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Two-Tiered Product Line Meets Market Segment Needs
Dynamo reflow oven.
By Jim Griffin, Vice President, BTU International, North Billerica, MA
Portable Electronics needs equipment that has high uptime, excellent repeatability and reliability. This is even more important to high-volume manufacturers because they have multiple lines that produce large volumes of boards within one factory or even across different factories. Repeatability is critical to ensure good, stable quality of end products across the lines, reducing scrap. Maximizing reliability and uptime increase the number or rate of products produced by a line, increasing output.
Meanwhile, consumers expect their new electronics to do more and cost less. In the Portable Electronics segment, cost is a major factor. As a result, many manufacturers are trying to get by with reflow ovens that only offer low initial cost and end up with an unreliable machine that does not provide a stable process.
In the late 1990s, BTU International introduced the Pyramax convection reflow oven. At that time there was significant market growth in communications infrastructure, with the Internet and mobile communications driving much of that growth. Customers needed both performance and flexibility. They wanted to run "any board, anytime, anywhere", and some of those boards included very heavy and wide back-plane boards. For this reason, Pyramax was developed with 24-in. (610mm) width capability. In addition, the company's exclusive Closed Loop Convection Control provided a major benefit for global customers, allowing them to have the same convection performance regardless of geography. Over the years, Pyramax has been upgraded and new features have been introduced. By industry consensus, it is the best performing reflow oven currently in the market.
However, the market has gone through significant changes in some segments during the last few years. Today, one of the fastest growing segments of the market is Portable Electronics. We have all noticed the meteoric rise of the tablet and that the Smartphone is taking over the mobile phone market; however, many do not realize that Portable Electronics has different production needs from electronics for industrials (server, military, medical, power, etc.) and semiconductor packaging. Portable electronics is the market that relies on production quality and efficiency, with low cost of ownership.
Lower Cost Requirements
BTU saw an opportunity to develop a high-quality reflow oven with the necessary quality and process performance, but one that met with the lower cost requirements for portable electronics manufacturers. In response, it developed the Dynamo convection reflow oven, bringing portable electronics manufacturing the repeatability and reliability it needed.
Dynamo's main benefit is value. Customers receive the company's reliability and performance for less money than they expect for a quality BTU product. This is accomplished by combining innovation and simplicity.
Dynamo provides exceptional thermal performance for portable electronics manufacturing. Uniformity across the process chamber is superb. Repeatability on the same system across different days, as well as repeatability across ovens is a special benefit that Dynamo brings to the table. The company's unusual design of convection flow dynamics, together with its Closed Loop Convection Control feature, has made this possible. The company has fully utilized the knowledge gained from Pyramax and earlier ovens to make a new product with great thermal performance.
Under the Dynamo's hood.
Besides reliability and repeatability to ensure good quality for customers' products, BTU also focused on high uptime. Dynamo was developed with a focus on ease of service and maintenance. Parts can be easily accessed and removed because time spent changing parts is downtime. One major design change on the Dynamo is that the blower motor was moved out of the process chamber, thereby requiring less service.
With Dynamo, BTU now offers a two-tiered product line that meets the individual needs of the market segments. This is not to say that the two ovens will share the same strategy, however. Dynamo is designed for portable electronics. The targeted customers are manufacturers of notebooks, Smartphones, tablets, as well as other light-to-medium boards. The primary goal of these companies is low cost of ownership of their equipment. Their secondary, but still crucial, goal is equipment reliability and performance. Dynamo focuses on these goals by maximizing uptime and yield. Dynamo's unmatched repeatability is geared for large-sized manufacturers with high-volume products. Pyramax has culled more than 15 industry awards in the last five years, and has long been considered to be the benchmark for performance in the industry. The oven system is known for excellent flexibility running boards as large as 24-in. (610mm), maximum temperatures up to 400°C max temperature and O
levels as low as 3 ppm. The oven system has an incredible variety of options available to meet customers' various process requirements. Advanced options include dual-lane dual-speed and HE flux management systems for different application requirements; customization remains one of its highlights.
Expected Growth Trend
The trend of outsourced production to the EMS/ODM segment is expected to continue. Recent reports indicate that the portion of 3C (consumer, communications, and computing) electronics that will be produced by EMS/ODMs will grow by more than 15 percent in the next years and to 65 percent in 2016. BTU has numerous customers in this segment and knows that delivery, reliability and performance are key factors.
Dynamo's focus on value is a direct response to a need and trend for lower cost of ownership. The company will continue to focus on design innovation to continue to drive cost down. The critical goal, for both Pyramax and Dynamo is to keep them the best product in their respective market segments. Maintaining BTU's position in the global market is continuous product enhancement and a focus on quality.
BTU uses its broad experience to develop best practices that are deployed across all of its market segments. It also provides strong applications engineering teams, with labs located in both the United States and China. This allows BTU to collaborate closely with its customers on their process development and optimization.
Contact: BTU International, 23 Esquire Road, North Billerica, MA 01862
978-667-4111 fax: 978-667-9068 Web:
See at IPC/APEX Booth #727.
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