Pick and place machine is the main device in a PCB assembly line with the ability to place components automatically on a PCB board fast and precisely.
We also can call it a pick and place system, pick and place robot, or placement machine, which is the critical element to achieve the success of surface mount technology.
1. What Is A Pick And Place Machine
1.1 The basic definition:
Generally speaking, the pick and place machine is absolutely a complicated machine for mounting components. As its name implies, which picks components from feeders or trays then places them on the PCB board.
The operator can load chips on this machine. For some devices, they have feeder stations at both the front and rear sides. Via reels, tubes, stick feeders, we can load components onto the machine from these various feeder forms.
- What is its basic configuration?
Simply, there is a mounting head on the X-axis of the pick and place machine, which is able to pick up components from reels, tubes of stick feeders then place them onto the board eventually.
PCB assembly process
Its principle is the vacuum, which means when picking the components the head uses a certain vacuum, then releases the vacuum to put the components on PCB board.
- How the machine control its movement?
Generally, there is specialized software, which guides the head regarding to the PCB board position and mount the components on the required locations with the exact accuracy.
Therefore, we can understand that the operator should make a program by using the installed software of the pick and place machine with the required information of the components and PCBs,
Whereupon, the machine knows where to place the components on the PCB board. Usually, the mounting file is directly related to the PCB design information.
- The complexity and the role of the machine
As we all know, pick and place machine is the most complex in an SMT production line, so it takes up the major cost in the SMT equipment investment. Besides, the pick and place machine also plays a vital role in SMT production performance.
The production quantity is increasing, as well as the size of components is decreasing and the printed circuit boards is getting more and more complicated, which urges electronic manufacturers to adopt the full-automatic SMT production line.
According to the mounting types, the SMT production line has two types roughly: simultaneous and sequential pick and place machine.
The simultaneous pick and place machine can pick up and mount all components at the same time, which usually requires to know the locations of all the components before placing them onto the PCB.
On the contrary, a sequential pick and place machine picks up only one component each time and then places the component onto the printed circuit board one by one.
The sequential chip mounter can place various types of components with high flexibility and accuracy, but its mounting speed is not as fast as the simultaneous machine.
Hence, we can classify the pick and place machines according to their different configurations and functions
1.2 Placement machine category
Based on the specific configuration and function, we can list the following five types for placement machines. They are including dual-delivery, multi-station, turret-head machine, multi-functional head machine, and sequential pick-and-place machine.
1）Dual-Delivery Pick and place machine
Dual-Delivery Pick and place machine
Usually, in dual delivery pick and place machine the PCB board platform is able to move in both X-Y axis directions, and before mounting the components onto the PCB board, the machine aligns the PCB platform under the placement head first.
However, its placement arms and two-component conveyor holders only can move in X-direction.
The machine mounting heads can move between the two ends of the machine but only in the direction of Y-axis.
Besides, the special feature of this machine is that the placement heads of the two sides can work independently,
such as, while one head is mounting the components onto the PCB board, the other head is picking the components from feeders.
For this kind of machine, all movements of the PCB board and feeder carrier are frozen during the pick-and-place operations.
Hence, the machine PCB platform and the movement of the feeder holders decide the total cycle time,
2）Multi-Station Placement Machine
In general, this machine has more than one placement module (or stations), each one being mechanically identical and able to assemble electronic parts concurrently.
The machine modules are linked by the conveyor that transfers the printed circuit board from one module to another.
Firstly, the operator puts the PCBs on the guide rail, then the machine conveyor system will transfer the board later through its modules.
Each machine module will receive the required mounting data for every machine cycle during the intermittent period between two conveyor steps and completes the cycle’s placement sequence autonomously and concurrently with the other stations.
The conveyor will only move after all modules have finished, then the placement process will continue.
3）Turret-type Placement Machine
Turret-type Placement Machine
We usually call this kind of machine chip shooter. The machine placement has a rotating turret, which can rotate between the fixed pickup and fixed placement position.
Generally, each pick-and-place operation starts by retrieving a component at the grip station, while the placement station simultaneously mounts (if there is a chip to be mounted) a component at a pre-specified location on the PCB board then the feeder frame puts the next proper feeder to the right position, and the PCB platform goes to the position of the next location at the same time.
Actually, the PCB platform, the feeder holder, and the turret all move simultaneously, however, the component pickup and placement can be operated at different times, but they should be finished between the same two turret rotations.
Typically, this machine has 12 to 24 placement heads, each has three to six nozzles, which can be changed on-the-fly.
4）Multi-Head Placement Machine
The pick and place machine with the multi placement head is the most flexible equipment that is able to deal with various kinds of component packages. The multi placement head can differentiate from the turret model in the chip transferring mechanism.
It employs the X and Y-axis placement head to transfer component from the settled feeder stations and put them later onto the fixed printed circuit boards,
however, the mounting head of a turret-type pick and place machine rotates to picks the chips at the certain pickup position from a traveling feeder station, then places it onto the exact placement location of a moveable printed circuit board.
Usually, we classify the multi placement head machine into two types. The first type has a stationary PCB table and feeder carrier with the arm and head being able to move concurrently in the X and Y directions, respectively, to perform the pick-and-place operations.
Another type has an X-Y axis motion table and moveable feeder carrier with the arm and head traveling between the fixed pickup-and-placement locations.
Multi-Head Placement Machine
The cycle of the placement head starts from picking up a small number of chips from the feeders simultaneously or sequentially based on the condition that the placement heads have been equipped with the right nozzles already, if not we may need a nozzle exchange bank.
Then, for the first type of machine, the placement head and the machine axis will move in X-Y direction synchronously to the certain location where the chip will be mounted.
Whereafter, in the Z direction, the placement head will move down and place the chip onto the printed circuit board before going back to the original location and repeating these procedures for the next solder pads on the substrate that are demanded to be mounted at the same cycle.
When finished a cycle, the placement head will return to the feeder position to start another cycle, unless the machine asks for the nozzle changes.
