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Written by Chris Denney   
Friday, 03 May 2013 01:54

The road less traveled is often the fastest.

Sometimes a circuit board can be populated much quicker than a machine can solder it. If you find that boards are piling up waiting for the machine to finish, there are a number of different ways to reduce the throughput time. I will address one of them this month.

When drawing a path for the machine to follow, begin your next path close to where your previous path stopped. A machine that travels a long distance, crisscrossing back and forth around the board, will dramatically increase cycle time and decrease efficiency.

I know this sounds obvious, but by being diligent with this practice, we have decreased cycle times by as much as 50%. How? When you first program the board, you may not have considered every little detail. Once a couple of boards have been run for the first time, issues begin to appear, such as a missing part or the nozzle making contact with a bottom-side surface mount part. The natural response is to go into the program and add a couple of new paths. But each occurrence adds complexity, and if you’re adding complexity without considering where your machine needs to travel, the result will be a lot of time wasted with the nozzle traveling all around the board.

Chris Denney is chief technology officer at Worthington Assembly (; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated on Friday, 03 May 2013 13:06


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