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32 SMT Magazine • May 2016 by Stephen Las Marias I-ConneCT007 Based in California, KIC is focused on the thermal process—basically making reflow ovens smarter through profiling, automation, data an- alytics and sharing, and optimization solutions. The company essentially has three product cat- egories. The first is a manual profiler. If you look at a reflow oven and ask yourself, "What is the job that the reflow oven is supposed to do?" It is to process an assembly within the specifica- tions set by the solder paste components and so forth. That's matched up with a profile—KIC's system measures that profile manually and can compare that to the required process window. The company also has software that can optimize the oven setup. Last, but not least, KIC offers automation solutions. The company integrates sensors into the oven to enable on- the-fly measurement of the profile for every as- sembly going through and checking to see if it's in spec. At the recent IPC APEX EXPO event in Las Vegas, I interviewed Bjorn Dahle, president of KIC, to learn more about his views on auto- mation, the technology improvements being made in reflow ovens, and strategies to reduce handling errors in assembly lines. Stephen Las Marias: How is your technology im- proving the reflow process? Bjorn Dahle: The thermal process has kind of been seen as the black box process in a produc- tion line. You don't really know what's going on inside there. You hope for the best, and tra- ditionally you check that once a day or once a month, and hope that in between your spot checks that everything is doing okay. More and more now, customers want more transparency; they want to know what's going on, not once a day or once a month, every single board. Is it being processed in spec? They want to have access to that information so there's process traceability available later on. Transparency and Making Systems Smarter to Gain Visibility, Traceability, and Reduce Handling Errors FEatuRE intERviEw

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