Packing ever more components into ever smaller platforms is an ongoing feature of electronics and computing.
“We’re seeing an increase in the amount of PCB’s that require selective wave soldering,” says Scott Mellins, PCB Assembly Supervisor.
Electrical components such as capacitors, transistors, relays, and more are squeezed onto multi-layered printed circuit boards (PCB’s). This in turn allows firmware and software to precisely interact to receive and give instructions.
In Pertronic Industries’ case, we build the nerve structure and brains of fire alarm and detection systems at our Wingate manufacturing site.
The increased workload in the SWS (selective wave soldering) area’ has required us to install our third selective wave machine (a Cube.460). It allows through-hole components to be placed on both sides of a PCB and be accurately soldered into position.
Precise amounts of flux and solder are applied to selected components through an internal 3mm diameter solder nozzle. Heated nitrogen is blown over the nozzle whilst soldering to prevent oxidation.
X-Ray test results of the solder joints show the Cube.460 is a reliable and quality machine, says Scott.
As production from Pertronic’s surface mount technology (SMT) machines increases, Scott’s challenge is to match the lifting output of the selective wave machines.
He and his team use lean methodologies to be more efficient, eliminate waste, reduce downtime and be more cost effective – all while maintaining product quality and reliability.
These improvements centre around the collection of data, and the optimisation of processes and timelines while maintaining a watchful eye on what needs to be assembled immediately.
In providing assembled components for a wealth of Pertronic fire detection and alarm systems, “there’s always eight plus jobs to be carried out on the selective wave,” he says.
“We’re always looking at ways to have a better flow. We’re always looking for all team members to contribute to a lean methodology improvement.”
In the meantime the number and variety of components which can be placed and programmed will continue to constantly improve.