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SMT & Inspection | July 17, 2006

KIC helped Flextronics save energy

KIC announces that it has posted a case study to its Web site on how Flextronics reduced reflow oven energy consumption by using the KIC Auto-Focus.
Authored by Piotr Kaznica of Flextronics, Tczew, Poland, the case study, “The Effect on Energy Use from an Optimized Reflow Oven Recipe in Lead-free Applications,” can be found on KIC's website.

Due to the higher melting point of the lead-free Sn/Ag/Cu alloy, higher reflow soldering temperatures are required for lead-free PCB assembly. Consequently, reflow oven energy consumption is growing as well. The case study is focused on the potential opportunity to reduce higher energy requirements with the use of modern thermal profiling and process optimization software. To determine the energy consumption during the lead-free reflow process, a convection oven was equipped with a multifunctional energy meter. Measurements were performed for several days, during which the oven processed leaded and lead-free versions of the same product respectively.

The case study concludes that using a modern thermal process optimization tool resulted in 15% and 7.8% reduction in energy comsumption for a leaded and lead-free application respectively . Further, the optimized oven recipes operate in the “sweet spot” of the process window, improving quality and productivity in addition to reducing operating expenses.

The energy savings discussed in the article are significant, and can benefit the industry tremendously.

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