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How Pick and place machine works

Publish Time: 2017-08-19    Visit: 2666

We will go on showing how pick and place machine works.

After the board has been prepared, it is time to set up the pick and place machine. Components come on tapes or reels and they usually have an extra length of tape at the beginning to facilitate routing the tape through the feeder mechanism. The extra length required depends on the machine, but is usually around 6 inches(15 centimeters). Since almost all boards contain different types of components, the machine will have several feeders. The operator will have to keep track of what component reel has been placed at each feeder when programming the machine.

Pick and place machine

The next step is to position the board on the mounting hardware.

Most manufacturers employ guide rails or some other form of mounting mechanisms.  Although the software that came with the machine will have one or several features that will allow the operator to calibrate the axes, it is vital that this step is done properly, as correct component placement will depend on it.

Most pick and place machines use a vacuum based system to hold components while transferring them from the feeding mechanism to their destination position on the board. Depending on the component size, different vacuum tips are used. Some machines are designed with the ability to detect which tool is currently equipped and if necessary, replace the current tool with a new one from the tool holder. If this feature is not available, the operator has to mount or change the necessary vacuum tip by hand – after the machine has finished placing all the components of one type, it will signal the operator that the vacuum tip has to be changed in order to continue the process. Some machines will have more than one tip.

In order to program the machine, the operator will have to provide the file that contains the component name, location and rotation angle. For example, if the pcb was designed using the popular pcb design software EAGLE, the files will have the extensions “.mnt” or “.mnb”. As previously mentioned, the operator has to calibrate the machine axes and set up the feeders. Some machines will allow the operator to fine tune the placement of a component by using manual controls and some may even provide features like replicating a set of commands that the operator has entered manually.

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