The placement head of this kind of machine may be similar to the placement head of the turret-type pick and place machine. The difference is that one locates on the top of the axis while the pickup and mounting locations are not required to be settled.
5）Sequential Pick-and-Place Machine
A typical machine of this type has a placement head mounted at the end of an arm. The arm can move in the X direction, whilst the head can move simultaneously in the Y-direction. The pipette/nozzle on the head can move in the Z-direction to perform pick-and-place operations.
The placement axis should go to the nozzle bank to pick up the required nozzles, then it moves to the feeder location to pick the particular component, finally, the placement head should go to the correct location of the board to place the component.
If the next component uses the same nozzle model, the machine axis will go directly to the feeder station to repeat the last pick and place operation. Or else, the axis will move to the automatic nozzle changer to change the nozzles.
6）Desktop Placement Machine
Desktop Placement Machine
If you do not have the batch production plan at present or in the future, the benchtop/desktop placement equipment will be a good choice for you with its lower cost comparing with the large full automatic machines.
Generally, it has two different categories: manual desktop model and automatic benchtop model.
The automatic desktop pick and place machine with the fastest 13,000 CPH placement speed is the model of DT-4H, which is provided by the ElectronicsTalk.
- Manual desktop pick and place machine
This type of machine is always very simple, which usually has a board platform on a small frame, bins, and hand rest to support the PCB.
Besides, the vision system, it adopts the vacuum pick-up pipette. What is more, the manual pick and place machine also has the feeder bank for tape or strip for sure.
The production that the manual desktop machine is suitable for？
The small workshops that do not have much board to be assembled and their most boards can be placed by hand, for these companies, they do not have high accuracy requirement to the components mounting,
What they need only is higher precision than placing chips by hand. Besides, these workshops also can accept the lower speed when placing components.
The selling prices of manual desktop chip mounter:
Based on the simple machine configuration and function, its selling prices usually between $1,000 and $12,000.
- Automated benchtop machine.
Comparing with the manual desktop placement machine, the automatic one has a larger feeder capacity, higher mounting accuracy, and more reliable repeatability with its flying and bottom vision alignment as well as operated-by programming.
The automated machines have a remarkable advantage over manual machines is that the operator does not need to put every single board by himself all the time.
However, here is one thing we should note that the desktop machine can save your cost, but it may not save your floor space, for the reason that it needs a stable and big enough table to stand on. Sometimes the table size is as large as a full-sized pick and place machine.
The production that the automatic desktop machine is suitable for:
These plants that do not want to place all the component by themselves and they have many components to be mounted and demand to place components at a higher speed and accuracy than the manual machine.
The selling prices of automatic desktop chip mounter:
Because, the automatic machine has more complex features, so its selling price is much higher than the manual type, normally, the price is between $15k to $20k.
2. Which Parts Will Influence Pick And Place Machine price?
As talked before, we can find that the pick and place machine is a kind of equipment with complicated technology in both hardware and software. So the elements affecting its price are complex.
Pick and place machine price
2.1 Machine Hardware configuration is one of the factors affecting the final price.
Some machines have four feeder stations located at both front and rear sides. Different feeder capacity will cause different prices.
Usually, its placement head is very complex, which is fixed on the end of the axis or is moveable to transfer the chips from the feeder to the printed circuit board. The higher flexibility, the higher price for sure.
There are nozzles equipped on the placement head, generally, different machines may have different quantities and types of nozzles.
Besides, there is a PCB platform installed on the machine base, which is for holding the PCB in a certain position during the mounting process. Some machines will cost much more for the nozzles.
Sometimes, it is not the standard configuration but the optional choice for customers, but as it is very useful to save the placement cycle time, so many customers would like to have it with the pick and place machine.
It is also a critical part that decides the machine accuracy, at present, the common camera types adopted by the machine manufacturers are flying camera and linear scanning camera, customers can according to their production requirements to make the proper choice.
Also for the machines that have equipped the feeder stations at both the front side and backside, then the customer can choose to have one more camera at the backside, which will increase the placement speed. Absolutely, the additional camera will raise the price.
All the parts stated before will have an influence on the total price of the pick and place machine.
However, as we all know that the pick and place machine is a fully automatic device, which consists of the X-Y-Z degrees of freedom manipulator, the components on the feeding system, the PCB board transferring system, the visual system,
Motor control system
From all the above, we can see that the motion control is the vital factor that determines the overall machine performance such as the placement accuracy and the placement speed.
Furthermore, the motor-control system decides the core technology of motion control. According to its strong ability, the motion control system takes up the major cost of the price of the pick and place machine.
2.2 Machine software has a big influence on price.
- Offline software availability:
There is offline software available when you are checking the pick and place machine.
It is a kind of software that can be set up in a personal computer with a similar interface as the machine.
With this software, the operator can make and verify the program offline, as well as do the optimization.
What is more, through the offline procedure, it can finish partial production preparation without stopping the machine, hence, it can save your time expenditure eventually.
Considering the R&D investment, if the vendor can provide offline software with its machine, the total price of this machine may be higher.
As its name implies, MES is the abbreviation of the Manufacturing Execution System, which is becoming a critical factor in the intelligent and flexible factory solution in the journey towards Industry 4.0.
So, what is the major function? Please check the following:
It can track and record the relevant data of material management, production planning, and production conditions. Therefore, MES software also has a great influence on the final price of a chip mounter.
3. DIY or Buy an Automatic Pick And Place Machine Instead?
3.1 Why choosing to DIY pick and place machine
- Cost and the limited working space:
The obvious reason for people to choose DIY pick and place machine is the huge cost of buying a pick and place machine from both the direct manufacturer or a special supplier.
Besides, some home workshop has a limited space, which is too small for a very big and heavy machine.
Furthermore, the cost of the commercial systems with all the other kit being estimated at £50,000 + for the machinery plus annual costs of £10,000 + for rent/rates/power/heating, etc, which pushes some people to build their own pick and place machine.
