Estimating Pick & Place Machine Costs Through BOM Analysis

Estimating Pick and Place Machine Cost

A pick and place machine is—no question—a sizable investment. It can be tempting to try to cut corners in this part of the SMT assembly process, but attempts to save funds in the short-term could cost you in the long run. Some of the productivity headaches we’ve had customers tell us about when they’d tried to “go cheaper” in the past include:

  • Time lost to excessive changeovers or attempts to optimize setups
  • Failure to keep pace with output goals
  • A need to add costly hand assembly for parts the machine didn’t handle
  • Too much offline time due to service and support issues

It is, however, just as easy to overspend—on capacity, speed, or features you don’t need. The more you invest in a machine, the longer it takes for it to earn its keep. So why waste money on capability you’ll likely never use?

The sweet spot is to achieve payback within a year or so—without incurring additional unexpected costs. At Manncorp, we’ve been able to work with customers to get them a return on their investment in as little as nine months.

It all comes down to maximizing productivity while minimizing investment dollars—something that’s a lot easier to do if you do it all the time, like our team does. Of course, you can try to do it on your own or you can hire a consultant to help you, but did you know that Manncorp offers—free, with no obligation—a full-scale professional analysis of your production requirements and bills of materials (B.O.M.)? For no charge, Manncorp will custom-configure a machine to meet your exact specifications and throughput requirements. What’s more, based on your total budget, we will make recommendations for feeder types, sizes, and quantities to provide optimum performance, minimum changeover, and the quickest return on your investment.

Full-Scale Production Analysis

What does a free Manncorp Production Analysis entail? It starts with one of our experienced team members asking you basic questions about your needs. For example:

  • What’s the largest PCB you assemble?
  • What is the smallest component you need to place? How many?
  • The finest pitch QFP? BGA?
  • What is the largest component you need to place? How many?
  • How many different board designs do you have to build?
  • Are the boards single- or double-sided?
  • What is the maximum number of unique components on any one side of all of the boards you build?
  • Is there a lot of component commonality among the various board designs?
  • How many total component placements are there per board?
  • For each design, how many boards do you need to assemble per year?
  • What is the typical size (number of boards) of a production run?
  • Will your pick and place be used as an in-line machine or in a stand-alone batch configuration?

We’ll also ask you to send along the full B.O.M. for each of your products. (And we're happy to sign an NDA agreement before you send it.) You needn’t worry if your B.O.M. is in a raw format. Our team can usually identify component sizes and packaging from your most basic descriptions by means of our extensive SMD cross-reference.

How much should you spend on an SMT pick & place machine?
Feeder capacity, combined with a feeder strategy geared toward optimizing and streamlining setup and job changes, can make the difference between a chronic headache and a smooth-running operation for manufacturers who intended to run several different jobs on a single machine.

All of this information together will help us pass along to you the following information:

  • The pick and place machine model(s) that will best meet your placement accuracy, range of component sizes, feeder capacity (for either batch or inline configurations), and throughput requirements (CPH)
  • The minimum number, types, and sizes of feeders you’ll need to build any one of your boards
  • The number, types, and sizes of feeders you’ll need, optimized for common components across jobs to ensure minimal changeover
  • Optional cameras or other accessories needed to handle ultra-small, over-sized, or odd-form components
  • Other accessories and recommendations that can minimize cost and maximize machine utility

Making use of decades of experience evaluating B.O.M.s and custom configuring countless pick and place machines, our equipment experts will carefully review this information with you, along with strategies for simplifying changeovers, streamlining workflow, and reducing your overall pick and place machine cost.

Manncorp provides similar free needs-analysis services for all our major production equipment, including reflow ovens, stencil printers, complete assembly lines, and wave solder machines. Whatever your equipment needs, get in touch with a Manncorp electronics assembly equipment expert today:

East Coast Office
Chris Ellis. Text or call 215-869-8374, or email

West Coast Office
Ed Stone: Text or call 215-808-6266, or email