This is an old revision of the document!
You'll need more than just the machine, here are some important accessories to drain you wallet
A pick and place needs compressed air to operate. At the least, air is used to vacuum pick the parts from the trays and reels. For the MDC it is also used to control the adhesive/paste dispenser (if its installed) and the hammer that advances the feeders.
The requirements for the compressor are:
Some things you will need to consider
These are trade offs, you wont get a quiet, small compressor for cheap!
There are likely multiple good companies that sell compressors. We aren't compressor-experts so likely there are better options, if you know any, simply add them below!
First, we looked at what the MDC distributor suggested! Manncorp suggests the "Panther PC106" for $2400 This machine is almost certainly drop-shipped direct from Werther, the US distributor of the "PC106" (PC106 Datasheet). We got a quote for the compressor of $1500. Freight was another $150 or so as its rather heavy and they don't ship via UPS.
The PC106 is actually the "Compact 106" from FIAC, an Italian manufacturer. Their USA distributor is Werther International. So basically, a $500 compressor is sold to Werther for $800 who sells it for $1500 to Manncorp who sells it to you for $2400. Yay middlemen! :)
Werther has a few oil-free compressors they sell that will do the job, so check the list of "Oil free compressors". For example the "PC70/24" (Datasheet) is good machine as well. It can do the job and has a much larger tank (24 L instead of 6 of the PC106) although it is louder due to not being in damping box. So the trade off is its louder but for less time. We got a quote for the compressor of $900.
We're pretty sure you can go with the PC70-24 even though it has less capability (2.5 CFM instead of 4.4) but its probably best only if you have a shop that you can be loud in. If you have noise restrictions the PC106 will be quieter (57 dB/A instead of 62dB/A so about half as loud) but it will cost $600 more. We were on the fence for a few days and ended up with the PC106.
The only piece of hardware you'll need is the fitting that connects from the compressor to the pick and place manifold. The MDC had 8mm tubing (check the outside, there should be printing that identifies the tubing diameter).
The PC106 has a 1/4" NTP female connection. Check with the compressor manufacturer before buying the fitting, as compressors vary in their outlet size and gender. Note that 1/4" NTP is pretty common and measures 1/2" in diameter (which is a little confusing at first). The tubing uses "push to connect" which is a black plastic with stainless steel teeth inside. We got our 8mm push-to-connect / male 1/4" NTP at mcmaster carr, part #5225K715 for about $5 each.