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PCB Assembly Turnarounds

Generate Faster PCB Assembly Turnarounds

For a small business with a prototype intending to engage in some of the most well-known and valued technology brands on the planet is more than a marketing gimmick - it's a promise. 

Assembling a PCB prototype is by no means a simple operation and small disconnections that take a long time can turn into lost orders and angry customers in an industry where 48-hour turns are the norm.

To be able to produce results reliably on such short time frames, PCB assembly plants need to optimize almost every aspect of their workflow on speed and consistency.

 At the heart of this need is a built-in conflict between increasing the assets and resources you already own and adding additional assets and resources to your environment.

Basically what fast PCB assemblies want to know is whether they should hire more help and use their machines more or buy newer and better machines that will allow them to get the most out of their current team.

PCB design systems with imperfect optimization

Before we jump into the question of whether manpower or machine power create rapid twists and turns we need to be sure that the design system of the PCB itself is already performing optimally.

 As William Ho claims component placement is the bottleneck of any PCB assembly line.

The neck of the bottle consists of two parts - a sequence of components and feeding arrangements. PCB manufacturers should select the optimal component sequence and then assign them to the appropriate feeders

There are almost an infinite number of ways in which a sequence of PCB components and nutrient arrangements can be accessed. 

Finding a truly effective solution is simply not possible in a business context - not least with current computational technology and certainly not within two days.

PCB assemblies with a tight deadline use genetic algorithms to determine almost optimal design systems without getting lost on the way to the "perfect" solution. 

Although this is not a problem that can be solved with the help of today's technology, it is important to remember that no current PCB assembly process is completely inefficient. This is becoming an increasingly complicated factor for high-volume PCB prototype companies.

More machines means more setup time

Knowing that any given PCB assembly process must be completed less efficient, we can turn to time constraints in workflow processes.

SMT machines are not plug-and-play devices. Even efficient machines require at least an hour of replacement - if you run eight to ten installations a week it means you lose an entire day of production time each week.

Replacement times can become a huge drag in production, especially when dealing with tight turns. It is impossible to recover the time lost once and each saving of a second increases the income.

Because SMT machines can encounter almost endless production options in one run and are often required to perform multiple runs per day, replacement time is downtime. 

UIC presents in a simple array of graphs according to the revenue of SMT machines yielding time every second counts - an hour of downtime to a line that produces $ 10 million a year costs $ 5000.

Although there are always ways to improve the efficiency of a PCB assembly line, there is no way to explain unnecessary losses of $ 5000. The better.

Furthermore, the installation of additional production lines does not affect the output of each line individually. Although this may improve the PCB train turnaround adding more lines and workers may cost more than its value if the total production volume does not increase as well. 

For this reason preventing late employees or even hiring an additional shift is undoubtedly the better option.

Night shifts can produce more value

Increasing the length of time each machine can run is the best way to ensure efficiency in short PCB assembly projects.

 Finding employees who are willing to invest overtime - or hire an entire night shift - is one of the best ways to ensure you consistently meet assembly times and minimize downtime.

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