3.2 How to DIY pick and place machine
Please have a look, the following is the DIY procedure of a simple pick and place machine, such as the various components, bearings, motors, drive systems, frame materials, etc for the machine building.
For the frame, you can try aluminum extrusion as this would be easy to assemble, light, and ridged, and allow you to easily adjust the positions of different parts by sliding them along the rails.
The main framework can have 60mm x 20mm extrusion with 20mm x 20mm on the component picker rails and 40mm x 20mm on the component feeder assembly.
Main machine frame
- Bearings and Drive systems
In order to make sure accuracy when placing components on an automated system, it is better to use some good quality linear side bearings on the X and Y-axis.
For instance, you can select the vertical slide bearings for the picker heads and component feeder head, which has the advantage that they were compact, precise, and had built-in end stops.
So the heads wouldn’t accidentally fall off if you make something wrong in the software.
Bearing and drive system
- Placement Heads and Vacuum Control
If you would like to build the pick and place machine with fast speed and precise accuracy, you should choose a high pitch lead screw with a Delrin nut connected directly to a Nema 8 stepper motor.
You can use two picker assemblies, which can make you use two different nozzles of various sizes. At the same time, you don’t have to change nozzles halfway through a building process.
Furthermore, for rotating the components, you can use a hollow shaft NEMA 8 motor with the nozzle fitted on one end and a Delrin cap fitted over the top end with the vacuum hose attached, which would allow free rotation of the nozzle without leaking air into the vacuum hose.
A coupling system was necessary through using a pair of brass pins held onto the motor shaft with a rubber o-ring. This will help you quickly pull out a nozzle and replace it with a different size.
A small amount of spring can be added to its nozzle assembly. So, if it pushes down too far with a component, it will not damage the component or lose track of the picker height.
- Component tape feeders and actuators
With regard to the feeders to hold the components, you may try to adapt the stepper motor on the vertical slide and exchange it with a pneumatic ram that is activated by the solenoid on the placement head assembly.
What is more, it is better to buy a noiseless stepper for the reason that the workshop compressors at cheaper prices will have a lot of noise and would annoy your neighbors.
- Tube fed chip feeder system
The feeder system for tube supplied chips is a vibration feeder, which can shake the chips down the tubes as well as putting into a picker location at the base.
The base of the assembly was machined from a section of 20mm Delrin sheet and the separate inserts for each chip size from a 4mm aluminum sheet.
Over this, a clamping plate was fitted and this holds a vibration motor from an X box game controller.
In the backside of the feeder, here is a threaded bar that can clamp each side of the component tubes by the nuts.
Controlled by the PC software, the motor can feed a component to the right location to be picked at around 750ms every time.
The vision system compromises of two USB cameras, a base camera with a large LED array, which will use Open CV to detect the component held above and determine if the position and rotation are correct,
besides, which applies any changes necessary and the head camera will work to find the location of the PCB and set the offsets. It will also work well for manual placement.
The basic LED light sources have 140 red LED beams that are controlled by a customized driver and dimmer board.
Microsoft X-box vision camera is the base of the camera module, and the small head camera with 8mm wide view can be bought from eBay, which with 10m lead and was sold as an endoscope camera.
- Control boards and interfaces
For controlling the pick and place machine, you can use a combination of commercial drivers combined with parts, such as a controller, switch panel, and a ribbon cable, to connect the breakout board with another board that contains the power supplies and relays to active different parts of the machine.
The ribbon cable provides power to the smooth stepper board and communication between the smooth stepper and the relays.
You can try to use a fully-featured Windows application to control the pick and place machine and include camera vision using Open CV.
Please make sure that when loading the board’s component list and also board settings including offsets, feeding rates, and thickness of the PCB board, which is used to calculate the correct placement height.
What is more, you should also have the vision system and manual control system to complete to interface it with a Leap motion controller.
3.3 The advantages of buying pick and place machine directly
Pick and place machine benefits
Pick and place machines are a vital part of modern manufacturing, offering customized ways to solve problems and ultimately bolster companies’ bottom lines.
Comparing with DIY a simple pick and place machine, Here are 9 reasons why you should invest in the commercial pick-and-place machine.
ElectronicsTalk-China SMT-Pick and place machine
If there is a single reason to select a pick and place machine and use it to assemble or package products, it is probably the speed and performance it offers over DIY machines.
The technology is improving as pick-and-place machines have become multi-taskers over the last two decades.
Designers have also adopted multiple heads and several gantry features. These specifications enable the pick and place machine to shift the different modules according to the PCB that is required to mount.
For instance, pick and place machines can handle a wide variety of parts and can theoretically reach a placement speed of 136,000 components per hour (CPH). What’s more, the fastest machines can even perform at 200,000 CPH.
Pick-and-place machines work at a level of DIY machine that can never match. One chip mounter can handle a blinder component with its size within 1/10,000th of an inch of the appropriate placement.
This precision ensures better performance for the final product while reducing the number of defective products coming off the line.
So guess, why the full-auto pick and place machine has such a high precision?
The essential factor that ensures accuracy is an optical sensor. Before registering a part, the optical sensor latches a specific decoration or feature on it. This is a major improvement over DIY placement and traditional processes that lock onto a part’s perimeter.
Commercial pick and place machines are extremely flexible. They are easier to make the program, such as easy to handle whatever dimensions, movements, or specifications operators have in mind.
Therefore, they are suitable for a wide range of components and operations.
A pick and place machine can also handle different shapes and types of products thanks to its special design.
The product-handling nozzles move seamlessly above the board horizontally, vertically, and laterally.
As long as the operator can program maneuvers for the pick-and-place machine, it will reproduce them and help drive productivity.
Commercial pick and place machines earn their keep by bringing automation to the factory floor. The operative word here is automation.
Businesses have streamlined processes through mechanization for centuries. Automation can be a great source of higher precision and speed, which both translate into money saved.
