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, like capacitors, resistors, integrated circuits onto the PCBs which are in turn used in computers, consumer electronics as well as industrial, medical, automotive, military and telecommunications equipment. Similar equipment exists for through hole components.This type of equipment is sometimes also used to package microchips using the flip chip method.
Developments since 2010
Swapping heads onboard placement machines required more inventory of heads and related spare parts for different heads to minimize the downtime. Placement machines have an all-in-one head that can place components ranging from 01005 to 50 mm x 40 mm. In addition to this there was a new concept wherein the user could borrow performance during peak periods. There is a big change in the industry approach these days with more focus on software applications for the process. With new applications like POP and wafer placement on substrate the industry is moving beyond conventional component placement. There is a big difference in the needs of SMT users. For many, the high speed machines are not suitable due to cost and speed. With recent changes in the economic climate the requirement for SMT placement becomes focused on the machine's versatility to deal with short runs and fast changeover. This means that lower cost machines with vision systems provide an affordable option for SMT users. There are more users of low end and mid-range machines than the ultra fast placement systems