Events News

Only solder solders, the rest suffer

15th September 2011
Nat Bowers

Soldering, 3-D placement and the future of high-precision screen printing: These were the topics addressed during Essemtec’s Technology Day, which took place in Aesch, Switzerland, on September 8, 2011. More than 100 people visited the free event, making it a success for all.

Essemtec is a technology driven company,” said CEO Martin Ziehbrunner during his welcoming speech to the over 100 participants of Essemtec’s Technology Day. He explained that Essemtec is investing more than 15 percent of its turnover in research, development and product improvement. Essemtec organized the successful Technology Day event for information, as well as a useful knowledge exchange with both customers and partners.

PCB Designers Must Know More about Soldering

“If one had asked a mechanical engineer, there would be no SMD technology,” Günther Grossmann (EMPA, Switzerland) said, illustrating that in SMD technology, materials with different thermal expansion coefficients are directly connected. This is one of the reasons for many soldering defects and failures. “The higher soldering temperatures and the smaller process windows of lead-free solders have further increased the problem,” Grossmann added in his presentation. Today, PCB designers must understand the soldering process in detail to be able to design high-quality, reliable PCB layouts.

Grossmann's explanations make it easy to understand that soldering is a diffusion process and that a correct soldering profile is important. He concluded, “Only solder solders, the rest suffer.” He also explained that new technologies will bring ever greater challenges, especially PCBs with embedded components and 3D-MID.

Standard Pick-and-Place for 3D-MID

Marcel Freiermuth, manager of Essemtec’s Solution department, presented detailed information about 3D-MID. Sensor technology, lighting and medical are the main industries that currently profit from 3D-MID advantages, which include freedom of design, material savings and miniaturization.

“Until recently, 3-D dispensing and placement machines were highly specialized machines,” said Freiermuth. Essemtec currently is building the first 3-D dispense and placement machine that can be operated similar to a standard 2-D pick-and-place. The concept is simple and easy to understand: A Paraquda pick-and-place machine is extended with a 6-axes robot as a substrate holder. This new machine will be premiered at the upcoming productronica exhibition in Munich, Germany.

Screen Printing Faces Development Leaps

“For the future, we need screen printers capable of printing 5-10 µm structures in multiple layers,” said Joachim Biegel, product manager printing systems for Essemtec. Currently, neither available machines nor pastes nor screens are capable of such processes. However, Biegel remains optimistic: “Organic electronics and the solar industry have high growth potentials.” He expects these industries to push required development leaps for screen printing technologies.

Essemtec’s Technology Day is an important platform for knowledge exchange. Florian Schildein, sales and marketing director, is pleased with the day’s success. “The main focus of the Technology Day shows that with technology questions we must all collaborate in order to manage future challenges.”

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