Is there anything worse than cut tape? Sadly, yes.

Previously I wrote about how providing your components on cut tape slows the SMT assembly process for the assembler, because they need to mount your tape on a reel before putting the reel on the feeder.

There is one thing worse than cut tape, and that is loose components! You might think it is a saving to just buy a bag of the components you need, but if you are using a professional assembler, it is often cheaper to buy in bulk on a reel, or to make use of the very reasonable reeling service from suppliers like Digikey or Mouser, where your small number of components are mounted on a reel, ready for assembly.

So, what do we do when we receive loose components? Some are taken out of their plastic bags and put into a belt or tube feeder. For others, we need to design and print a special matrix tray, and then manually place the components into the matrix tray. For really short cut tape, we stick the tape into the matrix tray area with removable double-sided tape. For each tray or short cut tape, the pick and place machine needs to be programmed to indicate the dimensions of the tray and the type of component contained in it. As you can imagine all this preprocessing takes quite a bit of time. So, do think twice about how you provide components to your friendly assembler!

matrix1
Custom matrix trays set up in the Europlacer pick and place machine. Also a short piece of cut tape with only two components, stuck into the matrix tray area.

 

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Author: Sandra Bogerd

Music: composer , singer-songwriter, recording artist, conductor Language: author (A. L. Uitdenbogerd) of the Gnomeville comic book series for absolute beginners in French Job: computer science academic with interests in music, language, and HCI Business: co-director of Ad Hoc Software Pty Ltd and Agile Electronics.

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