SMT007 Magazine

SMT-Mar2017

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March 2017 • SMT Magazine 17 tion (AOI) device. With components that are too small to see with the naked eye, imagine the thought of identifying a non-compliant solder joint that is a fraction of the size of those small components. It's not of significant importance though. A skilled assembler armed with solder- ing tools and a quality microscope will be able to attach any component to a flexible circuit. Protection of Solder Joints After Assembly The concerns do not end with the attach- ment of components. Products developed with flexible circuits are intended to be flexed. Al- though the material is flexible, the solder joints are not! If components or solder joints are in, or near a bend area, then it is wise to protect the solder joints. If not, the joint may fracture and cause intermittent issues that are difficult to identify. A flexible epoxy or conformal coat may be added to the solder joints after the product has been tested and confirmed. This will keep the bends and flexing away from the solder joint and in the material where it is intended to be. This added safety feature will add robustness to flexible circuit assemblies and likely reduce the risk of failures in the field. Conclusion Flexible circuits have many advantages. They're lightweight, thin and flexible. This al- lows products to be lighter, smaller and thin- ner as well. Although the typical circuit assem- bly is not intended to be bent, formed or even dynamic, it can be done confidently with flex- ible circuits. The added time spent on the de- sign of fixtures to assist in the assembly process is time well spent and will allow the circuit to flow through the assembly line smoothly and consistently. The result will be a robust flexible circuit assembly. SMT John Talbot is the president of Tramonto Circuits, which designs, manufacturers and supplies flexible circuits and printed circuit boards (PCBs) for customers around the world. For more information, click here. ASSEMBLY OF FLEXIBLE CIRCUITS Figure 5: Epoxy covered solder joints. Francois Monette, VP Sales and Marketing at Cogiscan Inc., talks with I-Connect007 Editor Stephen Las Marias about how the industry can meet the challenge of connect- ing different machines, software and enterprise systems to enable Indus- try 4.0 for the electronics assembly industry. He says Industry 4.0 is a journey, the ultimate goal of having a connect- ed factory. But he says people should not just buy software and implement new technology for the sake of tech- nology. It has to be driven by improv- ing quality, reducing cost, and im- proving productivity. Watch The Interview Here Real Time with...IPC: Cogiscan Discusses Connectivity Solutions to Enable Industry 4.0

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