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Printer and Reflow Oven Recommendations

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Printer and Reflow Oven Recommendations | 13 May, 2015

Hello Everyone. We are setting up our first SMT line and are looking for recommendations on printers and reflow ovens. Currently most of our manufacturing is outsourced and we want the ability to manufacture all of our products in-house. One important factor is the flexibility to manufacture in smaller batches just-in-time to reduce our finished goods inventory. Sheer volume or speed is not our main concern.

We already purchased Juki placement equipment, with enough feeder capacity for a no-changeover setup, as well as a selective solder machine. We also received quotes for a Juki GL printer and RS600 oven (JT), however we are not convinced these are the best choices. Heller was recommended to us as a good reflow oven and we've looked at a Heller 1809 MKIII. For the printer we have less direction but have looked briefly at the Speedline printers. We want decent quality machines that are reliable and easy to use. It is important to maintain a high-level of quality for our finished products while lowering overall operating costs.

What reflow oven and stencil printer would you recommend and why?

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Printer and Reflow Oven Recommendations | 13 May, 2015

We are high mix - high changeover aerospace manufacturer.

We have 3 1809 MK3 air ovens. There has been absolutely no issues with them.

We have 4 MPM Momentums. I looked at DEK but felt the MPM's were put together better. They are very easy to use and reliable.

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Printer and Reflow Oven Recommendations | 14 May, 2015

I like MpM personally - run forever and programming is easy and leads you through it. It's hard to miss a step of programming with MpM software. DEK's a little harder (for me) but still very nice controls. The pluses of DEK - DEK has a high frequency vibro system (can't remember the name of it) that runs through the blades and it's nice for fine pitch. We use it all the time and it really does help. As for reflow, we've had Conceptronics, OmniFlo and Rehm. All last(ed) forever with little troubles. I'd say Rehm gives us the best control of profiling. You can really see the changes you make to a program in the profile. The zones are very nicely segregated and the profile is almost a square wave at the transitions = good control when profiling. Downfall - We've had pin chain issues with Rehm and not the others. That's the ony down-side. Not sure why. It could just be that we run some slow hot dogs on that line and it's rough on the conveyor chain.

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Printer and Reflow Oven Recommendations | 15 May, 2015

I'm the Rep for Vitronics Soltec and ASYS EKRA in the southeastern US. I suggest you take a look at Vitronics ovens. The AutoSet feature makes new profile development as easy as possible without buying a third party accessory, The new EKRA user interface, Simplex makes programming the printer extremely fast and as easy as using an iPad. I Rep'ed and worked for MPM for over 20 years. The EKRA printers are the best engineered and built printers available. Using Quik-tool on a Serio 4000 will prove the easiest and fastest change-over achievable. If you happen to be located in my territory I'd be happy to meet with you. I you need a referal to your local Rep for these companies I'd be happy to assist. Good luck in your hunt for the best match equipment.

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Printer and Reflow Oven Recommendations | 15 May, 2015

I chose a Vitronics XPM3i primarily for the AutoSet automatic profile generation feature. We are high mix and simply cannot profile every board. The AutoSet feature is quick, easy and we rely on it 100% and have great results. These ovens have had very few complaints on the forums.

For printers, take a look at the Speedprint SP700. I like the laser guided support pin placement feature, easy to use software, design simplicity, very little calibration/maintenance and value. Adjustable rails allow for changes between 29" and 23" frames without needing an adapter. Plus their camera alignment system is unique in that you can use the apertures themselves instead of fiducials.

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Printer and Reflow Oven Recommendations | 15 May, 2015

My top 3 printers:


Top 3 ovens:

1. BTU 2. Vitronics 3. Heller or Electrovert

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Printer and Reflow Oven Recommendations | 15 May, 2015


1.Rehm (Germany) - Best in Class Best overall process stability heating system ( Alot of makers have started to copy there VX heating arrangement ). COnveyor chains can be a bit more attention in terms of maintenance on rehm , but if follow correct methods they are fine. Issue is they use lower mass rails , smaller cross section, and thus finer chains thus less thermal loss to process so trade off. 2.BTU (USA) prob next 3.Ersa (Germany) 4.Vitronics - Speedline (USA) Reliable , medium total process capable. 5.Heller - JT ( Some JT I think use Heller EXL parts , blowers , heater, and conveyor parts at least thats what I have seen. Both made in China so maybe share same suppliers ????, not sure on latest JTs) Never had very good experience in field seeing clients using Heller, they have reliability issues , blowers , elements, hood lift issues. Also worst cross profile performance, MKIII is better in this aspect on EXL range but not at top of list from work I have done. When Selecting a Oven...

