Ready to tackle increasingly demanding PCB assembly projects

Customers outsourcing the manufacture of high-complexity or mixed-characteristics boards to benefit from Speedboard’s investment in Vapour Phase technology Windsor,United Kingdom – Speedboard Assembly Services has enhanced its Printed Circuit Board (PCB) assembly capabilities, following its investment in an IBL BLC 509 Vapour Phase oven; where Vapour Phase affords much better control and stability over the entire soldering process, compared to traditional reflow soldering, regardless of board characteristics.
PCBs manufactured using Vapour Phase do not experience the high temperature differences (‘delta Ts’) typically produced during traditional reflow soldering, which can cause component and/or board damage. The Vapour Phase process works by heating the PCB, which has already been through screen-print and one or more pick and place stages, in the vapour of boiling Galden, an inert liquid which is ideal for the wetting of lead-free alloys without risk of oxidation.

Neil and Rod (PR ref SAS001)
Neil Owen, Speedboard’s Managing Director, comments: “High complexity, and by extension high value, boards demand the use of alternative production techniques in order to maintain consistently high quality. Following our investment in Vapour Phase, we are able to tackle increasingly challenging projects for customers operating in sectors such as Industrial, Defence, Medical, Communications and Security, where stringent standards are demanding consistency and quality throughout the entire manufacturing process.”
SAS001–Vapour Phase Page2of4 DECA-568
During Vapour Phase soldering, a PCB cannot become hotter than the vapour in which it is suspended. Its position within the vapour (e.g. height above the boiling Galden) governs the maximum temperature the PCB will be able to reach; for example, 200oC for ‘lead’ and 230oC for ‘lead-free’. In addition, IBL’s patented Soft Vapour Phase Control system allows for the creation of soak, plateau or linear temperature profiles. It is also very easy to switch between temperature profiles, even if there are significant differences between the masses of the boards, as there is no waiting time for the temperature to stabilise.
A Vapour Phase oven requires far less electrical power than a traditional reflow oven, so is a costeffective solution for small batch PCBs. Owen adds: “We’re also very conscious of our environmental responsibilities and obligations. Galden is an environmentally-friendly liquid plus the IBL oven has airlocks to minimise evaporation to atmosphere as well as the volume of liquid lost during board transfer on the pallets. Indeed, we are expecting to use no more than a few litres of Galden per year.”
Working conditions for employees are also a priority for Speedboard, and in this respect the IBL oven is easy to work around and is well insulated; so does not radiate as much heat as a conventional reflow machine.
Speedboard purchased its IBL BLC 509 Vapour Phase oven through Blundell Production Equipment, IBL’s exclusive distributor in the UK. The oven is fully operational and its use is, as per IBL’s claims, resulting in consistently high quality boards.
Owen concludes: “Customer satisfaction isof paramount importance to us, and our new Vapour Phase oven allows us to take on increasingly complex projects without even beginning to compromise the levels of repeatable high quality for which Speedboard is renowned.”

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