SMT stands for Surface Mount Technology – the process of mounting electronic components directly onto the surface of a Printed Circuit Board (PCB). This is an automatic process, allowing electronic boards to be produced faster and more accurately than ever before.
What are the advantages of an SMT line?
SMT lines provide numerous advantages over traditional PCB production methods. These include:
- Cost savings through a reduction in manual labour and material wastage
- Greater efficiencies with shortened production cycles
- Precision application, resulting in higher quality PCBs
- Better safety practices through minimal manual handling
MineARC Australia has recently invested in our own in-house SMT Line. It is now in full operational mode within our electronics assembly room, which has been completely refurbished to include precise temperature and humidity control as well as antistatic vinyl flooring.
The assembly line can place over 20,000 components per hour; utilising cameras to check components prior to placement, and discarding any that are not to spec.
The chip components are stored on reels, which are barcoded and then installed into intelligent ‘feeders’. Components are then arranged in the most efficient configuration to minimise travel time; ultimately speeding up the production process.
Once a production run has been programmed by our MineARC SMT Operators, it can be reused over and over; minimising manual set-up time in the future.
What are the main elements of an SMT line?
SMT configurations will vary based on the application and the level of automation required. Generally speaking however, it will comprise of the following elements:
- SMT loader – automatically stacks and loads PCBs onto the conveyer
- Stencil printing machine – applies the solder paste to the blank PCBs
- Pick and place machine – accurately places the surface mount components onto the PCBs
- Oven – bakes the PCB boards using heat profiles best suited to the PCBA (Printed Circuit Board Assembly)
- SMT unloader – receives the completed PCBs on magazines after manufacture
The PCBs are automatically moved from one station to the next, with intermittent docking stations located throughout the process line to allow for manual inspection.
Why does MineARC need an SMT line?
As MineARC Systems’ range of smaller electronic products continues to grow and advance, our need for complex PCB production only continues to increase. Bringing this process in-house gives us full control over the quality, quantity and timeframe of our printed circuit board production; whilst allowing us to expand and accelerate our R&D capabilities in this area.
Listen to Daragh Quinn, MineARC Australia’s Engineering Manager speak more about our newest manufacturing capability in the video below.