What are you reflowing ? simple low delta T or heavy PCB or high mix thermal loads ?

Check real cross profile performance on oven not just static profile of a target PCB, get vendor to describe how they do this and get spec they claim.

Check energy when running, some are very flaky in specifications.

Check reaction to load changes - alu plates - ss plates and profile to see reaction

Check Stepped profile response to see how fast different thermal targets on a test vehicle react to thermal input in each zone ie light to heavy mass parts.

Specs are specs unless you prove them

All ovens can solder , is all about what is valued...

Process Quality and lower ownership ROI over Period X vs Cost up front but Pay later with higher ownership costs

At end day get what pay for.....


Main players

1. MPM 2. DEK ( Dek vibration tech not new , principle was first done by HTI-Milara - vibrating squeegee) , others dismissed it now dek offers it is great tech ...just put that out there... 3. EKRA

I think DEK and MPM are maturing and not as innovative as Ekra or even some new players like below..

SMaller Players 1. SJ Innotech (Korea) - Innovative great bang for buck reliable can out perform the big names pending model etc Targets entry level inline to mid level. Have innovative system with full 3D concurrent SPI !!! First to comerically offer this - think will do well.

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Printer and Reflow Oven Recommendations | 19 May, 2015

We have been running a Heller 1707EXL for 8 years and added a Heller 1707MKIII about 1 years ago. We have not had any problems with either one of them. We do both lead and lead-free assemblies along with BGA/LGA components. If speed/volume is not an issue for you, you can do everything you need with a 1707 which is cheaper than the 1809.

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Printer and Reflow Oven Recommendations | 20 May, 2015

1. DEK 710 for Screen Printing 2. Fuji NXT for Pick and Place 3. Vitronics XPM3i Oven

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Printer and Reflow Oven Recommendations | 20 May, 2015

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Printer and Reflow Oven Recommendations | 21 May, 2015

DeanM, How do you verify you have great results with the AutoSet feature if you do not check your profiles ?

How does the AutoSet take into account large ground planes on certain areas of the board ?

just curious

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Printer and Reflow Oven Recommendations | 22 May, 2015

Sr. Tech, you are right in that there is no verification of the profile. We are a Class 3 high mix OEM. We have visual inspection after SMT. We have not seen problems with wetting, grainy solder, cold solder, charred boards, etc. that would indicate that it was outside the process window for SnPb. The joints seem to be strong so that if a part gets bumped, the pad usually gets ripped up before the solder joint is broken. To date, none of our customers require profile verification. I would theorize that there is enough airflow to make an efficient transfer of heat to ground plane areas. Again, what we are doing is not ideal and I am certainly in favor of verifying the profile of every board. We simply do not have an extra assembly to "scrap" or the labor resources at this time. However I feel more confident using the AutoSet than attempting to use a small, medium, large board profile approach that is so common.

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Printer and Reflow Oven Recommendations | 22 May, 2015

It's your first line, go with established manufacturers. Whether new or used it ultimately comes down to does the tool do the job and how well is it supported (labor/parts) if it does break down. I am a former field eng. with Speedline and now run a service business supporting all these legacy platforms. The reason I share this with you is because I can tell you what you will see when you walk into most facilities and it will be pretty much the list that most have picked in this discussion. It is easy for me to say buy MPM and Electrovert and both will truly serve you well. But at the same time I will say that there are just as many DEK printers out there; and Vitronics and Heller seem to have the numbers in the reflow game. I am not saying the new comers don't have good products, but there is a reason the established brands have been doing this for decades. Contrary to popular belief there is a lot of good used equipment that can be found on the market to that can save you a lot of money. New or used, stick with the brand names!

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Printer and Reflow Oven Recommendations | 22 May, 2015

Thanks for all of the input. It's been very helpful and given me a few more things to research.

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Printer and Reflow Oven Recommendations | 27 October, 2015

Curious what you ended up deciding on for your production line? Did you complete this effort? Do you still need to fill a need?

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