APEX Attracts the Crowds!

IPC APEX 2018 was a resounding success this year with a 22 per cent boost on show floor attendance. 9,169 engineers and senior managers visited the 479 exhibitors occupying almost 150,000 net square feet of space, making this year’s show the best in the last decade!

Global SMT & Packaging had a packed agenda of news programs, panel discus-sions and in-booth interviews covering all the major highlights of the show. Without doubt the CfX demonstration on the show floor captured the attention of show floor visitors and website visitors alike as the live demonstration by 35 par-ticipating companies generated over half a million messages throughout the week! This reinforces the argument that Artificial Intelligence will be needed to deal with the sheer volume of data being processed.

On the show floor there was a number of new innovations. Here is a selection of the major new product introductions: AIM introduced REL 22, a SAC alloy with Bi and some other properties added to create a high reliability solder, provid-ing the strength without the degradation of a typical SAC alloy.

AIM’s other new release is REL 61, is a low cost alterna-tive to SAC305 with good wettability and barrel-fill.

Over at Alpha Assembly Solutions, Robert Wallace told Global SMT & Packaging about their market technology approach, providing different alloys and flux chemistries for different applications. He also discussed Alpha’s unique approach to working with cus-tomers to design the best void reduction solution including the board design, material sets used and other parameters.

The OM 550 is a low temperature alloy with similar performance capabilities to SAC 305, but with higher reliability and lower energy costs.

ASM demonstrated their ‘Command Center”. A new approach to reducing manpower on the line by monitoring all operators on the floor and assigning them to events as they arise. The operators are notified through smart watches or tablets. Only operators with the appropriate skills can be allocated to each task.

BPM 9th Gen systems supports over 34,000 devices at 200 MB per second, reducing the number of sockets needed to maintain high programming throughput of devices. BPMs WhisperTeach detects the exact height of each device, greatly reducing the programming time by the operator. WhisperTeach won an NPI and Service Excellence award at APEX.

The BTU Pyramax Vaccum oven has the added benefit of a more uniform pre-heat employing both convection and conduction. BTU also introduced the Profile and M2M communication. CyberOptics also launched a new high end SPI operat-ing at 2% R & R @ 6 sigma.

FeederFingers can be attached to a range of feeders from major pick and place manufacturers to enable short pieces of cut tape to be utilized, reducing the amount of scrap and saving cost.

Built on the back of their highly successful GC 10 product, Henkel’s new GC 18 offers the same temperature stability monitoring system for the solder paste to the MPM Momentum Elite. Paste tem-perature has a direct corelation on print quality and yield. Other features on the Momentum Elite are monitors on paste roll height (both upper and lower levels). The system is also fitted with auto-tooling for board support. The machine picks the pins and places them exactly where the support is needed.

The RS-1 from JUKI has the unique ability to pick and place virtually all SMT component types, regardless of size or height (up to 25mm). The system also has new 4mm feeders. JUKI also demon-strated some new auto-load feeders. Materials management featured large on the JUKI booth with a new AGV system transporting full kits of reels to the kitting area, improving line efficiency. The company also unveiled a new feature-packed printer and selective soldering system.

The Zenith 2 from Koh Young is equipped with True 3D which provides better data for statistical analysis. Koh Young also presented K-Smart which enables central control of multiple machines and can view images of AOI adjacent to SPI. The company also introduced a pin measurement system for press fit devices.

Kulicke & Soffa are using their hybrid pick and place machine to assem-ble System in Package (SiP) including 0201 metric and bare die at an accuracy of 5um. The machine combines the technologies from Kulicke & Soffa and Assembleon. As miniaturization contin-ues, more high-end SMT companies are demanding this technology.

The Versaprint 2.0 Ultra from Kurtz Ersa offers 100% coverage of 3D SPI inspection of the paste print and deposit to check for missing paste, misprints and other printing defects.

