Author Topic: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???  (Read 4981 times)

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Offline Reckless

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2019, 03:08:45 pm »
are you looking to work with lead free solder?

At the moment yes.  I accidentally bought 200+ lbs of lead free solder yesterday for $1k.  Novastar sales guy says there is absolutely no difference running either.  I am worried about running an electrolyte cap at 260 degrees (temperature this particular lead free runs at). 

I got a 12D from 2006 like new but looking if there is something even better.  I dont understand why everyone insists on making thrm so ridicuously large.  I only need 10" wave.

I am trying to do 1000 pcb arrays per day. 
 

Online forrestc

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2019, 06:01:06 pm »
At the moment yes.  I accidentally bought 200+ lbs of lead free solder yesterday for $1k.  Novastar sales guy says there is absolutely no difference running either.  I am worried about running an electrolyte cap at 260 degrees (temperature this particular lead free runs at). 

Once you contaminate a pot with lead, you pretty much can't go lead free.     And Lead-free is pretty much required internationally with a few exceptions.   

Everything nowadays should be compatible with SAC305.  Remember the pot temperature isn't really the temperature that the components will see.

 
 

Offline Reckless

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2019, 06:09:45 pm »
Thanks I was told that it had led free solder previously for 300 boards.  We want led free hopefully it doesn't complicate things.

Any other comments on the Novastar?  I'm not finding a better benchtop model.  Should I order spray fluxer or is it something I can't add later?  Our needs are pretty minimal: electrolytic cap, SOT transistor, smt relays/triacs.  We just do alot of them.
 

Online forrestc

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2019, 06:27:51 pm »
Thanks I was told that it had led free solder previously for 300 boards.  We want led free hopefully it doesn't complicate things.

Any other comments on the Novastar?  I'm not finding a better benchtop model.  Should I order spray fluxer or is it something I can't add later?  Our needs are pretty minimal: electrolytic cap, SOT transistor, smt relays/triacs.  We just do alot of them.

The novastar has been good for us.   I would be tempted by the spray fluxer though....

Which components are through hole?   If you're worried about SMT caps on the top of the board, don't be... generally the SMT parts won't even get hot enough to melt the solder, as long as they're also being done with Lead Free paste.
 

Offline IconicPCB

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2019, 08:58:35 pm »
Get:

A stick-on thermometer strip
a high temperature glass plate with inscribed parallel lines say 1cm apart

Grab the glass plate and push it through the machine.

when it hits the solder-pot area observe

when the wave hits the leading edge of the glass plate

and use the lines to estimate the width of the wave contact with glass plate ( reason for inscribed lines)

Use this information to set wave height to meet joint solder profile.


Use temperature indicator sticky label to adjust preheat settings so that the flux is properly cured.

Otherwise there is not much else other than may be capton tape on leading edge of board to ensure there is a solder dam to prevent inadvertent flooding.


Seeing as how You intend to use lead free solder observe how the fresh solder behaves ..how it flows.  Lead free solder is notoriously aggressive on copper however there is no simple way to remove copper from lead free solder and you will eventually end up with a whole lot  of copper in solution.


In the old days of lead  solder it was easily cured and observed. Copper would form Bronze in leaded solder and tiny needle structures would be seen in joints. Dropping the solder temperature would cause bronze to solidify and a fine stainless steel mesh could be used to scoop bronze out.

With lead free solder that method is no longer possible instead copper remains in solution and solder becomes lazy and much thicker.
When you observe this take a sample and have it analysed for copper. It may be time to dump the solder pot content and get fresh solder.


MAKE SURE THE SOLDER POT IS DESIGNED FOR LEAD FREE SOLDER and inspect it for excess wear at least every few months depending on rate of use.
 
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Offline Reckless

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #30 on: March 03, 2019, 09:39:53 pm »
Thanks I was told that it had led free solder previously for 300 boards.  We want led free hopefully it doesn't complicate things.

Any other comments on the Novastar?  I'm not finding a better benchtop model.  Should I order spray fluxer or is it something I can't add later?  Our needs are pretty minimal: electrolytic cap, SOT transistor, smt relays/triacs.  We just do alot of them.

The novastar has been good for us.   I would be tempted by the spray fluxer though....

Which components are through hole?   If you're worried about SMT caps on the top of the board, don't be... generally the SMT parts won't even get hot enough to melt the solder, as long as they're also being done with Lead Free paste.

