Zollner Elektronik AG relies on energy-efficient and cycle time-optimized alternative to thermode soldering

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EUTECT Modular System Overview

The Laser Knife developed by Eutect enables optimum results when soldering flex foils, cable strands, ribbon cables and battery pins. The Laser Knife soldering process is characterized by high quality results and high reproducibility, combined with high energy efficiency and process speed. Particularly in high-volume production, as at Zollner Elektronik AG, for example, the Laser Knife enables cycle time-optimized soldering for various end products.

“The Laser Knife offers our customers another controlled and adaptive soldering process, including process data acquisition,” explains Matthias Fehrenbach, Managing Director of Eutect GmbH. The Laser Knife consists of a path and force-controlled hold-down device which brings the two surfaces to be soldered together in a defined manner and a laser which enables the temperature to be applied contact-free. The temperature-controlled laser is equipped with an integrated pyrometer and a camera and guarantees the user maximum process stability, quality and traceability. “The Laser Knife is useful for applications where a fast, cycle time-optimized, reproducible, energy-efficient soldering process is required for SMD contacts, flex foils, cable strands and ribbon cables, for example, or wherever complex or very small geometries need to be soldered,” says Fehrenbach. Depending on the product and application, extremely short cycle times of up to ≥0.5 seconds per solder joint are possible.

“The laser has enabled us to massively speed up the soldering process without losing reproducibility and quality of results.
Depending on the component, the Laser Knife is 10 times faster than the former thermode soldering. We have also achieved a 70% reduction in energy consumption,” says Fehrenbach. Furthermore, no product-specific thermode molds or Kapton bands are required. There is also no need to convert the process head or production system due to a change in production. The Laser Knife can be converted for new or additional products with little effort, allowing the customer to get the maximum benefit from the system. “In addition, the Thermode has limits in terms of geometry size due to the technical possibilities. This limitation no longer plays a role when using the Laser Knife,” emphasizes Fehrenbach. The contactless soldering of the surfaces and the elimination of thermode abrasion also reduces the maintenance and service costs for the entire module.

Another important aspect is the reduction in consumables by using the Laser Knife.
The soldering process requires a minimum amount of solder and flux, as solder and flux deposits are provided by the previous reflow soldering process. Additional consumables such as flux, solder, nitrogen, etc. are not required. “This also means that there are no downtimes during which consumables have to be refilled or provided again for other soldering processes,” highlights Fehrenbach. In addition, all process data is recorded and stored during the soldering process via the Eutect control technology. This enables 100% traceability. “This allows us to maximize quality based on real process data,” Fehrenbach continues.

Zollner Elektronik AG was convinced of this process concept right from the start and is using the Laser Knife successfully.
“We at Zollner Elektronik AG are very open to the use of newly developed processes. We therefore took a very close look at this new, innovative soldering process when Eutect GmbH presented the Laser Knife concept to us for the first time. For us, the focus was on the energy- and resource-efficient, high-quality soldering process, which, in addition to a high cycle time optimization, also enables the reduction of overall process costs,” explains Tobias Pongratz, responsible for Production Technology (MBPTF) Business Division Mechanics at Zollner Elektronik AG. “Every innovation also needs an innovation promoter to ensure that it reaches the market. With Zollner Elektronik AG, we have found an ideal partner to support us in the consistent development of the Laser Knife process,” continues Fehrenbach.

Abbildung des EUTECT Laserknifes

The Laser Knife consists of a path- and force-controlled hold-down device that brings the two surfaces to be soldered together in a defined manner and a laser that enables the temperature to be applied without contact. The temperature-controlled laser is equipped with an integrated pyrometer and a camera and guarantees the user maximum process stability, quality and traceability. The Laser Knife enables optimum results when soldering flex foils, cable strands, ribbon cables and battery pins. The soldering process is characterized by high quality results and high reproducibility, combined with high energy efficiency and process speed. For high-volume production in particular, the Laser Knife enables cycle time-optimized soldering for various end products. Depending on the product and application, extremely short cycle times of up to ≥0.5 seconds per solder joint are possible.

