The latest low to medium volume pick-and-place machines are more accurate, flexible and automated, owing to the continually evolving requirements of the customers.
By Sneha Ambastha
Low to medium volume pick-and-place machines are an industry requirement, as these are used for all low to medium volume SMT production and prototyping work. They are in demand in a wide range of sectors including LEDs, defence, consumer electronics, automotive, medical, aerospace, etc. The features that these machines offer are regularly enhanced to address changing market demands; hence, one can find quite a few smart automated machines being used today, fitted with cameras to identify errors and eliminate them.
Key pointers for buyers
Purchasing pick-and-place machines involves a huge investment and, thus, it is important for buyers to consider a few key points before making a final purchase.
- Effective components per hour (CPH) rating. The effective number of components placed per hour by a machine may vary due to several factors like its travel speed from the picking position to the placement position, its alignment in the X and Y directions, the visual alignment of boards, feeder jams, etc. Thus the CPH rating is a good indication of the overall performance of the machine.
- Proper alignment of components and movements with medium pick or travel speed. Some components are unique and may get misaligned or flip when handled by a machine operating at a high speed. Such components need a medium pickup and travel speed for fine placement. So, it is important to consider the component pickup speed of a pick-and-place machine.
- Vision based component recognition system. Vision based pick-and-place machines have cameras that allow users to get a good look at the components placed on the system. This also gives clarity about the errors in alignment.
- Feeder types. Intelligent or pneumatic feeders are required to make the complete process automated.
- Machine orientation. This can be gauged by the sizes and variety of the components a machine can handle.
- Compliance to various standards like CE marking. The pick-and-place machines should comply with a range of standards, which act as an assurance of good performance.
- Reputation for providing good service and the service level agreement of the machine suppliers. The supplier of the machine should have a good reputation for after sales service.
A few of the latest products available in the market
Model: Ipulse, M20, Brand: Yamaha, Company: Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd
Launched in 2015-16, Ipulse M20 is a multi-conveyor pick-and-place machine from Yamaha and is known as the next generation manufacturing centre. It comes with intelligent feeders that can work even in the sub-20K to 30K CPH rated capacity. Yamaha claims that Ipulse M20 has the flexibility to focus on a diverse range of PCB assembling applications. Due to its special features, it attracts customers from various industries such as LED OEMs as well as makers of DVRs, mobile chargers, etc. It also attracts academic institutes that are interested in showcasing the SMT PCB profile.
- Can handle a maximum ultra-long board size of 1480mm x 510mm
- Comes with a 3D hybrid placement function where solder paste dispensing and component mounting
- can be alternately performed
- Capable of handling a wide range of components along with high feeder capacity
- Has a fast and easy set-up with a lot of flexibility to work with electric and changeable tray feeders
- Number of placement heads: 6 heads (servo drive system)
- Placement speed: 30,000 CPH (rated)
- Placement accuracy: 25 microns @ µ±3sigma
- Component size: 0402mm x 90mm / 120mm long connector (L) BGAs, QFPs, ICs, etc
- PCB size: 1,480mm x 510mm
- Feeder capacity: 144 slots and 180 slots (special customisation) – feeder capacity based upon 8mm feeder
- Approximate weight: 1,450kg
- Overall dimensions (L x D x H): 1,750mm x 1,750mm x 1,420mm
USP: Is flexible, with a focus on a diverse range of PCB assembling applications.
Indian distributor: Trans Technology India Pvt Ltd, Ph: +91-9810449898, email@example.com, www.trans-tec.com
Model: QM3000, Brand: SMTmax, Company: SMTmax Corporation
The QM3000 is a recently launched, fully automated pick-and-place machine for SMT manufacturing and prototyping. The company claims it to be highly flexible and economical for small to medium batch production in the SMT industry. It also has an inline transporting conveyor for full turnkey production lines that enables linking this pick-and-place machine with an inline reflow oven and an inline stencil printer.
