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 Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the minimum hardware requirements?
The database server and the monitor program can be on one PC.

How fast can the system stop the machine from placing a wrong component?

The system works in the cycle stop of the placement machine. As soon as a wrong component is detected, the system cycle stops the machine immediately and the wrong component is not allow to be placed onto the printed circuit board.

Can the system handle part number substitution?

Yes. When a part number is loaded on the machine that does not match the part number in the placement program, the system will check whether the part number is a substitute part. The user can either manually enter the substitute part number or read the substitute part number from a columnized text file.

Do I need one PC per placement machine?

No, one PC can monitor up to four placement machines. However, the processor and memory must be upgraded to accommodate the increased work load.

How much modification is needed on the placement machine?

Practically none.

How long does it take to install the system?

About four hours per machine.

What is a reel ID?

A reel ID is a barcode label applied to each reel of components that uniquely identifies them for tracking purposes. Users may have several reels of components with the same part number. The reel ID allows the BarTector™ system to track the number of components remaining on each reel.

I do not have reel IDs implemented in our site, can I run BarTector without the reel ID and implement reel ID in the future?

Yes, all you need to do is turn on/off a software switch.

Is the BarTector™ system protected by different user access privileges?

Yes, the administration of the user is similar to Windows NT and UNIX. A graphical user interface is provided. The database server is also protected.

How much maintenance is needed after the system is installed?

From our experience, very little.

How much operator training is needed?

Operator training varies, depending on the operator's computer skills. If the operator already knows how to use Win95, the training will take about one hour. In general, our experience shows that operators become proficient with the system in two to three weeks.

Can BarTector™ print barcode labels?

Yes, BarTector™ can print barcode labels for reel IDs (internally-generated unique IDs), part numbers, quantity and supplier part numbers. BarTector™ can also cross-check supplier part numbers and user’s internal part numbers before a label is printed.

When a wrong reel is detected, how does the operator know which feeder is wrong?

When an error is detected, the system shows the feeder’s ID and slot number.

What is the exact sequence of events when the system detects an error?

The system sounds an alarm and activates the cycle stop switch on the CP machine.

At what point does the machine stop? At what station is the incorrect part?

The system cycle stops the machine as soon as an error is detected. The incorrect part should remain at the picking station. The program also shows the feeder and slot number of the incorrect part number.

What is the exact sequence of events during the recovery? How does the incorrect part get removed from the nozzle and how is the placement sequence resumed?

When an error is detected, the CP machine stops. The operator should:

  1. Clear the error on the BarTector™ system to stop the alarm.
  2. Make sure that the part number in the feeder as indicated by the program does contain a wrong part number.
  3. Use the ‘dump part’ option on the CP machine to discard all the parts on the turret.
  4. Move the D-table to a position where the wrong part number can be replaced
  5. Replace the wrong part number with the correct part number and scan in the feeder and reel.
  6. Resume production.

Is it fail-safe? Can the operator override the system in the event of an error?

The BarTector™ program stops the chip shooter from operating if the program is not running. However, a key switch is provided to bypass the BarTector™ program and allow the placement machine to operate even when the BarTector™ system is turned off. The key to the switch should be maintained by engineering personnel or the line supervisor.

The system can also be overridden by a privileged user. This will work only if the BarTector™ system is turned on. The account of the privileged user is password-protected. Even if the monitoring is bypassed, the system still increments the feeder stroke count during machine operation.

How do the system & controller act/interact when there is an error?

The BarTector™ system does not interact with the controller but is connected to the placement machine directly.

Does it log errors that it finds? If so, how do we retrieve them?

The BarTector™ program logs all the operator input, as well as any errors, into a log table in the database. Users can list the errors from the log table at any time. Since errors are logged in the central database, the error information can be listed from any location within the network. In a future version, users can elect to receive email from the system if an error occurs.

How effective is the system at preventing wrong reel errors? In what areas can operators make mistakes?

