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Time to retire the wave?

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#50294

Time to retire the wave? | 18 May, 2007

Hi,

We have a soltec wave, and apart from the really bad software running it, I am wondering if it's time to replace it with selective soldering, which will use less solder, and much less power than a wave.

What is a good inline replacement for a wave soldering machine. I am going to look at Soltec's selective soldering machine, but I am so disappointed in software that run's in Soltec machines that I am not sure. I do like the construction of the machines, but the software is terrible.

Who makes the best selective soldering machines available?

Regards,

Grant

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#50298

Time to retire the wave? | 18 May, 2007

Hi Grant,

Replacing a wave witha spot solder? You must have very few comonents to solder or all day to solder them. Why are thinking of doing this?

Well, I have looked at just about every selective machine out there. What it all boils down to is your application. If you have small parts with little thermal mass, a simple machine from ACE might be what you need. If you have medium volumes you migth want to look at Pillar House. If you have large thermal mass and a lot to solder, you might want to look at Ersa.

The biggest problem most people have going to selective solder is their board design. What works thru wave doesn't always work with selective solder. The nice thing about selective solder is most are programmable and there are certain tricks one can do to avoid these problems. Component spacing is the big killer for slective solder. Each machine has a keep out area that you should follow, but most people are doing what you are doing and 'switching' to selective solder - so the board design is locked.

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#50320

Time to retire the wave? | 21 May, 2007

We have a Delta Max (leaded) and a delta wave (lead free) and a soltec Selective solder. The software that runs the selective solder is much different than that of the wave machines. We have fitted our selective with a leaded and lead free pot to handle both products. The programming is a little time consuming but the reward is flawless solder joints, no masking, less labor, and repeatability. The wave solder machines are much faster to solder with, but the selective solder produces better quality.

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#50325

Time to retire the wave? | 22 May, 2007

Hi,

Thanks for the info, and would you opinion be that the Soltec selective is a good machine, and is the software good? We have a Delta Wave, and while we like it, it's got some horrible software. That's the only thing worrying us.

Regards,

Grant

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#50335

Time to retire the wave? | 22 May, 2007

Are you using nitrogen with your wave? You probably will need to with selective.

With our Ersa we need 99.9% pure nitrogen to make it acceptable. They spec 99.999% which means liquid nitrogen.

We tried one board without nitrogen, it left a two inch icicle.

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#50339

Time to retire the wave? | 22 May, 2007

The soltec Selective solder machine is great and the software is much beter than that of the wave machines. I forgot to mention that we do use nitrogen with the Selective solder machine and have wonderful results. Like I said before it does take some time to program but once completed it is very repeatable. Now that we have a lead free wave, more products that require selective soldering are being run through our Selective solder machine. It takes me about a half day to program and debug (usually 3 boards) and after that I have no problems.

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#50341

Time to retire the wave? | 22 May, 2007

Hi,

Thanks for all the info.

Do you have a Nitrogen generator for the selective soldering machine? How does the cost of running that compare to the cost of keeping that big pot in the Delta wave hot? Have you ever experimented with check the costs of running between the two systems?

Regards,

Grant

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#50342

Time to retire the wave? | 22 May, 2007

We did get the dewers of liquid nitrogen. They were something like $200.00 a refill plus a monthly rental. If you research nitrogen filters you will find a long list of disadvantages to the dewers. One that wasn't listed was a lot of times we would have puddles of water on the floor as the frost on the side of the dewer melted.

Now we rent a filter. I forget the cost per month. We also had to buy another air compressor but we would have liked to buy one as a backup for the first one anwyays. It has the extra benefit that if you are feeling fatigued you can go breathe in the oxygen rich air but the filter.

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#50343

Time to retire the wave? | 22 May, 2007

No nitrogen generator. We have a service bring us nitrogen tanks every week and have the machine set up so if one goes empty, we can turn on the other one to keep a seamless flow of productivity. Our waves run from 6:00 am until 3:30 am between 2 shifts. If you want more info about soltec selective solder machines, I can have my inhouse expert available if you want to call. He would be glad to answer any and all questions you my have. We are located in Sioux Falls, SD.

