How To Select Best Pick and Place Machine for PCB Assembly- Quick 7 Tips

In the market place there are a lot of different placement equipment’s options available. To meet customer expectations and latest technology requirements machine manufacturers are constantly upgrading their features.

So it is very important get answer of to How to select best SMT pick and place Machine before ordering.

SMT Quick Tips

Placement equipment is the most important part of SMT line configuration. Almost 50% of the cost of total investment is required to purchase pick and place machines with feeders to set up surface mount production lines.

Selection criteria for Best SMT Pick and Place Machine

Evolution and selection of a pick and place machine smd is a very complex process that needs to do a lot of investigation and home work to meet your production requirements.

Selection of Pick and Place Machine depends on your PCBA types and number of parts to be placed, production volume needs for current and future enchantments and accuracy with repeatability.

pick place machine europlacer 1
Automatic pick and place machine
Courtesy Europlacer

If you are planning to set up a new pick and place machine for pcb assembly production line it is recommended to make a detailed set of questionnaires of planned production requirements in advance.

This will help to narrow down your list and help to make a purchase decision for best fitted suitable equipment selection to meet your specific needs.

1. Component Placement Speed

The speed of components has a direct impact on your production volume. The placement speed of the machine is measured in component per hour placement (CPH).

Component placement rate impacted by the board size, types of components and feeders used. If the board size is higher and types of components are high the placement head will travel more distance due to that placement rate will decrease.

The manufacturer of pick and place machine smd rated their equipment speed based on IPC 9830 standard. But in the real production scenario manufactures quoted speed derated by 30 to 40% that needs to be considered.

  • Quoted Rated Speed always lower the actual speed so consider only 30 to 40%.
  • Before machine selection Proposed Production volume needs to be analyzed with future requirements.

So before selecting suitable pick and place machine for pcb assembly you must consider the production volume to cater your current needs and also important to consider future requirements to meet specific needs.

2. Type and Size of components

Considering your production needs, selection of pick and place machine for pcb assembly also depends upon the type and size of components you are planning to place.

Each machine has their limitations for handling the max min size and weight of components according to machine specifications.For example equipment needed to place 0805, 1206 etc. loaded components are different that can handle 0402, 0603, BGA, CSP and other odd shaped components.

  • Machine can handle minimum and maximum component dimension with accuracy.
  • Some components comes in tubes and components so before place machine purchase order consider these facts as well.
  • Machine vision system can handle the small and fine pitch components during place placement .

3. Feeder Slots and Maximum feeder Capacity

While conducting in-house study it is important to take in account how many types and number of components needed in product assembly and accordingly no of feeder slots machines must have for specific needs.

  • The pick and place machine for pcb assembly manufactures benchmark the feeder slot capacity based on 8 mm types tape feeders.
  • in actual scenario larger components in tape and reel and parts supplied sticks tubes occupy multiples of 8 mm feeder slots.
  • The comports supplied in bulk and waffle packs affects input slots requirements directly.

4. Accuracy and Repeatability

As per experts recommendations the accuracy of pick and place machine smd that you are searching has an accuracy of +/-.001” with a fine pitch lead of 12 mil repeatability.However less expensive machines would not give such accuracy criteria.

  • Pick and place machine for pcb assembly must have Accuracy of 0.0001” with a fine pitch lead of 12 mil repeatedly.
  • Lower Budget machines have poor accuracy.

5. Solder Paste and adhesive Dispensing capability

Many pick and place machine smd suppliers offer options that can place components and dispense solder paste or glue with common XY tables.

For lower volume production, building prototypes or PCB assembly in which do not want to invest for dedicated stencil or foil can be advised to purchase a placement machine with dispensing capability.

  • Better to have Solder Paste and adhesive Dispensing capability for low volume and prototyping.

But the pick and place machine smd selection decision must be based on the production volume requirements as the same head needs to use both operations that slow down the throughput.

6. Machine software programming

Different Pick and Place Machine available in the market place having different software interfaces. Some of them are easy to operate and user-friendly but some require more time in manual data entry, difficult in editing and optimizations.

  • Equipment must be easy to program and user friendly.
  • Lower the setup optimization time.

So it is an important selection criteria pick and place machine for pcb assembly that equipment must be easy to program and edit to setup time reduction and improving performance.

7. Vendor Support and Training

Apart from technical features, vendor support and training also plays a very critical role in pick and place machine for pcb assembly selection.In case equipment is down, will you be able to get support to troubleshoot machines quickly to meet supply chain requirements.

It is better idea to talk to several customers having a base of equipment that you are searching and try to get information how they are happy with machines, vendors and their product support.

  • Suppliers must have a skilled manpower.
  • Availability of spare parts shipment on timely basis.
  • support to troubleshoot machines on phone calls and if required service engines can be available on very short notice.

Skilled manpower is key to any organisation success so proper training is required to develop skill to operate machines. So keep in mind that the machine supplier has the ability of onsite training or factoring before equipment shipment and installation on the shop floor.


in the above article will help pick and place machine for pcb assembly if you are planning to setup a new SMT line.Pick and place machine for pcb must be considerations your future plans as well.

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