Optimizing The Performance Of A Chip Shooter Machine
Process planning is an important and integral part of operating a printed circuit board (PCB) assembly system effectively. The focus of this research is to develop a new solution approach to determine the component placement sequence and feeder assignment for a turret style Chip Shooter machine often used in PCB assembly systems. This solution approach can be integrated into a process planning system to reduce assembly time and improve productivity.
The Chip Shooter machine consists of three primary mechanisms: the turret head, a moving table, and the feeder carriage. These mechanisms move simultaneously in a cyclic manner to mount the components on the PCB. The mechanism with the longest movement time determines the placement time of a component. Therefore, the placement sequence of the components and the arrangement of the feeders in the feeder carriage directly affect the time required to mount all the components on a PCB. A placement time estimator function that accounts for the functional characteristic of the Chip Shooter machine is developed and is used to evaluate the performance of the solution approach presented in this research.
The solution approach consists of a construction algorithm that uses a set of knowledge-based rules to construct an initial placement sequence and feeder assignment, and an improvement procedure to improve the initial solution. A case study is presented to validate the proposed solution approach. A Fuji CP4-3 machine and actual PCB data are used to test the performance of the proposed solution approach for different machine setup scenarios. The solutions obtained using the proposed solution approach are compared to those obtained using state of the art PCB assembly process optimization software. For all PCBs in the case study, the proposed solution approach yielded lower placement times than the commercial software, thus generating additional valuable production capacity.