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#50351

Time to retire the wave? | 23 May, 2007

I was the "victim" of an old soltec wave too, along with their DOS-based piece-of-dung software. We have since replaced it.

Generally, I find the European equipment makers very weak in the software department. Good examples are DEKs and Soltecs.

As for selective soldering, ERSA (also a european mfgr) are considered the "cadillacs" of selective soldering. Decent software, etc, but it sounds like you are a Soltec loyalist.

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#50371

Time to retire the wave? | 24 May, 2007

Hi,

I am ok either way, and the main reason I originally went with Soltec was the overall oven design seemed cleaner than ERSA. The soltec had good performance, but the oven design was neat internally, where the ERSA seemed to be a bit of a mess.

I am a bit of a design nut, and like to judge a product be performance, as well as the small details in the design. The Soltec seemed much better designed in the internals, while the ERSA looked a bit of a mess internally. The Soltec reflow oven has been fantastic, so based on that experience I looked at that first, but the reflow oven is made in the US and has much better software than the wave, which had poor software, but a nice design overall.

I am also getting into on the ERSA, however have not received it yet. Any comments or suggestions of other manufactures would also be great. I also checked out a Nitrogen filter and that looks a lot easer than I expected, so that's really good.

Regards,

Grant

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#50381

Time to retire the wave? | 24 May, 2007

Selective!If you are considering a Selective machine you must not be worried about thru put. If you want to keep the same thru put as what you were getting out of the Soltec Wave but want better software....you should give a Vectra ES a try. Its manufactured by Electrovert, low end brother to the old Vectra but very effective.

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#50391

Time to retire the wave? | 25 May, 2007

Grant, the BGA Kid's got a great point. You state, simply that you're looking to completely replace wave soldering with selective soldering, but the only reason given was "the wave is old".

The throughput differences will be huge if you're soldering lots of stuff.

What are you currently soldering with your wave - all through hole parts or mixed technology? Are you using wave pallets?

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#50399

Time to retire the wave? | 27 May, 2007

Hi,

We are currently soldering only connectors, so there is not that much to do. For the wave we currently use palettes as we solder PCI cards but don't want to wash. So the palette keeps the flux off the board.

My reasons for looking at changing over, is the palettes cause process issues because they never enter the line at the same temperature, because we cycle them back through all the time, so there is process variation. But we are doing PCI cards, so we don't want flux all over them, or the wave running the whole board. We really want the product as clear as possible.

So my thought was with selective, we won't need a palette, so the products always going to be the same temperature and only the PCB itself needs to be pre heated, not the PCB and the palette. So we should get a consistent setup.

Also, the wave has a huge solder pot, and selective is much smaller. This means we don't need to run the solder pot on pre heat all night with hours of warm up time. This is better environmentally, and I also guess eventually would lower ongoing power costs. I think the wave is expensive in this regard.

I think with the much higher temps of lead free, and the wave pot has such as huge amount of solder, that this wave must be quite a power waster, when we are only going connectors with it. Also our wave is not nitrogen, so this would be an opportunity to get nitrogen on the new machine for a nicer joint.

What are your thoughts?

Regards,

Grant

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#50410

Time to retire the wave? | 29 May, 2007

Grant, apart from troughput another thing to consider is boarddesign, If there is any SMD within a diameter (eg 3mm) of the connector you won't be able to solder them.

I think those are the 2 main disadvantages of selective. That being said, for leadfree I'ld love a selective: SAC doesnt seem to like to stick to smaller(SMD)pads, those could be reflowed, and due to much better process control I'm sure briding and holefill could improve.

You could check out SEHO ( http://www.seho.de/index.php?id=170&lang=en ), they should be able to give you all the bits and bells the ERSA has in a modular build.

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RDR

#50442

Time to retire the wave? | 30 May, 2007

You may want to look into an airvac PCBRM unit.

R

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