SMT Machine Maintenance: An Easy Way to Save Money

Because surface mount technology (SMT) machines rely on precision, allowing components to fall into disrepair causes expensive defects. Machines that can’t pick parts consistently or hold on to them during transport create several problems:

  • mis-picking of components

  • misplacement of components

  • flipped components

  • tombstoning of components

  • component and circuit board damage

  • higher rejection rates

Maintaining your pick-and-place machine properly will also extend the life of the machine, so you won’t need to replace it as quickly. Here are five essential maintenance items you’ll want to add to your schedule to prevent your machine from causing defects and to keep it running strong as long as possible.

1. Clean Regularly

SMT machine mechanical components require lubrication to function, but this lubrication can attract and trap dirt and abrasives. Before lubrication, all mechanical parts should be cleaned to make sure the grime doesn’t accumulate.

2. Check Parts for Wear

With any machine that creates friction, there will be wear and tear. Grippers, shock absorbers, and vacuum pickups are all going to need to be replaced at some point. Operating the machine with parts that are past due for replacement can cause malfunctions, so you’ll want to keep an eye on these parts.

Specifically, you need to look at the contact surfaces and sidewalls of vacuum cups, the jaws of grippers, and filtration elements of vacuum generators.

3. Inspect Electrical Elements

Electrical elements are subject to overheating. You’ll want to inspect the controllers’ ventilation and filtration to make sure they’re adequately cooled. Cable connections and tracks are also susceptible to wear, so they’ll need to be inspected as well.

4. Check Software and Battery Life

Software updates are easy to forget, but they’re an important part of SMT machine maintenance. Schedule regular times to check for and install updates. Also keep an eye on your memory-related battery life.

5. Evaluate the System

After you’ve completed each step above, your final step is to run an evaluation of the machine as a whole. You’re looking at speed, accuracy, and repeatability without error.

It’s a good idea to go through each of these tasks as part of a routine maintenance program. Regularly scheduling these items and making them part of your routine will ensure you don’t forget anything important.

Questions about SMT machines or considering replacing your machine? Let's Talk.

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