What is an SMT machine – different types and top-rated manufacturers
What does SMT stand for? Many people in the electronics industry are familiar with this acronym, but few know that it stands for surface mount technology. This is a method of attaching electronic components to PCBs. If you’re in the market for an SMT machine, read this blog post to see a comprehensive list of machines from top-rated manufacturers.
What does SMT mean?
SMT is short for Surface Mount Technology. It’s a type of technology used to attach electronic components to a printed circuit board. With SMT, the PCB components are usually smaller and have leads that are too slim to be easily soldered by hand. Most people use a machine to do this which automatically Dispenses solder paste on the board, places components on top of the solder paste and then uses heat and pressure to attach it.
What does an SMT machine do?
Surface Mount Technology (SMT) machines are cost-effective devices that place small electronic components onto a printed circuit board automatically. They were invented in the late 1970s to make building electronic circuits more efficient.
Given that SMT boards are made up of countless small components, it’s much more efficient to use an SMT machine instead of placing them by hand. Not only is it faster as an SMT machine can place up to thousands of parts per minute but it’s also more affordable in the long run.
Types of SMT assembly machines
1. Pick-and-place machines
Pick-and-place SMT machines are of three types: manual, semi-automatic, and automatic. They help to put parts in the right spot on a PCB. Manual machines require the operator to place each component by hand. Semi-automatic machines automate the process of placing some components, but the operator is still responsible for most of the placement. Automatic machines completely automate the process of component placement.
2. SMT curing oven
Surface mount technology (SMT) curing ovens are typically bench-top models with a heating element on the bottom and a fan for circulation, mostly utilized to solder paste, adhesives and solder reflow. The production volume will directly affect the amount of solder paste baking, adhesive curing, and solder reflow that we can do. The ovens come in many sizes to be able to accommodate either batch or inline processing.
The most common type of SMT curing oven is the belt model. The belt moves the product through the oven while the heating element and fan keep it at a consistent temperature. The time required to bake/cure products depend on their size, weight and configuration, but usually ranges from 5-10 minutes.
3. Solder paste screen printer
A solder paste screen printer is used for screen printing which is a manufacturing process that involves depositing a thin film of material (in this case, solder paste) onto a screen, which is then forced through by a squeegee and deposited onto the desired surface, the machine prints solder paste onto a substrate in order to attach electronic components. This method is often used for producing large quantities of items with uniformity.
4. Reflow soldering machine
A reflow soldering machine is a type of SMT machine that is used to solder reflow from surface mount devices (SMDs) to a circuit board. The machine heats the solder on the SMD until it liquefies. Then, the molten solder will flow onto the circuit board and solidify to attach itself.
This type of soldering is often used in mass production because it is an automated process that can be done quickly and reliably. The Reflow Soldering Machine, on average, accounts for approximately one-fourth of the total cost of a Surface Mount Technology (SMT) device.
5. Solvent cleaning equipment
The purpose of solvent cleaning equipment is to clean and remove the leftover flux and solder from a PCB. By doing so, the quality as well as lifespan of the board increases.
The most common type of solvent-cleaning equipment is a spray gun. It uses a solvent to dissolve the flux and solder, thereby allowing them to be removed from the PCB. Other types of solvents include immersion tanks, ultrasonic baths, and washers.
6. Inspection equipment
SMT machines, like Inspection equipment, are used to look for defects on a PCB. The most short needs to be looked for is the most common defect. A short can cause the PCB to fail, so it’s important to identify and fix them before they become a problem.
There are a variety of inspection equipment available, each with their own purpose. X-ray machines allow for a closer look at the inner workings of an object, while microscopes help to magnify smaller details. Circuit testers can check for electrical defects or damage.
Best SMT machine manufacturers
Following are some of the best brands and companies that manufacture different kinds of Surface Mount Technology or SMT machines.
4. Yamaha Motor
5. JUKI Automation Systems
6. Neoden SMT
7. DDM Novastar
8. Hanwha Precision Machinery
How to choose the best SMT machine?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best SMT machine for PCB manufacturing will vary depending on the specific needs of the business.
However, some factors that businesses should consider when choosing an SMT machine include:
1) The size and complexity of the PCBs being manufactured
2) The number of PCBs that need to be manufactured each day/week/month
3) The level of precision required in manufacturing the PCBs
4) The type of solder paste being used
5) The type of components being used
SMT is short for Surface Mount Technology. It’s a type of technology used to attach electronic components to a printed circuit board. With SMT, the components are usually smaller and have leads that are too slim to be easily soldered by hand.
Surface Mount Technology (SMT) machines are cost-effective devices that place small electronic components onto a printed circuit board automatically.
- Pick-and-place machines
- SMT curing oven
- Solder paste screen printer
- Reflow soldering machine
- Solvent cleaning equipment
- Inspection equipment
Selecting the best SMT machine will undoubtedly have a positive impact on your business as it can help you save money and increase productivity. Before you purchase an SMT machine for your business, think about how much throughput you need, if the machine needs to be flexible, and of course, your budget. You’ll be happy to know there are many trustworthy companies that make excellent machines available at a reasonable cost.
Do you have any experience with using an SMT assembly machine? Share your thoughts in the comments below!