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'[EE] [OT] Market for low-volume PCB assembly?'
2008\11\23@192250 by PicDude

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face

Hi all,

I'm getting close to pulling the trigger on an automated pick-and-place
system for my own internal use, but the machines would spend most of their
life sitting quietly, so I'm thinking it would be nice to offset some of the
cost by assembling boards for others.  I don't want to become an assembly
house, so it would be for low-volume board assembly, with the customer
providing their own stencil, and perhaps their own centroid data as well.
This would simplify things for me, and reduce cost for the customers.

But is there really a market for this?  I've know of product manufacturers
doing this to offset the cost of their very expensive equipment, and
allegedly it works for them.  But I also hear there's an increased rate of
CEM failures nowadays, so I have to question the market nowadays.

Any thoughts on this?

Cheers,
-Neil.


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2008\11\24@013036 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> I'm getting close to pulling the trigger on an automated pick-and-place
> system for my own internal use,

which one? what is the total sum you are gona spend? (thinking the same
for my little shop here)

> but the machines would spend most of their
> life sitting quietly, so I'm thinking it would be nice to offset some of the
> cost by assembling boards for others.  I don't want to become an assembly
> house, so it would be for low-volume board assembly, with the customer
> providing their own stencil, and perhaps their own centroid data as well.
> This would simplify things for me, and reduce cost for the customers.
>
> But is there really a market for this?  

Depends on the price, turnaround time, range of available components,
quality of the result. If all are good I would certainly be interested.

--

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu

2008\11\24@075523 by olin piclist

face picon face
PicDude wrote:
> I'm getting close to pulling the trigger on an automated
> pick-and-place
> system for my own internal use, but the machines would spend most of
> their
> life sitting quietly, so I'm thinking it would be nice to offset some
> of the
> cost by assembling boards for others.  I don't want to become an
> assembly
> house, so it would be for low-volume board assembly, with the customer
> providing their own stencil, and perhaps their own centroid data as
> well.
> This would simplify things for me, and reduce cost for the customers.
>
> But is there really a market for this?

I don't think so.

I've never had to create my own stencil, and would have to do some research
about where to go, what options to ask for, etc.  It's not something I want
to get into, especially since I worry that there are probably various types
or formats of stencils and I don't want to end up with something
incompatible with your equipment.  Then I'd have to ship the stencil to you
and hope it doesn't get damaged in the process.  I'd rather pay the
assembler to do it since they know what they need and then the whole thing
is their responsibility.  Doing my own stencil wouln't reduce my cost, it
would increase it.  If you're running a production line, you have access to
lower cost labor than I can afford to keep around.

As for the centroid data, that's not as bad for most parts.  I can (already
largely have) a Eagle script that dumps this out.  For rectangular or
otherwise symmetrical parts there is no doubt where you think the centroid
is, but for unnusually shaped parts I'd be nervous.

All in all I don't think your model makes sense.  You are only looking at it
from your own point of view.  You need to think how this looks from a
potential customer's point of view.  Maybe you can find a local assembly
place that knows how to do the whole process and handle some overflow for
them occasionally.

Then there is the problem of competing with people all around the world that
do the same thing and more.  Can you beat Djula's prices in Serbia, or
charge less than someone in Viet Nam?  I seriously doubt it.  But from my
point of view Serbia and Florida are nearly equally accessible, both being
on the other end of the internet and both requiring shipping in a box.  If
you're not within a 1 hour drive, then it doesn't matter if your 75 miles or
7,500 miles away.  It's a global economy.  When you're selling something
anyone can do, you're competing with a lot of anyones in far corners of the
world that can live well for a whole day off a fraction of your hourly rate.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2008\11\24@081937 by Marc Nicholas

picon face
If you were to cater to the 10-100 unit crowd who wanted to get a first run
done to iron out any bumps, or who weren't able to expend the efforts
dealing with a contract manufacturer...then I'd think you'd have a small
market.

Another interesting angle is catering to people who don't have the knowledge
for dealing with a contract manufacturer and guiding them through their
first SMD run...I'd be interested in this :)

-marc

On Sun, Nov 23, 2008 at 7:22 PM, PicDude <spam_OUTpicdude2TakeThisOuTspamavn-tech.com> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> -

2008\11\24@084341 by olin piclist

face picon face
Marc Nicholas wrote:
> If you were to cater to the 10-100 unit crowd who wanted to get a
> first run
> done to iron out any bumps, or who weren't able to expend the efforts
> dealing with a contract manufacturer...then I'd think you'd have a
> small
> market.
>
> Another interesting angle is catering to people who don't have the
> knowledge
> for dealing with a contract manufacturer and guiding them through
> their
> first SMD run...I'd be interested in this :)

But both these require that he does more than the usual contract
manufacturer, not less.  Requiring someone to show up with stencil and
centroid file is the opposite of guiding them thru their first production
run.

Neil, you won't be able to compete on price.  That means you either don't
get into the business (I think the smarter choice) or provide some sort of
premium service like Marc is suggesting.  Of course that would cost several
times per unit what Djula would charge for the same thing but with less hand
holding.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

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