Manufacturers in the defense, aerospace and medical equipment industries need to get the lead back into their components. The move to lead-free parts has left the industries that are exempt from RoHS with trouble finding leaded parts. These companies need leaded parts to help fight potential tin whisker growth in tin-solder parts.
So, if you can’t find leaded parts, dip lead-free parts in lead. Problem is, the process is time consuming and expensive. One company, Corfin Industries of Salem, N.H. is working to contain costs by using robots to dip lead.
The company recently participated in a Navy-funded evaluation of the robotic hot solder dip process to determine if the process would mitigate tin whiskers and not cause damage to the components. The project successfully provided a qualification of the robotic solder dip process on a variety of electronic packaging designs. It identified which types of tin-plated component packages can be successfully solder pot dipped to remove all the tin plate and still meet military reliability requirements.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.