Electronics manufacturing services provider Computrol Inc. counts the U.S. military, aerospace OEMs and medical-device manufacturers among its large customer base. From facilities in Meridian, ID, and Orem, UT, Computrol has served mid- to low-volume high-mix manufacturers around the United States since 1984.
For the last several years, the company has faced three problems related to soldering PCBs using surface mount technology: slow board setup and production, and inconsistent product quality. In the spring of 2012, management at the Meridian plant installed an automated KISS-103 (Keep it Simple Soldering) machine from ACE Production Technologies to eliminate these problems.
“Installation went very smoothly, and training operators to run the machine was very straightforward, with few questions or issues,” says Eric Ames, manufacturing engineer for Computrol. “We began running production boards within hours of setup, which is quick.”
An operator imports the PCB’s CAD file programs the sites of all components to be soldered, and inputs solder-process parameters (immersion depth, preheat dwell, travel distance and speed, temperature and wave height). The PCB is manually positioned on location rails, and the X, Y and Z axis start points are adjusted to compensate for any skew of the PCB.
Once activated, the machine’s KFS-DJ spray head deposits micro amounts of flux to all components at programmed sites. A solder pot then moves to the first programme site, where its nozzle solders a component’s front pins and through-hole leads to the PCB.
The pot moves to the next programmed site and repeats the process. All programmed sites are completed in the same cycle.
The machine handles boards from 2 by 2 inches up to 18 by 24 inches. It solders through-hole components within 1.5 millimetres of adjacent components. A nitrogen blanket within the pot minimizes solder impurity. Other standard equipment includes a solder level control, colour witness camera, support stand and various nozzles.
By eliminating manual masking and soldering of the boards, the KISS-103 has enabled Computrol to increase production speed 20 percent and free up skilled employees for higher level work. The machine’s precise repeatability in the X, Y and Z axes also ensures consistent board quality.
For more information on PCB soldering machines, call 509-924-4898 or visit www.ace-protech.com.