SMT (surface mount technology) component placement systems, commonly called pick-and-place machines or P&Ps, are robotic machines which are used to place surface-mount devices (SMDs) onto a printed circuit board (PCB). They are used for high speed, high precision placing of broad range of electronic components.
SMT components are commonly available on "tape reels" which are fed into a slot on the side of the machine which matches standard tape sizes. The machine advances the tape as parts are removed, and peels back the thin cover to expose parts for pickup.
Kelly Borsum says:
Which end of the tape you start pulling parts from by hand can help minimize parts wastage. The tape will mount in only one direction, and you want to start pulling parts for manual assembly from the end that goes into the machine first. We always lose 5-15 parts at the starting end if no parts have been removed previously (or from the other end). This is particularly important for expensive parts!!! For IC's such as SOT-23, If I am starting with a fresh strip, I will load it into the machine after hand removing the first few parts, and then bag them for future manual assembly use. Passives usually get thrown away.
Please note that Mouser usually does not re-coil the strips with the correct end exposed, and it is usually necessary to re-coil the strip so that the correct end is out. Its a Pain, but that's how it is.
ALWAYS (PLEASE) hold the tape so that the feed holes are to your left. Then start peeling back the cover tape and pulling parts from the top end (end away from you). Also please always leave 2-3 Inches of empty tape and film cover to allow easy setup in the PnP machine. This will prevent much parts wastage as we move forward.
Little NEMA 8 stepper motors with a Hollow shaft exist and are perfect for Pick-n-Place heads because it allows the vacuum to be directed through the motor, avoiding the need for gearing or an offset tube. E.g.: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:398024
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