Safe drying process for highly complex flat modules

26 NOVEMBER 2018

The vehicle airbag saves lives no matter what the conditions, the front lights ensure a safe journey day and night, the onboard computer and sensors in aircraft provide reliable measurements for flight guidance even at an altitude of 10,000 metres, and a simple traffic light system regulates traffic in any wind and weather. Behind each one of these functions are a myriad of highly complex electronic components and connections.

In order to ensure the reliability of these sensitive electronic modules even in the harshest environment, a coating layer is applied to the assembled circuit boards and then cured in a special drying facility. The coating protects sensitive electronic components from damage by corrosion or other environmental influences such as humidity, chemicals or dust. It greatly increases the service life and quality of the product. Alternatively, complete assemblies can be grouted and encapsulated.

Rehm Thermal Systems offers innovative drying and curing processes for this field of application that meet any requirement. The latest development is a vertical drying system, which offers maximum performance with minimum space requirement. “All industries that utilise coating processes and work with sensitive flat modules with protective coating can benefit from this system,” according to Michael Hanke, General Sales Manager at Rehm Thermal Systems.

The Alteco vertical dryer from Rehm not only offers the best drying and curing processes, but is also extremely compact and space-saving thanks to its design. Thanks to vertical transport, the Alteco replaces a comparable 40-metre-long horizontal furnace with a system length of just 4 metres. “Our customers can save valuable space in their production halls with this innovative system concept. That allows existing resources to be used optimally, while improving the production routine,” adds Peter Schiele, Product Sales Rehm Thermal Systems.

Two transport variants are available for the vertical dryer Alteco. Firstly, a fixed transport width in which the circulating product carriers are set to a fixed position, and secondly, a flexible transport width in which the circulating product carrier transport automatically adjusts to the respective PCB size. This means that several painting lines can feed different products with a mix of different PCB transport widths to the Alteco. This is specially designed for the drying process of flat modules with a maximum height of 50 mm.

An important aspect for every manufacturer of highly complex electronic components is the flexibility of the equipment used. Rehm’s vertical drying system enables flexible, high-performance drying and curing processes for all protective coatings and casting compounds which can be cured with convection heat. In the furnace inlet, the PCBs are loaded onto product carriers. These pass through the drying process in the system in a vertical direction and are stacked on top of each other during the curing process. The drying process is then carried out in two process towers, which are each divided into many heating zones. The downstream, segmented cooling section ensures gentle and uniform cooling of the assemblies for subsequent production steps. As Peter Schiele goes on to say: “Alternatively, the cooling section can also be integrated in the vertical system.This principle is ideally suitable for assemblies that require shorter process throughput times due to their lower mass or which are not processed directly afterwards and can therefore cool down in downstream magazines.

The manufacturers of electronic components are always confronted with the challenge of focusing on the efficiency of the entire production chain, short lead times and short set-up times while guaranteeing 100% reliability and quality of the manufactured components.

“Alteco with automatic product carrier adjustment allows simultaneous drying of different painted boards or boards of different sizes. This means that several production lines with different products can be covered by one vertical stove and fed into a reliable drying process while taking up very little space,” sums up Michael Hanke.

By using innovative control, fan, heating and sensor components combined with a solid construction, Rehm has come up with a high-quality system with which stable processes can be run reproducibly in every production. The application specialists from Rehm are happy to help you to determine the optimum setting parameters for manufacturing the corresponding component. In-house training as well as process and maintenance training in the respective production environment round off the range of services offered by Rehm Thermal Systems.

Rehm Thermal Systems | www.rehm-group.com

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