Starting the Tour
First off we started at the solder paste applicator which is a machine that applies a layer of solder paste onto the PCB for the SMT machine to attach the components to. How it works is simple - the PCB is placed on the machine, a style of silk screen brush goes over the top and bottom of the board and rubs a layer of paste on the board. Take a look at the video below.
This is a tub of actual solder paste that is used - it remains in gelatine form. Thanks to the RoHS standards, the solder paste along with all other solder used has no lead in it anymore.
Next on the production line is the SMT machine, which I must admit was the most impressive unit of them all. This machine applies the extremely small resistors and transistors to the board at the rate of 20 parts per second! That's right - it can put 20 transistors and resistors on the PCB in 1 second, each board lasts around 5-6 seconds even for the biggest boards with hundreds of resistors. Simply amazing - see the video below for a look at the machine in action!
This is how the board looks after it comes out of the SMT machine. This now has all the IC's, transistors and resistors attached to the board which now allows it move on to the other sections of the factory.