Importing PnP data

PnP data is usually generated by the CAD system used to design the PCB. If PnP data is not available, it can be created manually.

Typically, PnP data consists of four, five or six values per component:

  • Designator
  • X position (typically in mm, inch or mil)
  • Y position (same unit of measure)
  • Rotation in degrees (usually counter-clockwise)
  • Description (perhaps in several columns)
  • Side (top or bottom; bottom sometimes called mirrored)

Click on the Import button in the Pick and place actions toolbar to select a PnP file for import. Alternatively, click on the small down-arrow in the lower right corner of the button to import a file which is already attached to the product.

Some CAD systems generate separate top and bottom PnP files. In this case, use the Bottom button to import the bottom side PnP file.

Macaos automatically imports several PnP formats. For those which are not recognized, or which have some level of ambiguity, the Pick and Place Data Import dialog box helps to specify how the data should be interpreted for import.

PnP Import dialog
  • If necessary, specify the number of header rows to ignore, and the prefix character for comment lines.
  • Specify whether the input file has delimited or fixed-width columns. For delimited columns, specify the delimiter character (and quotation character, if necessary). For fixed-width columns, specify the column widths.
  • Specify the unit of measure used for X and Y coordinates. If incorrectly specified, the scale of the component layer will not match the scale of the PCB.
  • Specify whether rotations are clockwise or counter-clockwise.
  • Specify the input column numbers for each output field.

Once the data format has been correctly specified, click the OK button to import the data.

If necessary, align the component layer with the PCB.

Fiducial marks

Most Pick and Place systems expect there to be three fiducial marks on the board, typically near each of three corners. The locations of these fiducial marks need to be included in the PnP data.

If the board does not have dedicated fiducial marks, other optically distinct features, such as through-hole pads, may be used. Note: Via holes covered with solder mask are usually not suitable as fiducial marks.

  1. Left-click and draw a rectangle around the pad to use as a fiducial mark.
  2. The fiducial mark is added at the center of the selected pad.

Note: If a pad (from the originally imported Gerber data) is drawn (as one or more wide lines/arcs) rather than flashed (as a single shape object) then it will not be identified as a pad in the above procedure. In cases where no pads are found within the selection rectangle, the (center of the) selection rectangle is used.

Creating PnP data manually

If PnP data is not available for a component, it may be created manually, as follows:

  1. Left-click and draw a rectangle around all pads of the component to create.
  2. Specify the component designator.
  3. The component is added at the center of the selected pads.

Tip: Import BOM data prior to creating components manually. Components found in the BOM data which do not exist in the PnP data are automatically created and placed to the left of the PCB. They may then be moved to their correct position.

Note: If a component pad (from the originally imported Gerber data) is drawn (as one or more wide lines/arcs) rather than flashed (as a single shape object) then it will not be identified as a pad in the above procedure. In cases where no pads are found within the selection rectangle, the (center of the) selection rectangle is used.