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Surface Mount Assembly Components in Manufacturing Processes

8th January 2015

Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) should think carefully about packaging when supplying surface mount assembly components to contract manufacturing customers. Sometimes low-cost component packaging can cause a series of problems during the manufacturing process, from slowing the production line to reducing the quality and yield of the final product.

Surface mount assembly components come in a variety of packages. From the manufacturer’s point of view, the easiest type of packaging is a reel. The components are fixed to tapes made of embossed plastic and later wound around a reel. The final package can hold up to 10,000 separate parts.

This is the best choice for manufacturers working with low volumes as well as, obviously, high volumes. Even if a manufacturer needs a couple of hundred capacitors or resistors, it sometimes makes sense to buy a larger reel, as the cost saving for standard components is minimal.

However, high-quality mini reels of very expensive components will also make sense to a more specialised manufacturer.

Surface mount assembly components are also sold on strips of cut tape. Each strip can hold between 10 to many hundreds of separate parts. The problem is that if a manufacturer wants, say, 200 parts, he cannot assume that he will receive one tape with those 200 parts. He could get 10 tapes each with 20 parts. So he has to make sure he asks the supplier to provide a continuous tape.

But even then the problems are not solved. Surface mount assembly machines use a component called a “feed strip” or a leader that is inserted into an automatic feeder before the tape. If the supplier sends cut tape without a leader, the manufacturer has to use the first set of components on the tape as feeders - losing money on those parts as they will not be suitable for the final product. The number of such wasted components can be up to a few hundred.

Parts can also be packaged in trays or inserted into tubes. This is the preferred packaging method for large parts. The problem here is that such large parts can only be packed to a limited capacity. So the production line has to be stooped at frequent intervals to reinsert a new package.

Although this problem can be overcome with automatic tube or tray changers, these parts themselves will occupy the same amount of space as up to 10 reels and add to the manufacturing costs.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us here at Trizo.