Those of us who build our own electronics should have some idea of the process used to assemble modern surface-mount printed circuit boards. Whether we hand-solder, apply paste with a syringe, use a hotplate, or go the whole hog with stencil and oven, the process of putting components on boards and soldering them is fairly straightforward. It’s the same in an industrial setting, though perhaps fewer of us will have seen an industrial pick-and-place line in action. [Martina] looks at just such a line for us, giving a very accessible introduction to the machines and how they are used. Have a look, in the video below the break.
It’s particularly interesting as someone used to the home-made versions of these machines, to see the optical self-alignment and the multiple pick-and-place tools which are beyond the simpler pick-and-place machines you’ll find in a hackerspace. Multiple machines in a line are also beyond hackerspaces, so the revelation that the first machine is deliberately run slowly to avoid the line backing up is a valuable one.
At the end of the line is the reflow oven itself, through which the boards pass on a belt through carefully graded hot air zones. Certainly a step up from a toaster oven with an Arduino controller!
Sadly not all of us will be lucky enough to have such a line at our disposal, but pick-and-place projects come up here quite often. We did a teardown on the feeders from a Siemens machine a couple of years ago.