Pick and place or XY position files are helpful for automated SMT component placement. Pick and place machines can be programmed manually using a camera guide but this can take a long time for boards with many components and can result in errors. Having a pick and place file can help save time and improve accuracy. Note: applies only to surface mount components, through hole boards do not need them.
What is a Pick and Place (X-Y) file?
The pick and place file, is basically a list of all the components on the design and their respective x-y coordinates and rotation. Most PCB design software can extract the component location and orientation directly from the board layout file to make the pick and place file.
Example pick and place file (.POS file) from KiCad
How do I export the pick and place files?
Here are some guidelines on how to export these files from some popular PCB design software:
Open the board layout (.brd file) and navigate to File -> Export -> Mount SMD.
Eagle will ask you where to save the separate top and bottom pick and place files consecutively. The .mnt file is for the top side and the .mnb file is for the bottom side. Package these with the other assembly files and you can upload these to the Seeed Fusion PCB order form.
Open the pcb_kicad file and go to File -> Fabrication Outputs -> Footprint Position (.pos) File…
In the new window, select the output directory for the file and click Generate File. This will generate the necessary pick and place files.
Bundle these with the other assembly files and upload them to the Seeed Fusion PCBA order section.
Open the .PcbDoc file and go to File -> Assembly Outputs -> Generates pick and place files.
Depending on your version of Altium, you may be able to select which columns to include in your pick and place file. At the very least, we need the Designator, x-y coordinates and the rotation. Other information can be omitted. Altium will generate the file in the same location as the PcbDoc file.
Now you can upload these with the assembly file to the Seeed Fusion PCBA order form.