Inside a Small Chinese Electronics Factory – From the Archives

– The machine just put the components you want on this right position Here’s it doing that – So it’s a robot that’s placing each component on top of the solder paste on the board – Yeah, yeah, yeah Yeah, kind of machine gun You would see that, bap, bap, bap, bap – Yeah – Today I’m bringing you something a bit different I’m digging deep, deep into my archives This video actually predates the “Strange Parts” channel by about a year, and it’s the zygote of the idea that I had for the factory tour videos I’ve been doing I had this notion that TV shows like, how it’s made, really weren’t doing factories justice They were missing out on the most important part, which is the people and the stories that go into making things And so I had this giant beard, no clue how to make videos, I borrowed a friend’s camera, I talked to another friend into coming and shooting it with me, and we found a factory boss who makes things for several friends of mine in Shenzhen who was willing to show us around – So, for instance, when the customers are giving us the components, PCB First we’re get it into the warehouse to check it, like to double check about for the customer, okay, how many pieces the components of the customer provided– – To make sure you’ve received the right amount, and it matches what they said they shipped you – Yeah, and they give feedback to our customer, okay, maybe something lost or something, and then, first we check in and we have the PCB, right? And this is the shelf, maybe you feel a little bit curious about it – Yeah – This one is for the stencil, okay? The stencil – Yeah Every PCB board, you will need the stencil to get the solder paste on Solder paste on a PCB, okay? There’s a pad on it, like for the components connecting to the circuit, right? – Right, where they’re gonna be soldered down to the board – Yeah and down to like, there was a stencil is a kind of hole for this path When you have the solder paste on, the holes will just have the solder paste on the pads and when you go it, like soldering, just connecting the components to the circuit – Got it – You can see the hole, here – Okay – Actually this is all of this, like for the pads of the PCB board – Got it – And this is when you have the boards right here and you solder paste here and you — – Squeegee it – Yeah, yeah You will see like only the paths on the solder paste – Got it, so you don’t get solder paste everywhere – Yeah, everywhere, yeah – And then this is for a panelized board? – Yeah – So, it would be for three boards next to each other? – Yeah, I mean, it depends on the customer, for example, sometimes the PCBA, they also have two sides, right? One side and second side – Oh, so they put both sides on the same stencil – Yeah, maybe, so it’s just save your costs and you know like, of course you can– – Yeah, so then you only have to make one of these – Yeah, of course you can have one but like it– – So is this both sides or this is probably panelized? – Yeah, panelized, this one is for panelized, so like, maybe, this board is very small one, maybe just this big – Yep – And here’s like 50, 50 panelized one – Oh, I see – One board, there’s a 50 pieces here – Oh and then 50 pieces here and then 50 pieces here – Yeah, something like that – Got it, okay – Here’s the stencil There’s very important procedures for us to make the right stencil because directly connecting to the whole performance of the soldering – What can go wrong if the stencil is wrong? – Like at first, like about the size of the hole, right? – Yeah Sometimes like the path, right? It is true the path is like this big, but when you’re doing the production going through the reflow oven and you will see, maybe the path is not, maybe you need to get the path a little bit closer because maybe just getting too close to each other, the solder paste jump across– – Jumps across And it will create a shortage – Yeah, it’ll create a shortage, so maybe the path is square but maybe in the end you will make it a little bit thinner, longer – On the stencil? – Yeah, on the stencil, and just you know like a small modification to let the solder paste go in the right place Here is for the SMT like the line here So here’s the stencil we talked about, okay? It’s one stencil and use the machine to– – [Scotty] So he’s loading a board in there right now – Yeah You can see this one that we got the board, okay? We got a board that is totally empty, right? – [Scotty] Right, so this came from the PCB factory – Yeah, it came from– – [Scotty] And they shipped it to you – Yeah, they shipped it to us to getting like, we have the components on it – [Scotty] Got it – Yeah, this is what we’re doing Okay, so he is (murmurs), right now he is adjusting – [Scotty] Adjusting the alignment – Yeah, alignment, about to make it like a stencil, like it totally fit on the paths, okay? – Right, got it – This solder paste must first prevent the outer things to getting into the circuit, right? And you can see the deep line here, you can see the line? – Yeah – This is the circuit – Right, that’s the actual traces that connect each path – Yeah, the actual circuits you can– – And then the solder mask covers those up so that no solder binds to them, right? – Yeah, no solders on and you can have, actually this chassis in and have the covering like a protection for the chassis – Yeah, and it’s like a slippery cover that doesn’t let anything bind to them – Yeah – Yeah, got it