- Can hold up to a maximum of 48 air feeders of 8mm size
- Comes with one camera that faces upwards to inspect the parts before placement, and one that faces downwards for feeder set-up and fiducial recognition
- Comes with a Teledyne DALSA vision system for high precision
- It is equipped with five SMT nozzles, ranging from 0.5mm up to 5.0mm along with a nozzle stem
- Number of placement heads: One placement head with five SMT nozzles
- Placement speed: 3500PPH
- Component size: 0201 minimum
- PCB size: 457mm x 304mm (maximum)
- Overall dimensions: 0201
USP: Fully automated pick-and-place machine
Contact: Ph: 1-877-589-9422, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.smtmax.com
Model: M10, Brand: Yamaha, Company: Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd
Launched in 2017, the M10 by Yamaha is a next-generation compact, multi-mounting machine capable of handling large blades, as a standard. It has some new features that ensure flexibility. Its global price varies depending upon the configuration chosen. Customers in various industries use the M10 for low-volume-high-mix production work, prototyping work, low volume LED assembly work, etc.
- Comes with true multi-mounting capability
- Can handle any SMT/odd-sized components and do prototyping
- Comes with the solder paste or glue dispensing feature that supports paste printing
- Is considered good for prototyping, NPI and low volume production
- Number of placement heads: 4 (one head can be changed to dispense)
- Placement speed: 24,000CPH
- Placement accuracy: 25 microns @ mu + 3 sigma – absolute accuracy
- Component size: 01005 to 120mm x 90mm
- PCB size: Standard: 980mm x 510mm
- Optional: 1,325mm x 610mm
- Feeder capacity: Options of 72 slots and 90 slots available
- Approximate weight: 1,500kg
- Overall dimensions (L x D x H): 1,250mm x 1,600mm x 1,400m
USP: One machine can handle multi-mounting, solder paste or glue dispensing and component placement
Indian distributor: Leaptech Corporation, Ph: 9820709940, email@example.com, www.leaptech.in
Model: iineo+, Brand: Europlacer, Company: Blakell Europlacer Ltd
iineo+ is the latest pick-and-place machine from Europlacer, launched in February 2017 and priced at over US$ 140,000. The company claims it is suitable for applications that require quick setting and fast changeovers. It eliminates the requirement to purchase the classic ‘chip shooter and fine pitch’ combination as it does both the jobs in one platform, while holding up devices that measure up to 264mm x 8mm. It attracts sub-contractors and OEMs from the defence, automotive, medical, aerospace and consumer electronics segments.
- It is configured based on a new design, new software platform and an integrated electrical tester
- Offers a proven technologically advanced pack supplied at a commercially attractive level
- Its tester can be independently calibrated against all internationally recognised standards institutes
- Number of placement heads: 1 or 2 heads, 8 or 12 nozzles per head
- Placement speed: 15,000CPH – 30,000CPH
- Placement accuracy: 35 microns
- Component size: 01005 – 50mm x 50mm
- PCB size: 1600mm x 600mm
- Feeder capacity: Holding up devices that measure up to 264mm x 8mm
- Approximate weight: 2,000kg
- Overall dimensions: 2700mm x 1700mm
USP: Offers something for everyone
Contact: Ph: +44 1202 266500, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.europlacer.com
Model: LE-40V, Brand: DDM Novastar, Company: DDM Novastar Inc.
LE-40V is a recently launched benchtop, automated pick-and-place machine from Novastar with advanced technologies. It is capable of offering low cost solutions for low to medium volume SMT placement applications. It has been specifically designed for facilities where quick set-up, easy operations and high reliability are required. It comes with approximately 56 tape feeders and up to 84 tape positions with bank feeders.
- Is vision-centric and uses both top and bottom cameras on-the-fly
- Capable of accurately placing a wide range of components including 0201s, LEDs, BGAs, 15 mil pitch QFPs, SMT connectors, etc
- Comes with a precision placement head design along with closed-loop logic
- Its graphical user interface (GUI) uses Windows-based software that allows a new board to be programmed within minutes
- Placement speed: Up to 3000CPH
- Placement accuracy: 0.025mm
- Component size: 50mm square body (largest)
- PCB size: 343mm x 560mm
- Feeder capacity: Tape feeders: 8mm, 12mm, 16mm, 24mm, 32mm, 44 mm (electrical)
- Overall dimensions: 1016mm x 1067mm x 686mm
USP: Pick-and-place machine with cameras for vision-based component placement recognition
Contact: Ph: 610-337-3050 205, email@example.com, www.ddmnovastar.com