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MAY 2022 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 25 only use a direct pick with is a connector that has guide pins. With the shuttle method they don't sit flat on the transfer belt and therefore they cannot be picked with a vacuum nozzle. Another challenge we see is inconsistent ori- entation of how components are placed in the carrier tape by suppliers; they don't always fol- low the EIA standard. From supplier A, we may have a leadless device where the polarity is at a zero orientation and supplier B has the polarity in a 270 orientation. It requires more debugging time for those types of situations. Rowland: One issue we encounter in low-vol- ume SMT assembly is re-taping of components by the seller. Sometimes they don't follow the EIA standard for tape and reel. It clearly calls out what the orientation (polarity) of the com- ponents in the carrier tape should be. Some companies aren't familiar with the standard, so they don't follow it, and randomly put compo- nents in the carrier tape, not thinking about the impact it causes for people during assembly. Johnson: How do you catch that before AOI? Bennett: at is done by machine opera- tors during setup. e operator teaches each pickup point with the camera while simultane- ously verifying the orientation of the compo- nent within the carrier tape. Nomenclature on the top of components can be difficult to see with the camera. Polarity indicators may not be distinguished with lighting adjustments to achieve proper contrast. More time is required to inspect the board aer it's been placed with components with hard-to-read nomenclature. HD Isn't the Challenge, But Picking the Components Is Johnson: It sounds like there's still a challenge with all the technology involved in picking. Rowland: Yes. From a complexity or density standpoint, we don't really run into many issues there. Any of the high-end machine manufactur- ers are going to have machines that can deal with components that are placed closely together on a board. e technology is mature to the point where accuracy and repeatability of the machines is not that big of an issue. But as Kevin has mentioned, the packaging format impacts us the most. If you survey other EMS companies in the U.S., they will probably say component packaging is one of their biggest issues. Johnson: Where do you currently see your steps in the process today? Where do you see the most potential for you to make a change and get an improvement in your business pro- cess? Rowland: e biggest challenge for placement machine manufacturers is coming up with feeders that are easier to use and more com- patible with shorter strips of tape. at's an area where I think the industry has generally failed to meet the needs of users. Some manu- facturers have tried to address the issues with shorter strips of tape and feeders. Many of the feeders on the market are designed for seven- inch reels with thousands of components, vs. a five-inch strip of tape. Many feeders just don't work very well with the latter scenario. Bennett: I agree completely. Large feeders with mechanical parts require the cover tape to weave through it to get it to perform correctly. e shorter the strip of tape, the more chal- lenging it is. Johnson: Are you laying down a challenge to the placement manufacturers to fix the feeder technology? Rowland: Yes, this is feedback we've given to many placement machine manufacturers over the years. Matties: is has been really good. We certainly thank you for your input. SMT007

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