The placement of surface mount components is a time consuming and critical task in the assembly of surface mount Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). The focus of this research was the identification of “near optimal” solutions for the placement sequence identification problem. The factors considered include the placement machine and the specific PCB, the feeder space available, the need for tooling and nozzle changes, and the actual traveling path of the placement head. Expert (or knowledge based) systems were used as the solution method for this problem. The system developed can cope with single PCBs, panels, 180 deg offset boards (panels), and multiple PCB batches. The prototype knowledge based system developed in this research identifies solutions in (almost) realtime.

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