Automated Circuit Board Loader

Andrew De Haan, Craig Disselkoen, and Drew Nederhoff

We worked with Sencore, Inc. (Sioux Falls, SD) to design a device to automate the process of feeding printed circuit boards (PCBs) onto an assembly line. Our automated PCB buffer frees the operator from the repetitive task of placing PCBs onto the input conveyor for the assembly line, allowing him or her to focus attention on other less tedious tasks.

Our automated PCB buffer device stores PCB's between two towers on the teeth of cogged belts. Upon request, a PCB is lowered onto the conveyor belt and delivered to the next machine in the assembly line. Key features of our design include a method to prevent damage to the PCB by slowing the rate of descent just before the board lands on the conveyor and adjustability to accommodate the variety PCB sizes used at Sencore.