Even though, buy a pick and place machine will cost so much, but the equipment will make the return of the investment itself. Because the machine does not ask the PTO or require the lunch break,
Then, the investors of the device can enjoy the profits from the increased productivity. Additionally, the pick and place machine will make sure of a high return on investment by reducing waste.
There are two ways to think about error: precision and accuracy. Precision involves performing a task within a small margin of error.
Accuracy is a measurement of how far that task is from its desired outcome. For instance, throwing a handful of darts into the top right corner of a dartboard would be precise, but not accurate.
Pick and place machines offer both of these qualities for consistent and reliable performance. The programming ensures the nozzles and mechanisms deliver the same performance, regardless of the monotony or chaos.
That way, companies can expect high-quality results time and again as long as there are proper programming and maintenance.
Acquiring advantages over your competitors is a cutthroat venture. Moreover, it is a target that is easier said than done.
If a company decides to make an investment in buying a pick and place machine, they are taking the methods to maximize its productivity from the employees and the enterprise.
With its strong ability to increase the output and improve the product innovation, pick and place machine does takes up the major cost when investing an SMT line.
For instance, a job that takes 10 minutes but involves five minutes of tool placement and five minutes of work, has a 50% work content. Adding a pick-and-place machine lets employees spend more time doing productive work robots and cobots cannot handle.
Normally we can classify pick and place machines into three different types: manual, full-automatic, and semi-automatic. Each option improves overall work-flow, in part because the devices are easy to use.
Though the pick and place machine has a complicated technology, for people to grasp the principle to master the automation is not.
The best machines have intuitive interfaces that naturally guides operators through the necessary steps. This point makes sure a professional experience for every user, hence, there are no demands for a company to seek external services.
Furthermore, the pick and place machine is easy to make the programs to nearly all the specifications of any applications
Placement machines may adopt the latest technology, however, minimizing the maintenance may be the only requirement of it.
By taking parts from the local hardware supplier or industrial accessories store, the factory can keep the machine running with the internal repair.
Pick and place machine Maintenance
When you are purchasing parts, make sure to invest in quality nozzles and feeders to ensure the best accuracy and highest efficiency. Appropriate methods are important when operators are planning to clear or adjust the pick and place machine.
For instance, improper nozzle maintenance or low-quality products can lead to problems with a part or process. Thorough maintenance, however, can avoid the vast majority of problems, such as misplacing components, tomb-stoning post-soldering, or sticky nozzles.
All of the benefits mentioned above lead to this one. Efficiency is essential for businesses trying to get the most out of their employees, payroll, raw materials, tools, and investments.
Pick and place machine can improve the whole efficiency and offer an economical solution.
Moreover, chip mounters will help save space on the SMT line. For beginners, the pick and place machine only demands a relatively small and confined area to stay and to do the work, which makes sure there is more room for the employees.
Operators can program them to work within a predetermined space to improve the overall use of the assembly floor.
4. The Famous Manufacturers Of Pick And Place Machine.
Nowadays, there is fierce competition among the chip mounter manufacturers and vendors, because the products differentiation among them is very low.
Though there are many regional and local manufacturers, the global SMT devices market is still uniform because of the famous and large vendors worldwide. The following lists the top 6 pick and place machine manufacturers for your reference.
4.1 ASM Pacific Technology
ASM Pacific Technology
ASM Pacific Technology was founded in 1975, and its headquarter is located in Singapore and went public in Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1989.
ASM Pacific Technology offers high-quality SMT equipment for the electronics manufacturing industry, including chip interconnection carrier, chip assembly machine, and SMT packaging devices.
ASM Pacific Technology has a semiconductor solution segment and the SMT solution department. It offers various products from bonding to molding for the microelectronics and semiconductor industries. Besides it also provides best-in-class SIPLACE SMT placement solutions.
Assembléon offers SMT assembly equipment and services for the SMT industry and semiconductor markets, such as automotive, military, medical, avionics, power, advanced packaging, consumer products, and module manufacturing market.
Assembléon was once a part of Phillips Electronics Netherlands, however, and Kulicke & Soffa Industries acquired it and set up a Singapore-based company in January 2015.
Now it is operating in the US, Singapore, and China. Kulicke & Soffa, founded in 1951. As one of the top suppliers of semiconductors and electronic equipment, for the global electronic manufacturing industry.
4.3 Fuji Machines
In 1959, Fuji was established in Japan, It manufactures SMT assembly machines, electronic components, besides, Fuji also offers PCB designing service and software development.
In order to enlarge its market share and expand the customer base in South America, Fuji decided to cooperate with PAC Mexico in 2014, they offer local training course and teach local customers how to operate FUJI SMT equipment, such as maintenance, repair, and programming.
Founded in 1918, Panasonic located its headquarter in Japan. The automotive and industrial departments of Panasonic manufacturer and distribute electronic parts and equipment all over the world.
What is more, Panasonic takes up a large market share in South America, North America, as well as China.
Juki is also a Japanese company, established in 1938. Its main products including household sewing machines and SMT systems. Juki located its nine manufacturing and six development bases across the world, such as overseas sites in China and Vietnam.
Juki SMT department offers to pick and place machines and electronic components such as BGA, QFP, IC, capacitors, and resistances. The pick and place machine of Juki has different series including R-series, FX-series, KE-series, and JX-series models.
These series including the flexible and LED pick and place machine, automatic inspection machine, as well as solder paste printer. Besides, Juki is also able to offer components handling equipment, feeders, as well as a smart management system for the customers.
YAMAHA located in Japan was established in 1897. It has a vast range of products such as water pumps, generators, motorcycles, and recreational vehicles. The SMT device division of YAMAHA provides SMT industrial machinery and roots globally.
Its pick and place machine acquires a high sales volume in China, Asia as well as Europe, especially its new medium-speed and high-speed mounters.
