Ask the Experts
July 20, 2018 - Updated
July 5, 2007 - Originally Posted

Why Should We Consider Smart Feeders?

In selecting a new pick and place line, why should we consider "smart feeders"? How can the added costs be justified?


Expert Panel Responses

Smart feeders represent a very strategic investment. It provides significant benefits for a relatively small percentage in the overall price of a pick and place machine. The cost can easily be justified by a reduction in set-up time and the elimination of wrong components placed. Squeezing more good product out of a new or existing assembly line yields a very short ROI, typically somewhere between 3 to 6 months. In addition smart feeders enable other applications like real-time inventory of components and feeders, feeder maintenance based on actual usage and component traceability, to name a few. Smart feeders have been around for a long time. Initially they were available as an option for a small niche of high reliability product assemblers. Over the past few years the percentage of machines sold with this option has been increasing steadily. This trend is expected to continue because of ongoing pressures to reduce manufacturing costs while demonstrating compliance with new legislation and customer traceability requirements. Most manufacturers of high-end and mid-range placement machines now offer smart feeders as an option and they even come as a standard feature on some models. Recently new technologies like RFID have become available that enable cost-effective smart feeders retrofits on existing machines and feeders. In addition the contactless nature of RFID makes smart feeders maintenance-free which means there is no adverse impact on machine uptime and operating costs. Cogiscan has developed an ROI spreadsheet that you can use to calculate the actual savings that you will get from using smart feeders on your assembly line. To get a copy of this spreadsheet please contact Francois Monette at Cogiscan: Tel: 450-534-2644.

Francois Monette
VP Sales & Marketing
Mr. Monette is one of the co-founders of Cogiscan and leads global sales, business development and marketing. Since 1990, he has held a variety of positions in the electronics manufacturing industry, mostly focused on quality and process engineering.

Intelligent Feeders assure that no set up errors can happen. Also, many of the systems today can do "paperless traceability", that is they can keep an electronic record of what part number from which lot number was assembled onto each board serial number automatically. This traceability data is required today by many automotive, medical, and avionics companies. If a component has a known failure in future, they can issue a recall for only the exact boards it was assembled with.

Bob Black
North America Sales Manager
Essegi Automation
Mr. Black was the President and Co-Founder of Zevatech in 1977 and introduced first Pick and Place System at Nepcon West 1980. Bob is now the President, CEO and Co-Founder of Juki Automation Systems. He is also a Co-Founder of the SMEMA Council of IPC. He serves as a member of SMTA and SEMI..

The simple answer is QUALITY! By bar-coding the component reels and scanning them after they are loaded onto the feeder, the system electronically verifies the part is in the correct location on the placement system insuring an accurate set-up. In addition, the system can be used to; Support free feeder allocation, Dynamic Next Device, Inventory Control, Product Scheduling, Part Storage Location, Remaining Parts on the Reel, Feeder Maintenance and Traceability.

Scott Wischoffer
Marketing Manager
Fuji America Corporation
Scott Wischoffer has been in the SMT industry since 1986 with experience in service, training, sales & applications, and marketing.

If you want and need traceability as well as inventory control and set-up time reduction, the smart feeder is your answer. ROI is usually less than 1 year and is justified only by the set-up time reduction (ease of component loading, data entering - barcode scanning, automatic inventory count) From the risk management perspective, you eliminate a lot of uncertainty when it comes to loading the right part in the right location.

Georgian Simion
Engineering and Operations Management
Independent Consultant
Georgian Simion is an independent consultant with 20+ years in electronics manufacturing engineering and operations.
Contact me at
Submit A Comment

Comments are reviewed prior to posting. You must include your full name to have your comments posted. We will not post your email address.

Your Name

Your Company
Your E-mail

Your Country
Your Comments

Free Newsletter Subscription
Circuitnet is built for professionals who bear the responsibility of looking ahead, imagining the future, and preparing for it.

Insert Your Email Address