Processing experts predict challenging future
Feb 22, 2007
Advances in Production Processes for the Future - A Smart Group seminar held at the High Wycombe football stadium on the 13th of February 2007
This was one of the busiest seminars held to date by the Smart Group. In order for the most up-to-date information to be found and disseminated, 13 speakers from almost all aspects of materials and equipment supply had 15 minute slots in which to describe advances and new technologies. They also contributed to two 'Question Time' sessions.
The key emphasis was on miniaturisation from the product drivers to individual component sizes and all the speakers noted that smaller, lighter, more functional products, together with RoHS legislation, has led to more questions than answers in today‚Äôs assembly world.
However, the seminar provided a forum in which these speakers could demonstrate how many of these questions can be answered. The topics covered issues from all aspects of production and particularly emphasised advances in soldering control and the use of N2 in all forms of automated soldering including advances in selective soldering, variations in underfill and its application, comparisons between aqueous and solvent cleaning technologies taking into account the latest environmental controls, placement developments and the markets they serve which diversify the placement requirement, printing technology and the impact Wafer-Level-Packaging has on it plus the requirement to deposit paste for both tiny components and larger ones on the same assembly, closed loop control offered by AOI and the development of information databases from AOI information, developments in hand soldering technology with particular reference to Lead-free soldering, how paste systems are being developed to cope with fine pitch requirements and the growing need for material compatibility and finally how X-Ray inspection is developing in order to allow much higher resolutions than before so that Computer Tomography technology can start to benefit the shop floor. These were all explored in as much detail as could be allowed in the time but it is clear to any attendee and Smart Group member that there is a wealth of knowledge amongst the supplier fraternity.
All of the speakers acknowledge that the volume work has all migrated to perceived low labour cost areas but that the design innovation and development flair inherent in the UK and western Europe is still very much alive. Therefore, the emphasis here is more inclined towards NPI and small batch production of highly complex and high value items. Providers of technology and assemblies to the owners of these often highly valued products must keep up with the latest trends and developments even if they do not actually need them today. A small digital module made in huge volume in Asia and using devices like 01005 capacitors may have originated in Europe and so the developers of the product must be capable of understanding and handling whatever is included in its design.
The audience was very receptive to all the information and it is unfortunate for those who missed the event that they may rarely get the chance to find out so much in such a short space of time.
The Smart Group is extremely grateful to all the speakers who gave up their time and energies to imparting such valuable knowledge. The speakers were from Henkel Technologies, DEK, Siemens, Vitronics Soltec, Pillarhouse, Fraser Technologies, Pace, Dage, Orbotech, Camalot, EPS, PG Engineering.
For more information contact Mike Judd PR Director, SMART Group email@example.com