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Publication Date: 03/1/2012
ARCHIVE >  March 2012 Issue >  Special Features: Assembly and Packaging > 

Automated Laser Soldering and Inspection
Laser selective soldering system using dial table automation.

Laser-powered selective soldering offers some very special benefits, including extremely precise soldering areas, along with a high level of programmable versatility. Now Apollo Seiko has put together a very special laser system — a single phase, multi-power laser which accepts input power from 85 to 264VAC — all with dial-table automation.

Solder diameters that can be used with this system range from 0.3 to 1.6mm diameter. The laser type is a fiber coupling LD laser, class 4. The Laser generates a CW (continuous wave) with either 808nm or 980nm wavelength at a maximum power outputs of 30, 50, 60 and 80watts. The standard laser beam diameter is 0.4mm with options of 0.2mm and 0.6mm. The focal distance is 80mm.

The system comes with a total of 64 solder parameters (profiles) that can be chosen using external I/O or from the unit's SCARA robot. 24 soldering parameter steps are available with each solder profile. Air cooling is included. Input programming is handled thru a color touch panel. Laser life at full power is in excess of 10,000 hours. In normal operation, the system ordinarily utilizes less than full power.

Monitoring Camera
An Elmo processes monitoring camera is used for programming. It has been tested and found to comply with the limits for a Class A digital device, pursuant to part 15 of the FCC Rules. These limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against harmful interference when the equipment is operated in a commercial environment. Most users of the selective soldering robots employ the camera not only to assist in programming the solder profile, but to use it as a sales tool for potential customers visiting their production facility, since it allows them to view the soldering process up close.

The laser system and Comet soldering control PCB are combined, so no external controller is required for laser soldering using solder wire. This system can also be programmed to be started by an external signal and the soldering parameters can be easily selected with Input/Output signals from a robot or an external controller. Integration with various control systems has been made simple and fast. The laser can be operated in either the temperature feedback (TFB -980nm only) or laser current/power modes. 64 solder profiles can be easily programmed using the large color LCD touch screen on the laser controller. The touch panel built into the laser controller allows a bright, clear and easy-to-read display.

Loading Parts
In operation, a technician manually loads the parts, and a Keyence camera verification ensures that parts, components or devices are properly loaded for processing. This is supported by a bar code reader to check for proper identification of components or to ensure that the proper revision of the PCB is being used.

The platform rotates the PCB to an Apollo Seiko 80 watt laser soldering system with 808 or 980 nanometer wavelength. The soldering function takes place using an appropriate wire solder that is precisely fed using the patented zero solder ball feature of the solder feeder. The programmed length of solder wire is controlled by the roulette style feeding device which pierces the solder core, allowing the flux to outgas as it nears the heat source, eliminating solder balls commonly caused by other solder feeding systems. A process-monitoring camera is utilized for viewing the entire operation on a remote monitor, which is included for operator surveillance, programming and in-plant viewing by management. An on-board laser power meter for monitoring the complete laser process is also an integral part of the system.

In-line Nexray LTD AOI (Automatic Optical Inspection) camera is utilized to confirm that all proper components are installed and that the soldering results meet the quality specification, set forth by the application. Nexray HRCN-H580 (in-line AOI system). The AOI system utilizes color processing, matrix image differentiation, color extraction, similarity and OCR.

The camera used is a 3CCD camera, 20µm, 15µm, 10µm configuration. The light-dome lighting uses ultra bright RGB or optional RGBW LED; image processing speed for the chip is less than 7ms per image.

Final Stop
Dial Stage 4 is a work location that allows for a robotic device to pick, load, count and position 100 percent inspected assemblies into final shipping containers ready for distribution. The entire system is controlled by a PLC (programmable logic control). Additional stages can be added as needed for epoxy sealing, pad printing, or sorting for multi-unit processing.

A Keyence camera and bar code reader checks and processes components to verify proper location, revision, and nomenclature in order to proceed. Keyence XG-7000 Series is a new system, a comprehensive machine vision that is intuitive, with ultra high speed, flexible image processing, high performance, and capable of being fully customized. The camera control software offers simultaneous operation of up to 4 cameras, along with 16 color and monochrome options. The camera offers high speed operation and 2 megapixel resolution. Options include a high resolution 5 megapixel, ultra-small camera.

Contact: Apollo Seiko Ltd., 3969 W. Lemon Creek Rd., Bridgman, MI 49106 269-465-3400 fax: 269-465-3441 E-mail: Web:

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