Official Blog Site of All-Spec

ST 925 SMT Rework System–Three favorites combined into one nice savings


Save a few steps--and some money--with the Pace 925 SMT Rework System Pace has introduced a new low-cost “combination” system ideal for surface mount technology (SMT) rework. It’s worth adding up the savings by comparing the a la carte prices Read more

Metcal’s CV-5200 Connection Validation Soldering Station Changes Everything


You may or may not have heard about Metcal’s new soldering station, the CV-5200. The evolutionary tool removes much of the reliance on visual inspection of hand-soldered joints and adds a second, more technology-driven method for validating a successful Read more

Seven Things to Know About Qualifying Your Product to a U.S. Military Specification (MIL-SPEC)


Qualifying the SCS 81705 Series anti-static shield bags to military standards There are a few, sometimes complicated steps to go through before your product can qualify for a particular military specification. SCS recently introduced their new 81705 Series static shield Read more

Ten Labels to Solve Your Engineering Challenges

Posted on by Barb N. in Identification, Labeling Leave a comment

Labels – Put the right one on

There’s a right label for every application and Brady has designed a handy cheat sheet to help you on your way. When choosing a label, you’ll want to ask yourself several questions –

  • Will the label be in a harsh environment?
  • Will your label face high, cold or fluctuating temperatures?
  • Will your label encounter chemical or abrasion?
  • Does the color of your label matter?
  • Does the label need to stick to a difficult substrate?
  • Do you want the label to be glossy or matte?

Brady offers an endless choice of labeling solutions. Whether barcode labels, electrostatic dissipative labels, equipment identification labels, rating plates labels, circuit board labels or identification labels, they will most likely have the perfect label for your application.

 Why’s it so important to make sure you have the right label for your application?

The wrong label could cause you to lose business, create a safety hazard, waste your time with replacing them or worse—lose the product all together because the label has been damaged or gone missing. Below you’ll see ten engineering application problems and their solutions.

Labeling Challenges and Solutions    
The Application Challenge Attributes Solution
1.       •         Wave solder environments for circuit boards and electrical component pre-process labeling Abrasion, high heat and low temperature resistant Polyimide material
•         Extreme wash protocol and cleaning chemicals
•         Auto apply equipment
2.       •         Component identification Abrasion, high heat, fuel/oil and low temperature resistant Polyester material
•         Bar code labels and rating plates
•         Use on glass, thermoset polyester plastic
•         and polyvinyl fluoride plastic surfaces
3.       •         Rating and serial plates Solvent/chemical, fuel/oil and low temperature resistant Metalized polyester
•         Durable and quality identification
•         Versatility in using characters, graphics and barcodes
4.       •         Requires excellent solvent resistance and print performance Abrasion, high heat and low temperature resistant Polypropylene material
5.       •         ID lab vials, centrifuge tubes, test tubes, straws Solvent, high heat, and low temperature resistant Polyester material
•         Frozen surfaces, including glass
•         Polypropylene stored in liquid nitrogen
6.       •         Nameplate identification, asset tracking, general purpose labeling Outdoor durability, high heat and low temperature resistant Weather resistant material
•         Surfaces constantly exposed to outdoors
7.       •         Durable labels, nameplates, schematics, control panels Outdoor durability; abrasion, solvent and high heat resistant Photosensitive anodized aluminum
•         Harsh operating environments
8.       •         Instant visual indication of heat exposure High heat and reversible temperature indicator Reversible temperature indicating
•         Components, industrial and household applications (electric pumps, rotating equipment, brakes, refrigerators)
•         In cold chains, hot spaces areas
•         Where temperature measuring difficult or impractical
9.       •         Permanent color, durable against abrasion, harsh fluids Outdoor durability, low temperature and high heat resistant Durable polyester
•         Use on regulatory, compliance, electrical components
•         Finished goods, automotive/passenger compartment
•         ID and asset tracking
10.  •         Use to ID external push-buttons, switches, internal connection points Abrasion, fuel/oil, high heat resistant, outdoor durability Polyester material
•         Requires name plate quality for rating, serial plates

Article based on an original publication by Brady.

 


Dry Air Static Control and Ionizers

Posted on by Barb N. in ESD News, Static Control Tips and Tricks Leave a comment

Dry air and ESD control

The specifications and devices being assembled determine the recommended humidity range for a manufacturing facility. When the air is dry, static control becomes much more challenging. Although ESD events may be reduced by increasing the humidity, unfortunately that same humidity may cause a reduction in the quality of moisture-sensitive devices because of corrosion, soldering defects and the popcorn effect.

