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16 SMT Magazine • September 2014 by Scott Zerkle YAMAhA MoTor IM AMerICA InC. feATure Issues in the Smt process The SMT industry's one constant is change. Standards are continually updated and compo- nents are miniaturized for space savings. In ad- dition to the changes that come, the industry is also faced with continuing to deal with areas that fail to change and update. A typical PCB manufacturer lays out a line based on the need to put solder paste on a PCB, place parts in the paste, and then reflow the product (Figure 1). The board size, typical components placed, and the required speed for the line are then consid- ered. Eventually, a SMT manufacturing line is pur- chased that can handle a large majority of the process needs. In almost all cases, there will be a component that cannot be handled by the au- tomated process currently in use on the factory floor. This problem is not caused by the engi- neer who specified the line, nor is it the chosen vendor's false advertising. This problem plagues virtually all PCB manufacturers because it is not cost-effective to purchase a specialty machine to handle a component that is expected to go away and not be used any more, or the compo- nent that is through-hole and was expected to be replaced by a SMT component soon. Manufacturers are expected to build as de- manded and very often that demand is outside A Robot's Place in SMT

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