Rehm: Reliability in the Soldering Process Through Innovative Process Monitoring

Rehm Thermal Systems | 10-15-2020

Every electronic manufacturer wants error-free soldering processes and accurate documentation of all processes involved in the production. But how do you ensure that the printed circuit board has actually been processed in compliance with the prescribed regulations? For this purpose, Rehm Thermal Systems has developed the ProCap software. The tool monitors the stability of the reflow process for each individual product, enabling optimal process traceability.

The ProCap software from Rehm Thermal Systems offers continuous statistical process stability control and has been specially tailored for the Systems of the Vision series from Rehm. The developers attached great importance to simple and efficient operation as well as a clear screen design. Especially when changing products or manufacturing new assemblies, tuning all process parameters for optimal results is a major challenge.

ProCap continuously measures the temperature over the entire assembly during the entire soldering process with a sensitive sensor system. The process parameters are automatically stored for the product at the first start-up. Each additional assembly is compared with the parameters stored for this product. For this purpose, the 50 first assemblies of the product, metal plates or dummy boards are measured and compared as so-called statistical process control. In this "baseline" statistical parameters, such as the natural variance of the process, are determined. This results in an average as a reference for all further measurements. This allows conclusions to be drawn about the stability of the production process, the machine capability and the repeatability of the soldering profile.

A live window breaks down all current production parameters over time, displays setpoints and permissible tolerances, and lists alerts in the running order. As soon as a value does not meet the standard and deviates from the "baseline," the program displays an alarm message. Process deviations and operating errors are logged simultaneously. In this way, creeping changes, such as added nozzle fields, can be reliably and timely detected. Thus, ProCap is ideally suited for the integration of predictive maintenance concepts. It is also possible to view, document and then export all process data of the measurements as a PDF report for optimum traceability.

ProCap can be easily retrofitted on many systems, as no additional hardware is required to function. The program is also compatible with the ViCON from Rehm Thermal Systems and is designed as a service client system. Therefore, ProCap provides the ability to monitor all lines on which the software is installed from a remote workstation.