Desk mounting of SMD’s

MiniPlacer in action
MiniPlacer in action

Tiny USB 2.0 camera from MATRIX VISION enables system miniaturization

It is a cost and time problem especially for small companies specialized in electronic design when it comes to printed circuit boards (PCB) production of small series or prototypes. For such cases the French company Sidena developed the “MiniPlacer”, a SMD mounting system for the desk which is equipped with the USB 2.0 single-board camera mvBlueFOX-MLC.

Besides the minimum size, the high image quality and especially the possibility to control and set the camera via the engineer interface wxPropView were deciding factors. The usage of wxPropView is easy and can be adapted to different expertise modes. Moreover, the electronic circuitry is extremely fast, and allows the fastest operational speed in contrast to other cameras or webcams. Sidena emphasizes on the robustness of the camera. On several occasions the camera modules were placed in difficult electrical or environmental conditions, and none were affected.

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The MiniPlacer allows the mounting of one or several boards on a total surface of 350 x 150 mm. The component placement speed depends on the circuit complexity, but can be estimated between 300 to 400 components per hour. This placement speed data may not be impressive compared to the standard SMT machines, however, the MiniPlacer is apparently the only machine able to pick up components disposed in bulk in containers. The MiniPlacer is at least a hundred times less expensive than standard automatic SMT machines. Last but not least, the MiniPlacer is intended to assemble a few boards of the same kind in one run for test purposes or proof of concept. Doing the same job by hand can take 1 day or more. However, it is not guaranteed that “by hand” means “no defects”. The MiniPlacer is totally reliable as it is “automatic” and uses a vision system to validate component type and positioning.
The MiniPlacer supports a minimum pitch distance of 0.8 mm and component sizes between 0806 and 20 x 30 mm. The unit is totally controlled by the software environment and can execute circuit design files like Proteus, Design Spark, Eagle, and any other file in Excel format.

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