BEA SA produces their electronics in-house since the beginning of January 2018. These electronics are being used for the sensor systems they sell. Many different and difficult choices had to be made during the construction of the production line. The soldering process was the easiest choice that had to be made, in hindsight. Using industry 4.0 as a starting point for the production line, it was easy to choose selective soldering. Different soldering machines were compared, however, the Ersa Selective Soldering machine (Versaflow 4/55) supplied by Smans was of a completely different level.
Wave Soldering versus Selective Soldering
While configuring the production line, it was important to keep direct labour as low as possible. The latest technologies were used to work as efficient as possible and also to keep the quality as high as possible. For multiple reasons, the choice for selective soldering was a logical one.
The quality of the soldered connections is higher with a selective soldering machine in comparison to a wave-soldering machine. However, this wasn’t the only reason to choose the selective soldering machine. The sustainability aspect played an important role as well. A wave-soldering machine is much larger and uses far more electricity and tin than a selective soldering machine. Tin is easier to manage with a selective soldering machine. Because of this, the implementation of a selective soldering machine is easier as well.
Last but not least, another reason to choose the selective soldering machine, is that R&D was forced to choose more smd components, which means less labour in the end.
A disadvantage of the selective soldering machine is the lower velocity with respect to the wave-soldering machine. However, the current machine with two solder pots is fast enough for now. If there is a need for more components in the coming years, the selective soldering machine may well become a bottleneck in the production line. The solution for this problem has already been figured out. The two solder pots can easily be extended to six pots, which creates more velocity. But most important for the velocity is the use of THT components. If the pcba’s have too much THT components the machine can still become the bottleneck in terms of velocity even with six pots.
Ersa Selective Soldering machine another level
Smans played a pivotal role during the creation of the complete production line. Smans has supplied many of the machines and has also taken care of the complete integration. Smans made all the difference by supplying excellent service, advice and technical support. Of course, BEA SA has considered their options carefully. The machines of the competition have been viewed most carefully as well. Prices and quality were close together but the service Smans provided was the decisive factor. This was different with the Ersa Selective Soldering machine. BEA SA has compared several selective soldering machines. They concluded that the Ersa Selective Soldering machine was of a completely different level. The machine is so easy to use and the software is really very well developed. A big advantage is the simplicity with which the solder pots can be extended. Naturally, Smans advised BEA SA on this machine as well and provided demonstrations, however, it was such a completely different level, that the machine made all the difference in this case.
Lives up to expectations
In the mean time, BEA SA has used the machine for a couple of months now. The Ersa Selective Soldering machine works really well and more than lives up to the high expectations.
Would you like to read more regarding this project?
BEA SA: Successful start of our in-house electronics production; Pivotal role for integrator and supplier Smans
100% functional testing wasn’t an option
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