5. Common SMD Components Applied For Pick and Place Machine
5.1 The basic introduction
There are few conventional DIP packages that can meet the requirements of the packaging. The global surface-mount packages are very complicated. The present package types and the lead configuration both are various.
Besides, the demands for SMT chips are increasing day by day. The surface mount component must withstand the high temperature during the soldering procedure to meet the required product quality.
In the market, there are various component types that can meet some electronic demands with a severe problem of component proliferation. However, some components have a good standard, also some standards are not suitable or even nonexistent.
5.2 The categories of SMD components.
With the surface mount technology getting more and more mature, the electronic industry is improving day by day in offering the surface mount components for related industries to solve the economic, technical, and standardization issues.
Now, there are both active and passive electronic components for surface mount devices.
Passive SMD Components
- The definition of passive SMD components:
Don’t worry, the passive surface mounting is not complicated at all. The core group of passive SMD including tantalum capacitors, monolithic ceramic capacitors, as well as thick and thin-film resistors.
Usually, their shapes are rectangular and cylindrical. With regard to the surface mount capacitors, ceramic or tantalum both are dielectric. Surface mount tantalum capacitors are able to provide high capacitance-voltage products and high volumetric efficiency with high reliability.
- The core group of passive SMD:
Besides, the electronic industry requires different sizes of surface mount resistors and capacitors for meeting various demands.
Please check these three passive SMD component in the following:
Surface mount capacitors do not have any leads and are able to be placed on the bottom of the PCB board, hence it is a better choice for high-frequency circuit applications. 8 mm tape and reel are the most popular packaging for ceramic capacitors.
Both the decoupling applications and frequency control adopt the surface mount capacitors. The volumetric efficiency can be improved by multilayer monolithic ceramic capacitors that have different dielectric types including COG or NPO, X7R, Z5U, and Y5V.
Based on the reliability, surface mount capacitors have been widely used in aerospace applications, military equipment as well as automotive applications.
We can also call it as plastic molded tantalum capacitors, it has leads instead of terminations and a beveled top as a polarity indicator.
When using the molded plastic tantalum capacitors, we do not need to concern the soldering or placement problems. There are standard and extended range molded plastic tantalum capacitors.
plastic molded tantalum capacitors
Based on the various components sizes, the capacitance value for tantalum capacitors are from 0.1 to 100 µF and from 4 to 50 V dc.
Also if you have any special demands, you can choose the customized tantalum capacitors according to the different requirements of the different applications.
In addition, tantalum capacitors are available in the forms of reel, tapes, and waffle packs, what is more, tantalum capacitors can be acceptable with or without marked capacitance values in bulk.
- Surface Mount Discrete Resistors (SMD Resistor):
The surface resistors have two main types, thick and thin film. Please check their details in the following:
- Thick film resistor:
The main material of the surface mount resistors thick film is the screening resistive film on the substrate surface with a flat shape and high purity alumina, which is opposed to the depositing resistive film that is on the round core as same as the axial resistors.
Varying the resistive paste before screening combined with laser trimming the film after screening decides the resistance value.
- Thin–film resistors:
Their resistive element is on a ceramic substrate with the protective coating on the component top and the positions of soldering on the sides.
Furthermore, there is an adhesion layer on the ceramic substrate of the positions of soldering, also there is dipped or plated solder coating after the nickel barrier underplating.
During the SMD soldering process, the nickel barrier is very critical to prevent the solderability of terminations for the reason that it can avoid the dissolution of the silver or gold electrode.
Generally speaking, resistors have various sizes and tolerance in 1/16, 1/10, 1/8, and ¼ watt ratings in 1 ohm to 100 megaohm resistance. Usually, the common sizes of resistors are including 0402, 0603, 0805, 1206, and 1210.
Commonly, there are colored resistive layers with protective coating on one side and generally a white base material on the other side for a surface mount resistor.
Hence, we can differentiate between the resistors and capacitors simply by their outer appearances.
- Tubular Passive SMD Components for SMT:
We can also call the cylindrical devices MELFs (metal electrode leadless faces), which is applicable for diodes, capacitors, ceramic and tantalum as well as resistors and jumpers.
They are cylindrical and the metal ends caps for soldering. Cylindrical metal electrode leadless faces are different from the rectangular resistors, which is not necessary to be mounted with resistive elements away from the board surface.
As similar to the traditional axial devices, for values, MELFs are color-coded. There are MLL 41 and MLL 34 for MELF diodes. Besides, for MELF resistors, there are four types: 0805, 1206, 1406, and 2309.
Tubular Passive SMD Components
Ceramic packages always are expensive, so that’s the reason why the military applications industry commonly uses them to make high-end production.
On the contrary, nonmilitary applications assembly always use plastic SMD packages, because the nonmilitary sector does not need the hermiticity.
Because of CTE mismatch between the package and the substrate, there have to solder joint cracking for ceramic packages,
however, there are also concerns about plastic packages. The following is all the active SMD components for your reference:
Active SMD Components
- Small Outline Transistors (SOT):
In the surface mounting process, the small outline transistor is one of the forerunners of active devices.
Usually, they have three- and four-lead. SOT 23 (EIA TO 236) and SOT 89 (EIA TO 243) are the three-lead SOTs.
The four-lead device is including SOT 143 (EIA TO 253). Diodes and transistors generally use these packages.
When surface mounting small transistors, the SOT 23 and SOT 89 packages have become universal.
Besides, with the wide use of high pin count complex integrated circuits, the requirement of various types of SOTs and SODs are increasing.
- Small Outline Integrated Circuit (SOIC and SOP):
With leads on 0.050 inch centers, the small outline integrated circuit (SOIC or SO) is basically a shrink package, which is used to the storage larger integrated circuits that is not able to be housed in SOT packages. Normally, SOICs are used to cover multiple SOTs.
Normally, the two sides of SOIC have leads that are known as gull-wing lead. The lead of SOICs is easy to be damaged, so the operator needs to handle SOICs carefully.
