Kurtz Ersa Magazine

Ersa History

100 Years of Ersa – Yesterday, Tomorrow and Beyond.

From the beginnings to today: smart solutions for electronics production – from Wertheim around the world

It is hard to imagine electronics manufacturing without Ersa. 100 years ago, Ernst Sachs brought industrial soldering to life with the first electric soldering iron. November 18, 2021, marked the anniversary of the company´s founding – and coincided with Productronica 2021. With “100 Years of Ersa”, the view goes back to a century in which Ersa continuously fueled an entire industry with innovations – and into the future, where pioneering achievements of yesteryear merge with the megatrends of today and tomorrow.

Ersa Soldering Station TE 50
Ersa Soldering Station TE 50
Ersa TC 70 - first temperature controlled hand soldering iron (1971)
Ersa TC 70 - first temperature controlled hand soldering iron (1971)
Legendary: first Ersa soldering iron - the H1
Legendary: first Ersa soldering iron H1

When Ernst Sachs applied for a patent for the first electric soldering iron on July 08, 1921, and founded his company Ersa in Berlin on November 18, 1921, major electrical pioneers such as Siemens and Bosch had already been active for years. In the early years, business was good with the H1 soldering iron. Fundamental inventions of the time, such as the grounding contact plug, promoted the international distribution of Ersa standard soldering irons. With the new start in Wertheim after the end of the Second World War, the pace of innovation picked up: in 1947, the original version of the Ersa 30 soldering iron was presented in Hanover, followed in the 1950s by power set soldering irons.

The economic upswing of the post-war period was linked to an increasing demand for consumer electronics. In the early 1950s, demand was so great that manual assembly reached its limits. In this situation, the industry remembered Paul Eisler, who had already applied for a patent for the printed circuit board in 1943. Its introduction into electronics production in the 1950s made it possible to manufacture electronic assemblies in high volumes. The soldering of wired components continued to be done manually. However, as the number of components on the assemblies increased, the manual soldering process became too time-consuming.

Revolution in electronics manufacturing

This challenge was solved by the English company Fry´s Metals Ltd by inventing the solder wave in 1955, which received a patent in 1958 and enabled economical mass production of PCBs. Based on this technology, companies such as Grundig, Saba and Nordmende designed their equipment for assembly line production. Ersa recognized the potential of this development and in 1961 included Fry´s-Metals soldering systems in its sales, and in 1968 began to develop its own Ersa soldering systems.

In the history of wave development, Ersa has set many innovations – automatic transport systems, double wave soldering units, program-controlled soldering systems and soldering under inert gas atmosphere are just a few of them. Formats up to 600 x 850 mm are processed on today´s Ersa wave soldering systems. In manual soldering technology, products such as the temperature-controlled Ersa TC 70 and the electronically controlled TE 50 soldering station followed in the early 1970s.

HR 600 XL: With an active heating area of 625 x 625 mm and a processable PCB thickness of up to 10 mm, professional repair on XL boards is successful
HR 600 XL: With an active heating area of 625 x 625 mm and a processable PCB thickness of up to 10 mm, professional repair on XL boards is successful

SMT heralds electronics miniaturization

Surface mount technology heralded a further upheaval in electronics manufacturing in the 1980s. This marked the beginning of the successful miniaturization of electronic devices that we encounter everywhere today. With the dynamic development in the field of SMDs (Surface Mount Devices), wave soldering quickly reached its limits, so Ersa focused on new SMT manufacturing technologies and the development of reflow soldering systems – the first Ersa ERS reflow generation was launched in 1986. Increasing demands led to the introduction of HOTFLOW full convection soldering systems in 1993.

2021: Ersa establishes a new era in reflow soldering with the HOTFLOW THREE
2021: Ersa establishes a new era in reflow soldering with the HOTFLOW THREE

In the Tools range, further soldering stations with internally heated, exchangeable soldering tips, sensor-based temperature measurement and control were developed at this time. Increasingly, the Tools application area was expanded – away from pure production tools to tools for development and prototype construction, rework and service.

Around the turn of the millennium, Ersa established new product branches with the optical inspection of hidden solder joints and rework technology for BGA repair. Today´s Ersa rework systems reliably achieve reproducible quality – whether for the smallest 01005 chips or automatic repair of complex assemblies up to 625 x 625 mm. Europe experienced a technology boost from 2006 with soldering stations due to the introduction of lead-free solders: Ersa responded to the increasing heat requirements of solder joints with the i-CON soldering station and the 150 watt i-TOOL including a connectable heating plate.  

On the machine side, the product range grew in 2007 with the VERSAPRINT, the first generation of stencil printer – followed ten years later by the VERSAPRINT 2, the only printer in the industry with integrated 100% inspection in 2D or 3D (on the ULTRA3 type).



Selective innovation push

In the 1990s, wired components had to continue to be soldered onto already reflow soldered assemblies – this gave rise to VERSAFLOW technology from 1996 onwards, which advanced to become the world´s leading technology. In September 2021, the 1,500th system was delivered to the customer. The Ersa Spirit – with a dedicated team that puts the customer at the center of everything it does – creates the basis for a sustainable, innovation-driven future. Yesterday, Tomorrow and Beyond.


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