The following errors are possible:

  • Incoming label is incorrect - The label on the reel should correctly identify the component in the reel. The label is usually attached to the reel by the component manufacturer.
  • Operator forgets to scan reel after replacing a partially consumed reel - The BarTector™ program counts the number of components in a reel to make sure that the operator scans in a new reel during replenishment. A negative count on the reel indicates that the reel on the feeder is different from the original reel, and will sound an alarm. However, if a reel of components is being replaced even when it is not consumed completely, and the operator forgets to scan in the next reel of component, the BarTector™ program will assume that the reel has not been changed and continue to operate normally. The alternative is to put a sensor on each slot on the placement machine to detect the removal of the feeder. The downside of this approach is cost and modification of the placement machine. We believe that the current approach is cost effective and the risk is extremely low.

Will the system reduce the part replenishment time?

In general, the replenishment time is increased when the operator has to write down any reel changes during replenishment. The BarTector™ system eliminates this need by automatically logging all changes to the database.

If the feeder is set up ahead of time, i.e. the feeder and reel are scanned, the operator needs only to remove the feeder and put the replacement feeder onto the machine. Verification is automatic.

Do we need one barcode scanner per machine?

Yes, each station needs two fixed-mount scanners and one handheld scanner. All the scanners are included in the price.

How long does the replenishment operation takes?

The replenishment operation should require no more than 15 seconds over current replenishment operations.

How accurate is the barcode on the bottom of the table?

Very accurate because the system does not depend on encoder input.

Can the scanner keep up with the machine as it places?

The scanner is rated at a maximum of 500 scans per second. Our installation on a St. Laurent demonstrated that the scanner is scanning at 350 scans per second for the label on the feeder (0.010” narrow bar width).

Can the system perform a pre-run check or is all the verification performed as the machine is running?

The system performs verification as the machine is running.

How long does it store the information?

You can set the number of days to store information, but this parameter is limited by the size of the database server.

How can we view and sort the historical data?

You can either use the built-in function to view the data, or use one of the existing off-the-shelf tools, such as Crystal Reports, to view and sort the historical data.

Can I count the number of picks from each feeder and log data for use in feeder maintenance? Is this available now?

Yes and yes.

What data does BarTector™ provide for feeder usage?

You can preset a timer when the feeder stroke count is being updated. For example, if feeder XYZ is being used on a placement machine, every preset number of minutes, the stroke count of the feeder is logged into the database.

Can I track all reels on the shop floor and keep a record of the quantity of parts on each reel? Is this available now?

Yes and yes.

How does BarTector™ know the scrap rate of each component reel?

The BarTector™ program keeps track of each reel in use on the machine. The number of parts on a reel decrements by one every time the machine strokes the feeder. This information is logged to the database every five minutes (or any time period specified by the user) or when the total stroke count on a placement machine reaches 2000 (or any stroke count specified by the user).

Is there a material tractability function available?

Not 100% because the board ID is not recorded in the database. Our future plans include this option in the software.

What search can be done on the material?

You can search on: location of the material, part number, part number belonging to a specific program, and quantity of the part number, etc.

How does the tractability option track the barcode of the board being produced?

It is not tractable because the board ID is not included in the database.

How does it get setup information from the St. Laurent Controller?

This is read from a setup file using NFS (Network file services).

How does it get the part number from the barcode?

The part number is related to the barcode by a reel ID. The reel ID can be generated by the BarTector™ program at any location. When the operator loads a reel onto the feeder, he/she must scan the feeder and the reel ID so that a relationship is established between the feeder’s ID and the part number.

Will it link into the feeder carousel database? What is the feeder carousel database?

If the feeder carousel database is a standard database, there should be no problem.

What happens in the event of a system crash?

You restart the software. The database should not be affected because the data is stored on a remote server.

How does the system get the setup information? Is it from the controller or from the machine?

The system gets the setup information from the machine controller.

Does it know which program is selected on the machine to run? Does it constantly monitor the controller to see which program is in the foreground?

Currently, this feature is available only on the Fuji Machine.

How does it know if somebody selects a new program on the machine?

For the Fuji MCS2 system, the BarTector™ can monitor the real-time production data from the MCS controller. For the F4G system, the BarTector™ can monitor the real-time production data from the F4G controller.

Can we do off-line editing while the machine is running and then download the program to the machine?

Yes, the data is instantly available.

How will the interface to the controller change as we change the architecture within the controller?

The BarTector™ is written for standard Fuji software and will be upgraded accordingly.

How will the system get information from about the reel from the barcode?

