The Chipsetter ONE is an automated pic-and-place machine that assembles PCB electronics using component trays and an array of tape feeders that can utilize different sized SMTs. (via Chipsetter)
Anyone who has ever assembled their own PCBs can tell you that it’s a time consuming process that becomes a monotonous nightmare if you have to assemble more than one. Those who prefer to farm that chore out to a manufacturer can tell you that often times it’s costly and can take weeks to receive them depending on how many are needed.
In an effort to alleviate those issues, Chipsetter has designed a desktop pick-and-place machine that can assemble PCB electronics in-house in a matter of minutes. In fact, the Chipsetter ONE makes it easy to switch over to different PCB jobs as the tape feeds are modular and can be swapped-out on the fly depending on user’s needs.
Chipsetter designed the ONE using an automated vacuum head that’s outfitted with dual articulated arms that are capable of picking and placing two electronic components at a time with a size ranging all the way down to 0402. It has a placement speed of up to 1250 component placements per-hour and can accommodate boards of up to 13.5 X 10-inches.
The Chipsetter ONE can handle up to 40 8mm tape feeders at a time as well as components from cut-tape and tube packages. I like what I'm seeing here...
As far as tape feeders go, the ONE can handle up to 40 8mm feeders as well as 12 and 16mm feeders as well. Components can also be supplied using cut-tape, tube packages and JEDEC/custom trays- or even a dual combination of package platforms. The pick-and-place machine has an accuracy of 30-microns thanks to a pair of cameras, situated above and below the 8-position auto-tool changer, making it incredibly reliable with component placement. The top camera actually inspects and corrects component alignment while the bottom corrects any misalignment with in-place components.
On the software side, the platform handles everything so there is no setup or programming needed, even for different circuit board projects. Users simply send the manufacturing data, including Centroid and BOM files (in .csv format) from their favorite EDA platform to the machine and it does the rest.
There are a few drawbacks to Chipsetter’s ONE, as users need to apply the solder paste manually, which can get messy if not done correctly. Users also need their own reflow oven, as the ONE does not come equipped with one. This makes it hard to justify the price tag, which comes in at just over $3,500 US. Makers who manufacture several circuit boards per year probably would not benefit from using this machine, however small businesses who churn-out dozens per-year would probably find it beneficial from producing their PCBs in-house.
Chipsetter is currently coming to an end of an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign to manufacture the ONE with reaching only $66,714 of their target goal of $104,895 and it’s uncertain if those interested will be able to get their hands on one in the near future.
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