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PCB Manufacturing, Assembly & Test Blog

19 Aug, 2013

The Worst Meeting In The World

Posted by Michael Ford

Michael Ford

As a young engineer, starting out developing software solutions for manufacturing, I did get quickly involved in pretty much all aspects of production at the Japanese company for whom I was working. The software programs that I wrote were often used at the senior management “communications” meeting which took place on a Monday morning. Monday morning then, was a scramble for managers to get in early

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1 Aug, 2013

Mark Laing

Hi there We have released Update 3 for Valor MSS Process Preparation users. This addresses a number of defects that were found recently but also adds new capability to support a MS SQL Server database in addition to the Oracle database that has been supported since the product was first released. We have also made significant improvements to support the SRFF format for Cyberoptics AOI machines due to

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Assembleon

25 Jul, 2013

Michael Ford

I was recently sent a link (http://ow.ly/mKpFP) to an interesting presentation by Rodney Brooks about “Baxter” the robot. I think that Baxter is a great step forward in the marketing of robot technology, Baxter appears to be “safe” and responsive to interaction with humans. Interaction is one of the key relational elements we can also find between ourselves and animals and even other people. Dogs and

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28 Jun, 2013

Mark Laing

Hi there Last year we held a very successful Process Preparation seminar in Switzerland for our central European users. This year the seminar will be held in Frankfurt, Germany on September 23-24. The focus will be on the capability provided by Valor MSS Process Preparation so areas such as Data Preparation, SMT Programming, Test Programming, Inspection Programming, Assembly Documentation and Stencil

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PCB Manufacturing Software

20 Jun, 2013

Are You In Love With Your Software?

Posted by Michael Ford

Michael Ford

People are traditionally very good at relationships. Relationships with friends, loved ones and family are very well documented. Relationships with inanimate objects however, or even virtual objects as many regards software and production operations to be, perhaps less so. People often tell me that they think I am in love with my car. When it was new, quite some time ago now, I would wash it frequently,

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18 Jun, 2013

Mark Laing

Hi there I have had many conversations with manufacturing people over the years regarding the various files that are created from design that are provided to them for the purposes of assembly and test. It is not unusual to hear about a file set consisting of Gerbers, Drill, IPC 356 Netlist, Centroid, BOM, Intelligent layout, various documentation files and other machine specific format files that continue

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ODB++

11 Jun, 2013

Mark Laing

Hi there Boundary Scan has been available for well over 15 years now and it has continued to evolve over that time as the initial IEEE standard 1149 has been updated to cover more than just digital devices. Although for most printed circuit designs full testing through 4 or 5 connections is not possible a significant number of designs have some number of components on them that support the Boundary

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31 May, 2013

Juki ISS Interface, now improved

Posted by Mark Laing

Mark Laing

Hi there A couple of versions ago Valor MSS released a new interface to the Juki IS software. Here we created the best solution for Juki machines through the new ISS XML file that Juki developed. The reason that this solution is the best on the market is because we can use our unique auto-generation capability to create Juki specific part data from existing MSS vShapes, VPL content or by reading all

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Juki

16 May, 2013

Michael Ford

3D printing technology is really growing in popularity now. Having worked through the growth of sophistication in electronic product manufacturing, I can see how this technology is likely to develop. Today, most printers use a single nozzle with a nylon based plastic paste that is effectively dispensed like an SMT glue machine, except, that layers are built up over each other. It really is that simple.

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14 May, 2013

Mark Laing

Hi there SMT vendors are commonly asked by prospective customers about their existing pick and place programs and what happens with them if they purchase another type of equipment. The customer is usually told that there is nothing that can be done with those programs and hence they need to maintain those in the old system until they migrate them to the new machines. However in Valor MSS Process Preparation

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8 May, 2013

Mark Laing

Hi there This week I would like to ask for input on assembly variants. For the context of this post I would like to state that an assembly variant is one where the base bare PCB is common to all assembly variants and that the variation is through the presence and absence of parts including part substitution of functionally different parts. Therefore using an Approved Vendor List (AVL) to substitute

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1 May, 2013

Michael Ford

Unbelieveable! Don’t get me wrong, it is not the fact that pop-up ads appear all over commercial websites that annoys me; after all, we have had the same thing in magazines and newspapers for many years. Advertisements appear almost everywhere these days, the funding from which is an important part of many companies’ business plans. This is not the issue. The issue starts with the difference between

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24 Apr, 2013

Mark Laing

Hi there This may seem a strange topic for a Process Engineering Blog but bear with me on this. Over the past few years, car manufacturers seem to be in a race to develop the cars with the highest number of gear ratios in them. Currently cars on the market have automatic gearboxes with 8 forward ratios. Manual gearboxes exist with 7 forward gears now.  I have also heard about possible future gearboxes

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17 Apr, 2013

Mark Laing

Hi there Many of our customers have seen an increase in the number of products that need to be grouped together to enable them to run with a single SMT setup to reduce the time taken for change-over from one product to another. The challenge is knowing which products can be incorporated in to a single group given the unique part numbers on each product and the feeder capacity of each machine in the

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5 Apr, 2013

Nepcon China – The Chinese Way

Posted by Michael Ford

Michael Ford

Nepcon China Rocks! There is so much going on, so much potential, so many companies focussed on success, to be the best in their field, to be number one. Electronics in the West is like the Mississippi river, huge and powerful, but slow moving, quite boring actually. In China, it is like the riding the rapids. This is where skill and vision come in to play. Creating the best production factory is the

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