Usually, there two body widths of SOICs, 150 mils 300 mils. The body width is 150 mil if the lead quantity is within 16. 300 mil widths are used for more than 16 leads.
- Plastic Leaded Chip Carriers (PLCC):
As the cheaper version of the ceramic chip carrier, The leads of PLCC provide the compliance needed to withstand the solder joint stress to avoid the solder joint cracking.
For moisture absorption, PLCCs with large die-to-package ratios may be vulnerable to package cracking. whereupon, we should handle them in a proper method.
- Small Outline J Packages (SOJ):
Like the PLCC, the SOJ packages have led with J-bend, but the leads of the SOJ packages only on two sides.
What is more, SOJ packages are the combination of SOIC and PLCC, which has the handling advantages of the PLCC and the size efficiency of SOIC. Commonly, SOJs, are used in high-density DRAMSs.
- Fine Pitch SMD Packages (QFP, SQFP):
SMD packages have a plentiful number of leads with fine pitch, which is usually called a fine pitch package.
Please have a look, there are two examples of the fine pitch package: Quad flat pack (QFP) and shrink quad flat pack (SQFP). Fine pitch packages with thinner leads always require a thinner land pattern design.
- Ball Grid Array (BGA) SMD Components:
Ball Grid Array (BGA) is an array package like pin grid array, but their difference is that the PGA does not have the leads. BGAs have many types, and ceramic and plastic BGA is the main type.
We usually name the ceramic BGAs as Ceramic Ball Grid Array and Ceramic Column Grid Array, and the plastic BGAs are commonly called PBGA.
Besides, tape BGA (TBGA) is also a kind of BGA. 1.0, 1.27, and 1.5 mm (40,50, and 60 mil pitch) are the standard ball pitch.
Normally, the body size of BGAs is from 7 to 50 mm, and its pins number can from 16 to 2400. But, the pin number of BGA varies from 200 to 500.
BGA has the strong ability of self-alignment during the soldering even if they are shifted by 50% when being mounted.
Comparing with PBGAs and CBGAs, CCGA and TBGA do not good at self align. This is why BGAs always have a higher yield.
5.3 Top 10 Electronic SMD Components Manufacturers in the World
1) Intel Corporation
Located in the United States, Intel ranks in the top list of global manufacturers of electronic parts. As the world known and reliable brand, Intel is able to offer a wide range of products and services including hardware and software.
Such as hardware for the personal computer industry, hardware for storage, server, and network, memory solution including SSD, NAND flash memory; besides, its software service are including antivirus solution and programmable semiconductors.
- Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.
Samsung locates in South Korea, and it once was the largest manufacturer and exporter of memory chips. Its whole global yield is just next to Intel,
the following are its main products: DRAM, SSD, STORAGE, MCP, PROCESSOR, IMAGE SENSOR, SECURITY SOLUTIONS, DISPLAY IC and POWER IC.
Founded in the United States, Qualcomm is an equipment manufacturer for multinational semiconductor and telecommunications industries. According to its revenue, Qualcomm is ranked third across the world.
The main products of Qualcomm are chipset for Mobile Phones, processors for smart phones and Servers, low power SoCs, Halo, components for WiFi and Bluetooth, and mirasol display.
SK Hynix is a South Korean company mainly manufacturing memory semiconductors. It ranks second in the global memory chip manufacturing industry, and it is the third-largest supplier of electronic components in the world.
Their main products are including mobile and graphics memory, computing and network memory, CMOS image sensor, NAND flash, and solid-state drive (SSD)
Texas Instruments is known as the fifth-largest revenue-generating company, which is also the global brand leader in digital signal processing and analog technologies.
They help customers solve the real-world signal processing problems through their innovative analog and DSP technologies, as well as other semiconductor products.
The following is their main products: parts for broadband rf/if & digital radio, clocks & timers, data converters, parts for calculators & education technology, digital signal processing (DSP), temperature sensors & control ics, switches & multiplexers, wireless connectivity products, power management products, power management products,
Besides, including microcontrollers (MCU), semiconductors, amplifiers & linear, die/wafer solutions, automotive parts, audio devices, processors, and space products.
Established in the United States, Broadcom Inc. is the 6 largest manufacturer for revenue generation. Broadcom Inc. is an overall R&D, design, and manufacturer of semiconductor products as well as infrastructure software solutions.
Their main products are including CPE-Gateway, Infrastructure, and Set-top Box, Wireless Embedded Solutions and RF Components, Ethernet Connectivity, Switching, and Phys, Fiber Optic Modules and Components, Embedded and Networking Processors,
PCIe Switches and Bridges, Fibre Channel Networking, LEDs and Displays, Motion Control Encoders, Optocouplers and Opto-Isolators, Optical Sensorsas, CA Technologies Software Products, Custom Silicon, Chip as well as Storage Adapters, Controllers, and ICs
As the seven largest revenue-generating company, Micron Technology, Inc. with its headquarter in the United States is well known because of the computer data storage products and computer memory products.
Its consumer goods are sold under the Crucial and Ballistix. brands. The following is their main products: Advanced Computing Solutions, NAND Flash, NOR Flash, DRAM,
As well as DRAM Modules, Solid State Drives, Solid State Drives, Managed NAND, Graphics Memory, Multichip Packages, as well as Cyber Security.
Based in Switzerland, TE Connectivity is also a famous company is a list of global Electronic Components Manufacturers.
TE Connectivity designs and manufactures sensor and connectivity products for various industries such as Consumer Electronics and Energy Sector, Medical, Oil and Gas, Defense, Medical, Data Communication, Aerospace, Automotive, and Industrial Equipment.
