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March 2014 • SMT Magazine 103 that are randomly distributed (previously none were defined). The 0603 components have also been replaced by 0402 (01005 metric) and 0201 (0603 metric). For now, that is good enough for a fair com- parison. However, many of today's processes and today's technology would actually use a mix of 0201 and 01005 components. These re- ally show whether a pick & place machine can cope. Perhaps the standard will be updated again in the future, when vanishingly small components like 03015 metric are common. The standard could perhaps also usefully define a test run and let the customer decide which components should go through. In the meantime, though, let's dig slightly deeper to see what an IPC-9850A closer-to-real- ity application actually looks like. IPc 9850a in Practice IPC 9850A places five unique parts (Parts A–E in Figure 1) randomly on the substrate, with non-linear column distances (Figure 2). For a revision of an accepted industry stan- dard that was released more than two years WhaT IS YOUr rEaL OUTPUT? continues ago, it is again strange that virtually no manu- facturers—even the ones who praised the new standard at the time—have converted their equipment specifications. There seems to be a barrier to publishing something closer to the truth. As I've said, this has to be for commercial reasons. Unfortunately, if nobody adopts it, the impact of the standard is devalued within the industry. So for now, you will have to be satis - fied with the figures a manufacturer provides to you (Figure 3). Consistent labeling would, however, help to eliminate confusion. And customers should ap- ply pressure. At your next purchase, you could ask, "What is your IPC-9850A output?" SmT SMT TrenDS & TeChnologieS Figure 3: examples of how specifications are published by different pick-and-place manufacturers, with only one referencing IPc-9850a. eric Klaver has been with assem- bléon since 1998 and specializes in vision technology and feed- ing. he is currently the chairman of Iec work group Tc40Wg36, which specializes in component packaging. To read past col- umns, or to contact Klaver, click here.

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