– Yeah, and you can see the pads here, like this is the path, like the gate to the chassis, right? And also, for example, this part is the LED, you know about the LED gives the direction, right? – Yeah – That’s why they do this imprint here, like, angle – Oh, to make sure you know which way the LED goes on – Yeah, which way you are going – So those are silk screened on here, right? – Okay – Is that right? They may put those on with a silk screen? – Yeah, yeah, yeah – Yeah, okay – The silk screen – Yeah, and that gives you all the words and lettering – Yeah – And then this is what a panelized board looks like, right? – Yeah – These are each different units? – Yep – And then they’ll, you’ll break these apart later? – Yeah – Is that right? – Yeah, you are right When, for example, when we’re doing the mass production like for SMT, it is okay, just like make it panelized if like, for high efficiency, you know? – It makes the whole line run faster when it’s bigger – Yeah, run faster, and by the way, it’s like runs faster means that you can get cheaper price, you know that? Like it’s all about efficiency, so when you’re making the panelized reasonable, it means you can get it a stable, better quality and also better price for it – Right – By the way, when you’re doing the boards, okay? There was two kinds of boards of this one You see, this panelized so much, right? – Yeah – The eight and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, so one board– – 80 boards on here – 80 boards on here, and you will see there is two different, right? – Yeah – One is with the edge, you see? – Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah – Yeah, the supporting edge and this one don’t have – No edge? – No edge, so here’s the thing, it’s better for you to have the edge this because for the convening one, for this one, for the convening belt– – [Scotty] To sit inside the rails – Yeah, to sit inside the rails but sometimes, for example, like this one, you know there’s nothing We just, for example, like this one, we don’t need to reduce the size as– – Because there’s no components– – Yeah, no components – It just holds – Yeah, but of course, I mean, I suggesting to just doing– – Just have that regardless – Yeah, maybe just hide a little little cost for that, because you know about how the PCB charging the price for the– – They charge by the area – Yeah, right, exactly – So it adds a little bit of cost to have that rail – Yeah, maybe a little bit – But it makes the manufacturing easier – Yeah, make the manufacturing easier, so I suggest you just have the edge here, and also maybe panelized, just reasonable Not too big, not too small – Right – Yeah, make it too– – Yeah, no circuit boards like this – Yeah This one is before the stencil, and this one you have the stencil, okay, here – And so he put, this machine put solder paste on every pad – Yeah – Which, will then allow you to solder the components to the board, so there’s paste on top here? – Yeah, paste, kind of brush teeth, you know? – Yeah, like a squeegee almost – Yeah, like a full on press – Push it down Whoops, down And then it wipes the solder paste across the sensor Yeah, you can see it? – Got it, and then it goes down through the holes of the stencil onto the board – Yeah, and then this one, finally we have something like this, okay? Something like that have the paths, have the solder paste on the path You can see, when we put the stuff here, okay? And then– – So then it goes down these conveyor belts – Yeah, this one, half the SMT machines are working, okay? Have the boards in, we have already set up the program So the machine just put the components you want on the right position – Got it, so it’s a robot that’s placing each component on top of the solder paste? – Yeah, kind of machine gun You’ll see, babababa – Yeah, right – [Mike] Have the things on the board, yeah – [Scotty] So this is putting LED’s on this board? – [Mike] Yeah, putting the LED’s This board is for the, some reflection, like for the– – [Scotty] Like a light or something – Yeah, like a light or something We will go back to see how it’s going on on the back side Okay, first you will see this one, we call it a feeder – Okay – You can see? – Yeah, okay, so these are reels, and these hold all of the, the reels have little pockets for all the components? – Yeah, yeah, yeah, you can see there’s a small pocket for all the components, like resistor, capacitor, something like that Okay, this is the house reels, like the components in the reel, and then we put it on the feeder The feeder just put the things, feed on the board, you know, that’s why we have the things that feed on the board – So they feed into the pick and place machine? – Yeah, and the pick and place machine, that was a nozzle, okay? When there’s a feeder here, because we cannot see very close in the machine–

