Contract electronics manufacturer Newbury Electronics recently invested in an Ersa Eco-Select 1 selective soldering machine from Blundell Production Equipment.
Newbury had found that they were increasingly being asked by their customers to solder PCB’s with SMD’s on both sides, and big production bottlenecks were building up due to the need to hand solder these boards. It was also difficult to accurately price jobs as hand soldering times were unpredictable and good hand soldering operators were hard to find.
Newbury’s managing director Philip King approached Blundell for advice and a visit was arranged to Hanover Displays in Sussex who use an EcoSelect 2. There he saw that although the automated selective soldering process was slow in comparison to wave soldering, it was precise and repeatable.
Philip King comments: ‘I could see that once programmed, the machine could be left to get on with the job without much operator intervention. The operators can walk away and do something else and when the green light comes on they know the board is ready to be taken out of the machine”
“We opted for a batch machine as we don’t need in-line capability at the moment although I can see it happening in the future. Being a CEM we have a high mix of boards and we have already got dozens of programs set up in the machine. The shop floor staff have no problems with selecting the right program, loading and unloading the machine and performing routine maintenance.”
Newbury Electronics opted for a nitrogen generator from Atlas Copco which is performing well and is producing nitrogen to the correct purity for the process.
Philip King is quick to point out that selective soldering is not a replacement for wave soldering, and that his Blundell CMS 400 wave soldering machine will continue to be used for boards that do not have double sided SMT content “But there are an increasing number of boards that we simply can’t wave solder” he says, “and the Eco-Select gets on with the job with the minimum of fuss”