We have SMT parts mostly 0402 chips, resistiors, caps, diodes, inductors, etc.  Then 4 thru hole components: large electrolytic cap, transistor, thyresistor, relay.  Will spray fluxer be needed?

I have 5 boards, 2 are double sided SMT.  Each panel has 50 boards so 200 thru hole components and making 100+ panels per day (20,000 thru hole parts daily). 
« Last Edit: March 03, 2019, 09:55:50 pm by Reckless »
 

Offline Reckless

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #31 on: March 03, 2019, 09:53:15 pm »
Get:

A stick-on thermometer strip
a high temperature glass plate with inscribed parallel lines say 1cm apart

Grab the glass plate and push it through the machine.

when it hits the solder-pot area observe

when the wave hits the leading edge of the glass plate

and use the lines to estimate the width of the wave contact with glass plate ( reason for inscribed lines)

Use this information to set wave height to meet joint solder profile.


Use temperature indicator sticky label to adjust preheat settings so that the flux is properly cured.

Otherwise there is not much else other than may be capton tape on leading edge of board to ensure there is a solder dam to prevent inadvertent flooding.


Seeing as how You intend to use lead free solder observe how the fresh solder behaves ..how it flows.  Lead free solder is notoriously aggressive on copper however there is no simple way to remove copper from lead free solder and you will eventually end up with a whole lot  of copper in solution.


In the old days of lead  solder it was easily cured and observed. Copper would form Bronze in leaded solder and tiny needle structures would be seen in joints. Dropping the solder temperature would cause bronze to solidify and a fine stainless steel mesh could be used to scoop bronze out.

With lead free solder that method is no longer possible instead copper remains in solution and solder becomes lazy and much thicker.
When you observe this take a sample and have it analysed for copper. It may be time to dump the solder pot content and get fresh solder.


MAKE SURE THE SOLDER POT IS DESIGNED FOR LEAD FREE SOLDER and inspect it for excess wear at least every few months depending on rate of use.

Will adding additional layer on pcb for solder mask help?

I bought this lead free:  SC995e™ (Sn99.5/Cu0.5/Co) is simply the best non-silver lead free solder available from any source. Solder joints are brighter and shinier. SC995e provides a wider process window than other comparable alloys, thereby requiring less maintenance of the solder pot. It significantly reduces initial cost when compared to silver-containing alloys.
https://metallicresources.com/products/pc-assembly/lead-free-solder/

 

Offline IconicPCB

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #32 on: March 03, 2019, 10:13:19 pm »
While the vendors research may point to surface finish of the joint being superior to competitors product the basic physics of solder pot performance does not change. Tin will chew through stainless steel liner in fact most resistant material is gray cast iron  since  carbon in cast iron prevents iron from dissolving in tin.
Next most resistant ( inexpensive ) metal is Titanium  in any of the top four grades of titanium followed by stainless steel.

This is what I am concentrating on in my comments not how well the solder /flux combination will work on Your board since you questioned the machine performance.

Process window spec is irrelevant if the machine mistimes delivery of solder or the solder pot gets clogged up with dross . Speaking of dross ... does the machine have provision for nitrogen blanket?

Has the vendor informed you of their preferences on solder pot oil?
 

Offline Reckless

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2019, 11:57:54 pm »
I will find out tomorrow.  I am not sure about solder pot oil.  The machine has an option for nitrogen but I don't have it currently. 

Here is from the spec sheet:
Standard Features:
• dual wave
• Stainless steel foam fluxer
• Computer control includes:
- 10 menu storage
- RS-232 serial interface
- SPC online or offline data logging
- Fault monitoring & reporting
- Low solder indicator
• On board air compressor
• Dual preheaters with heat tunnel and forced air convection
• Wave and flux interval sensors
• Status light tower
• Slide-out fluxer with drip tray
• Compatible with VOC free fluxes

Options:
• Enclosed Stand (included)
• Flux Air-Knife (included)
• Nitrogen Inerting (not included $1000 option)

Not sure what flux air-knife is?  https://www.ddmnovastar.com/userfiles/file/pdf/SPARTAN-8-&-12-wave-solder-Lit-R1.pdf
« Last Edit: March 04, 2019, 12:30:20 am by Reckless »
 

Offline Reckless

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #34 on: March 04, 2019, 12:35:52 am »
Quote from: forrestc link=topic=170745.msg2238303#msg2238303 date=1551637671
The novastar has been good for us.   I would be tempted by the spray fluxer though....
[/quote

FYI The spray fluxer is a $8,995 option.  The machine itself brand new runs same price.
 