Ionizer choices for reducing ESD

Although ionizers cannot replace grounding or shielding of ESD work surfaces, ionization can lessen ESD events in areas where dry air is normal.  Desco has number of ionization products available through All-Spec.

  1. Benchtop and overhead Ionizers – work surface ionizers create positively and negatively charged ions that are moved to the controlled area with fan-driven airflow.
  2. Point-of-use air ionizers – use compressed gas to combat electrostatic attraction neutralizing charges on particles causing contamination or visual defects on products.
  3. Laminar flow ionization bars – used with laminar flow hoods, controlled chambers and other contained applications.
  4. Room Ionization – reduces electrostatic discharge (ESD) and electrostatic attraction (ESA) in cleanroom environments.

For more information, consult the ESDA’s TR20.20-2008 RH information. Below find some of the significant statements about dry air and static electricity.

dry-air-popcorn-effectESD Handbook ESD TR20.20-2008 Section 2.3 Nature of Static Electricity:

  • Static electricity in the form of static cling and static shocks are more prevalent when the air is dry.
  • Heating interior air in the winter months dries out the already dry air in the higher latitudes.
  • Static charge accumulation is easier on dry materials since moisture on surfaces tends to allow charges to slowly dissipate or recombine.
  • Humidity control alone cannot provide static control since static charges are developed even at relative humidity levels of 90% and greater.
  • For most situations, 30 to 70% RH is considered the appropriate range.
  • Special areas, such as wafer fabrication, may require lower humidity control for processes that are affected by moisture (e.g., photoresist application).
  • Soldering is known to be affected by high relative humidity conditions (>70%).
  • Ionization is an important consideration in areas with low ambient humidity to aid in reducing charge accumulation levels and provide neutralization of charges after they are developed but before they can cause difficulties.

 

desco-point-of-use-air-ionizerESD Handbook ESD TR20.20-2008 Section 5.3.16 Humidity:

  • Humidity is beneficial in all ESD control program plans.
  • Contact and separation of dry materials generates greater electrostatic charges than moist materials because moisture provides conductivity that helps to dissipate charge.
  • ESD effects are most noticeable in the winter since heating systems reduce building environment moisture.
  • Geographic location (desert vs. coastland) is a major contributor to ambient conditions inside buildings.
  • Any circumstance that results in a low relative humidity will permit a greater accumulation of electrostatic charges.
  • Relative humidity above 30% in ESD protective areas is desirable as long as other adverse conditions are not created as a result of humidity levels.
  • In general, an upper limit of 70% is desirable to prevent corrosive effects on the metal portions of electronic devices and assemblies.
  • Dry air increases the tendency to generate electrostatic charges on dry materials and performance of many ESD protective materials degrade.
  • When exposed to low humidity conditions, some ESD protective materials become totally ineffective or become sources of electrostatic charges.
  • Evaluation of ESD control materials should include performance testing in controlled environments at the lowest expected operating relative humidity level.
  • Manufacturers of ESD protective materials should be able to provide performance data in regards to relative humidity.
  • Materials should be tested in moderate humidity conditions as well to ensure they do not become “too conductive” and present a potential safety hazard to personnel working with substantial voltages. See the Personnel Safety section of this handbook for further guidance in this area.

 

Humidity control alternatives

 Humidity control in factories or physically large areas or buildings can be difficult and expensive. In smaller rooms or areas, it may be possible to use portable humidifiers to raise the immediate area humidity. However, in many large facilities and factories the environmental systems need to include steam generation and monitoring equipment to control humidity. This type of equipment is expensive to install and purchase especially in pre-existing facilities. To reduce the total cost impact, companies should consider the need for humidification equipment when planning new facility construction.


Zero in on Smog with Weller’s Fume Extractors

Posted on by Barb N. in New Products, Product Reviews Leave a comment

Weller Zero Smog Fume Extractors Compared

 

Smog – fog or haze combined with smoke and other atmospheric pollutants

Weller’s fume extractors remove dangerous gases and harmful particles out of the air, typically while soldering to create a healthier environment. If you’re in the market for a fume extractor, one of your best bets–Weller’s Zero Smog line including the Zero Smog TL (their newest model), Zero Smog EL, or the Zero Smog 2, depending on your overall work conditions and needs.

Zero Smog TL

The Zero Smog TL, Weller’s newest fume extractor has several appealing benefits. Probably the most liked—the low noise level. The other may be the extra-large filter surface resulting in an increase in the life of the system. Filters can be a pain to change, so the system also allows for easy filter replacement.