– Yeah, because there’s too much stuff – Yeah, but something like that, like a reel here, there’s a pocket, the nozzle come, get it and put it into the board – How does it, how does it, whoa! So he loads all the reels here? – Yeah! – And then that sends it into the machine – Yeah, and the machine just directly chooses which one to put in which position – Oh, okay – This is how we see like– – So this is way fancier than some of the pick and play machines I’ve seen – Yeah! – This is so you can be loading reels and be placing at the same time, is that why this slides out? – Yeah, you know, there is two port here, so when we’re using one port, we can do the– – The machine can be using one and you’re loading in the other, got it So that it can run the entire time – Yeah, entire time, exactly Now we are adjusting the pick and place machine First time, when we have the program in, right? But sometimes, you know, your setup is right, but it go into machine, the machine will have low tolerance, right? And then you need to do something like that, okay, checking the camera The camera is here, like here, having a camera here, when you have the board’s components over there, like maybe a little slide, he will put the boards to the camera You know, like the machine, how it works, it’s first, the camera just position, have the boards positioned, have everything’s here, okay He check about, he will see errant components, okay? And then we use this computer to directly to see how it put on, maybe a little bit move away or something, we just change, modify it a little bit above the (murmurs) – So the camera can find the pad on the board? It’s adjusting the machine in real time? Yeah, you can see, he checking Okay, he checking, okay, once this one touch this one like a setup– – So it’s looking for these little spots on the– – Yeah, fiducial, we call it like a fiducial – Yeah, a fiducial – Yeah, a fiducial to build up the, how to say the x, y– – To see where the board is – Yeah, to see where the board is – That placed the whole board while we were just talking now – Yeah! – That’s so fast! – (laughs) Yeah, and you can see like it, okay, you’ll see, okay – Ah, so it’s slightly off – Yeah, slightly off– – It reduce adjusting – Adjusting to make like that machine, (murmurs) – Ah, so it’s slightly turned – Yeah, slightly turned and we were checking, like okay this one is past, and past, and we’re doing checking for– – Each one Each one, and then– – And then you adjust it – Yeah, the rest of them should be fine like keep running – Once you get the first few boards working– – Yeah, like a few, that’s why we need to do the setup – How many panels are you making? – Yeah, this whole box, like you see, that’s like seven thousand – How long will that take you to make that box? – I could give you– – For that box to process, how long will that take you? – Let me say in this way, okay? There’s like a speed for this one, okay? – Yeah There’s a speed, we can calculate like it, for example how many components you have, okay, the speed like it, for example, for an hour, we can get like thirty thousand – Thirty thousand components? – Yeah, thirty thousand components, so you can see how important we are, it depends on how complicated– – So will you be done with that box today? – This one? – Or will you still be working on that tomorrow? – I mean this one, we can get done like today – Today, no problem? – Today, no problems, totally no problems After we have this one, okay, have the components on, okay? – Yeah, so these are just sitting on here on the solder paste, they’re not– – Yeah – They’re not locked down yet – Yeah, you can see there’s connections on the side of the components, the connection to the circuit board and the solder paste working, like they’re rigging, connecting the things – Got it, so it’s just, sort of being held down by the solder paste, right? – [Mike] Yeah – [Scotty] The wet solder paste? – Yeah, wet solder paste, and you are right, the wet solder paste, so right now we will see how is the next position for this one, and so you can see, this port is going into the oven, okay? We are going to cook the Pizza, okay? – Okay – Yeah, this one you can see, okay, you can see there is the wet soldering, okay? – So these are similar to the other boards, they, they’ve been placed, but it’s still wet solder – Yeah, wet solder, excess it all come from the machine, and you can see here we have, okay, first, you were wondering why we have the paper on, right? – Yeah, why do you have paper on? – You know like, the re flow oven, the wind just come from up to down, right? And after that, sometimes you will have the double sides– – So you have components on both sides? – Yeah, so if you finish one side and doing the other side, what happens is going on on the bottom side – So all those components that were attached? – They would just go down – They would fall down? – Yeah, they would fall down, but like I said, like heating is from up to down, we have the paper under, first, to prevent the wind from just go down, right? – And blowing off all of the parchment? – Yeah, so, I mean have the paper on and the temperature is not high enough on the bottom,

