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Pick-and-Place Machine

Last modified 01/25/2015

The Pick-and-Place machine (PnP) is a high-speed, high-accuracy tool for placing surface mount parts (SMT) onto printed circuit boards (PCBs). It uses an internal air compressor and two small nozzles to suck up and hold SMT parts, move to their correct location and orientation on the PCB, and places them down.

The PnP is best used for boards that have too many parts to apply manual (like with the SMT Station), or when you are putting together a batch of identical boards or panels.
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There are two nozzles you can select, one being wider than the other (for different sized parts). There is also a variable speed setting, allowing you to run the PnP slowly, or so fast the table will shake violently. The head also has a laser-sight, which is used to find the origin of your PCB.

Reels of SMT parts are added on the rods on the left-hand side. When applying parts, the PnP will pull the reels forward using a small needle, and peel back the encasing plastic strip. It's automatic, which is great, but this is why it can take a few minutes to setup correctly.

  1. Use the PnP ULP found here, which will export a CSV
  2. See the tutorial video below in Resources, and make whatever changes are necessary to the CSV
  3. Place the CSV on an SD card, and insert into the machine
  4. Select your file, and use the laser-sight to assign your board's physical origin to the file
  5. Select your speed, and run, making sure there is room for the SMT reels to unwind

SMT parts must come in the standard SMT reel and tape. The machine relies of these standard packages to automatically feed new parts into the operation area. Parts that do not come in reel and tape, or parts that are too big, should be place manually, or added to one of the special areas in the front of the PnP.