SMT & Inspection | August 07, 2009

Siplace experts tested SMD Silicone Keys from Abatek

SEAS in Munich tested in their own Applications Center the SMD silicon keys from Abatek, Bassersdorf, Switzerland. Christoph Öckl, head of Siplace Applications Center, explains: "The SMD silicon keys from Abatek are a mature product and can be processed very well with our automatic pick and place machines."
At the time the tests were initiated, the enthusiasm was not so big yet, because there have been several problems with packaging and the casting: individual keys pinched in the belt, while others showed overlaying silicone, resulting in open solder joints. Abatek responded quickly, enlarged the pockets of the packaging, corrected the molds in the production and delivered improved products.

From then on, there was no more objection by the Siplace Applications Team. The placement machine, a Siplace X, assembled the keys without mistakes using standard feeders and standard process parameters. The result was clear: Any Siplace machine with Collect & Place Head (S-20 or S4) can process the silicone keys.

During the test the machine was equipped with a 12-C&P head and reached a placement speed of 12'000 cph. At such high speeds silicone adhesion problems may occur. Therefore, the Siplace Applications Team recommends the use of special pickup nozzles coated with Teflon. Such nozzles feature less adhesion to silicone compared to standard ceramic tools, therewith they can process silicone keys much faster and more secure.

The Siplace Applications Team is convinced by the new product and is recommending it to their own customers. Christoph Öckl recollects: "I was impressed by the excellent cooperation with the colleagues of the Abatekgroup so, for example, they always responded quickly and positively to our proposals for


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