Choose from two different unit kit models (Zero Smog® EL Fume Extraction Unit Kit, Zero Smog® TL Fume Extraction Unit Kit with Filters, Brackets, Arm, Hose and Switch, 120V) and one unit-only model (Zero Smog® TL Fume Extraction Unit with H13 and F7 Filters, 120V).

Summary –

  • Low noise levels
  • Automated filter change notification system
  • Easily operated and easy filter replacement
  • Exceptionally large filter surface
  • Longer service life due to exceptionally large filter surface

*For connection to a WX /WT station a WX/WT Hub is needed

Zero Smog EL

The portable Zero Smog EL touts a high level of extraction power of 2,500 PA—used mainly for light duty removal of particles. The long life, brushless turbine and blower capacity of 220 m3/h plus the two-person capacity make for a good, solid choice. The system has an easy filter change and long service life due to the maintenance-free brushless EC turbine.

Comes as a unit (Zero Smog® EL Fume Extraction Unit) or a kit (Zero Smog® EL Fume Extraction Unit Kit).

Summary –

  • Fume extraction unit for 1 to 2 workplaces
  • Fine dust pre-filter M5; change out without having to change main filter
  • Active carbon foam for effective gas filtering
  • Exceptionally large HEPA H13 filter surface 2,4m²; increases filter lifetime
  • 4-speed setting and power regulation
  • Filter monitoring and filter alarm ensure timely filter change

 

Zero Smog 2

The Weller Zero Smog 2 is one of their more economical systems built to manage hand soldering fumes as well as fumes caused during gluing, cleaning and filling work. This is a small workhorse system that can handle both general and heavy duty soldering and accommodate two workplaces.

Comes as a unit (Zero Smog® 2 Benchtop Fume Extraction Unit 120V) or as a kit (Zero Smog® 2 Benchtop Fume Extraction Kit with ALFA Funnel Nozzle, 120V).

Summary –

  • Economical unit purifies air for up to two workplaces
  • Easy filter exchange
  • Quick and simple installation
  • Portable fume extraction unit

 

See all Weller Zero Smog extractors

See all Weller fume extractors


Ten Things You Should Know About LEDs

Posted on by Barb N. in LEDs, Technical Articles Leave a comment

LEDs – Know the basics

From manufacturers to universities, LEDs are quickly replacing conventional light sources. Knowing a few basics may help you weave your way through this wave of the future. Here are lighting manufacturer Luxo’s suggestions for things you should know about LEDs.

  1. What is an LED (Light Emitting Diode)?

An electronic component that generates light in a semi-conductor material. Under the right circumstances a diode may provide different wavelengths of seeable light.

  1. LEDs are not new.

Some people may recognize LEDs as being the red or green signal markers on hi-fi’s and TV sets—usually low-powered LEDs. High-powered LED costs have dropped in the past couple of years and operate at powers of around 1 W making them attractive to most industries. Forecasts show that by 2020, almost 50 % of all new and replacement light source unit sales will be based on LEDs–and because LEDs cost more than conventional lighting, the value of the LED sales will be even higher.

  1. LEDs last longer and don’t need to be replaced as often as most conventional lighting.

LEDs don’t have any movable parts or filaments to break so they last longer. This makes them very convenient with installations and replacements of challenging luminaires especially those at excessive heights and other difficult to service locations, e.g., windmills, telecommunication towers and chimney stacks.

  1. LEDs are more efficient than many conventional light sources.

All of the light emitted by an LED points in one direction allowing for less reflections inside the luminaire making them very suitable in situations where only downward lighting is needed. However, if both upward and downward light distribution is needed, the LED is less suitable, e.g., if compared to a T5 fluorescent lamp.

  1. LEDs offer new possibilities for color tuning to evolve.

Because LEDs are electronic components, they can be easily controlled (tuned) using software and control gear. An LED luminaire color can be mixed and may include red, blue and green diodes resulting in either colored light or white light.

The different color temperatures make it possible to produce cool and warm colored light. This capability comes in handy in office environments, schools and hospitals where concentrated light might be warranted, e.g., during a patient examination. LEDs can also be tuned to a warm temperature where more relaxing lighting may be desired, e.g., yoga cool down.  This attribute is also being maximized to increase the growth of plants and reduce water consumption.

  1. Temperatures inside a diode define an LED’s lifetime.

Heat management is the key to controlling the life of an LED and the temperature inside the diode. The temperature within an LED may get very high causing it to slowly emit less and less light. The higher the internal temperature, the faster the lumen degradation. Higher temperature on the LED chip (known as the junction temperature) speeds up the decline.

