During a recent Webinar, hosted by Keith Bryant, from Global SMT & Packaging magazine, the panel was asked: “Can solder robots solve social distancing requirements?”
While not all participants agreed, there is, nevertheless, a clear benefit to having robots undertake tasks that were previously undertaken by individual operators. First and foremost, the solder robot has to perform at a level that exceeds that of an experienced operator and be capable of providing the accuracy, repeatability and traceability demanded by Industry 4.0.
An example of a success story from Thermaltronics USA, Inc. related to both social distancing and enhanced soldering operations is GPC Electronics, a CEM located in Jamisontown, New South Wales, Australia. GPC operates a highly efficient factory with a focus on automation, where possible. However, over the years they had struggled with a soldering operation, that for technical reasons could not be fully processed in the SMT production line and required final off-line work by several operators.
Today this problem has been solved and as illustrated in the photo, one person, with the help of three Thermaltronics TMT-9800S solder robots, has helped GPC meet social distancing and Industry 4.0 requirements.
The process previously required several operators working in close proximity – today one person is simply loading and unloading the jigs and the robots take care of everything else.