DDM Novastar awarded custom pick-and-place machine order
DDM Novastar, a U.S. manufacturer of SMT and PCB assembly equipment, was awarded an order to design, build and commission a unique reel-to-reel in-line PCB assembly line. The customer, a large international medical device manufacturer, sought a company that could take a reel of substrate, populate it with BGA logic circuits, reflow them in place, and finish by rolling the completed strip onto an outboarding reel interlined with paper.
Solder paste is dispensed in the first step of the process, then an automatic vision system verifies its accuracy. Next, as the strip proceeds without stopping, an in-line pick-and-place machine positions a micro BGA circuit, via various loop controls, from a tape feeder onto the strip, with accuracy of +/- .0005”. Another vision system verifies its position. The strip then travels through a continuous oven to reflow the solder, and passes through a cooling unit to return the assembly to ambient temperature. The next station performs an electrical test of the final circuit on the fly, and the strip is then rolled into a final coil, to be moved to additional processing stations.
When complete, a single reel contains nearly 15,000 micro BGA circuits, each of which is ultimately used to provide feedback on a single medical device.
Commented Bob Voigt, DDM Novastar’s application engineer, “The customer came to us because of our skills at making non-standard assembly equipment, and quite frankly, they’ve been very happy with the end result. For customers looking for some level of customization, DDM has vertically integrated design, engineering, software and manufacturing capabilities to get the job done, soup to nuts.”