Offline IconicPCB

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #35 on: March 04, 2019, 02:08:03 am »
Flux air knife is a fancy name for a flux blow off nozzle to remove excess flux applied by the foaming fluxer.

So board goes over foaming fluxer and then over the air knife before the it hit the preheat zone.

The machine looks awfully short ?

What is the recommended conveyor speed ?

What is the recommended wave contact time and  how does this reflect on board preheat profile? 
 

Offline IconicPCB

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Re: On the ownership of Novastar gear - I'd rather not
« Reply #36 on: March 04, 2019, 02:20:16 am »
I have a Novastar re flow oven model GF-12 Gold Flow series bough second hand from the states . No service manual.

Contacted the factory was told I need to purchase a subscription membership in order to get any support .
Membership fee 1000 dollars.

Naturally I thanked the factory and kept my tongue tightly tucked behind my teeth.

I was disapointed on two accounts... the fact that I bought the machine... and the fact that I will not be able to sell it readily when the time comes ...

My investment had a thousand dollars skimmed off the top directly i bought it.

Otherwise nice machine shame about the support.
 
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Offline Reckless

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Re: On the ownership of Novastar gear - I'd rather not
« Reply #37 on: March 04, 2019, 06:18:32 am »
I have a Novastar re flow oven model GF-12 Gold Flow series bough second hand from the states . No service manual.

Contacted the factory was told I need to purchase a subscription membership in order to get any support .
Membership fee 1000 dollars.

Naturally I thanked the factory and kept my tongue tightly tucked behind my teeth.

I was disapointed on two accounts... the fact that I bought the machine... and the fact that I will not be able to sell it readily when the time comes ...

My investment had a thousand dollars skimmed off the top directly i bought it.

Otherwise nice machine shame about the support.

You are much nicer than me!  I start running my mouth that what kind of service and support do they have?  How come they don't believe in their product?  If their attitude is like this why would I buy $100k piece of equipment from them?

I have bought and sold a number of their reflow ovens including a GF-12.  Nice thing about Novastar is their products are easy to understand and intuitive.  Also, quality is decent.  I like that their focus is on small business machines which are smaller and more compact.  I got my hands on some cheap Essemtec ovens and prefer them for reflow and like that they only need 30 amp circuits which are wired all over my building plus they are more aesthetically pleasing to look at and have proper stands.  My 4 zone Essemtec is a bit larger but seems better designed to me (swiss precision) with edge rails.  Also, Essemtec did not give me crap about having a subscription for support.  I really like their guys and products as well but their attitude was in line with my thinking.  If you believe in your product you support it no matter what.  I do plan on buying equipment from them as they release new products useful for my needs.   

I am semi skeptical about their wave solder machines as opposed to their reflow ovens.  I think a quality reflow oven isn't that hard to design but a quality wave solder seems to be difficult for most companies.  I have been reading about issues different people have had with this machine and I am worried they don't last forever (Electrovert units seems to last from 30 years ago).  My SMT Tech warned me that wave solder machines are a huge pain to fix.  The whole wave soldering process seems not 100% smooth and simple. 
 

Online forrestc

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #38 on: March 04, 2019, 06:46:58 am »
FYI The spray fluxer is a $8,995 option.  The machine itself brand new runs same price.

Which is why I don't have one on mine,it wasn't cost effective to do so.

 

Offline Reckless

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #39 on: March 04, 2019, 06:56:41 am »
FYI The spray fluxer is a $8,995 option.  The machine itself brand new runs same price.

Which is why I don't have one on mine,it wasn't cost effective to do so.

I would imagine it may be worth it if you are doing enough of those boards per year.  I believe the salesman remembered your case when he was talking to me on Friday.  He said something that in less than 5% of cases was there an issue with foam fluxer specifically to do with connectors.

How long do you think these machines last when used daily 5x day a week one shift?  5-10 years?  more?  The design seems the same for last 30+ years.  I am trying to understand what can go wrong with them in terms of mechanical problems. 
 

Online forrestc

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Re: On the ownership of Novastar gear - I'd rather not
« Reply #40 on: March 04, 2019, 06:58:23 am »
I am semi skeptical about their wave solder machines as opposed to their reflow ovens.  I think a quality reflow oven isn't that hard to design but a quality wave solder seems to be difficult for most companies.  I have been reading about issues different people have had with this machine and I am worried they don't last forever (Electrovert units seems to last from 30 years ago).  My SMT Tech warned me that wave solder machines are a huge pain to fix.  The whole wave soldering process seems not 100% smooth and simple.

