Automated SMT assembly of LED components, enabled by high-quality equipment such as nozzles and feeders, is able to effectively increase manufacturing throughput and minimize defects.
LED components offer high brightness and power efficiency, as well as lower carbon emissions than traditional lighting technologies. LEDs have become an alternative light source to conventional incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. When used for illumination purposes, they are more cost-effective than traditional lighting sources. Thus, the global LED component market is witnessing an increasing demand.
There is the recent trend to use “green technology” in consumer and commercial electronics. As a result, companies in the surface-mount technology (SMT) industry are expanding their manufacturing capabilities to meet this demand. The range of new and potential applications for LEDs in electronics is practically endless.
Today, many electronics manufacturing company use SMT equipment for automated assembly, to quickly and efficiently place thousands of LED components every hour. Most SMT equipment is capable of placing multiple components on a circuit board at one time, increasing the overall production rates while decreasing labor costs. Obviously, more and more electronics manufacturing company would be to transition assembly into automated production, instead of hand assembly.
Pick and place
The principle of using vacuum pressure and precision nozzles to enable component placement is repeated in every type of SMT equipment. There are five distinct stages of the pick-and-place process:
• Picking: components are withdrawn from a feeder or tray by a vacuum nozzle
• Holding: components are steadied for rapid movement while the machine detects proper alignment
• Transport: components are transferred from the picking location to the PCB for assembly
• Placement: components are lowered to their specific location on the circuit board
• Release: components are released by the nozzle, which returns to the picking area to restart the process
No SMT equipment can place components accurately or run efficiently without quality nozzles and feeders, which are at the core of the pick-and-place process. If the machine is either unable to pick parts consistently or hold on to the components during the transport from feeder to PCB, defects will result. An increase in defects means a decrease in production, that costs more money in a short time. So, it is critical to select proper feeder and nozzle.
Nozzles are the first and last thing to touch all components placed, and they move tens of thousands of these parts every hour. With components sizes reaching microscopic proportions, nozzle manufacturers must strive to maintain precision tolerances and exact dimensions in their designs. These nozzles are required to hold the part during transport to the board while the machine is moving and/or rotating at high speeds.
In conclusion, SMT opens up wide areas for new applications, new technical possibilities and reduced costs in LED technology.