The operator enters the reel information so that it always contains the part number and the quantity of the reel. This information resides in a database generated by the BarTector™ program.

What information about the reel does it need from the reel barcode?

Part number, supplier part number (optional) and quantity. This information is entered only once and is maintained by the BarTector™ database for the life of the reel.

How does it track feeder history from one line to another?

The data resides on one central database server and is connected by a computer network. The feeder is visible to all machines with BarTector™ installed.

Can it handle duplicate setups on the tables?

Yes! This is the strength of the BarTector™ system because the monitoring function is carried out in a background thread and the operator GUI is in the foreground thread. With this arrangement, an operator can change the feeder and replenish it while the machine is running.

Can we edit setup files while running?

Any change to the setup file is instantly available to the BarTector™ program.

Where does it store the reel info and quantity? What happens if the reel is removed from one feeder and remounted on a new feeder? What happens to the data collected so far on that reel?

The data is stored on a central database so all the reel information is available to all BarTector™ programs on the network. When the reel is removed from one feeder and remounted onto a new feeder, the database will be updated instantly. The data collected is not lost.

What standard reports can it generate?

Currently, you can view a report only on the monitor. A print function will be added in the near future. You can also use off-the-self software, such as Crystal Reports, to generate reports from the database.

Will there be any links to the Fuji system to get production errors for DCPC use?

Yes, BarTector™ uses the standard production information from the Fuji controller.

Can the central server keep up with the machines as they are running?

This depends on the speed of the server and number of machines. In general, each machine writes to the database every 4-5 minutes with a peak rate of about 50 transactions per second lasting about 2-3 seconds.

How many machines can run from one server?

We estimate approximately 50 machines with a dual Pentium Pro 200 Mhz server with striped SCSI disks.

Can it multitask, that is, monitor the line, check new setups, change reel and create off-line setup simultaneously?

Yes, the BarTector™ program was designed to multitask! The multitasking is not limited to one local machine but is extended to the entire network, so that all the tasks listed above can be performed anywhere at anytime within the same network.

How are the terminals linked between machines and lines?

By industry-standard TCP/IP networks. Data is shared using ODBC so that you are not limited to one database selection.

What is the life expectancy of the scanners considering they will be switched on and off thousands of times a day? What is the MTBF?

The scanner is rated at 50,000 hours at 25 deg. C. Turning of the laser diode in the scanner actually helps to lengthen the life expectancy of the scanner.

Can BarTector™ be used on the new Fuji Machine?

The system is interchangeable on some CP machines, but not all because some CP machines have different barcode scanners.

Will it work on all of our Fuji Machines? CP4, CP4-3, CP6, CP64-2?


We may need to modify the software to integrate with our other CIM application(s), can we do this?

Yes, you can do it yourself or we can modify it for you based on our contract. The BarTector™ program is based on ODBC and you can customize it easily using standard database tools. In fact, all the data is written to the database, and you can use ‘triggers’ to accomplish most of the integration needed. The database structure of BarTector™ program is open, i.e. it is available to you.

What are the future plans for the IP’s and GSM’s?

We have a working prototype for IP and GSM-type machines. The approach differs greatly from BarTector™.

What do we need to provide for installation?

  • PC
  • Ethernet Address
  • Ethernet Drop and connection to the PC

What software preparations do we need to make?

If you supply the database server, it should be available and connected to the network at the time of installation.

Are there any warranty infringements with Fuji by modifying the machine?

Machines need no modification, except that some older machines need two holes drilled to mount the barcode scanner.

What is the warranty period is on the hardware?

Six months labor (travel not included). One year on parts.

What warranty period is on the software?

One year free upgrade.

Do we need the SYSTEM administration tool for every station or machine?

No, but it comes with every station. The system administration is global, that is, changes to a parameter affect all machines on the same network.

Do we need a FEEDER maintenance tool for every machine or station?

No, but it comes with every station.

How many scanners can the feeder setup module support?

One scanner per feeder setup module, but a user can run multiple instances of the program.

How many machines can the server module support?

The server module is standard, so the number of machines supported depends on the speed of the CPU and the disk. The estimate is that 50 machines can be supported using a dual Pentium Pro 200 MHz with striped SCSI disk arrays.

Is there an install site in North America?

Yes, please contact us for more information.