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CAD Assistant 4

CAD Assistant 4: Real added value in selective soldering!

Using the possibilities of digitalisation

ODB++ data make photo-realistic representation of the assembly in 3D possible
ODB++ data make photo-realistic representation of the assembly in 3D possible

Our world is becoming increasingly digitalised and networked. This development is also reaching production areas which are characterised by specialist know-how and the experience of individuals. To become more independent of these, new assistant systems are being used. One of these is the newly developed CAD Assistant 4 for preparing soldering programs.

Electronic assemblies are becoming more complex all the time – with a wide range of different components, equipment densities and printed circuit board variants. Despite SMT mainstream, selective soldering technology is still growing strongly. The later soldering of THT components onto reflow-soldered assemblies is a natural part of many production sequences. Selective soldering with mini-wave soldering systems which approach and solder the THT soldering spots CNC-controlled by x/y/z-axis have become firmly established. The CNC movement sequence contains all the position data, travel and process parameters for optimum formation of the THT soldering spots.

CAD Assistant 4 – intuitive creation of soldering programs

The fast, reliable creation of selective soldering programs is one of the main features of efficient electronics production. For maximum machine availability, CAD Assistant 4 creates and varies soldering programs offline while the machine is running. Completely integrated in ERSASOFT 5, the programs created offline can be used directly at the soldering system. In addition, CAD Assistant 4 supports program creation for VERSAFLUX and VERSAFLEX. The data sets for the CNC axis systems are simply edited by drag & drop, predefined data sets can be adapted quickly, a plausibility check provides support with the integrity check. CAD Assistant 4 uses CAD data or images of scanned assemblies for programming – the program data created can be used immediately to simulate the overall process and check integrity. Moreover, CAD Assistant 4 offers an autorouting function: the software independently calculates the fastest soldering program for an assembly and suggests optimum travel paths for the flux and soldering program based on the travelling salesman principle.

CAD Assistant 4 in brief

With CAD Assistant 4, Ersa is supplying a further central module for the digital, networked factory of the future. The open database system and the use of standard 3D data formats from assembly development make two-way access to immense data quantities and information possible. Process parameters, printed circuit board and component specification are available centrally. Simultaneous feedback of the quality data into the same database opens up completely new possibilities. On the one hand for the convenient creation of soldering programs, since data and empirical values from other production locations can be accessed. On the other through more intelligent linking of the program and quality data as a basis for efficient process optimisation.


Data processing using CAD data/image file

By importing 3D data of the assembly, CAD Assistant 4 offers the user additional supporting information for programming. This includes layer structure, drilling data, component parts lists, placement data and dimensional specifications. Thus the exact free space around the solder joints is known at every spot on the PCB. The data exchange format ODB++ creates almost all layout programs, popular 3D/CAD data such as GenCAD or IPC 2581 can also be processed. It is also possible to import the printed circuit board by scan – jpg, bmp, png, tif or gif formats can be used for example.

The use of CAD data such as ODB++ is an enormous advantage during creation of the program – information about thermal capacity and drilling is important for optimum soldering results. Components plus process parameters, which can be transferred to new assemblies and individually adapted, are saved in a database. It is possible to “marry” components with flux and soldering parameters and save these permanently in the database. On the basis of ODB++ data, CAD Assistant 4 delivers further information on components used, bore holes and individual PCB layers.

Component geometry is stored in the ODB++ data set as a 3D model. If there are components on the soldering side of the component side as well, these must never come into contact with the soldering wave. To ensure the soldering pots avoid these areas, the user defines “exclusion areas”. When the software generates the CNC movement sequence, it recognises these and fades them out from the available movement space.


Real-time check on success by simulation

Templates are the fast entry to programming – saved for various nozzle sizes and processing modes, they can be used for the creation of similar soldering applications. Pre-defined templates can be adapted individually by drag & drop, redefined if necessary and saved for later applications. Thanks to export and import functions they are easy to transfer from one machine to another.

The programming defines which soldering spot is to be processed with which nozzle. Then an autorouting algorithm distributes the individual soldering tasks automatically to different soldering modules and pots. This algorithm calculates the fastest “route”. Soldering process and routed sequence can be simulated in real time at the workstation.


ERSASOFT 5: central database-based software

ERSASOFT 5 relies on a popular database system for the reliable saving of all soldering system data. This enables them to be retrieved quickly, for long-term evaluation for example. For maximum data security, the database is installed in the customer’s data processing centre – which means several machines can share a database and exchange data. If a product is manufactured at different plants, for example, identical processes are guaranteed – everywhere, no matter where the soldering system is located!



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