KYZEN Analyst continues to be updated with new metrics and features. The system can be fitted to any cleaning bath and monitor the integrity of the bath and ensure its stays within the process control metrics. KYZEN Analyst also provides a rich set of data analytics that can be uploaded to any MES or process control system.

The Metcal RSS-1000-CVSI is the company’s first benchtop robotic soldering system. It validates the tip temperature, Inter Metallic Compound (IMC) and offer full traceability on every joint. The system can also report into a control dashboard tracking multiple machines in real time.

In an effort to save on waste, MicroCare have introduced aerosol cans that are 30% bigger for 15% addi-tional cost. The company also demon-strated new series of flux pens and ESD safety wipes for mats and other benchtop areas. The wipes come in a handy dis-penser with refill packs available.

The new, digital, 3D Tri-frequency moire system from MIRTEC can capture up to 96 views of a given device or area of inter-est. Brian D’Amico also gave a glimpse of the new, easy teach INTELLI-PRO auto-matic programming software capabilities to be released later in 2018.

Following record sales and the recent acquisitions of Axxon, Royonic, ViTechnology and AI, Thomas Stetter, VP of Assembly Solutions at MYCRONIC discusses their smart factory strategy.

The EasyCoat conformal coating system from Nordson ASYMTEK is built on the company’s SL940 platform and fitted with SE350 select spray valve, which maintains a tight edge definition. Nordson ASYMTEK also demonstrated their new Helios, two-component dis-pensing system for potting and encapsu-lation applications.

The Nordson YESTECH FX-942 is a double-sided AOI system that can inspect top and bottom of the board simultane-ously. The system can also double as a coat-ing inspection system, which will inspect for coverage and measure coating thickness.

Orbotech has a range of different solutions from design software to AOI systems, direct imaging systems, inkjet systems and laser drillers. The traceability solutions in AOI feedback into Industry 4.0 and MES systems. Orbotech also offer predictive maintenance of machines in the field to reduce machine downtime. Mark Mendoza demonstrated the latest Ultra Dimension 700 AOI which detects blind vias. It scans with two different lights to detect defects at different levels with 2D metrology.

PACE introduced the ADS 200 (Accu Drive System) which is an accurate system driving heat to the tips. The system also has Cool Touch technology that does not allow the handset to exceed 100 degrees for operator comfort and safety. PACE also introduced new K tip technology that offer high accuracy heat.

Panasonic introduced two new plat-forms. The NPM WX for high mix and the NPM WXS for high volume applications.

The Parmi Exceed MP is a multi-plat-form AOI, SPI and Conformal Coating inspection system in one. The system is targeted at EMS companies with reduced floor space and the need for SMT inspec-tion down to 14um. Higher resolutions are available for semiconductor applications.

The Quick 9440 IRU system from PROMATION won the NPI product innovation award at APEX. Designed with an 8-zone, integrated IR bottom side heater with built-in laser probes to accu-rately monitor the heat and energy usage.

The SAKI X3 uses a maintenance free closed tube. The sample table moves in an X Y direction with a conical detector above.

The X3 is fitted with CT that can provide up to 200 slices at 18um accuracy. Shenmao introduced a new low tem-perature alloy with Bismuth added. The grain size has been reduced to provide addi-tional strength and reliability in drop tests.

The Viscom S3088 Ultra Chrome AOI has 8 high resolution angular cameras. They also introduced an updated 7056 AXI inline – X-ray system which can have a cycle time as short as 5 seconds per board. This system can be sold as a combo with AOI and AXI in the same machine.

V-ONE from ViTrox combines AOI, SPI and X-ray data to provide a holistic view of the inspection process on one screen. Operators can drill down by machine, board number and device type to determine the defect.

YXLON demonstrated the Cheetah EVO Plus X-ray inspection system, which sits at the high end of the recent suite
of six new X-ray platforms introduced at productronica under the EVOlution banner. It has high speed 2D imaging, full scan CT and many other features.

IPC APEX Expo returns in January 29-31, 2019 next year. A month earlier than it’s usual February/March slot.

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