The laser can massively accelerate the soldering process without any loss of reproducibility or quality of results. Depending on the component, the Laser Knife is 10 times faster than the thermode soldering process, for example. A reduction in energy consumption of 70 % can also be achieved. In addition, no product-specific thermode molds or Kapton bands are required. There is also no need to convert the process head or production system due to a change in production. The Laser Knife can be converted for new or additional products with little effort, giving the customer maximum benefit from the system. In addition, the thermode has limits in terms of geometry size due to the technical possibilities. This limitation no longer plays a role when using the Laser Knife. The non-contact soldering of the surfaces and the elimination of thermode abrasion also reduces the maintenance and service costs for the entire module.

Another important aspect is the reduction in consumable requirements through the use of the Laser Knife. The soldering process requires a minimum amount of solder and flux, as solder and flux deposits are provided by the previous reflow soldering process.

Some time ago, we introduced our cradle-to-cradle concept, which we have been consistently implementing ever since. In addition to working time, material values are also included in every system that we deliver. These can certainly be reused in new projects. As soon as parts are still working, they can be reused – and that’s what we do.

We currently offer mini wave soldering modules and solder nozzles that have already been used in other projects. Of course, every module is overhauled in advance and thoroughly tested. After revision, replacement of consumables and an extensive functional test, these modules are available to you at short notice.

Miniwellen Lötmodul IW1 mit Laserhöhenerkennung

The Beckhoff Service Tool (BST) is an easy-to-use graphical backup and restore program for Windows operating systems. It can be used to create a backup at any time in order to completely secure the system and associated configurations. In the event of an error, the generated backups can be restored quickly and easily. Downtimes and time-consuming recovery work can be significantly reduced.

USB-Beckhoff Service Tool zur Erstellung von Backups

Flux-Modules

Fluxes are an essential component of a soldering process. Flux application, as an individual process, therefore requires just as much expertise as the subsequent soldering process. This is why EUTECT offers various processes to provide customers with the right solution for flux application: from high-precision inject fluxing, spray-free brush fluxing and efficient spray fluxing to cycle time-optimizing lift-dip fluxing.

All process modules can be flexibly integrated and expanded within the Eutect configuration options, enabling sustainable flux application. In most cases, quantity and position-monitored inject fluxing is used, as it applies the flux with high precision to the defined areas and thus contributes to reduced flux consumption. Lift-dip fluxing is also frequently used. In this process, the surface to be wetted is dipped into the flux. Economical and sustainable flux handling is guaranteed with a two-chamber flux preparation system that ensures the perfect mixing ratio of the flux and also a cover that protects against evaporation. In addition, all spray jet application processes can be documented by means of flux jet monitoring, which ensures complete application monitoring.

Eutect Fluxen

EUTECT piston soldering is the only piston soldering process in the world with controlled wire feed

The combination of the motor-driven and spring-loaded soldering tip feed with the SWF module offers users a wide and high-precision process and application window. With its many years of process expertise, EUTECT offers a customer-specific implementation of automated piston soldering. Piston soldering is the ideal soldering process for assemblies that are not high-volume and have a large component variance. EUCTET provides the MPC automation platform, which allows to react flexibly to changing solder joints using a collaborative robot.  For all other automation solutions, EUTECT relies on a flexible SWF system adapter, which allows solid and reproducible integration of soldering irons from a wide range of manufacturers. During piston soldering, process-specific operating data such as the actual amount of wire inserted, the actual temperature at the soldering tip and control diagrams can be read out and visualized for quality assurance purposes.

SWF-Modul

System integrators and mechanical engineers are often dealing with a heterogeneous system landscape. At the same time, increasingly complex technologies require more sophisticated manufacturing steps. This applies in particular to selective soldering processes. Here, EUTECT’s soldering experts provide support with the IW1 selective soldering module and the IW1-2 double soldering module and offer system integrators individual modules and support for integration into the overall inline configuration. The soldering process modules contained in the specially developed modular system allow a wide range of manufacturing processes for complex products to be carried out optimally.

