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Seeking very low volume production reflow oven

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My company is currently using point source soldering of SMT ... - Apr 21, 2006 by

My bad ... - Apr 26, 2006 by RDR  

Timothy

#41116

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 21 April, 2006

My company is currently using point source soldering of SMT components. We have seen some problems due to improper soldering and are looking to switch to a reflow oven/hotplate assembly.

Our PCB's range in size but are no larger than 5"x5" and we assemble approximately 10 boards per day. We still use quite a bit of thru hole components but they are geting harder to come by. Additionally, some of our boards require SM components on both sides of our PCBs.

I have perused the web and have seen hotplates, low profile ovens, larger ovens, and even toaster ovens used for SM reflow soldering. It would be very much appreciated if someone could suggest whether to use a hotplate or oven or convection style of either type. Are there any ovens/hotplates you could recommend for our needs?

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RDR

#41117

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 21 April, 2006

I would recommend that you find a small 3-4 zone oven with convection preferably. If you are running lead free then you will want to find at least a 5 zone.

With lead free coming on, there are many small ovens available from companies upgrading.

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Chunks

#41118

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 21 April, 2006

I agree with Russ. Hotplates, toasters, etc.. may be cheaper than a smaller oven, but it will really pay off in the long run. Plus, your process control will be much easier to control.

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#41119

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 21 April, 2006

Around $10K....maybe a little less is what you'll pay for a good 5-zone oven on the used market.

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#41168

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 25 April, 2006

This is as much a question of the forum as it is a response, but a small batch oven with programmable profiling, quick response and forced cooling sounds ideal.

My question is do they even exist, and if so are they cost prohibitive to the market that could really benefit from them?

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Chunks

#41172

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 25 April, 2006

#41177

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 25 April, 2006

Chunks I've seen those, but my understanding is that they don't cool well at all, hence my concern about cost. Adding forced cooling with refrigerated air would probably almost double the cost I'm guessing.

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RDR

#41181

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 25 April, 2006

Looking at who is distributing them should tell you something!!!!

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#41185

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 25 April, 2006

tsk, tsk, Russ. You're not usually so judgemental. ;)

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#41194

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 25 April, 2006

A toaster oven is an improvement over hand soldering.

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RDR

#41213

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 26 April, 2006

My bad

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Dr. Timothy J. Harpster

#41225

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 26 April, 2006

I have spoken to the people at Manncorp and was not impressed. Their units are significantly cheaper than some other comparables on the market but from my conversation with them I am sure there is a reason for the reduced cost.

We have decided to go with an APS convection hotplate system. http://www.apsgold.com/c2-oven.html

Thank you for your input.

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Rob

#41227

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 26 April, 2006

Hi Doc,

Could you please let us know how you get on with it?

Cheers,

Rob.

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TMC

#41229

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 26 April, 2006

I would suggest you do the following: get a sample / scrap board that you will be reflowing, attach thermocouples at various locations on the board, send the board to APS or whomever. Ask them to run a profile based on your solder pastes manufacturers specs (most would have a graph on their website of the "recommended profile" specific to an alloy you are using) and have them send the results to you.

You should compare the line graph from the paste manufacturer to the line graph from the test done by APS. More importantly, look at the delta T between the thermocouples attached to your board. Not to knock APS, but I would be very suspicios that you can achieve uniform heating across your board. If the delta T is high you will be faced with having part of the board reflow while another part will not. Once the cooler part of the board reaches the melting point, your hotter side will be way out of the specification (at a much higher temperature) and this will lead to solder joint defects, component failures. Having uniform temperature across your board (at above melting point) is probably the most important point to look for in a reflow oven.

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T.J. Harpster

#41230

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 26 April, 2006

TMC,

I yoinked my requisition for the oven per your response. I've gotten so caught up in other things I forgot to ask about thermal profile data.

Thanks for the reminder and excellent suggestion.

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TMC

#41232

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 26 April, 2006

No problem . . . I have been throught this road before. Here is another heads up, if you ask for "thermal profile data" you can get the following:

1. a graph showing several thermocouples reading air rather than board temperature.

2. graph where everything looks uniform BUT, what you may be looking at are air temperature readings derived by having several themocouples taped together in a bunch reading basically the same temperature.

