From manual to automated: tape masking in electronics manufacturing

From manual to automated: tape masking in electronics manufacturing

28 February 2023 Insight into technology

One of the key steps in the assembly process is soldering. In electronics manufacturing, soldering connects electronic components, such as integrated circuits, resistors, and printed circuit boards (PCBs). It is a critical step to ensure the proper and secure functioning of electronics, as it creates a connection between all components.

However, during this process, certain areas of the PCB should not be exposed to the soldering process. To protect these areas, electronics manufacturers use a process called tape masking.

When using tape masking, it is usually cut to a specific length, picked up, and pasted onto the PCBA's designed location. The process is manual and requires visual inspection of the tape's position on the PCBA. It is, therefore, time-consuming, costly, and inefficient.

The solution: automated tape masking

Our team at Kitron China has designed an automated tape masking device. It quickly applies tape masking onto PCB pads to prevent contamination, work as insulation, and provide mechanical assistance. This device can provide a variety of benefits, such as ensuring superior accuracy, increased efficiency, and reducing the potential for contamination. An automated system can handle higher volumes of work more efficiently than a manual process.

Firstly, the PCB is stored in a container and automatically loaded onto the conveyor system by a pneumatic grab. Tape masks can be cut and adjusted according to specific requirements and placed precisely at specific locations. Finally, the masked PCB is automatically transferred into the box. The accuracy of the placement of the tape masks, as well as the speed of the automated transfer, ensures that the entire process is completed quickly and efficiently.

By masking off components with tape, it ensures they remain secure and reliable throughout the manufacturing process, providing increased durability. Heat-resistant tape can withstand the high temperatures generated during the soldering process without melting. Once it is applied, the PCB is ready to run through the soldering process.

Various benefits for our customers

This exciting technology offers several advantages for our global customers. Everyone strives to increase efficiency. Automated tape masking does that by eliminating the need for manual labor, reducing the time and, ultimately, the cost of the assembly process.

Moreover, it is equally important to improve quality control. This device helps to ensure the accuracy and quality of the final product, by preventing contamination of sensitive areas of the PCB.

An automated tape masking system can help reduce waste by using only the amount of tape needed for each application. This can help reduce the overall cost of materials and minimize environmental impact.

Our customers will experience increased cost savings, efficiency improvements, and greater quality and reliability as a result of these improvements. Additionally, it will reduce waste, improve safety, and minimize environmental impact.


To conclude, automated tape masking plays a significant role in the manufacturing process. It allows sensitive components to be protected during the soldering process, which contributes to better quality in the final product.

Having a tape masking process improves Kitron's quality and efficiency, which benefits both Kitron and our customers. This automated process is a result of our team's efforts at Kitron China to find efficient automation solutions.

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