When I was first 'handed the keys' to Sparkfun's first Pick & Place, I thought it a short matter of time before I somehow destroyed the $70k piece of equipment and lost a very cool job. Luckily, I managed, with considerable help from Manncorp's support staff, to get the machine cranking out widgets with speed and precision.
There were false starts. The first time I tried to build a board, parts were spit, slammed and bounced all over the place. It was soon impressed upon me the importance of learning accurate heights all pick and place locations. Initially, we also achieved improved placement by slowing the movement of the head. However, we've since been able to refine other crucial settings, to be better tailored to each build, allowing us to place at max speed for more than 75% of parts placed.
Not only was Manncorp's technical support team essential in helping me to learn how to operate the 383V, they continue to prove themselves invaluable whenever we need fast answers to critical issues and have been instrumental in pointing us in directions which led to major advances in the way we use the machine.
To sum up my experience: Learn all x, y, and z locations perfectly and have a flawless trained image for all component libraries. You'll be fine. Have fun now.
Overall Experience with the Machines
Both machine have worked great for us since we've had them. In my personal experience I have not come across any major problems or issues that have shut us down for a significant amount of time. There have been minor problems such as broken nozzles, broken Z-axis spring, etc. but these are all anticipated problems. If you run a machine at the rate we do you are bound to break something eventually.
We run our MC383 for approximately 15-18 hours a day and the MC384 for 8 hours a day. They have dealt with this work load perfectly, as long as we keep up on our maintenance. We do general maintenance on the machines every 40 machine hours which equates to about once every 10-12 working days. The maintenance is simple in itself, basic lubrication of the X, Y, and Z rails, re-packing of the bearings for the worm gears, and general cleaning. We also run calibrations at the 40 hour interval which are also simple.
Overall Experience with Manncorp
Manncorp has been great in getting us replacement parts for anything that breaks. They have also been very helpful when it comes to tricky software issues. Things like calibrations, trained images, feeder issues, have all been easy to work through with their help. Their customer service is great, we have had to order in a few extra parts for our newer machine and they respond very quickly. They are also good about fixing faulty pieces of equipment. Just recently we noticed that 5 of our 8mm feeders were not working correctly and we were able to return them to Manncorp for proper installation of a replacement part.
All in all, our machines are great, run perfectly with proper maintenance and operation, and Manncorp provides all the necessary assistance and expertise to keep things running smoothly.