Pick and Place Data

Surface mounted components are frequently placed on a circuit board by an automatic placement machine, typically called a Pick and Place (PnP) machine. A PnP data file is used to instruct the machine where to place each component on the board prior to soldering. PnP data consists of a designator, x and y coordinates, a rotation and a description for each automatically placed component. The location of fiducial marks should also included in the PnP data.

PnP data may be added to a product in the following ways:

  • Import a PnP file together with the Gerber and Drill data.

  • Import a PnP file directly into the Assembly Data Manager.

  • PnP data may be added manually, component by component.

Pick and Place Data Manager

The Pick and Place data tab of the Assembly Data Manager lists components to the left of a graphic viewer. Use the check boxes at the top to show or hide components on one or both sides of the board.

Double-click on a component in the list to locate a component in the viewer. The viewer will zoom to show the component centered in an area of about 25 x 25 mm.

The check boxes in the component list determine whether or not the component is to be included for automatic placement. Only components with a check mark are shown in the viewer.

It is possible to change the check box state of multiple components by selecting the desired components in the list, right-clicking, and choosing Toggle selected components.

Right-click and choose Edit component to modify the properties of a component in the PnP data.

There are four action buttons:

  • Import a Pick and Place data file – Import a text file
  • Save changes to product – Updates the Pick&Place layer in the product.
  • Align Pick and Place data with board data – Align the data if they do not have the same origin.
  • Add component to Pick and Place data – Manually add a component to the list.

Importing a Pick and Place file

Click on the Import button and select the file to import. Its contents will be added to the component list and shown in the viewer. It may be necessary to specify to which side of the board the imported data applies.

A number of Pick and place file formats, (such as those from Allegro, Altium, Cadstar, Kicad, OrCad and PADS) are automatically parsed.

If the file format is not immediately recognized, then it may be specified in the Pick and Place Data Import dialog box, which displays the original file contents, parsed file contents and the interpreted XYR data.

The following may be specified:

  • Number of header lines

  • First character of comment lines

  • Separated or fixed-width columns

  • Separator and quote characters (for separated files)

  • Column widths (for fixed-width files)

  • Unit of measure for X and Y coordinates

  • Angle rotation direction (counter-clockwise or clockwise)

  • Column mapping. (Up to 3 columns may be combined as the component description.)

Aligning Pick and Place data with board data

If the origin of the PnP data does not match that of the board data, it can be aligned as follows:

  1. Click on the Align button so that it is active.

  2. In the viewer, left-click and draw a selection rectangle around a PnP symbol (cross with arrow). A rubber-band line stretches from the component to the mouse pointer.

  3. Left-click and draw a new selection rectangle around all pads of the selected component. The component will be moved to the center of a rectangle exactly enclosing the selected pads.

  4. Check that the PnP data is correctly aligned. If not, repeat steps 1-3 with a different component.

Note: If PnP data for a side is not visible, then it will not be moved. In this manner, it is possible to aling PnP data for the top and bottom sides independently of each other.

Adding a component to the Pick and Place data

PnP data may be created manually, as follows:

  1. Click on the Add component button so that it is active.

  2. In the viewer, left-click and draw a selection rectangle around all pads of the component. The component will be placed at the center of a rectangle exactly enclosing the selected pads.

  3. In the Add Pick and Place component dialog box, specify the layer, designator, rotation and description of the component. Clicking the OK button creates the PnP component.

  4. Repeat steps 1-3 as for each additional component.

Saving changes

If you have made any changes to the PnP data, including using the check boxes to show/hide individual components, then you must save your changes to the PCB product. Click on the Save button to save the changes in the product and update the product in the Macaos Repository.