Their main products are including Wires and Cables – High Speed, Hook Up Wire, Multicore Cable, Sensor Cable, Twisted Pair Cable, Terminals and Splices–Magnet Wire Terminals, PCB Terminals, Quick Disconnects, Splices,
Passive Electronic Components– Inductors, Resistors, Transformers, Applicators, Insertion & Extraction Tools, Adhesives, Heat Shrink Components and Tubings, Power Systems–Insulation & Protection, Power Cable, Power, Relays,
Contactors, Switches, Circuit Breakers, Sensors, Pre-Printed Markers, Printable Tubing, Connectors, Street Lighting, Cable Assemblies, Fiber Optics, Fiber Optics, Connectors, and Antennas.
- TDK Corporation – Leading Electronic Components Manufacturers
Founded in Japan, TDK Corporation is the next one in the list of global Electronic Components Manufacturing Companies.
TDK is a brand leader in the territory of electronic components and devices manufacturing.
They are able to offer a wide range of electronic components, such as Noise Suppressing / Magnet Sheets, Piezo Components, Buzzers and Microphones, Capacitors, Inductors (Coils), EMC Components, RF Components and Modules, Piezo Components,
Buzzers and Microphones, Voltage/Current/Temperature Protection Devices, Noise Suppressing/Magnet Sheets, Transformers, Ferrites and Accessories, Anechoic Chambers and Radio Wave Absorbers, Flash Storage, Wireless Power Transfer, FA Systems,
Transparent Conductive Film, FA Systems, Transparent Conductive Film, Sensors and Sensor Systems, Micro Modules, Solar cells, HDD Heads, Power Supplies, Magnets, Lithium Polymer Batteries, SMD Solid-State Batteries as well as Application Specific IC (ASIC), Biosensor.
MediaTek Inc. is a Taiwanese company, and it is famous for its chips for the industries such as Navigation Systems, Multimedia Products, and Optical Disc Drives, Wireless Communications, as well as HD TV.
Their main products are including Wearable device SoCs, Internet-of-Things SoCs, Processors for Smart phone and Tablets, Wireless connectivity SoC, Digital television SoCs, Modems, and GNSS modules.
6. How To Make A Program in Pick and Place Machine?
One of the most costly and time-consuming processes of electronics assembly is programming the printed circuit board.
Before starting each new production, initially, here are three steps: set up the components and feeders, acquire the correct printed circuit board data, recognize components and specify their corresponding location on the PCB, the last is the program optimization.
Please check the detailed introduction of these four steps in the following content.
6.1 Components and feeders set up
Figure 1-Components and feeders set up
Procedure in figure 1:
Firstly, the operator should acquire the setup sheet that including the PCB and chip information required.
Then according to the setup sheet, he can select the suitable feeders from the feeder rack, and exam whether the components from the feeder are right, and exam whether the size of the feeder is correct, as well as check whether the feeder is the right type for the present machine.
last but not least, the operator should also check the device position for the component is right or not. Then, according to the allocation of the pick and place machine, the operator can put the feeders at corresponding locations on the feeder banks.
Procedure in figure 2:
The operator can go back to figure 2 to do this step again until all feeders are placed on the feeder banks. After loading all the feeders, we should check again to make sure that every component has been placed in the correct feeder locations on the pick and place machine.
These two hard parts for the setup were the quantity of various components, and hence the number of feeders, required by the particular printed circuit boards.
Whereupon, the procedure of setup is a function of board complexity. This kind of situation is aggravated by the total complication of the factory, which increases the demanded effort to keep track of all the factors of the setups such as feeders, racks, and reels.
This step will take up about 50% of the whole setup time for the pick and place machine.
Usually, in order to finish this verification process faster, we always have to operators at the same time. One of them read the part number and its feeder location, and the other check the numbers according to the setup sheet.
For instance, if there are 50 feeders that we are going to set up, which will take an approximate half-hour. For the reason that the errors are costly, the setup examine is must be performed to ensure that the setup is right.
If the automatic vision system does not detect the error when the component is placed wrong, then all the boards will be mounted with the wrong parts. Eventually, there will be a huge waste of both material and labor.
Generally, this kind of error is hard to be found until the boards are being tested after the placement, then we should spend a lot of time reworking all the boards with the wrong placement.
Hence, instead of spending a long time reworking, it is better to verify and re-verify the components and feeders set up before the real production.
6.2 Acquiring the correct printed circuit board data
Board outline and details with all required dimensions and tolerances, such as the exact thickness, length, and width of the board.
Generally, this kind of information is defined as board origin. Its value is the distance between the PCB origin and the positioning column.
In principle, we can locate the origin at any position on the PCB surface, for instance, if its coordinate is (0.0), which means it overlaps with the center of the positioning column.
One thing we should pay attention to is that if the machine transferring direction is from right to left, the coordinate of the PCB location hole that is corresponding with the center of the positioning column is (5.00mm, 5.00mm) at its bottom-left corner.
Usually, the (0,0) is used as the origin coordinate, but other values are also acceptable.
For example, here is one board with a size of 300mm*200 and the machine transferring direction is from right to left, we can set the coordinate of the origin at (295.00, -5.00), which means the origin is at the right-bottom corner of the PCB.
Again for instance, if the conveyor direction is from left to right, (-295.00 -5.00) means the origin is at the left corner of this PCB.
Besides, there is also the joint panel in SMT production, we name its origin as block origin.
The origin of the panel is the origin of all the small boards, in theory, just like the normally printed circuit board, the origin of the joint panel also can at any position, and the joint panel uses the PCB origin as its.
If the coordinate of the joint panel is (0.0), which means the origin of the joint panel overlaps the PCB’s.
What is more, it is better to select a center of a corner of one pad on the small board as the origin of the panel, rather than use the silkscreen characters or the center of a hole.
Joint Panel Origin
6.3 Component recognition.
In this step, the operator should let the machine pick up each different component from the feeder or tray, then scan the component by the chip camera.
Next, the operator can choose the corresponding component data from the machine software library, on this basis, then he can edit the data according to the real component, such as the exact component size, thickness, pin number, pin pitch, as well as pin length and width, etc.
In this step, using the auto teach of the machine software will help to save the time of editing the component date.
