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Printed Circuit Board Assembly & PCB Design Forum

SMT electronics assembly manufacturing forum.

Soltech Sorrows...

Steve Gregory


Soltech Sorrows... | 6 March, 1999

Hi Ya'll...

I'm in here again today trying to deal with my down wave solder. I've been beatin' my head against the wall for the last couple of days, it's a Soltec Prisma and the conveyer keeps jamming. What it's doing is up at the exit end where the drive motor is, the chain keeps wrapping itself around the drive sprocket and jamming...this is on the backside rail, the frontside rail is fine. The first time it happened I had to take the rail down to get the chain from around the sprocket, I then inspected the chain and it looks fine. I put the chain and rail back together, checked the tension, started the conveyer slowly and started putting the fingers back on that had come off when I took the rail down. I almost had all the fingers back on and the *#!%&#$ thing jammed again! I went thru the same drill a SECOND time, looked over everything to see if I could see something that might give me a clue why it keeps jamming like that, but can't see anything out of place. So I once again started the conveyer slowly and started replacing the fingers, and guess what? It did it AGAIN! YAAAAAAAAAAAAA!! (There, there, now Steve....Calm down, it's only a machine) I know Steve, but it's just doing this just to piss me off.. (See? It's got me talking to myself! Ever have one of those days?)

Has anybody ever had this happen to them? I don't mean getting so goofy that you're talking to yourself, I mean have your Soltec conveyer keep jamming like that? (everybody talks to themselves don't they? Or is it just me?) Anyways, I've had enough today..maybe I'll get a few tips from ya'll. BTW, Soltec manuals SUCK! (I had to say that!)

I'm having a very difficult time trying to get a hold of anyone from Soltec so I can at least set-up having a tech come out on Monday if at all the PO in hand but can't get in touch with anybody there. Supposedly, if you go to their WEB page and look under Service and Support, they say they have a 24-hr, 365-days a year, support number which you can call whenever you need help...all I can say about that is; bull-s#%t!

I was given a separate number to call for Soltec problems when I called their main support number (1-800-4REFLOW, which is a message answering service) and nobody answers...not even a voicemail system there where you could at least leave a message.

If it sounds like I'm a little torque'd, you'd be correct...and if it sounds like I'm being too harsh with this company then so be it.

If they say they're gonna support you 24-hrs a day, 365-days a year then do it! Don't leave us hanging like this! I'm at a very small shop and when my wave solder machine goes down I'm screwed! I don't have a back-up machine, or a second line where I can just move everything over...hell, we're so small I'm maintenance, process, quality, and production all in one. I know that's nobody else's problem except for mine, but if anybody is dying for help from our wave machine vendor it's me!

There, got that off my chest...I feel a little better now...but my wave is still down. Does anybody know of a good third party maintenance organization here in silicon valley that I could call that might want to work on my wave? I gotta do something...we're dead in the water here.

-Steve Gregory-

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Scott Cook


Re: Soltech Sorrows... | 7 March, 1999

| Hi Ya'll... |

it's a Soltec Prisma and the conveyer keeps jamming. What it's doing is up at the exit end where the drive motor is, the chain keeps wrapping itself around the drive sprocket and jamming...this is on the backside rail, the frontside rail is fine. | -Steve Gregory-


I am not familiar with Soltec, but this is a mechanical converyor / drive issue. Pretty small set of possibilities for the design of a chain conveyor....... so I'll give you my feedback, for what it's worth.

From your description, I'd venture a "Kentucky windage" guess that 1) your tensioning on the chain is incorrect after reassembly 2) You have major chain stretch 3 The chain is bound up, and not "making the corner" at the drive sprocket end of the machine. 4) Fingers are bent, and catching on the rail 5) The finger support design of the rails has problems 6) There is a problem in the "channel" in the conveyor extrusion where the chain rides.

So, here are my suggestions:

Break the chain out of the machine again. In fact, I'd do both chains. Do it right the first time.......

TOTALLY clean the chains; you must use some chemistry or process which will remove ANY flux residues, and all grease. In the old days, we had 1:1:1 trichlor or TMS to do the job. Now you might have to steam clean, or use some nasty sodium tri-phosphate. Whatever method, BE CAREFUL!!!!Trust me, chemical burns aren't any fun.

While the chain is being soaked or steam cleaned, THOROGHLY clean and inspect the conveyor rail extrusions. This may require removal from the machine. Look for nicks or burrs in the chain guide areas. Remove if necessary.

Straighten / replace defective / bent fingers or pallet pins (depending on your conveyor design / application.

Lubricate the chain with high temp oil and / or grease. I used to use high temp teflon impregnated 90 wt. gear oil and Magnalube (avail. from McMaster-Carr). The gear oil was to penetrate the bushings of the chain, and the grease was for the sprockets / wear. You will have to "burn off" the oil after reassembly, or your prod. folks will not like you Mon. Morning.... Magnalube is a green high temp lube that Electrovert used to ship with their gear, and recommend.

Reassemble, without connecting the drive gearboxes or motors. Ensure that the chains can be easily moved through the rail extrusions BY HAND prior to assembling the drive sections.

Ensure that both chains are timed the same, that you use the exact same number of fingers on each side, and that you set up the fingers precisely across from each other. If not, you can "skew" the product as it enters and exits the wave, and this could cause your problem, as well.

Ensure rails are perfectly parallel.

Do not overtighten the tension on the board when you set up the conveyor width. You should be able to fairly easily move the product forward or backward in the fingers after it loads in the input side of the wave. If you seem to have to overtighten the rail width setting, you either have unparallel rails, or worn out finger / finger supports.

Just MHO.....

Best of luck!


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