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Seica Firefly - Issues?

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Seica Firefly - Issues? | 12 March, 2008

I am looking for some feedback on the Seica Firefly Laser Soldering System. We saw a demo and were somewhat impressed but would like to hear from anyone that has any practical experience using one.

Specifically, we noticed that you have to select the substrate/soldermask colour (light green, dark green, medium green, etc...) which seemed a little ambiguous, but does it affect the readings of the pyrometer that significantly?

We are a contract manufacturer and have no control over the bare boards supplied; sometimes there are variations of the soldermask colour within a single job. Does that mean we would have to develop individual profiles for each soldermask colour for each board?

Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated!

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Seica Firefly - Issues? | 21 March, 2008

Thought I would reply and try to assist.

PROMATION, my company, also manufactures Diode Laser soldering systems but with this stated we also manufacturer iron tip systems, soft beam systems and hot air solutions.

The reasons are simple. Diode Laser is not for everyone or every application.

Our engineering team has yet to find any thermal sensor or other solution that can provide accurate feedback on soldering temperature when using a diode laser which is unlike that of an Iron tip solution where the temperature is selected and monitored with a feedback loop system.

Those companies who make a claim that they can tell you, well I would ask them to explain how they achieve it. For the most part they may sample temperatures but it is no where near real time accuracy.

Diode Laser are great when trying to solder small, tight areas, components of high value that are heat sensitive, pads that are very close to each other, or pre-cased PCBs where traditional methods will not work.

Pre heat is often suggested when ground planes are present to assist the soldering.

Maintenance is minimal (very attractive) and vision should also be considered especially for small components or tight areas.

Also please keep in mind that diode stacks do wear so having a system with a calibration system and built-in compensation software for this wear will help maintain soldering profiles as the diodes lose power over time.

The iron tip systems are much more forgiving and by changing tips, you can solder most joints easily. There will be limtations for very small joints

Like any point soldering system cycle time lacks vs traditional technologies, but then again there are some assemblies where traditional methods fail and point soldering is the only way to go.

Other advantages point systems have is: easy to change from Tin Lead to Lead Free, much less maintenance vs wave or selective wave, better on facilities costs to operate, most can be configured for Table Top, Shuttle Style, or In-line conveyor solutions.

In closing, if you have a specific high volume application that can not be soldered by traditional methods, look at laser or iron tip solutions. However for low to mid volume solutions, I would recommend you look at iron tip systems first. Also ask about replace tip costs, Some vendors can be pricy.

Hope this helped.

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