Founded in 1993, Prodrive Technologies is one of the fastest growing technology companies in Europe. The electronics and mechatronics company based in the Netherlands, with additional subsidiaries and production sites in the U.S. and China, manufactures a wide range of high-tech products…

Published in EPP 7-8/22
Author: Michael Haas

Founded in 1993, Prodrive Technologies is one of the fastest growing technology companies in Europe. The electronics and mechatronics company based in the Netherlands, with additional subsidiaries and production sites in the U.S. and China, manufactures a wide range of high-tech products in the fields of electronics, software and mechanics for customers in the most diverse markets. At Prodrive Technologies, all signs point to further growth. To achieve these goals, the company is expanding its production capacity with a state-of-the-art SMD line and relies on the latest reflow generation from Ersa: the HOTFLOW THREE.

High throughput and economic efficiency are the hallmarks of a successful SMD production. For the future-oriented production concept of Prodrive Technologies, however, maintenance and sustainability also play a central role. With the Ersa HOTFLOW THREE, the company is investing in a convection reflow system that combines all these requirements. The proven technology of the HOTFLOW series has been further developed to significantly enhance the sustainability of the reflow soldering process with the HOTFLOW THREE. Compared to previous models, nitrogen consumption can be reduced by up to 25% and power consumption by up to 10%. With a noise level of less than 59 dB, the HOTFLOW THREE also creates a low-noise backdrop – a factor that should not be underestimated, especially if the system runs six days a week in multi-shift operation, as it does at Prodrive.

Less frequent maintenance due to triple cleaning system

Within a SMT line, the reflow soldering system has the highest maintenance requirements, which is why ease of maintenance and minimal downtimes are both essential. Contamination, so-called condensate, caused by outgassing of PCBs, components, or flux needs to be removed regularly to ensure a consistent quality of the assemblies. With this in mind, HOTFLOW THREE was developed with ease of maintenance as a top priority. The result is a cleaning system consisting of three units: SMART ELEMENTS® granulate filter, SMART PYROLYSIS CLEANER and SMART CONDENSATION UNIT.

The SMART ELEMENTS® filter and the SMART PYROLYSIS CLEANER already reliably eliminate a major part of the dirt particles. Compared with other common cleaning systems, significantly less condensate arrives in the condensate separation unit (SMART CONDENSATION UNIT) which is integrated in the cooling zone. This directly leads to an increase in productivity and longer operating times, as maintenance is required far less frequently. The individual components are quick and easy to access and to maintain, allowing the line to resume production in the shortest possible time. Furthermore, the low condensate formation has a positive effect on the quality of the electronic assembly: Contamination from outgassing of components, printed circuit board or flux, which may condensate on the assembly during cooling and can lead to premature failures during subsequent operation due to contamination or possibly corrosion, is also minimized.

Unique selling point SMART CONVECTION POWER UNIT® (SCPU)

Stable and homogeneous temperature profiles with minimum ΔT and maximum machine availability are essential requirements for a modern reflow soldering system. That is why the development of the HOTFLOW THREE reflow soldering system focused not only on process gas purification but also on the performance of the energy transfer. The interaction of gas flow, energy absorption and energy transfer to the product are essential for a perfect temperature profile in the reflow soldering process. HOTFLOW THREE uses convection heating technology.

The SMART CONVECTION POWER UNIT® (SCPU) is a new motor and control unit which was developed exclusively for the latest Ersa reflow machine. It ensures an optimized soldering profile and increased process reliability: The new geometry of the fans generates an optimal air flow in the convection system of the single heating zone. Together with the new efficient motor control and the special design of the nozzle sheet, HOTFLOW THREE thus achieves a homogenous heat distribution over the entire process zone. Zones can be controlled individually, allowing perfect adaptation to the requirements of materials, components, and solder paste. At the same time, the SCPU® only consumes the power that is needed. The energy used is thus optimally utilized. Even with complex, densely populated PCBs with a wide range of component sizes, the system ensures consistent energy transfer with a stable temperature profile at a minimum ΔT across the entire width.

The HOTFLOW THREE is targeted to all electronics manufacturers who, like Prodrive Technologies, want to achieve the highest manufacturing quality and economic efficiency. Its maintenance-friendly cleaning system ensures highest availability.

Highlights: HOTFLOW THREE

  • Significantly increased productivity
  • Significantly reduced consumption
  • Highest soldering quality
  • Inspiring machine uptime
  • Future-proof user interface
  • Precise Industry 4.0 data
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MICHAEL HAAS
Product Manager Reflow

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