Charles has been hard at work on the design and build of a tape peeling system, first parts pictured here:
Basically the idea is to have a reel which holds the plastic cover. The mechanism is spring wound, and the tape peels as it enters the tape holder. The tape itself will be advanced by the 3D printer - we're planning to use the needle itself in the round holes on the tape, so basically for each part it picks, it'll advance the tape one notch just before the pick, and the spring/reel will wind up the cover. Collectively these two ideas will allow us to reduce the length of the tape holders, since we'll only need to have enough length to make the tape stable. Lots more work remains, but we're excited to soon have automated tape peeling!