I've had our wave solder machine for 10+ years, and it was old when we bought it.   And yes, we've had our share of issues, nothing we couldn't fairly easily fix - I think the only big things were the elements for the wave and also the wave pump.  Oh and a soapstone for the fluxer or two.

Remember this design largely hasn't changed for 30+ years.   And wave soldering isn't used a lot anymore, pretty much everyone has gone to selective where they can.   If I had a bit more volume I would have just gone out and bought a low end ACE-KISS machine, but once I added in the nitrogen system (or costs of buying nitrogen), and all of the things we needed to do no-clean with it we were going to be around $50K.

Someone mentioned the fee novastar charges for used machines.   They charged us this as well, but sent out a care package with all the information they had on this machine in .pdf and the like.   I don't think it was $1K though.

 
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Online forrestc

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #41 on: March 04, 2019, 07:19:17 am »
I would imagine it may be worth it if you are doing enough of those boards per year.  I believe the salesman remembered your case when he was talking to me on Friday.  He said something that in less than 5% of cases was there an issue with foam fluxer specifically to do with connectors.

How long do you think these machines last when used daily 5x day a week one shift?  5-10 years?  more?  The design seems the same for last 30+ years.  I am trying to understand what can go wrong with them in terms of mechanical problems.

Since I never have talked to novastar about it, probably wasn't my case.    But everyone I've ever talked to who has run a wave solder machine with a foam fluxer has told me that they have had the exact same problem I have.    You have to realize that the method of flux application for a foam fluxer involves the flux wicking up through the holes to get a good coating of flux on the pins and the hole.  With a foam fluxer you don't have control over this wicking action as there is an effectively infinite amount of flux available for each hole to wick since the pin can draw from the flux foam head for the entire time the board is over the fluxer.   Generally this isn't a problem on most devices because if there's a bit extra flux on and around each hole it isn't a big problem.   Generally the flux will get activated in the preheat step, and once it's been through the wave it's all inert.

Unfortunately on connectors, where it wicks to is often the connector mating surface.   Once that gets hot and then becomes inert, it's effectively a thin layer of insulation.   

The solution to this problem is apparently to limit the amount of flux available to wick.   With a foam fluxer this isn't possible - it's either there or not.   With a spray fluxer you can put only a certain amount on the board which limits the availablity for the flux to wick into the connector.

I will say that although there is some truth to the satement that a different flux will solve this problem, as of 5 years ago, I couldn't find a flux which was compatible with the machine and which didn't exhibit this problem.    I did consider making my own sprayer using an atomization nozzle but never went down that path.

As far as the high volume performance of this machine, I can't really say one way or another.   If the failures I've had over the years are volume related then it's going to be a problem since you're probably going to run what I've run over the life of this machine through it in a few weeks.   On the other hand, I suspect many of the failures I've had has been more related to just aging which means that it doesn't matter how many you put through it.     I also have a SnPB pot, and I understand all of the lead free alloys are harder to deal with.
 
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Offline Reckless

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #42 on: March 04, 2019, 07:56:37 am »
How old are your machines?  The one I got is from 2006 and was used ~300 times.  The salesman mentioned something was changed about 10 yeats ago.

I looked up the ace-kiss video it looks pretty slow.  Also $50k is 50 times more than I paid for machine without solder.
 

Online forrestc

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #43 on: March 04, 2019, 12:41:19 pm »
How old are your machines?  The one I got is from 2006 and was used ~300 times.  The salesman mentioned something was changed about 10 yeats ago.

I looked up the ace-kiss video it looks pretty slow.  Also $50k is 50 times more than I paid for machine without solder.

Here's the description from when I purchased it back in 2007:

"*  NOVASTAR Spartan 12S wave solder machine, all options available when
purchased in 1998, which include an enclosed stand, flux air knife and extra
pallets. Less than 200 hrs of use, excellent conditiion, operational,
original manual."

So I guess it's 20 years old at this point.  Not sure what they would have changed, I will say mine looks almost identical to the pictures for current shipping product.
 
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Offline Reckless

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #44 on: March 04, 2019, 04:30:35 pm »
How many years do you think she has left?  Would you consider it a production machine or better suited for prototyping? 

Do you know of any cheap place to order custom made pallets in US?  I would prefer not having to order from China. 
 

