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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

All-Spec Top Five – Manufacturing News Headlines

Posted on by Barb N. in Industry News, manufacturing news Leave a comment

Here’s a round-up of some of the top five manufacturing stories for the past few weeks –

U.S. manufacturing sector stabilizing; producer prices tame (REUTERS)

all-spec-blog-auto-manufacturingU.S. manufacturing output increased for a second straight month in October amid gains in the production of motor vehicles and a range of other goods, suggesting that the battered factory sector was slowly recovering…more

Apple could make iPhones in U.S. in future (Nikkei Asian Review)

iphoneTAIPEI — iPhones might one day soon carry “Made in America” labels. Key Apple assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn Technology Group, has been studying the possibility of moving iPhone production to the U.S., sources told the Nikkei Asian Review…more

 CNC machine brings real-world manufacturing to students (The Chronicle)

— Goshen High School students are learning to use real-world advanced manufacturing technology with the Technology Department’s new CNC machine.
CNC — or computer numerical control — machines use digitized data to control, automate and monitor the movements of a machine…more

A strong manufacturing sector fuels economic growth (FORBES)

economic-growthManufacturing continues to be one of the most important bellwethers regarding the health of the U.S. economy. The broader U.S. economy will not be able to grow robustly without a rebound in manufacturing. Faster real GDP growth is possible, but not until we get manufacturing humming along strongly once again. Some analysts have posited that recent improvements show manufacturing is less important to economic growth than it once was…more

Make manufacturing great again? (U.S. News & World Report)

auto-manufacturingThe recent presidential election included calls for a return of good, high-paying industrial jobs to the United States. Such promises were well intentioned, yet failed to account for dramatic global and national shifts that are underway. These shifts are fueled by changes in economic and technological capabilities…more

Note – Starting December 1, 2016 Hisco will begin a three-part series of blog articles entitled Made in America. Topics will include how to label products made in the U.S.A. (Dec. 1), reshoring (Dec. 15) and the growing need for upskilling manufacturing workers.(Dec. 29) 

 


Hi Maintenance, Goodbye Electric Screwdriver Problems

Posted on by Barb N. in electric screw drivers, electric screwdriver Leave a comment

Power screwdriver maintenance

As we all know, taking good care of your tools pays off in the end and it’s one time when high maintenance is a good thing–especially an electric screwdriver. There’s not a whole lot that has to be done with a driver, however by just giving a bit of attention to your hardworking tool on a regular basis you can really extend the life.

scheduled-maintenanceIn general, maintenance should begin after about 1000 hours of using your new screwdriver. It’s a good idea to adhere to a schedule so you’ll get in the habit. If you figure 21 working days per month, you’ll do a couple of things every six months. You can account for double and triple shifts as well. Once you begin the cycle you’ll be able to better determine how much maintenance will be necessary and beef it up or pare it down from there.

Designate an area

This may seem silly, however here’s the suggestion anyway. How many times have you put down a screw or small piece, told yourself it’s safe and then not been able to find it when you go back to where you put it. Be sure to put them in a safe place when removing them for screwdriver maintenance—a designated area kept for just this purpose.

Prevention

asg-tool-balancer

ASG Tool Balancer

Just like with your teeth, e.g., cleanings—prevention goes a long way in extending the age of your screwdriver. One of the most common incidents to cause damage—dropping the screwdriver. Sometimes you’ll see the damage, for example a cracked casing or bit run out – radial or axial. Dropping can also cause the magnet to fracture and the broken pieces could jam the armature or cause the tool to overheat.

A way to prevent dropping is by using a tool balancer or making sure the tool is tethered or put into a tool holster. The tether should be attached to a tool cord that prevents the tool from hitting the floor should it fall.

Keep the cord in good shape

bad-power-cordThe cord can be just as important as the screwdriver. Kinks, nicks and stretching should be avoided. When connecting, make sure the locking ring fits snuggly to ensure proper grounding and avoid disconnecting the screwdriver. Inspect the cord for cuts and abrasions on the outside. Repair minor cuts or scrapes with electrical tape. Deep cuts to the cord can damage interior wires and the cord should be replaced. To save money, replace the plug if the cut is near the plug.

Check before you power up

• Use the correct voltage – carefully check the voltage shown on the power supply and manual to determine the correct voltage. Only plug the unit into a power source of the correct voltage.
• Determine the appropriate torque range – choose the correct screwdriver for the torque you require. To lengthen product life, avoid long-term high torque use.
• Look for damage – If the power cord is scraped or damaged, immediately unplug and replace it to avoid electric shocks or a short circuit that could cause a fire.
• Use in an appropriate work environment – to ensure safety, do not use in high temperature, high humidity environments or near flammable materials. Keep the power cord away from tools or equipment that might scrape or melt it.
• When plugging in or unplugging the power cord, hold the plug firmly. Never yank on the cord.

