The placement nozzle is responsible for bringing the SMT component from the feeder to the PCB safely, quickly, and accurately.
The principle of using vacuum pressure and precision nozzles to enable component placement are basic and straightforward. It is a process that is repeated in every type of SMT assembly equipment. There are five distinct stages to the pick-and-place process:
Picking: SMT components are withdrawn from a feeder or tray by a vacuum nozzle.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.
Nozzles are the first and last thing to touch all components placed onto a PCB. Pick-and-place nozzles can move tens of thousands of parts every hour (comprising a placement machine’s components per hour or CPH rating). With electronic component 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.