Offline IconicPCB

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #45 on: March 04, 2019, 10:04:04 pm »
Any PCB shop in the states could make the pallet for You.
Generally made from  G10 material, routed to accept the PCB outline with titanium edge clip on supports and outside edges machined to be handled by a pin / roller conveyor or finger conveyor.

The other option is a soldering frame which is typically adjustable made either in stainless steel or titanium and designed to ride on a chain conveyor.

Its been a while since i last looked into this technology, i used to sell it , used to rep Soltec gearand these anciliary items were important to the enduser...try Fancort...  Just had a look..their program has changed... but in any case talk to them they may point you in the right direction,,,  https://fancort.com/
 

Online forrestc

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #46 on: March 05, 2019, 02:09:17 am »
How many years do you think she has left?  Would you consider it a production machine or better suited for prototyping? 

Do you know of any cheap place to order custom made pallets in US?  I would prefer not having to order from China.

I'd consider this a 'low volume production machine'.   Can you clarify your volume?  I seem to recall that you mentioned 1000 arrays - I'm going to guess it's going to take 30 seconds per array to load them in the machine.   Which means you're probably talking 960 per day.  With no breaks. 

If I was that high of volume, I'd probably be looking at something which had better solder management.   I'm not sure what the current machine looks like, but my existing one isn't set up for wave oil, doesn't do dross collection,  etc.    Plus with lead free you're going to want to do nitrogen inerting most likely to limit dross production.   I think the one you were buying has the nitrogen, you'll want to hook it up.

In relation to the pallet's we haven't needed any custom ones - we've just used the fingered pallets which came with the machine.   I think I saw in another thread that you are considering using pallets for selective soldering type application (i.e. you are doing the wave on the same side as the SMD).   If this is the case, check into the foam fluxer's compatibilty with this since I'm skeptical of the fluxer being able to work with a selective soldering pallet.
 

Offline Reckless

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #47 on: March 05, 2019, 06:21:18 am »
I will be satisfied even with 100 board arrays/day. 

Thanks for advice on foam fluxer, I will check into this.  I hope pallets can work with foam fluxer.

How important is having nitrogen to limit dross? 
 

Offline IconicPCB

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #48 on: March 05, 2019, 06:57:56 am »
Nitrogen is majick... provided its concentration is high enough.
I sold a Soltec Nitrogen machine at Yazaki in Melbourne.
The installation was brand new factory and they had a huge vertical tank for storage of nitrogen.
The machine had vacuum airlocks on the input and output conveyors.

The preheating tunnel had a continuous atmosphere bleed valve whereby the tunnel was constantly over pressure and the airlocks would be evacuated and purged with nitrogen before product would be allowed into the process chamber.
The solder pot  was a liquid mercury cascade.  The machine used a crazy low content of solids, sprayed on.
The hygrometer was used to measure flux density but it was basically useless since the flux was sooo low in solids. It could hardly discriminate between flux and solvent based on density.

The product that came out was incredibly bright clean and the solder meniscus was the typical of low surface tension finishes.

I had only one problem with it... the Purchasing officer ... his spec was for a high gloss paint job on external panels.. the factory supplied only hammer tone finish.

Had to strip the panels and have them repainted in a local panel beaters shop.

This was a closed loop system with Nitrogen monitoring probe.

Your machine would probably only have a shroud around the solder pot exposed to the factory atmosphere.

Nitrogen would only flood the solder pot  with some beneficial effect on the solder process..

You do not need to purchase nitrogen by the tank full.

You can run a nitrogen harvesting process in your shop based on some membrane process whereby the gas permeates through the membrane and provides a reasonable quality Nitrogen supply.


 

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Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
« Reply #49 on: April 03, 2019, 01:52:23 pm »
Hi,
I would like to revive this thread, maybe get a bit more on topic again.

I am also very interested in experiences with soldering robots.
As far as I can see, there is the R8:
https://www.robotdigg.com/product/1025/R8-series-automatic-PCB-Soldering-Robot-Machine?gclid=CjwKCAiAkrTjBRAoEiwAXpf9Cet67HC3gu3ef-Pk0yUmoVzROIj6E1ruUCSnuIf5UkeCKISSOHTO4RoCP9UQAvD_BwE
With different versions

and a (probably) far more expensive Quick9434:
http://www.quick-usa.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=66

There are no videos by any users out there and any experiences and recommendations would be very welcome.

(I thought about solder wave or selective solder wave as alternatives, but with the amount of boards I run and the space I have in my workshop both are out of the question)

thank you!!
 


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