Altus is Connecting and Improving Processes with its Suppliers

As the goal to smart manufacturing becomes ever more present, Altus, a leading distributor of capital equipment for the electronics assembly industry, is helping its customers to connect and integrate equipment by introducing some of the most innovative solutions on the market.

One of Altus’ pre-eminent suppliers making wave in the Industry 4.0 revolution is Rehm Thermal Systems. For the last 10 years, Altus has been actively supporting the company with the implementation of systems across the UK and Ireland.

Building relationships and improving manufacturing processes are subjects that Altus work hard to promote. The same is true for Rehm. The company is contributing to making system networking within SMT manufacturing easier, quicker and more efficient in the future. Together with other manufacturers of surface mounted device production equipment, Rehm has recently been working intensively on a digital interface for machine to machine (M2M) communication within a production line. Rehm recently realised however that the reflow soldering system would be one of the sticking points in the way of a seamless digital interface within The Hermes Standard Initiative.

A soldering system contains many assemblies all used at the same time. It is important to identify these clearly after the soldering process in order to reliably assign the manufactured assembly’s information. The barcode on the assembly, the Hermes Board ID number and the assembly data are communicated.

Rehm already has answers to the problem for its reflow soldering systems, including two different Hermes solutions for the VisionXP+, one has a scanner on the outfeed conveyor, the other doesn’t. These options are key elements to a networked manufacturing facility and the and smart factory future.

If there is no scanner on the outfeed conveyor, assemblies cannot be removed or inserted. A cover on the outfeed conveyor, prevents boards from being moved. This guarantees that no data is lost or assigned to the wrong assembly.

The other option where a scanner on the outfeed conveyor is present allows boards to be removed after the soldering process and reused with data always remaining assigned to the correct board. This helps in the manual visual inspection of assemblies as well as sampling for quality assurance processes.

With production space being at a premium, Rehm also incorporated a separate transport into the outfeed area after the cooling section. This ensures separation of the assemblies and clear identification after the soldering process. Every board within the soldering system is recognised and the data is correctly assigned.