so the soldering is not melting again, just makes the components stand, just by soldering the upside and the bottom side – So it’s kind of like an insulator? – Yeah, kind of it – To keep the bottom cool – Yeah, keep the bottom cool, you can see there are components on the bottom This part is already soldered – And you don’t want those to come off when you knead it up – Yeah, yeah – Got it – You can see there’s like eight temperatures here, like they’re separated, like eight temperature, okay? There was like first, like melting, make the solder paste melting – Yep – And then, make it cool, just like have a very standard– – Where you want it to do it steadily, not really suddenly – Yeah, not suddenly, just like very– – So you wanna heat it up slowly, and then cool it slowly – Yeah, exactly, and make it like, make that soldering performance better – Got it – That’s why we have– – And so, each of these these temperatures is a different place in the oven down the line? – Yeah and you can– – On the conveyor belt? – Yeah, actually, you will see like this is the best, how to say it, this is the best procedure for the solder paste melting and dry – Got it – Yeah – So you know what the right curve is on the temperature? – Yeah, it’s for the– – To go in, for the soldering and for the cooling – Yeah, we set up like also you see the speed is slow, just to make it solder best – And so does it take time to develop the right temperature for your oven and for the boards? Do you change this per board? – We don’t change it a lot because the temperature is the same, you know, temperature is the same, so we just use the same I mean, there was a suggestion for the factory making this, they would suggest you what kind of temperature for you to do it, right? – Right – And also, we have to like, for example, some customer, their board, it’s thicker, right? Thicker, it means it takes more time for it to– – For the board to go up – Yeah, keep the board up or something, so sometimes you just need to do some modification about this one – What happens when the temperature is incorrect? – For example, the temperature is not high enough, you will see, in the end you will see the solder paste is not soldering well, just like a little bit dry like sand or something like that, you will that, you will see– – So like it doesn’t fully melt? Yeah, fully melt, the right way you see is quite brightening The shining one, not like sand or you will see like a melting or something – Right, so you can see from the color and how shiny it is – Yeah, like the temperature is too high, just maybe do some damage to the board The PCB, it’s the oil, the oil– – Keeping the board – Yeah, you will see the board is a little bit bubbling – Oh, right – Right? Bubbling, you know, bubbling all the oil just getting another card, not good for that – Okay, yeah, so it like scorches the boards? – Yeah, so it’s very important for you to control the right temperature for the boards – Okay – Yeah – Okay, and then I notice you have all of this, like foil here, what is this for? – You know, like in SMT workshop, we need like a standard temperature, right? – Yeah – That one is big oven, you know that? – Yeah – We have to prevent the heat from getting in back here, like we have the SMT– – Oh, so you don’t wanna heat the whole building – Yeah, and by the way it’s like, it also save the energy, right? I mean this one– – So this one doesn’t cost so much to heat the other ones? – Yeah, I mean like here, heat is just responsible for the heating and here the other air conditioner doing the work cooling for the SMT machine – Got it – After the things going here– – So this is the end of the oven – End of the– – This is where things are coming out – You will see, the solder, wow, right? – Okay, yeah, yeah – Totally different from them – So this is, so the boards are now coming out hot from the oven – Yeah – And the solder has been all melted and then purified – Yeah, melted, so all the lux, all the melting on the board, as you can see – Yeah, okay – He first like kind of spot, like a checking, for it generally because this one, his main job is to getting the ones here, like getting the ones, collapsing the boards here, but like here, is still like very important procedure for us, like this part, is special machine because like, for example there is a, when you go through the reflow oven, there is something wrong with the, for example like a tomb standing, right? The components, tomb standing is meaning the components just like it should be, two lux directly connecting the board, but one is not soldering, not very good, and just getting out one side – Oh, so it stands up like a tombstone – Yeah, tombstone– – Kind of grave.yard – Yeah, we call it like tomb-standing, because like the flow is just not making it up – Oh, okay – That’s it here, and also, it’s kind of fix soldering, you see, (stumbles for words) it’s soldering on the right position, but actually it just cannot– – So it never connected – Yeah, they’re not connecting with themselves – Okay, so this has a camera in it? – Yeah, there’s a camera, a high resolution camera, to getting the photo You have the go sample, right? So make it like a sander into the computer

