The first generation of Ersa selective soldering systems launched in the 1990s was very well received with more than 600 units sold – but it was the third generation VERSAFLOW 3/45 that became an absolute best seller and market leader in the selective soldering industry, with well over 1,111 units installed by customers … and counting.
Author: Mark Birl
The first generation of Ersa selective soldering systems launched in the 1990s was very well received with more than 600 units sold – but it was the third generation VERSAFLOW 3/45 that became an absolute best seller and market leader in the selective soldering industry, with well over 1,111 units installed by customers … and counting. The jubilee edition was delivered to the Swabian company Hannusch Industrieelektronik e.K. based in Laichingen, a company that has been purchasing soldering hardware from system supplier Ersa for more 30 years.
There are numerous reasons for the global success of Ersa selective soldering technology. With their leading technology and modular design, the Ersa inline selective soldering systems fulfil the highest demands made on flexibility and throughput coupled with minimum footprint. The modular set-up and more than 800 configuration options currently available allow almost endless combination options for the bread-and-butter machine VERSAFLOW 3/45 – with two flux modules, five preheater modules or three soldering modules (multi- or mini-wave). In the maximum expansion stage, the system has six soldering pots, whereby each soldering module can have its own preheater module connected upstream. In addition, preheater and soldering modules are available with a heating function above the line on request, as well as with a double track option for doubling the throughput rate. No matter whether the focus is on maximum flexibility or outstanding productivity, the VERSAFLOW 3/45 covers all the requirements with top soldering quality.
Hannusch and Ersa: Doing business for 30 years
Plenty of arguments convinced the Swabian EMS service provider Hannusch Industrieelektronik – not for the first time. The company, which is one of the founders of the vocational training association for soldering and electronic engineering, started business in 1988 with PCB assembly as outsourced, and became completely independent soon afterwards. The first machine to be purchased was an Ersa Wave ETS 250, which moved with the company from one location to the next, including moving into the company’s first branch in 1998.
The continual expansion of the production line and the product portfolio, specific investments in the machine park and qualified personnel ensured constant growth. At the moment there is 4,000 m2 of floor space available for production, which can be supplemented by a further 3,000 m2 at any time. Hannusch’ business has developed very well over the last four years – reflected by the machine purchases – a VERSAFLOW 3/45 (2015), POWERFLOW e N2 Wave (2017) and another VERSAFLOW 3/45 in 2019. The exact date for the latest machine installation was 4th June – the very same day that Ersa put the second clocked continuous flow manufacturing line into operation at the Wertheim am Main plant. “We have had nothing but positive experience with Ersa machines for over 30 years – in terms of wave soldering, selective soldering and service. For this reason, we will be deciding in favour of Ersa technology again in the future when appropriate investments are due, in order to be able to secure our customers’ competitiveness,” explains Managing Director Claudia Hannusch, who is extremely satisfied with how quickly both installation and instruction of the machine personnel responsible was completed.
Before the purchase was made, Hannusch defined its requirements on the new machine as follows: Inline selective soldering system, important features such as CAD Assistant for offline programming as an integral component of the standard version in order to increase the degree of automation. With the CAD Assistant on board the VERSAFLOW 3/45, programs can be prepared quickly and easily offline while the machine is running, thus guaranteeing maximum machine availability. Data sets for the CNC axis systems are edited by drag & drop, predefined data sets are adapted quickly to the respective application, and a plausibility check excludes errors. All movements of the fluxer or solder pot axis systems are entered graphically on the PCB image and are provided with process data, checked by simulation and available immediately in the machine.
Two systems, central access to programs
“During discussions with the Ersa sales engineer responsible, we quickly settled on the VERSAFLOW 3/45, which is identical to the selective system we purchased in 2015, except for the jubilee sticker and a new PC or new software. Both of our systems are calibrated to one another, the programs are opened separately by each machine via a central server – if a change is made, this is done once and both systems react synchronously to it,” explains Michael Hannusch, Head of Processes and Technologies (Head of Processes and Engineering). This means the Hannusch team can simply switch from one job to the next, without major conversion and retooling being necessary – a major advantage, since the Swabians have to handle a lot of batch sizes between 50 and 100, sometimes even only between five and ten pieces.
The jubilee machine, on the other hand, is used especially for a customised process with 1,000 pieces – with a good 5,000 complex assemblies being produced. Product carriers are loaded manually and supplied to the machine, which processes them automatically. The product concerned is a high-quality bicycle light with an illumination level on a par with that of a modern motorcycle headlight. “The second VERSAFLOW 3/45 was more of a gut decision initially, because the order for the lighting was in the cards but not confirmed at the time – at the end of the day it was placed at the optimum time and we can produce without rework and access the program centrally on the server, which enables us to achieve reproducible top quality again and again,” says a delighted Michael Hannusch. The process engineer was particularly impressed by features such as the reactivation of the nozzles and inspection of nozzle height which was not available in the same way in comparable machines – while the insensitivity and low maintenance effort required for the system were just as impressive. The Hannusch team went to Wertheim for the preliminary acceptance test, but decided against putting the system through its paces at the demonstration and application centre. After all, they knew from their experience with the VERSAFLOW 3/45 purchased in 2015 what the selective system is capable of.
Ersa service and support: perfect!
Following preliminary acceptance, the installation itself went as smoothly as usual – tailor-made Ersa all-round service with fast response times, which include the speedy supply of any spare parts required, valued by Hannusch Industrieelektronik for more than 30 years now. Thanks to the high Ersa share in the Hannusch machine park, the operators did not require a lot of training and were able to ramp up productivity on their second VERSAFLOW 3/45 directly. The two selective systems are only two steps apart in production, so that the machine operator can always keep an eye on both systems. Alongside the heating above the line, soldering wire feed and a pot, one of the main features of the 1,111th VERSAFLOW 3/45 is the ERSASOFT 5 operating software with modern visualisation and user-oriented structure: individual interfaces show every operator group the data and information required directly. The new interface is convenient in terms of process monitoring, too – modern picture-in-picture technology (PIP) provides a free view of soldering parameters and a live process picture for optimum control during every soldering process. Conclusion: The 55-strong team at Hannusch is extremely well equipped with Ersa soldering systems at the moment. Even if the current Managing Director Claudia Hannusch will be handing over the company reins to her son Michael in the mid-term – this will not change the cooperative business partnership between the two companies. And if soldering systems should be required at any time in the future, quick and direct contact between Laichingen and Wertheim am Main will achieve a feasible solution in no time!
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