do that a room full of trained monkeys couldn’t? At least you are using proper box monkeys to unpack it.

  • Hi, just out of curiosity, how do you justify spending that amount? Does it have significant improvements over your existing pick and place machine? Will it speed up the process alot? Or did you just fancy a new toy? :)
    Also, if you would like, I can remove the old one from your premises free of charge ;)

    • We’ve seen a constant increase in demand of our products. We have two shifts already running. A second machine basically doubles our current throughput. If this is a down year, we’re excited and scared to see what an ‘up’ year is. We need a 2nd PnP and we were worried that if we waited another 6-12 months, the lead time for machinery could get painfully large.
      Ok, so we really just wanted to play in the box it came in :)
      And no you can’t have the old one. We’re still using it!

      • Capital purchases are best made while the economy is “down” if you can. While all of your competitors are reeling back, you are ready to gobble up their marketshare once things pick up and you are ready to roll full speed! Good move. Looks neat!

  • Nice poem!

  • You spent $52,000 and only took three pictures ? :( I am disappointed.

  • Wow, I guess you guys weren’t hit by the recession; $152,000 in about a month!

  • SteveL: videos or it didn’t happen!
    Ha ha! Rojas, are you hearing this? ;)

  • Good lord that is an amazing poem.
    Also requesting videos!

  • geeks rejoice!

  • Maybe this will help out with the amount of orders for FREE DAY!!!
    Live video feed of this would be amazing! Please let us see at least a days worth of action!!! THANKS!!!!!!!!!

  • videos or it didn’t happen!

  • You guys are having all-together too much fun!

  • Is this some kind of cult, cause everyone seems to have exactly the same stubble … or is that part of the standard Sparkfun work attire? :-)

    • It’s cold here! Currently 6F (-14C).

      • -1F now (-19C) and still cooling… the LCD screens seem to be loosing the “L” tonight…

        • Haha! That’s not quite that cold, right now it’s only -11C, but yesterday it got down to -36C. Now that’s pretty cool!

    • Also there was a neck beard contest going, but I don’t know how many people are still playing that itchy game.

    • I don’t know about the rest of the SparkFunnians…but shaving once a week is about the standard.

  • Nice poem!

  • awesome poem.

  • Only asking what mayhem it wil unleash in the mind of sparkfun designers :S
    Greeting from Holland, And marry Christmas


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