- Component recognition theory:
Component recognition is always achieved by the combination of different light sources. Laser scanning, backlight, and front light are the most common alignment method at present.
As to the laser scanning, it is always recognized chip components such as SOT, SOP, SOJ, and PLCC, and these components have a regular shape. Laser scanning is the standard configuration of the machine, it only can check the body of the chips but is not able to check the pins.
Next is the backlight, as the standard feature also, it does not check the chip components as well as the component with balls at its bottom.
The last is the optional choice: front light, it can check any kinds of components. If the operator chooses to use the front light on a machine without this function, then the error will appear.
- Component alignment type:
This means that which shape algorithm that the operator should choose to recognize the present component.
For instance, if he is going to mount SOP28 chips, then he should choose the “SOP” type in the machine components library, so the machine will detect the chips according to the shape features and sizes of the “SOP”.
This means which light value is most suitable for scanning a certain component.
When making the production program, the operator needs to set appropriate light values for both the front and backlight. In order to acquire a good recognition of the chips, a suitable light value setting is important.
6.4 Software optimization
pick and place machine software optimization
The last step is the optimization of the program, and a good optimization method can help to maximize the productivity of PCB assembly.
The purpose of program optimization is to minimize the placement time and reduce the task times (the task means the step of components picking, recognition, and mounting).
Here are some optimization methods, please check:
- Reducing the nozzle changing times:
It can place the components that use the same nozzles in the group and in a mounting sequence, then the machine can mount more components without changing the nozzles in a long time.
The feeders that have more components to be mounted should close to the camera, which can shorten the travel time of placement head from feeder to the camera.
If there is a one-type component that has a large quantity, then the operator can allocate it to many feeder slots, then the machine can do the simultaneous picking and placing.
- Try to pick components from one side in one task first:
If the pick and place machine has the feeder stations at both front and rear sides, then it is better to finish the components from one side then go to the other side later, rather than go back and forth.
- The full load of the nozzle: during one cycle:
It is better to install all the nozzles on the placement head.
Generally, different machines have different optimization methods regarding the feeder arrangement problem and amount sequence problem.
Also, one machine model will offer various optimization ways. Depend on the product mounting requirements, the operator can choose suitable ways to make the optimization to ensure faster speed and higher accuracy.
6.5 Some common errors in the programming with the solutions
- The PCB positioning error:
The error always appears when the detection sensor can not find the locating pin in the PCB location hole.
The solution is adjusting the position of locating pin according to the PCB, checking and adjusting the top and bottom positions of these two-hole detection sensors,
furthermore, also inspecting the conveyor function to make sure the PCB can stop at the correct position.
- The component-picking error:
Why this problem happens is always because of the wrong picking position, incorrect component picking height, improper component pick parameter, and the wrong feeder as well as nozzle setting.
- The component recognition failure:
This problem is usually caused by the wrong definition of component vision parameters and outside sizes.
Moreover, if the laser scanning part of the CCD camera lens with the dust also can result in the recognition failure.
At this time, the operator should revise the component vision parameter or contour size, and clear the laser scanning part or CCD camera lens.
7. The Working Mechanism Of Pick And Place machine
The pick and place machine is a kind of automatic assembly machine that picks up components from the feeder or tray using a vacuum, then scans the components and rotates the components to the right angle before mounting them onto the printed circuit boards.
Before the real SMT production, it may take a few minutes or hours to make the correct setup, but once the production programs are ready, then the pick and place machine can work fast and accurately.
Firstly, the pick and place machine gets the printed circuit boards into a certain mounting position from the conveyor system.
Then, the head camera of the pick and place machine will perform to scan the fiducial marks of the PCB to confirm the exact location and coordinates of the printed circuit PCB inside the machine.
Generally, the fiducial marks are 2 to 4 special points that are normally at the corners of the substrate.
Next, the machine will begin to mount the components onto the printed circuit boards according to the software optimization result.
Generally, optimization is the most complicated process of a pick and place machine, which is the essential factor to decide the machine efficiency and accuracy.
If there are numerous electronic components with various shapes and sizes that have to be placed on the specific locations of the printed circuit boards, then you will find how to make an efficient assembly operation is complex and time-consuming.
Usually, the placement head, feeder carrier, and the PCB platform all move independently at different speeds. Actually, the placement speed will change according to the various sizes of the components.
By principle, smaller size components are always be mounted before the larger sized chips, for the reason that the mounted larger sized components on the surface of the boards may be shifted when the placement head increases the speed to pick and place the smaller sized components.
Because the placement head, feeder carrier, and the PCB platform move simultaneously, in order to increase the total machine output, we should take all the three-movement delays into consideration.
Finally, once completed (or partially completed, e.g. due to component run out or job completion), the PCB is moved out from the SMD placement machine
Pick and place machine conclusion
With the emerging of the revolution in the global electronic industry, the cutthroat competition has raised in this field at the same time, which incurs the furious innovation and investment in the electronic manufacturing division.
Especially these manufacturers of refrigerators, smart phones, security systems, as well as watches and TVs who are facing a great challenge to improve their product performance and technologies.
Hence, their demands accelerate the growth of the electronic chips and electronic equipment manufacturing.
This article has listed some common SMD components types and famous electronic equipment as well as their global suppliers, besides, company profiles, product pictures and specifications of these companies are also available in this paper.
Furthermore, you can find that the top components manufacturers and equipment vendors are all mostly from the USA, Japan, and Europe. These regions get high revenue from the electronic business through their advanced technologies.
For the reason that some electronic manufacturing equipment especially the pick and place machine as the core device in an SMT pine costs so much,
Therefore, many small electronic assembly factories will choose to make the pick and place machine on their own, then this article shares the machine DIY methods for their references aimed to help them get some inspirations for developing the future business.
But for some big PCB assembly factories who demand the high end pick and place machine to meet the fast and high-quality production requirements, they also can get some useful point from the article, such as the market leader of pick and place machines and the specifications of some popular models.