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Small scale reflow oven

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Hello all, My company specializes in pcb design and subse... - Mar 26, 2019 by kyleh04  

#82219

Small scale reflow oven | 26 March, 2019

Hello all,

My company specializes in pcb design and subsequent prototype assembly. With that core of business, we will assemble up to 10 boards a week. We currently hand solder and use a reflow hotplate for these boards.

We have been getting requests from some of our core clients for us to support them on their production runs with assembly. They are specialized high end boards, and will need maybe 20-100 a month. Total we would look to be able to handle up to 500 a month, hopefully with the ability to increase some from there.

I have done a ton of research on reflow ovens, and talked to Manncorp about their batch ovens. They seem great, but have no active cooling, so we would have to wait after each board for the oven to cool. So I believe we need a conyeyor system.

I really don't want to go the used route, especially with most of the used Hellers/Manncorp being wayy overkill, with 480v 3 phase and larger than we would like. Ideally we want to be around $10'000, with 220 single phase power.

The DDM Novastar Gf-12ht and 120ht seem to be absolutely perfect. I'm waiting to get a quote but from info I found online, they appear to be around the 10k-15k mark.

I would like some advice, and if the Novastar route seems to be a good way to go. It's hard because it's so hard to find any first hand information about ovens online.

Thanks!

tldr; We specialize in pcb design, moving to ~500 board a month assembly, budget is around $10k. Looking at DDM Novastar gf-12ht and 120ht, good route to take?

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#82239

Small scale reflow oven | 28 March, 2019

I built myself a reflow oven using an off the shelf 29l fan forced oven with digital controls. I then fully insulated the cavity around it with kiln fibreglass, and added a metal infill at the back as the back of the oven was just a metal sheet. Anyway it heats to temp in 3 minutes, rings an alarm, then I open the door for it to cool. Ideal, cheap effective solution, for low volume prototyping and the power bill remains low.

sarason

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#82250

Small scale reflow oven | 29 March, 2019

Not sure it's always a great route as the smaller ovens are going to struggle to get a perfect profile for a consistent result, especially on bigger boards with higher layer counts and mixed technology. You may want to take a quick look at a batch vapor phase oven like: https://www.asscon.de/e/pages/products/pdf/ASC_Q300_E_131107.pdf

which should ensure much more effective heat transfer in the reflow process.

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#82252

Small scale reflow oven | 29 March, 2019

I have used the Chinese ovens that Manncorp is selling bought from another supplier and they can do the job. These will do the job. You can manufacture metal piece(plate) slightly tilted to collect the boards behind the oven(similar to wave soldering machine)-based on your quantities it shouldn't be a problem. It will be cheaper than conveyor.

If you want to go further though and become a real manufacturing, you should consider bigger investment. From someone who is doing this for the last 20years - 10zone full convection reflow oven is the way to achieve repeatable results with high quality.

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#82253

Small scale reflow oven | 29 March, 2019

We handle a similar SMTA quantity in house and use a 5 zone SMTmax AE-F530C

220V Single Phase

Equipment Outline Size L-2000* W-612* H1220 mm Heat Zone Length 1000mm Equipment Weight 180kg Max power 7kW

Belt Width 300 mm PCB Size 280x280 mm

Computer attached to unit with profiliing software.

No active cooling though we do not find that an issue

We are in buffalo if want a demo it is not scheduled for use this coming month.

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#82254

Small scale reflow oven | 29 March, 2019

I measured the temperature rise when I built the unit and it has a nice linear rise in temperature over the 3 minutes.

I have used the Quikees before. The galcon gas stinks and must be evacuated. The galcon is expensive. The galcon is a perflourocarbon ie bad for the atmosphere. All around I have found it to be the worst solution.

I am in Australia and we have some of the most expensive electricity in the world, so we try to conserve it. We have had one of our biggest power plants Hazelwood close down. This has lead to even more price gouging by the supply companies.

sarason

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Tom

#82305

Small scale reflow oven | 5 April, 2019

I would really suggest staying away from novastar on their ovens- we had a really bad experience with two of their ovens being unable to maintain temperature properly. We ended up buying a used BTU VIP70 and it has been working out great. A Heller 1800 might be a good option too. You can usually find these ovens pretty cheap- certainly under 10k.

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#82308

Small scale reflow oven | 5 April, 2019

What specific novastar oven models? And what years were they?

