The PCBs on the line are double-sided, high-density boards in standard widths of 160mm to 210mm and require a support solution aligned with Siemens’ stringent quality requirements.
“Even though the component placement equipment incorporates magnetic support systems as standard, these tools did not address some of the issues associated with the assembly vibrations caused by the placement machines,” explains Michael Wöhrle, Process Engineer at Siemens. “The magnetic pins provide selective support for the underside of the circuit boards, but have to be retooled for each different product and positioning the pins for our large, double-sided boards is very tricky. Plus, with our ‘pin-in-paste’ processes, there is a chance these pins can come in contact with the solder paste and track the paste onto other components which leads to defects.”
To address all of these issues, Wöhrle and his colleague, Process Engineer Markus Pasurka, investigated several different board support systems and ultimately decided on Ovation’s Grid-Lok technology.
"The fully automatic Grid-Lok support system is able to provide stability for large, densely populated PCBs over the entire surface area of the board and in areas where magnetic pins will not work,” comments Wöhrle. “What’s more, Grid-Lok’s gentle electrical discharges do not damage components in any way and, therefore, comply with Siemens’ ESD requirements.”
“With its ability to quickly and automatically accommodate our eight to ten product changeovers per line, per shift, Grid-Lok has the potential to dramatically reduce our cost,” concludes Pasurka, who was responsible for introducing the Grid-Lok system into Siemens’ production lines. “For us that’s a win-win: cost down and quality up!”