Interview: Michael Hanke
Your title, Chief Customer Officer is an interesting title, meaning you have a lot of focus on customer care, I assume.
Yes, we are focused on our customers, our partners, as we call them. It is very important to be in direct contact with them, also technology-wise, we are the reflow technology leader globally. We are highly interested in trends in new markets. Nowadays the vacuum process is very important, why?, safety, safety issues. This means they cannot accept if a brake fails into a (white disc?). We must reduce voiding in our solder joints with vacuum technology. At Rehm with have 15 years of proven vacuum technology. We have also integrated this technology into our standout reflow process.
Voiding is a huge issue in the industry and there are a number of different approaches to it. Some companies are using flux chemistry to improve it, others are using vacuum, some use pressure and some are even using frequency systems. Why do you think that vacuum is the best option?
This is a repeatable process – all the time with the same result. To reduce the voiding dramatically, there is only one solution, the solution is vacuum. With the vacuum, you can suck out of all the bubbles. This is how we can guarantee less than two-percent voiding.
You also have some other technologies we want to look at today. The next one is the condenser system, which is for the vapor phase system.
We have had vapor phase technology for longer than 15 years. Also, there we have vacuum technology to reduce voiding for complex boards, heavy boards, mostly used in the power electronics. We are presenting our new CondensoX series, a compact smart-system that gives the customer the ability to start with a small machine. To elevate the process, we can go up with the same process to an in-line machine that Rehm also presents in the CondensoX series.
So for the heavier, more complex boards, it is a better option to use the vapor phase. It used to be years ago, vapor phase got very expensive and it was not particularly safe to handle. How does your condenser system address that?
In this case, we have a closed system. For the entire process, the product is in a closed chamber. It is in a fixed-position, there is no movement during the process to avoid misalignment of the product or falling down of the components. The heavy parts we use in power electronics are heated up the same way as the small parts.
Moving on to another part of the booth, we are looking at a solution for conformal coating for LEDs. Tell us a little about that and how you approached it.
We have our conformal coating system, the Protecto line. This is a flexible system with up to four applicators that can run parallel. Very simple and easy to operate with a Windows-based software – also developed by Rehm. You can easily form your diagram for your selective coating dimensions. We are also first with a new dryer using LED lamps, which offer longer life and cost savings.
With drying, it is absolutely critical the amount of exposure time you use with LEDs for the curing system for the life of the coating and, basically, for the color.
Yes, and our UV dryer has the smallest footprint, and with new UV materials from different suppliers, it is a proven, safe process creating a complete line solution.
Are you working with a specific coating partner?
Our suppliers are well known in the market who supply highest-quality materials for our machines.
Let’s discuss the thermal chambers you have here at the end of the stand. They cycle boards from high temperatures to low temperatures for testing. Can you tell us a little about your system?
That is our Securo Minus system which can cool down the product to 55°C to protect the life of the product. It allows us to have many products in the buffer system without icing. This a big benefit, plus no maintenance. The chamber avoids icing by using nitrogen or dry air.
What sort of capacity and cycle time does the chamber have?
The capacity depends on the size of the product for sure. A capacity of around 1000 products is normal. As for cycle time, every 15 seconds you can load and unload a part and we can configure the system to be fully robotic. It is fully prepared for Industry 4.0 as are all of our systems – to talk directly with the product with intelligence systems.
The Securo Minus deals with the low temperatures, for the higher temperatures, what range do you go to?
We go up to 120°C with our Securo Plus, a temperature at which we can guarantee a stable process. This system matches the other for cycle time, buffer system, loading and unloading, integrated and flexible as an in-line solution or robotic system.
Each time, between cycling, it returns to room temperature when it goes from hot to cold, correct?
That is possible. It is relevant by customer. From each process you can also control the information received and functionality of each product.
There is lots of technology here, and it is great to have a look around the stand. Thank you Michael for joining us.
– TREVOR GALBRAITH