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38 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2023 identify the fiducials for proper PCB location, and take a complete photograph of the board. Once you have the photograph, the engineer can easily identify the solder joint locations as well as the angles, direction, and solder feed amount for the soldering tip to address the sol- der joints. If you are encountering difficulty in filling solder vias and need solder flux deposi- tion, adding flux deposition to the solder joints is a simple step. It requires additional flux from the built-in fluid dispenser controlled by the soldering robot. e solder and flux positions are stored, copied, pasted, and edited all on the user-friendly GUI. Now, are you soldering post-reflow or wor- ried about warpage? Laser height detection is standard on the modern sol- dering robot. is technology enables the soldering tip to meet the solder joint at the precise height for the proper creation of the soldered connection. Like your operator, this ensures a repeatable and reliable solder joint that your inspectors and customers will appreciate. Older technology robots are programmed with a teach-and- learn pendant that increases programming time and makes programming changes very dif- ficult. Once you understand the crit- ical features of a soldering robot, you want to ensure the appli- cation fits the soldering robot upgrade. Reputable soldering robot manufacturers build their own systems, have more con- trol over their final product, and provide field support. You should understand pre-sale sup- port and qualification services, and be able to test a sample for quality, reliability, repeatabil- ity, and programmability. If they can't run your PCB in their controlled evalua- tion lab, you won't be able to run it in your own factory. Conclusion ese past few years have been tough on our industry. With high consumer demand and an ongoing global worker shortage, consider fac- tory automation. Having a soldering robot may no longer be the luxury it once was. SMT007 Ed Zamborsky is regional sales manager at Thermaltronics.

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