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Under the motto “Cutting-edge technologies for electronics manufacturing”, the Technology Days event on 6 and 7 July 2022 brought customers and interested parties from Switzerland to Rehm Thermal Systems in Blaubeuren, Germany. Initiated by Hilpert electronics AG and in collaboration with the companies ASM Assembly Solutions, Rehm Thermal Systems and Viscom AG, a highly stimulating lecture programme was supplemented by live demos and various workshops.
“These ‘Technology Days’ let us bring together in one place the cutting-edge technologies in soldering, assembly and inspection and give our customers and interested parties a comprehensive overview of services, in theory and practice, all compressed into two days,” sums up Raphael Burkart, CEO Hilpert electronics AG.
Around 50 participants showed up for the first face-to-face event held in the seminar rooms of Rehm Thermal Systems since the start of the pandemic. It soon became clear just how important – despite all the technical options for online events – the personal exchange between experts and participants remains. “The discussions during the breaks, queries about the workshops and the presentation of a complete coating line with integrated Hermes interfaces can only happen in this high quality at in-person events,” adds Michael Hanke, General Sales Manager at Rehm Thermal Systems.
After the guests were welcomed by Johannes Rehm, Managing Director of Rehm Thermal Systems, and Raphael Burkart, the programme got underway with a series of technology lectures. Dr. Paul Wild, Head of Research & Development at Rehm, began with a talk on “Innovative processes for the production of safe electronics”, in which he described innovative processes ranging from different soldering methods and their optimisation in energy efficiency to the latest coating technologies, innovative drying systems, and the regeneration of solar cells – all while keeping an eye on the latest trends and the safety requirements of the electronics of today and tomorrow. Next came the presentation by Haithem Jeridi of ASM Assembly Systems on “Open Automation – the recipe for success for sensible automation”, which has become an integral part of current discussions on efficient, future-oriented manufacturing. Using practical examples, Haithem Jeridi demonstrated how automation can be planned and implemented and how important standards are in this context to complete the implementation successfully. Simulation programmes are extremely helpful here for running through the different scenarios in advance and for bringing forward optimisations as early as in the planning phase. Closing off the lectures, Thomas Winkel, of Viscom AG, then spoke on “High-performance X-ray inspection for battery cell inspection and void detection”. With the rapid increase in e-mobility solutions in recent years, the reliability of battery cells has also come more to the fore. Thomas Winkel explained both the requirements for the optical inspection of battery systems and the different inspection methods as well as the relevance of void detection due to the need of the cell contact systems to withstand external influences such as oscillations, vibrations, heat, cold and chemical influences.
The second day of the event was dedicated to applications and practice. Split up into groups, the visitors were guided to three different workshops, where live demos walked them through the latest solutions in soldering, assembly and coating. Among other things, the application specialists from Rehm demonstrated the new profile monitoring tool ProMetrics, which records and documents the position of the assembly in the reflow soldering system in real time, allowing the soldering profile to be monitored, optimised and adjusted. Thanks to the graphic output and documentation of the profile, the stages of the assembly can be tracked at any time. The live demonstration on the coating line showed the optimal application of the coating using the ProtectoXP and the curing of the coating on an RDS UV drying system from Rehm, then moved on to the inline inspection using a CCI from Viscom. The absolute highlight of the line was the continuous integration of the Hermes interface, which was used to demonstrate a fully automated changeover of the process. The third workshop dealt with the latest assembly solutions from ASM Assembly Systems and focused on the possibility of using special grippers instead of vacuum pipettes to place wired components – ‘odd shapes’ in different formats and geometries – and so helping to reduce the proportion of manual assembly. To support the components and help them adhere to the assembly, adhesive pads can also be placed.
The keynote lecture that rounded off the second day of the event was given by Prof. Dr.-Ing Marco Huber, Head of the Centre for Cyber Cognitive Intelligence (CCI) at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart. In “Artificial Intelligence in Industrial Use”, he introduced the participants to the world of AI and its development stages. Using practical examples from the industry, he explained how AI can already be used in production and showed where the technology is headed.
The evening of the first day started out with a guided tour of Ulm’s old town and the famous fishermen’s quarter and wound down in a pleasant finale looking out over the roofs of Ulm on the Danube.
“An all-round success with satisfied guests and excellent discussions during the event and after it,” Raphael Burkart confirms in conclusion. “It was certainly not the last event of this kind that we will hold with our partners ASM Assembly Systems, Rehm Thermal Systems and Viscom,” he adds. Michael Hanke, of Rehm Thermal Systems, can only agree: “We are very pleased that face-to-face events in such a setting can be held once again and hope that this development will continue and that we will be able to discuss technologies and trends in electronics manufacturing in person with the participants at many more events.”