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Schunk introduces fast depanelling machine

Schunk Electronic Solutions has developed Magnoplate – a universal workpiece holder for depanelling machines that is claimed to speed up the process.

Depanelling is the process when product-relevant PCBs produced together on a board are broken up to be inserted into the product during assembly.

The workpiece holder of Magnoplate  places magnetic carrier pins with a milling head on a support plate. This results in lightning-fast brackets for new assembly groups.

The advantage for users, says the company, is that they can start new jobs more quickly without having to wait for the time-consuming production of suitable workpiece carriers.

Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) service providers with a great product variance especially benefit from this automation. They are confronted with the challenge of processing thousands of assembly groups (panels) for the manufacturers of mobile phones, printers, and computers every month.

“The trend in the era of individualised products is towards ever smaller batch sizes. This increases the pressure on companies,” explains Jochen Ehmer, Managing Director of Schunk Electronic Solutions.

“With Magnoplate, even the smallest series can be machined quickly and economically.”

Zollner Elektronik AG from Zandt in Bavaria, which has established itself as a mechatronics service provider among the top 15 EMS service providers worldwide, is one of the users of the system, which is unique on the market to date.

Magnoplate consists of a support plate, magnetic carrier pins and computer-aided design (CAD) software. When a new order is placed, an employee loads the CAD data of the assembly into the software of the depanelling machine, and then virtually determines the position of the carrier pins.

Now the milling head comes into play, in which a setting sleeve is clamped, not a milling cutter. With this setting sleeve, the milling head grips the magnetic pins, which are stored in magazines along the edge of the carrier plate and positions them on the base plate.

In this way, the suitable workpiece holder is created step by step within two minutes and the depanelling can begin.

“The production of a classic tool carrier, on the other hand, often takes several weeks and reduces the company’s ability to react,” says Ehmer.

With Magnoplate, he says: “You also save the purchasing, storage, and maintenance costs for classic workpiece holders. The investment pays for itself accordingly.”

The system is compatible with all depanelling machines from Schunk Electronic Solutions. Customised pin geometries are also available.

A further component of Magnoplate is a patented fixing plate with holes, which is placed on top of the carrier pins – it can be produced using the CAD software and the milling head of the depanelling machine. The fixing plate ensures that the carrier pins do not move during depanelling.

This ensures that small sensitive assembly groups are not damaged during the milling process. The fixing plate also ensures a faster workflow. The corresponding CNC program can be automatically loaded via a printed QR code that the machine reads. Given its thickness of just 1.5 millimetres, the fixing plate can be stored in drawers to save space.