Shopping for new or used surface mount technology (SMT) equipment can get complicated quickly without the right information at your disposal. Once you've narrowed down the type of hardware you need to add or replace on your printed circuit board (PCB) assembly line, it's time to weigh the pros and cons and the features of each model.
At Capital Equipment Exchange, we've put together information to demystify the seven most important features you'll find on pick and place (P&P) machines for sale.
SMT P&P machines work by picking up PCB components from mounted feeders and placing them precisely in a pre-programmed location on a printed circuit board. With specialized inspection and robotic chip handling arms, this device lifts small chips and positions them accurately much faster than possible by manual placement.
Component placement speed specifications are usually shown in CPH or PPH, components placed per hour, or parts placed per hour. This spec is important because it directly affects the potential production volume of the rest of your line.
Placing components quickly won't save you time in the long run if these chips aren't placed accurately. You'll find accuracy listed in terms of common component types (e.g. 1608, 100QFP) in micrometers at 1.33 process capability index (CpK).
The number of tape and tray feeder slots refer to how many 8 mm tape feeders you can attach to the pick and place machine. Depending on the types of PCBs you are producing, you may also want to know how many matrix trays, waffle trays, tube feeders, or stick feeders you have room for and the number of larger, 12 mm, 16 mm, and 24 mm feeders you can load at a time.
SMT manufacturers will also list the minimum and maximum size of components your P&P machine can place in millimeters (mm). You may need to dive a little deeper into this spec to determine the smallest sized component your device can inspect. Ensure you compare both PCB size and thickness capabilities to what you currently produce and plan to produce.
If you see multiple component capability sizes listed, the machine you're interested in can most likely handle different sizes depending on the alignment method you use.
Do you want your pick and place machine to be able to place solder or other adhesives? Some manufacturers prefer to use dedicated SMT screen printers or fluid dispensers. Still, small volume or prototyping lines may benefit from having pick and place machines that also dispense solder and adhesives.
Ensuring your PCB assembly line runs smoothly will also depend on how easily and accurately you can program and maintain SMT equipment. Software interfaces vary between print and place machines. User-friendly, easy-to-program machines increase how quickly you can optimize, edit, and control your setup.
One feature you may not have considered is how easy your pick and place machines will be to service down the line. Will you be able to find troubleshooting information, knowledgeable technical help, and replacement parts easily?
As used SMT equipment suppliers, we know the machines we sell inside and out and can help you find the parts and technical advice you need to keep your line running.
Now that you know a little more about what P&P machine specs mean, we invite you to browse our current selection and contact us at Capital Equipment Exchange to place your order today. If you need more clarification or don't see the model or brand you're looking for, give us a call. Our inventory changes all the time.
We look forward to helping you make an informed purchase you will be happy with.