But also for processes where EUTECT does not supply the main process module, the EUTECT modular system offers solutions. With the specially developed and worldwide unique controlled wire feeder “Sensitive Wire Feeder (SWF)”. This can make the decisive difference in various wire-guided soldering processes.

When developing the best possible technical implementation for soldering tasks, the desired product quality, existing automation concepts in production as well as the process quality are the focus of our actions.

Take advantage of the opportunity to work with us, our soldering process and automation know-how, to develop the right process for your product and your production.

Our EUTECT Technology Centre is equipped with all the soldering process modules that we have in our range. Here we evaluate your and our processes in order to achieve the goals required by you or your customer or to make them even more efficient through newly developed solutions. In this way, we ensure stable and efficient series production with the desired quality of results.

When a soldering process is used, it is not always possible to observe the soldering from outside in the process cell. This is partly due to the integration of the soldering modules in the cell, or the cell is closed for protection, such as in laser soldering.

In order to still be able to observe the process from the outside, we have developed ERICa.

ERICa shows live images of the soldering process so that you can monitor the process from different perspectives and correct it if necessary.

Furthermore, a NOK process, detected by the EUTECT control technology, can be saved automatically. Manual process recordings are also possible. ERICa can display various crosshairs for the laser optics, which facilitates operation.

EUTECT Software

Products that are based on a wide range of manufacturing processes and at the same time are becoming more and more technically complex are constantly presenting machine manufacturers with new challenges. This also applies to the area of selective soldering processes. The soldering specialists at EUTECT GmbH therefore provide support with proven and mature solutions and in-depth metallurgical expertise.

Based on its many years of experience in selective soldering, EUTECT has developed a modular technology system which, in addition to process modules, also includes the corresponding control technology and software solutions. Using the modules, systems can be optimally and cost-effectively designed for the highest possible degree of efficiency. The modular system also offers machine builders the option of integrating individual process modules into an automation system. This is an important advantage, as complete cells with fixed dimensions and specific automation are no longer needed.

“Our solution competence is based on numerous complex projects beyond the standard, which we have realised in more than 25 years. This wealth of experience is reflected in our proven modular system. At the same time, we are consistently developing our service portfolio to be able to offer customers direct access to the latest process and integration solutions,” explains Matthias Fehrenbach, Managing Director and owner of EUTECT GmbH.

“We support machine manufacturers in integrating soldering processes into their overall solutions for automation. For example, we can implement feasibility analyses and complete product evaluations in our technical centre at the Dusslingen site. These form a basis for the production of validation samples and small series. Since we bring our entire experience to bear, we offer our customers further competitive advantages,” Fehrenbach explains.

Automation companies can fall back on three areas in their cooperation with EUTECT: Consulting and process know-how, evaluation and conceptual design, and project planning and implementation. This gives system integrators faster and easier access to process and technology information about soldering and its automation solutions. A quick assessment of how and whether the selective soldering process can be integrated into the desired customer system is therefore possible. Based on the deep know-how in the field of assembly and connection technology and through access to the broad wealth of experience in the development of solution approaches, project planning and management of customer projects, the responsible persons at EUTECT are consequently an important resource for system integrators.

This is also reflected in the evaluation and solution design. Here, EUTECT offers defined solution approaches for complex soldering tasks with a high degree of customisation, based on proactive solution approaches for manufacturing challenges on the part of the end customers.

 

“We often have the projects on the table that other suppliers have already cut their teeth on and that cannot be implemented with standard solutions,” recalls Fehrenbach.

 

The evaluations and feasibility studies required for the end customers are therefore implemented as quickly as possible. Since these are carried out under original process conditions and automated, the production of validation samples, small series and prototypes on behalf of customers is also possible.

Finally, EUTECT also assists the system integrators with the implementation. In doing so, the system integrator has recourse to maximum flexibility in design, assembly and implementation, just like any other customer.

“Thanks to a consistent development of the EUTECT service portfolio, we offer every system integrator the latest developments and integration solutions. In addition, we support our customers in integrating our modules into their system concept. This concerns the mechanics, the control technology and the software,” assures Fehrenbach.

At the same time, EUTECT offers its customers the opportunity to use a network of technology partners and experts.

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