The surface mounting of electronic components on a PCB comprises a number of steps. One of them includes reflow soldering, where the components are temporarily attached to their contact pads, and then mounted permanently on the board using controlled heat. Reflow ovens are needed to carry out this step.
By Baishakhi Dutta
Reflow ovens are primarily used to solder electronic components onto printed circuit boards (PCBs). They have multiple heating and cooling zones, which are used at different times, based on the requirements of the PCBs. Earlier, these ovens operated in an oxygenated environment, which ended up consuming a lot of oxygen and oxidising the surfaces to be soldered. Today, trends have changed, and the new reflow ovens work in an oxygen-free environment in the presence of nitrogen, which also reduces defect rates. Featured in this article are a few new entrants in the reflow oven market.
A few new products available in the market
|Model: Vitronics Soltec Centurion reflow oven;
Manufacturer: ITW Electronics Assembly Equipment
|The Centurion catalytic thermal oxidiser (CATHOX) reduces maintenance requirements while ensuring a clean process environment. It is effective in removing volatile compounds from the process tunnel during reflow. In thermal oxidation, organic vapours are converted to hydrocarbons, which are captured by a filter. The company claims that due to the best heat transfer in the industry, the Centurion is able to run any profile at the lowest set point possible. This minimises the thermal differences over the product and uses less energy. The new ‘idle mode’ option further reduces the cost of operation.
|Model: SMT lead-free nitrogen reflow furnace; Manufacturer: Tangteck Equipment Inc.|
|This new machine has five to 12 heating zones with both top and down heaters, as well as two to three cooling sections. The maximum temperature setting is 350°C. Both the mesh belt and chain rail can be used for the reflow process (the chain rail width is available in two models, offering a maximum of 320mm and 520mm, respectively). It has an excellent chamber seal design along with minimal nitrogen gas consumption. However nitrogen gas and air supply can be selected independently. It can be linked with a personal computer to set up, store, recall process parameters, and monitor/record the temperature status. It comes with an independent flux collecting device for each heating zone, collocated with a special reusable metal filter, and it is also easy to maintain
Contact details: www.tangteck.com.tw
|Model: EMS Konark 930/1020; Manufacturer: EMS Technologies Pvt Ltd|
|The new K930 is a nine-zone reflow oven whereas the K1020 is a ten-zone reflow oven. Both the models have the heat transferring capability and operate on the basis of a high fan performance while simultaneously maintaining low flow speeds. Absolute temperature stability in the soldering chamber ensures consistent warming of the modules (PCBs). Agitating large air masses while maintaining low flow speeds results in hot air flow directly over the module where it is most effective. This is an efficient way of transferring heat and guarantees excellent soldering results, claim company sources.
Contact details: www.emstonline.com
|Model: Hotflow 4 series; Manufacturer: Kurtz Ersa|
|The high-end reflow soldering systems of the Kurtz Ersa Hotflow 4 series provide excellent thermal performance and the best energy balance, company sources claim. With process lengths ranging from 3.3 metres to over 7 metres and up to four cooling zones, this series covers all the applications that require economical reflow soldering with the highest throughput, as well as the lowest energy and nitrogen gas consumption. The newly developed, smart nitrogen control system, in conjunction with the efficient blower motors, offers a 25 per cent reduction in energy use. Ersa Hotflow 4 systems can be equipped with multiple chain conveyor systems, with pyrolysis air cleaning, and with a number of different cooling options.
Contact details: www.ersa.com