The computer is just like each boards, we will take photos to compare each part – With the– With the go sample – So you have a sample that you visually inspected that you know works – Yeah – And then you fed that into the machine and you took pictures of everything – Yeah – And then each new board you take pictures of it and compare it with the pictures you took from your clipboard? – Yeah, the computer is just doing the same things, and then okay, there is something wrong with this part, there’s something wrong with speakers, so you cannot– – Because it doesn’t look the same – Yeah, by the way, so you cannot just know, like total 100% to pass, like there was something wrong that’s why we need to check it, okay? – So I noticed this has very strange colors on it, is it doing heat sensor or is it just using a special light? – Yeah, special light The function is calibrating the angle of the reflection back that light or something, to check– – To see how shiny the soldering is? – Yeah, for example this one should be okay, right? I mean, like okay, this color should be okay to about that and if we fix soldering or something else, you will see the color totally different – How does the machine work inside? I can see the light is like blue and green and maybe orange in there? – [Mike] Yeah – [Scott] And they’re shining at different angles? – Yeah, just directly, you know for the calculating, like okay, the fixed soldering, if calculating, we plan like a different color, okay? So he used different of color to reflect and getting the calculating about okay, whether this good, whether this not, so then he is going to checking the computer, just know kind of doing his job – And so she, she’s manually checking these too? – Yeah, because you built up a standard, right? The computers just follow the standard, but something is, you cannot just use a really really exact standard, right? – Right – So that’s why we need– – So that’s why you have a human– – Yeah, human to also check and make sure, okay, this one is okay, but the computer itself is not, but we can say okay, this one is good – Got it – You can control the colorings on some stuff – Got it – And then like okay, there was something wrong with the board, okay? We have like a repairer, like here to doing some fix – To fix anything that might be wrong with the board – Yeah, yeah, for example like, okay, there was a fix soldering, just adding the soldering on it She’s doing for example like a solder paste, that’s not enough, right? She’s just adding some – Adding a little bit soldering – Soldering to make it like a connect, very– – That is very detailed – Yeah, and this is like kind of a one procedure here for the SMT parts, SMT, only SMT – Okay, only SMD, so only the surface mount? – Yeah, okay, here’s like, there was a hand soldering here, like it because there was some small, small quantity, like maybe 200 pieces? Larger pieces, you cannot– – Like a prototype – Yeah, kind of prototype, you cannot, like every time using the big machines – Because it takes so long to set it up – Yeah, here’s like for the small pieces, like a small one and also the hand soldering This part is for the hand soldering – [Scott] Right, so they’re doing little small runs by – Yeah, yeah, so small runs because some (murmurs), you cannot use the machine or something like that – You have to do it by hand – Yeah, you have to do it by hand, like here, that one is for the small and here is for the big one, like a big run for the soldering, hand soldering part, okay? Here you can see every ports line up for the screw hole, and you will see like a big soldering machine over there, like doing the big soldering The boards here, no, he’s just like in the middle stub, okay, you can see there is no soldering here, okay? He just put the lines on it – So they’re just putting the cables in – Yeah, because right now this for the big one, so we need like every person having a responsible for different stuff, maybe this guy just, like had to sit just putting the part in, just keep doing this like the same thing, not doing the other thing – So she just puts the wires in? – Yeah, and you can see– – And then when she connects, she goes here? – Yeah, and you can see the people here Okay, he’s doing the soldering – That is about one hundred times faster than I saw earlier (laughter) And so these guys are placing– – Yeah, placing them down and placing (mumbles) soldering in the end – Got it – Yeah, I want just, okay, here is the soldering and somebody just you know cut the lux, okay? Cut the lux (soft piano music) Unfortunately I seem to have lost the video file with the second half of this factory tour I don’t know how, I have the other three video files that were shot that same day, I don’t know,

perhaps it’s on a hard drive that’s in storage in China, either way I don’t have access to it right now, but from what I remember, in this room they were making hover board controller circuit boards, and this was back in the hay day of hover boards and so they were making these all day long, everyday Well, I hope you enjoyed that blast from the past If I ever find that other video file, perhaps I’ll release part two here sometime in the future But for now, I wanted to thank Mike for taking all the time to show us around, and all of his great wisdom and advice, Particularly given at the time I had zero YouTube following, there wasn’t really any reason for him to spend as much time as he did with us, proving he’s a really nice, generous guy If you’d like to find out more about him and his company, I left a link down in the description below I’d also like to thank Gordon McCambridge for coming and filming with me I’m Scotty from Strange Parts Stay tuned, I got more videos coming up including some new content, I’ve got parts on the way from China, and I’ve been filming some factory operations and other cool things here on the Native American Reservation where I’m staying It’s some pretty interesting stuff So, stay tuned, I’ll see you again soon