Kurtz Ersa Magazine

Quality right from the start!

VERSAPRINT 2: Quality right from the word go!

Stencil printing as a key process in the SMT line

Over-top clamping: particularly advantageous when printing on thin substrates
Over-top clamping: particularly advantageous when printing on thin substrates

In SMT manufacturing, stencil printing, equipping and reflow soldering are extremely closely connected. It’s important to remember that product quality is influenced directly by the solder paste printing – studies show that more than 60% of all faults on an SMD assembly can be traced back to this. In other words, stencil printing is a key process in the SMT line. System supplier Ersa recognised this early and presented the first VERSAPRINT at the Productronica in 2007. It was quickly able to make a name for itself on the printer market.

Intelligent software interface: users communicate with the machine via touch screen
Intelligent software interface: users communicate with the machine via touch screen

It was never just a simple stencil printer – even the very first generation had 100% 2D print result inspection and SPI evaluation. Users were amazed at the fast line scanner and complex software evaluation, which meant order books more or less filled themselves. Depending on the model, the Ersa screen printing machines were designed for two or three printed circuit boards per minute – they were aimed at medium-sized companies with small to medium batch sizes and a lot of product variety.

Ten years later in 2017, Ersa followed up on its original product and presented the second generation of the VERSAPRINT 2 with a flourish – at the Productronica in Munich again, of course. The new Ersa printer family comprises four modular models: VERSAPRINT 2 Elite is the sturdy basic version that uses a 2D camera for alignment and optional inspection of the printing result. The VERSAPRINT 2 Elite plus has a stencil support for adjustment without tools, is suitable for frame sizes from 450 to 740 mm and can be retrofitted with all available VERSAPRINT 2 options including 2D and 3D camera.

The VERSAPRINT 2 Pro² with its fast 2D-LIST camera is particularly suitable for products with a high inspection requirements (can be upgraded/retrofitted with all options). And finally, the VERSAPRINT 2 Ultra³ has been designed for operators who pay special attention to the “small print”. The Ultra³ uses the very latest measuring technology of the 3D-LIST camera (LIST is short for Line Scan Technology). The shape of the smallest solder paste depots plays a major role in the printed volume and ultimately for the shape of the solder connection. Is the height of the paste depot consistent or does it drop towards the edges? This question is answered by the Ultra³, which is stencil printer and 3D-SPI in one (all options can be upgraded/retrofitted). Here, the 3D-LIST camera makes full-surface detection of the printed volume possible: laser triangulation is used to record and evaluate the individual image points line by line. The advantage of this is that critical substrates can be measured directly before printing with regard to the actual height of the non-printed pads.

VERSAPRINT 2 with “features on demand”

The new VERSAPRINT 2 sets benchmarks in communication with the operator, as well as in terms of drive technology and system accessibility. The enhanced machine accessibility permits options to be retrofitted during service life in the form of “features on demand”, so that the system can keep pace with manufacturing requirements. In addition, the VERSAPRINT 2 with integrated full-surface 3D-inspection fulfils the market requirement for increased process quality. Yet the VERSAPRINT 2 does not require any additional manufacturing space or further programming efforts – unlike a separate, downstream SPI. The inspection results are integrated directly in the ongoing printing process: the cleaning of the bottom side of the stencil is started automatically and a print offset is corrected independently. This reduces the strain on operating personnel while maximising process quality and line performance at the same time. A good year after the second generation of the stencil printer VERSAPRINT 2 was launched, more than one quarter of all printers ordered were for the premium version, the Ultra3. “3D inspection downstream from the printing process has clearly prevailed – particularly with critical assemblies for medical technology, aerospace and aviation or automotive. Especially the EMS branch is relying on 3D inspection, since this is a feature of manufacturing quality. Where years ago partial and then later 100% 2D inspection were sufficient for evaluating an assembly, the third level is required more and more often these days,” says Ersa stencil printing expert Wolfram Hübsch. Together with the good 400 Ersa reflow soldering systems delivered in 2018, Ersa is one of the major suppliers of SMD manufacturing around the globe.

VERSAPRINT 2 features in picture


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