Pick and Place Machines

Southern Machinery manufactures a selection of pick and place machines for use in automatic and manual SMT systems. This equipment is specifically designed for facilities needing quick set-up, ease of operation, and high reliability in low to medium volume pick & place applications.

Pick and place machines are used for PCB assembly where they take components in reels or tubes or on flat packs and place them on the board as defined by software generated from the PCB files.

What is a pick and place machine?

Pick and place machines are relatively sophisticated machines use for PCB assembly. As the name indicates the pick components up and place them onto the printed circuit board.

In most PCB assembly areas, boards will be soldered using infra-red reflow, and this means that prior to the pick and place process, the boards come having had solder paste applied in the relevant areas of the board.

Typical pick and place machine in use  Courtesy Europlacer

The pick and place machine is also loaded up with components. There are many feeds either side of the machine. These can take component reels, tubes and in some instances they may even be in a form of flat packaging known as a waffle pack.

The pick and place machine has a head on an arm which can reach all the reels, tubes, etc and it picks them up and then places them onto the board. Typically the head uses a small vacuum to pick the components up and then release them onto the board.

The head is very accurately controlled by the software, and uses both the accurate positioning of the board as well as optical location on some machines to ensure that everything is placed in exactly the right position.

Accurate positioning is of great importance because some components are very small, and also track widths are very narrow.

The pick and place machines are pre-programmed with the information about component positions so that they know where to place the components. This programme is normally developed directly from the printed circuit board design information.