Assembly of 'difficult' components onto printed circuit boards is emerging as an important application area for small, fast industrial robots. For other robot tasks - for example paint spraying or arc welding - the applications engineer can rely on a body of published information representing decades of accumulated knowledge about the actual process being automated. But for the process of assembly relatively little systematically presented knowledge exists, mainly because so much manual assembly depends on extremely subtle co-ordination of hand, eye and brain which is hard to represent directly in engineering terms. As for the particular processes of electronic assembly, they have hardly been covered at all in the literature. Yet the design of a good PCB automation system depends crucially on the responsible engineer fully understanding every aspect of the process he or she is automating, whether working for the electronics manufacturer, an automation company, a research laboratory or a machine builder. The author of this book has had extensive practical experience in all these roles: as a source of great detail on most aspects of the electronic assembly process it will be of unique value not only to the robot specialist but well beyond that to anyone needing to understand how printed circuit boards are manufactured. P. G. Davey Acknowledgements The author is indebted to many companies and individuals from within the pcb assembly industry.