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Best Practice: Ka-Ro

Convincing sample soldering all along the line

Ka-Ro electronics relies on Ersa VERSAFLOW 4/55

Advantages of selective soldering compared to wave soldering: improved quality, higher process reliability, lower energy and solder consumption, reduced thermal stress for the PCB and greater design possibilities per solder joint. The extent to which a selective system meets customer requirements is demonstrated by initial use on site – or by trial soldering directly at the machine manufacturer´s premises. Ka-Ro electronics GmbH was about to switch to selective soldering technology, agreed on a sample soldering and in the end was completely convinced by the VERSAFLOW 4/55.

In use after successful test soldering at Ka-Ro electronics: Ersa VERSAFLOW 4/55
In use after successful test soldering at Ka-Ro electronics: Ersa VERSAFLOW 4/55

The portfolio of the Aachen-based EMS service provider, founded in 1987, was expanded in 2000 to include the product area “Computer on Module”. Three ultra-modern production lines and multi-stage quality controls result in a monthly production capacity of over 16 million electronic components. The full-service offer ranges from development and prototype production to series production. During the passed business year 2019, more than 2,000 customers were supplied with approx. 350,000 modules through a worldwide dealer network. Computer on Modules (CoM) are small embedded computers that are soldered or inserted onto a carrier board. All relevant functional units of a full-fleatured computer – processor and graphic unit, RAM and program memory, communication interfaces – are located on the Ka-Ro modules, which are especially optimized for mobile applications in the industrial, medical and test equipment sector.

 

An Ersa HR 600 rework system is also used, especially for prototyping, to maintain the added value of the increasingly complex electronic assemblies
An Ersa HR 600 rework system is also used, especially for prototyping, to maintain the added value of the increasingly complex electronic assemblies

Economic selective production

The existing wave soldering machine of the THT production should be replaced due to increased requirements. “Our wave soldering machine was optimal for assemblies equipped only with THT. Today, with assemblies being equipped on both sides, there is quite simply no way we can do without selective soldering if we wish to continue economic production,” says Thomas Wahnberger, THT/Test Field Division Manager at Ka-Ro.

 

With the selective soldering technology, the high product quality should be further optimised and a higher throughput should be achieved. After initial contact at Productronica, the company quickly came up with the VERSAFLOW 4/55. A special feature of the modular machine generation is the second pot, which adjusts automatically in Y-direction, thus adapting to the product benefit and enabling higher throughput.

Thanks to its modular design, the VERSAFLOW 4/55 used by Ka-Ro can be expanded at any time - making it even more flexible and equipped for an increasing order volume
Thanks to its modular design, the VERSAFLOW 4/55 used by Ka-Ro can be expanded at any time - making it even more flexible and equipped for an increasing order volume

In order to clarify which options are necessary on the basis of an own assembly, a Ka-Ro team came to Wertheim for sample soldering. First of all, all relevant data for the cycle time was recorded, since in selective systems, the slowest process determines the cycle time. Then the subareas fluxing, preheating and soldering were focused on individually. “During sample soldering, customers get to know the machine under real conditions. They are involved from the very beginning in the process of creating the soldering program or setting the parameters for their applications, and thus experience various options,” explains Ersa Area Sales Manager Philipp Haar.

Ideal soldering result with years of experience

Ka-Ro location in Aachen
Ka-Ro location in Aachen

According to Philipp Haar, the transparent process without detailed advance information on the assemblies is a unique selling point for Ersa, with over 90 percent of the orders being completed. This approach is also a challenge – the application engineers do not know in the morning which soldering tasks have to be solved by midday. The key to this: Years of experience plus process know-how lead to perfect soldering results.

For the Ka-Ro team, the day at the Application Center was the decisive criterion: “We had an EMS production order with us, about which we had not exchanged any information with Ersa in advance. The soldering on site worked super, that convinced us”, says Thomas Wahnberger.  Thanks to its modular design, the VERSAFLOW 4/55 used at Ka-Ro can be expanded at any time for even more flexibility or an increasing order volume. The company´s satisfaction with system supplier Ersa is also illustrated by the use of an Ersa rework system HR 600/2, which Ka-Ro uses mainly for prototype construction. “Competent contact persons, transparent communication and quality-enhancing results – the complete Ersa package has inspired us and the customer feedback confirms that we have made a good decision with this investment,” summarizes Thomas Wahnberger.

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Ka-Ro electronics GmbH at a glance:

  • founded 1988 in Aachen
  • 2019: over 2,000 customers worldwide and 350,000 modules annually
  • 3 state-of-the-art production lines for 16 million electronic components monthly production capacity
 
 
 

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