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PFI

#41233

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 26 April, 2006

i have a working 4zone novastar 1800 i can sell for $5500. wont get hot enough for lead free but will get you through till you get around to buy a high temp oven.

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#41247

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 27 April, 2006

we have a small batch oven. It is does take a long time to cool but we set up an airline that blows in the door when its open and that helped things a lot. looking at the hot plate your thinking about going with, it doesent look like you can program it? The advantage of the batch oven is once its profiled and programmed you have process control. For small volume jobs it has worked ok for us it could be better but i would imagine the newer models are.

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#41251

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 27 April, 2006

I have a Quad ZCR (4 zone) oven for $5,000. Edge/Mesh, auto chain oiler.

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#41253

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 27 April, 2006

90% of the battle with thermal profiling is your thermocouple attachment. That is Process Engineering 101.

It's just like painting your house. The masking and prep work will make or break the end result.

KIC did a DoE on which thermocouple attachment methods are best. To summarize, the best was Hi-Temp Solder.. 2nd place - Aluminum Tape.. 3rd Place (worst) - Kapton Tape.

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#41257

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 28 April, 2006

Not to turn this into a used equipment war but I have a Heller 1088 4 zone i could sell for $4K in a month or so. We just got in a new BTU Pyramax98 and will soon have no use for the Heller....

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#41285

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 1 May, 2006

Hi,

I off center idea we used when we started.

Get a pasta cooker, and put in vapor phase fluid, and then use that. Place the product in the bottom of the inner pot, and then heat on a small hot plate. When the vapor cloud gets high enough and the product reflows, wait for the reflow time, and then gently place the whole pot in a sink of cold water to cool it and re condense the fluid.

This works great, and you need a paster cooker with a glass lid so you can see what's going on, and you need to seal the stem hole with silicon before you use it. We used a small standoff under the board for double sided reflow.

There is no oxygen, so you get perfect clean soldering, and you cannot overheat the board, and you don't need to profile. You can solder heavy masses next to light components no problem.

It really works!

Regards,

Grant

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VRC

#41709

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 22 May, 2006

Is this oven still available and what is the condition.

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adlsmt

#41710

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 22 May, 2006

Grant has a good idea, we started that way also. We made a tank out of stainless steel with copper tube coils about 18" off the bottom. Circulate cold water through the tubes to condense the vapor to keep the loss down. We used electric burners underneath from Mcmaster Carr. This setup allowed for continuous use. One panel at a time of course. Grants method would work as well and would be easier to make. In our version, since we did not cool the vapor in between boards, the lack of controllable preheat can cause some tombstoning on smaller parts. You can use a toaster oven to do the initial pre-heat if this is a problem. This does work. The perflourinated fluid is a little expensive but this is way cheaper than wiring up a 480V electrical service for a 5 zone oven.

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#41711

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 22 May, 2006

The best small reflow oven that I have ever used is the Sikama brand. Unfortunately they are not inexpensive and you will pay almost as much as you would for a full size reflow oven. Interestingly this is the oven I qualified for lead free and other exotic alloys 10 years ago. This was when lead free and high temp alloys were more difficult than they are today. Ultra low nitrogen consumption and ultra low ROL. Probably not what you are looking for but small and desktop does not always equal poor performance.

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#41730

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 23 May, 2006

The energy division of my Consulting company is about to release another heat generator, if you will, that goes outside conventional reflow technology. We are about 1 year from obtaining our patent and then marketing this new heat generator. I choose not to call this technology an �oven� as the rest of you know it, but I will say this. Think �solar� energy.

Just want to showcase the out-of-box thinking that is the embodiment of my firm.

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#41732

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 23 May, 2006

Which oven are you refering too?

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RDR

#41734

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 23 May, 2006

What firm would that be? this is the second time I have asked. why are you withholdiong this info?

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#41735

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 23 May, 2006

I thought we got rid of this "Expert"! Jerry

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#41736

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 23 May, 2006

Guru,

I'm sure everyone here in this forum would appreciate if you stay in your box. We don't reflow boards on sunny day's we go fishing.

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RDR

#41738

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 23 May, 2006

Dog gonnit Patrick!, we were supposed to keep that secret! Now he is going to tell us how to fish "out of the box"

Can't wait!

Russ

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#41748

Seeking very low volume production reflow oven | 24 May, 2006

I learned that from Mrs. Pauls about 40 years ago.

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reflow oven profiler