The new trends in SMT manufacturing equipment for LED lighting

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Escalating demand for LEDs has driven the industry to migrate to SMT based manufacturing, which guarantees higher speed, greater output, automation, minimal human error and lower operating costs.

By Shruti Mishra

Apart from their longer operating life and higher brightness, the demand for LEDs has shot up in recent times also because of the growing awareness about green technology. This is why the Indian government is promoting LED technologies on a large scale, giving subsidies and encouraging the local manufacture of LED products.
Traditional manufacturing methods cannot meet this sudden surge in demand for LED products in the country. Therefore, LED manufacturers have shifted towards high quality automated SMT machines that effectively increase the production output while slashing manufacturing costs substantially. The LED products manufactured using surface mount technology (SMT) exhibit improved electrical performance and increased reliability, as this technology uses different soldering equipment and works on advanced principles. SMT companies are in the process of embracing even newer technologies to further speed up the manufacture of LEDs.

Advantages of the SMT process
Prior to SMT line production, the process of placing LEDs into their packages was done by hand. Since most of the high-precision work was done manually, variations in output and inconsistencies caused by human error were some major issues faced.
By adopting SMT manufacturing lines, LED manufacturers and designers have witnessed a tremendous spike in yield, performance and durability. Let’s have a look at some of the major benefits offered by SMT manufacturing:

  • The biggest advantage of using SMT equipment is that it eliminates the potential for the variations commonly found with hand assembly. These sophisticated and high precision machines place multiple components on the circuit boards in one go, significantly increasing the production rate while reducing labour costs. Due to minimal human intervention, the efficiency of SMT based LED component manufacturing has increased manifold.
  • In addition to manufacturing, the importance of the SMT process can also be seen in the design process. Miniaturisation is the trend in LED lighting and the SMT process enables this. It makes use of much greater levels of automation, high quality nozzles and feeders, all of which combine to allow the handling of much smaller components than the traditional assembly methods.
  • Another important aspect of SMT that helps in achieving compact sizes is zero use of wire. This process mounts components directly onto the board, thereby reducing the size of the board, which leads to compact and slimmer designs.

Technology trends
The LED manufacturing segment is currently looking for higher capacity machines that lower the cost of production and help in achieving exponential growth. So SMT placement manufacturers are adopting some innovative technologies that improve the flexibility of the machinery. Some of these improvements are listed below.
Precision nozzles: Nozzles are responsible for transporting the SMT components to the board quickly, safely and accurately. Defects are bound to happen if the nozzles are unable to pick the components efficiently. Therefore, current SMT machines come with precision nozzles that not only provide superior pattern placement but also reduce defects. The best thing about such nozzles is that they do not touch the LED lens directly during pickup and placement. And, hence, the overall light performance and reliability remains unaffected.
Earlier, LEDs had a tendency to stick to the standard pick-and-place nozzles, resulting in faulty or failed placement when the placement machine tried to set them down. Many of the modern nozzles come with Teflon coating or with urethane tips, which help in preventing this problem.
Intelligent feeder systems: Feeders are the core of the pick-and-place process as they enable the SMT equipment to place components accurately. Unlike the conventional assembly machinery, the new smart feeders store details about the components that have been loaded and communicate with placement systems, thus improving placement efficiency and accuracy, while reducing the risk of faulty configuration. As these feeders are programmable, manufacturers can conveniently switch between components of different shapes and sizes.
Multi-functional mounters: For LED assembly, manufacturers are shifting to SMT machines with multi-functional mounters that are capable of dispensing and placing the components not only on standard PCBs but also on concave/convex, tilted and curved surfaces.
3D moulded interconnect devices (MIDs): LED designers nowadays are looking for SMT machines with 3D MID technology or variants that can be upgraded to this technology because it supports modularisation and miniaturisation. With this technology, designers are exposed to a three dimensional design space that gives them the highest degree of freedom when creating forms. 3D MID technology plays a vital role in designing slimmer and sleeker LED bulbs.

Latest launches in this category

Model: FUJI AIMEX III, Manufacturer: Fuji Machine Mfg Co. Ltd
FUJI AIMEX III is a high-speed flexible placement machine that can handle PCBs of up to 1,500mm in length. With AIMEX III, manufacturers can achieve low cost of production in a highly competitive industry segment, company sources claim. Simultaneous production of two different products is possible using a double conveyor configuration machine. Its high-speed performance slashes the capital investments and operating costs linked to labour and utilities. The AIMEX III also enables various production methods and supports a wide range of panel sizes.

Key features

  • Maximum board size (L x W): 1,500mm x 710mm
  • Feeder capacity: 8mm tape conversion
  • PCB load time: 2.9 seconds
  • Mounting speed: 80,000 CPH
  • Machine dimensions (L x W x H): 1280mm x 2656mm x 1556mm

Contact: www.smt.fuji.co.jp/e/
Indian distributor: NMTronics India Pvt Ltd, www.nmtronics.com, Ph: 0120-4603500


Model: L6, Manufacturer: Beijing Torch SMT Co. Ltd
The L6 is an LED placement machine that can seamlessly connect with a fully automatic stencil printer and reflow oven to provide high-volume assembly of LED circuit boards. The machine is equipped with six groups of mount heads that greatly improve production efficiency. The whole machine is controlled by an industrial computer with professional software that is easy to use and operate. The L6 also has different sizes of smart feeders to meet diverse LED mounting requirements.

Key features

  • Maximum board size (L x W): 1200mm x 350mm
  • Maximum moving range: X axis – 1500mm, Y axis – 410mm, Z axis – 15mm
  • Maximum mounting speed: 18,000 cph
  • Mount accuracy: ±0.05mm
  • Power supply: 220V, 50Hz, 4.5kW
  • Weight: 500kg
  • Machine dimensions (L x W x H): 2600mm ×760mm ×1500mm

Contact: www.torchsmt.com
Indian distributor: Accurex Solutions Pvt Ltd, www.accurexsolutions.com, Ph: +91-8028611871


Model: i-Pulse series (S10, S20), Manufacturer: Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd
The models in the i-Pulse series are equipped with multi-functional mounters and a colour fiducial camera. Also, the 12-axis 2-theta head unit provides the higher speed placement best suited for long board production such as in the case of LED lighting. The presence of moulded interconnected devices (MIDs) makes it suitable for many mainstream industries like LED OEMs, PCB assembly vendors, automotive electronics, EMS firms (sub-contractors), telecommunications, etc.

Key features of the S10

  • Maximum board size: 1330mm x 510mm
  • Feeder capacity: 90 lanes (8mm tape conversion)
  • Weight: 1,150kg
  • Machine dimensions (L x W x H): 1250mm x 1750mm x 1420mm

Key features of the S20

  • Maximum board size: 1830mm x 510 mm
  • Feeder capacity: 180 lanes (8mm tape conversion)
  • Weight: 1450kg
  • Machine dimensions (L x W x H): 1750mm x 1750mm x 1420mm

Common features

  • Board thickness: 0.4mm to 4.8mm
  • Board flow direction: Left to right
  • Board transfer speed: Maximum 900mm/sec
  • Mounting speed: 45,000 cph
  • Placement angle: ±180°

Contact: www.global.yamaha-motor.com
Indian distributors: Leaptech Corporation, www.leaptech.in, Ph: 91-22-27562822; Trans-Technology India Pvt Ltd, www.trans-tec.com, Ph: 91-9310231262

1 COMMENT

  1. I urgently need a quote on:
    LED-5mm round 20Ma 60 degrees through hole – quantity 40 000
    POCB-FR4 Round 50mm 1.5mm – quantity 2464
    HZD008BYI- quantity 2000

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