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Tom

#82323

Small scale reflow oven | 9 April, 2019

We had a gf12 and a 1200. I'm not sure what year they were. Sold them and got an oven with some horsepower. Our Novastar 8" wave solder machine still works well and is the reason we tried their ovens, but they just did't work out well for us.

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#82340

Small scale reflow oven | 10 April, 2019

So after listening to many people's options and thoughts, I have decided against novastar. There is a reseller near my office that offers full support, training, and service on used equipment. They also fully refurbish all equipment beforehand.

I now have a commitment from another existing client for assembly work, on designs we did. These existing clients alone easily make the choice of assembly in-house make sense. This also of course includes now a P&P.

Oven would be a Heller 1500. P&P would be a Juki 2060 or an assembleon Opal Xii. The assembleon would be 10k-15k less than the Juki.

What are your thoughts with this route, and the Juki vs Assembleon?

Thanks!

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Tom

#82344

Small scale reflow oven | 11 April, 2019

I only have experience with universal gsm machines; they are cheap and easy to run/maintain, and can place just about anything we use. We do 0603 smallest for our products but I think it could do 0402. They aren't the fastest and are dated, but for running a few hundred boards a week they are a good value. At 5000lbs they are also heavy and a pain to move.

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#82345

Small scale reflow oven | 11 April, 2019

I also am a huge fan of Universal Machines for their reliability, capability and dependability. Very highly engineered machines. Only machine I hear better than them is Fuji.

Apple and Motorola used Universal's extensively so it tells you how reliable they are.

I have had bad luck with Juki. The biggest issue is quality feeders with any machine and being able to accurately place them.

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#82355

Small scale reflow oven | 13 April, 2019

The 1500 is rated for up to 300c. So it shouldn't have a problem with lead free right? http://www.petlock.com/data/Heller_1500_specs.htm

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#82358

Small scale reflow oven | 15 April, 2019

Its not the max temperature that is the issue, its how much energy the oven is capable of transferring to the PCB inside the 4-6 minute window of a typical profile. In a conveyor oven this is achieved by having zones of different temperatures, but that is the temperature of the air (or IR heating lamps on some smaller ovens) not the temperature of your board. Lead free compatible ovens often have a max rated temperature of 350C although you may never need to get that high. For some people/products an old small oven never designed for lead free might well work perfectly well, the bigger, heavier and more complicated your designs, the more likely you are to find the ovens limits.

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#82359

Small scale reflow oven | 15 April, 2019

Opal Xii if it has the 8 head conversion. Much faster in real life than a 2060, and parts such as cards more readily available. Had both machines and much prefer the Yamaha built Assembleon badged machines. Both will do 01005. If you do go Juki then make sure it has a high resolution camera as the laser is not great for DFNs and similar parts.

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#82360

Small scale reflow oven | 15 April, 2019

Gotcha. Yeah, it has 8 heads. I think I'm going to go with it, seems like people like it more than the 2060.

The package I'm getting comes with the following feeders: -15 CL8x2's -40 CL8x4's -8 12MM -4 24MM -2 Tray Holders

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#82361

Small scale reflow oven | 15 April, 2019

Ahh that makes a lot of sense. All the boards I will be doing for the next while will be leaded, so I think I'll start with the 1500, and then worst case upgrade later if needed.

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#82362

Small scale reflow oven | 15 April, 2019

Just a comment on the Heller 1500. We had 3 at a previous workplace where we never made the Pb-free transition (this was early 2000's).

The ovens we had were not designed for and were never used for Pb-free processing yet every one of them had all of the blowers replaced under warrantee.

You might want to make sure you keep a few spare blowers in stock, especially if you're going to be running them at Pb-free temperatures.

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#82367

Small scale reflow oven | 15 April, 2019

We found the blowers were usually fine, but the capacitors strapped to the blower motors were failing. They were under $5 each from Digi/Mouser/Allied/RS. Worth keeping a few around.

Last place had 12 Hellers including a 1500 doing ROHS with no issues.

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#82385

Small scale reflow oven | 17 April, 2019

At the company that I work at we have used rehm ovens and been very happy with the results. The one we have now has 8 zones with 2 to 4 cooling zones. I can check tomorrow what oven it is. The company produce a lot of different batches of PCBS, from prototypes to bigger batches each months.More then 500 boards a month tho.

I know it isnt the answer for the question your asking but I hope it helps a little about finding what oven fits you.

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