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I was recently invited to judge the editor’s choice award at National Instrument’s 2015 NI Engineering Impact Awards—ASEAN Regional Contest. This is my second time judging the annual technical applications contest. The awards aim to showcase the most innovative projects using NI hardware and software, and it’s amazing to see the projects submitted by the academe and industry professionals that are designed for various industry applications—from autonomous vehicles to flexible control systems for car engines, to automatic generation control modules for microgrid applications and real-time localization systems. There were also projects on energy harvesting, reliability improvement for stamping machines, power supply sequencing, EDA memory characterization, and PCB connectivity testing.
There was one project that I found relevant to our topic for this month’s issue of SMT Magazine, which is cycle time reduction. Developed by Gatepacific Circuits Inc. (GCI) for a client, the project aimed to improve the process of dispensing paste compared to the manual process done by human operators, and increase the unit per hour (UPH) capability from 500 units to more than 1,000 units. The project incorporated pin location and visual inspection with motion and pneumatic controls to provide fast and accurate dispensing, effectively doubling the manufacturing yield of a human operator.
For this particular project, GCI integrated the NI LabVIEW Vision Development Module and the CVS-145xRT with a slider electric actuator, two card motors, a gripper, and two air dispensers (EFD Ultimus), to develop an automated air dispensing system that inspects multiple pins in the target unit, applies paste accurately on these pins at a rapid rate, and performs vision inspection for uniform dispensing quality. Overall, the machine tool increased the UPH as well as offered better quality of paste dispensing by transitioning from manual process to an automated process.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of SMT Magazine.