Since being founded in 1973 in the western portion of France, TRONICO is the specialist for design and integration of complex electronic systems. Posing high demands: That solutions function not only during a certain period of time, but over the complete product life cycle.
User report | published in: productronic 12/2016
Author: Remy Lutz
Since being founded in 1973 in the western portion of France, TRONICO is the specialist for design and integration of complex electronic systems. Posing high demands: That solutions function not only during a certain period of time, but over the complete product life cycle. Aside from the core of its business –being a provider of electronic manufacturing services – this French company has also established a reputation as an ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) for the development of premier electronic systems. And since quite some time now, TRONICO relies on the support of the system supplier Ersa.
For already more than 40 years, TRONICO is involved in electronic manufacturing. At its headquarters in Saint Philbert de Bouaine in the Loire region, about 30 km from Nantes, there are 450 employees, 50 of which are assigned to the development department. In most corporations, this department would actually be referred to as R&D (Research and Development) and, being the driver of innovation, R&D frequently plays a decisive role in establishing and upholding the success of a corporation. An additional 10 TRONICO engineers and developers are located in Grenoble, a good 800 km away. This altogether 60-member team develops electronic products which must perform reliably under the toughest operating conditions. It also designs board assemblies conforming to customer specifications for industries such as the bio- and medical technology, and industry and transportation. TRONICO also promotes the development of their own proprietary products in the field of energy conversion, for example, or in „Battery Management Systems“ for transportation and mobility. Additional activities of TRONICO are focused on aviation and aerospace, military defense as well as the wide field of energy such as oil and gas, alternative energy, sun- and wind generated energy, and geothermal and fuel energy. At a second manufacturing location in Tangier, Morocco, TRONICO employs a further 250 employees. The North American market is handled by subsidiaries located in Montreal, Canada and Seattle, USA.
TRONICO’s offer to its customers and to the market includes additional services such as „Maintien en Condition Opérationelle“, in short MCO, which stands for “continuous readiness for production”. It also includes the “management of discontinuations”, where obsoleted components need to be changed out or when an electronic product needs to be redesigned using current types of components. Also offered are the secure storage of components or populated board assemblies, and the use of nitrogen cabinets as well as a permanent storage service. A laboratory is available, in which the technical aspects of components are being examined for authenticity and functionality.
Since 2015, TRONICO manufactures on an Ersa selective soldering system
How did it come about that TRONICO puts, since 2015, its trust in the selective soldering process – a technology, which had not been used in the company prior to that time? Frédéric Gaboriau, TRONICO’s process manager for wave soldering and conformal coating and with the company since the year 2000, prepared an equipment specification which defined the demands on the system and the product. The demand was for two systems, one for the facility in Saint Philbert de Bouaine, the other for the manufacturing facility located in Tangier, Morocco. Six potential suppliers were contacted, and with three of these, soldering trials using TRONICO boards were performed at each supplier’s facility. At the conclusion of the trials, a purchase order was issued to Ersa for an ECOSELECT 1 selective soldering system. “Boards that have undergone two reflow processes and cannot be wave soldered will be processed on the selective soldering system – the point was to avoid the need for hand soldering”, states Frédéric Gaboriau. Tied in with the investment was the requirement to ensure the repeatability of the processes of fluxing, preheating and soldering. The demand was to attain repeatable top quality solder joints within a stable process, independent of the operator, and with data logged for traceability. Gaboriau continues: „Also important for us was that programming the system was to be quick and easy, and that process parameter settings for each solder joint should be individually adjustable. All this is provided by the ECOSELECT 1 – it became a reliable constant at TRONICO, and has induced new projects as well as new customers”.
System Supplier Ersa, in action worldwide
The decision in favor of Ersa was not solely on the basis of this one system – important were also a range of other factors: aside from the very high level of the soldering technology there was also the excellence of the service offered by Ersa, who assists its customers in each of their manufacturing facilities worldwide. Then there were the innovative technologies such as the electromagnetic solder pump, ensuring constant flow rates of the solder, the full-area preheat system or the use of wettable solder nozzles which yields a large degree of flexibility, especially for complex board assemblies. There is also the intelligent dual-pot system that allows two different solder alloys being used in production. The TRONICO team stands behind their decision in favor of Ersa GmbH, a company that is known for occasionally applying exceptional means: in 2015, a team from Ersa in Wertheim travelled to France for a road show, stopping by at our facility in Saint Philbert de Bouaine, bringing along a comprehensive technology seminar with much information and live demos. A lively dialogue was established, during which TRONICO and Ersa investigated the possibilities for using other soldering technologies – with already tangible results. It almost looks as if another close German-French partnership is developing. Bonne chance, good luck!
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