Lumen – a unit of luminous flux in the International System of Units, that is equal to the amount of light given out through a solid angle by a source of one candela intensity radiating equally in all directions. 

  1. Understanding LEDs and lifetime, and diminishing output.

The amount of light from the light source at a future point in time is called the lamp lumen maintenance factor, or LLMF.  The lifetime of an LED module is defined as the time it takes until its light output, or lumen maintenance, reaches 70% of the initial output (L70). This means the module doesn’t die instantly as do most conventional light sources; instead it slowly dims down. The luminaire industry has standardized LED lifetime L70 to a minimum of 50,000 hours.  This corresponds to an LLMF of 0.7 as long as the lifetime of the lighting installation is set to the same amount of hours.

  1. The color spectrum of an LED comes from its color rendering capability.

Sunlight, halogen and metal halides possess complete spectrums while sodium lamps,

fluorescent tubes and LEDs have varying power distribution curves. Cool white LEDs have more blue light in them; warm white LEDs have more yellow and red light. 

  1. The LED driver is the auto pilot of the LED luminaire. Proper drivers help LEDs to stay cool and stable.

LED drivers differ from conventional power supplies because an LED driver responds to the varying needs of the LED supplying constant amounts of power as its electrical properties change with temperature. Choices include constant current for serial connections or constant voltage for parallel connections.

LED driver advantages –

  • Short response time – switches and dims immediately and can dim all the way from 0.1 to 100%
  • Very efficient at producing colored light

 

  1. Watch the LED’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Many applications warrant using LEDs, but not all. Analyzing the TCO when investing in LEDs including the energy costs, lamp change costs and cleaning costs can be crucial. Take time to consider all costs and suitable applications before making a final decision to transition or make new investments in LEDs.

 

 

Infographic showing the history of the LED light

 


Weller WX or Weller WT Soldering Stations – Smart

Posted on by Barb N. in New Products Leave a comment

Weller WX station vs. WT station

As with Weller’s first soldering iron, the Speedy Iron (1946), everyone still wants reliable, easy and faster ways to solder at a good price.

So what’s new? What’s left to innovate—to perfect? Plenty—as shown with Weller’s smart, technologically-advanced tools in the WX and WT lines including stations, soldering irons, tips and accessories.

Both use technology to the utmost degree—the WX series centers on the systems with stations that work to save you energy and money through power management such as the stand-by mode feature. The WT series centers on systems with stations that help you tweak to perfection using the all-in-one place viewing screen.

Weller WX stationschoose from the WX1 station (single channel), WX2 station (dual channel), WXR (rework), WXD (desoldering), WXA (hot-air) and WX soldering station sets.

WX Stations

  • 240W power supply
  • Touchscreen
  • See screen from all angles (text and graphics)
  • Multi-language selection
  • Turn and click navigation dial
  • Soldering iron stand-by mode on most models (best new feature)
  • Choose one or two channel stations

More – touch screen that’s antistatic, chemical and temperature resistant glass, rapid tool changes (reduces adjustments needed to soldering station), multi-purpose USB port, dual port manages fume extractors, heating plates and programmable logic controllers.

With the WX line, Weller introduces a pencil with a built-in analog-to-digital converter and data memory read; and the re-calibrated pencil eliminates the need to calibrate the soldering station. Plus, a sensor detects when the device isn’t in use, such as the fume extractor or heating plate, and goes into standby mode.

Weller WT stationschoose from the WT 1 (90 W), WT 1H (150 W), WTHA 1 (hot air-900 W) and a variety of WT sets expertly combined by Weller for specific applications

 

WT 1 (90 W), WT 2 1H (150 W)

  • Front-mounted main switch for easier access
  • Every available function neatly displayed on one screen (best new feature)
  • Easy navigation using the new menu button
  • Monitor station output via the power bar graph screen
  • WSD and WD soldering irons compatible with the WT stations
  • Change tips in quick succession

 

 

 

WTHA 1 Hot Air Station with integrated hot air iron

  • Weller WTHA 1 Hot Air Station

    At-a-glance view of all available functions

  • New easy-to-use menu button
  • Five presets available for defining volume, temperature and time
  • New tandem control with dual sensors for double the performance
  • 900 watts of power and up to 100 1/min expanded hot air

With the WT line, Weller also introduces some great space and time savers such as the ability to stack the W 1 & 2 soldering stations and a safety rest that flips easily from sponge to brass wool.

Find the WX and WT line on All-Spec. Have questions? Contact us for more information.