Ready to roll?

all-spec-asg-screwdriver• Brace fastened objects securely – before operation, refer to “torque settings” to determine the appropriate torque. Make sure that the fastened objects are securely braced to avoid hazardous rapid rotation of the fastened objects caused by excessive torque or insufficient bracing.
• Set the forward/reverse switch properly before operation. Do not change the switch while the motor is running. Set the forward or reverse switch before operating.
• Use the regulating handle to set the torque. Determine torque output by testing with a torque meter or hand-held spanner torque meter. Keep the torque level from being adjusted by using a cover as needed.
• Follow the directions for your electric screwdriver for inserting a bit. Never hammer or forcibly pull out a bit to remove it.
• Hang the screwdriver up securely (balancer) to prevent damage, e.g., external cracking, internal damage, or a snapped power cord.
• When the selected torque is reached, the clutch assembly automatically disengages and a “click” sound will be heard. Even if the trigger lever or depress force is not released, the power to the motor will be automatically cut off.
• When driving a screw, be sure to grasp the screwdriver firmly to prevent upwards recoil generated by the clutch release to prevent damage.
• Sometimes when you need to remove a screw, the screw won’t come out with the same torque. Raise the torque setting and once removed return to the previous setting. When removing a screw, if the required torque is higher than the screwdriver’s output torque, the clutch may not disengage, causing the user’s hand and arm to be twisted. In this case immediately set the forward/reverse switch to “OFF” to cut the motor power and prevent injury.

Overall inspection

Periodically remove the tool from the line and run in a quiet environment to detect anything that sounds like a problem. By listening to the sound of the tool, you can determine if there’s excessive wear or other problems.
Test the tool to make sure it shuts off sharply; similar to the way the tool shuts off when the clutch activates. If there’s coasting after the switch is released, the tool may be worn or damaged.

Other maintenance

Depending on the type of screwdriver you have, you should also maintain or inspect
brushes, torque repeatability, chuck or joint shaft, lubrication and power supplies.
Keeping your electric screwdriver in good working order through a maintenance program will prolong the life substantially.

Thank you to ASG for sharing their comprehensive manual on electric screwdriver maintenance.


Thinking of Going nPB-Free? Check out the alternatives.

Posted on by Barb N. in Safer chemicals Leave a comment

Alternative, safer solvents eliminate nPB while retaining performance

n-propylbromide

nPB

Manufacturers continually face new regulations and safety concerns. Most recently solvents containing nPB have come under scrutiny and could be banned in the near future. Many manufacturers have already reduced nPB exposure by revising and strengthening workplace-safety practices and policies. Others have created brand new cleaners with chemistries that perform as well or better than those containing nPBs.

Consider these nPB-free flux removers, cleaners and degreasers from Techspray (PWR-4™), Chemtronics (Tri-V™), Microcare, 3M (Novec™) and LPS (LPS® 2.0)—each tested against those with nPBs—each proven to be as effective or more effective than ones containing nPB.

nPB-free Solvents Application
Techspray –
PWR-4™ Flux Remover
Easily removes residues from high temperature lead free soldering operations, no-clean fluxes and all handling soils
Chemtronics –
Electro-Wash® Tri-V™ Flux Remover
Engineered to clean a wide variety of soil, oil, grease, oxides and handling contamination from equipment and assemblies
Chemtronics – Flux-Off™ Tri-V™ Heavy Duty Rosin Flux Remover Specially formulated to remove all types of lead-free, rosin (types R, RA and RMA), no-clean, water soluble and synthetic (type SA) flux
Microcare –
CMSD Specialty Defluxing Solvent
Suitable for both high-speed and general-purpose circuitries. Use on through-hole, SMT and BGA boards, hybrids, cables and connectors
Microcare –
SuprClean Defluxer
Designed for heavy-duty jobs such as SMT defluxing, removing conformal coatings and defluxing lead-free flux. Choice option for cleaning rosin fluxes. Cleans solder paste, acrylic conformal coatings, light oils and inks; excellent degreaser, no residue
Microcare –PowerClean™ II High Performance Circuit Board Defluxer Expressly engineered to clean lead-free flux residues from PCBs. Also cleans flux paste, oils, inks and some conformal coatings including some acrylic
3M –
Novec™ Flux Remover

Strong, non-flammable cleaner ideal for removing a variety of fluxes including rosin-based and many no-clean and lead-free fluxes; compatible with most plastics, with the exception of acrylics, polycarbonates, ABS and PS
Techspray –
PWR-4™ Maintenance Cleaner
Blasts away oil and contaminants from contacts, PCBs, barcode instruments, switch boxes, gear boxes, and electronic motor controllers
Chemtronics –
Max-Kleen® Tri-V™ Cleaner and Degreaser
Heavy-duty degreaser, industrial strength cleaner easily removes grease, tar, asphalt, oil and grime
LPS –
Instant Super Degreaser 2.0
Quickly removes caked on dirt, oil and grease with maximum efficiency. High-powered degreaser with no chlorinated solvents; rapidly evaporates, leaves no residue
LPS –
NoFlash® 2.0 Electro Contact Cleaner
Industrial-strength formula that can be used on or near energized electronics; non-conductive, non-flammable, no rinsing or residue
LPS –
Electra-X 2.0 Contact Cleanerr
Industrial-strength formula that’s economical and effective. Non-flammable solvent blend removes dirt, moisture, dust, flux and oxides from electronic equipment
3M –
Novec™ Contact Cleaner

Removes fluorinated oil and grease, light oils, silicones and particulates from connectors, PCBs, EMDs, scales, contacts, relays, switches, instrumentation and circuit breakers
3M –
Novec™ Electronic Degreaser
Heavy-duty cleaner for removing heavy oil, greases and soils; suitable for use on metals and many plastics ( not acrylics, polycarbonates, ABS and PS)

About nPB

  • Known as n-propyl bromide nPB, bromopropane, 1-propyl bromide, 1-bromopropane, CAS# 106-94-5
  • Originally used in the production of pesticides, flavors and fragrances, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals
  • Since 2007, it has been approved for use under the U.S. EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) as a suitable replacement for ozone depleting chemicals and still remains
  • Meets the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) Section 313(d)(2)(B) statutory listing criteria because it can reasonably be anticipated to cause cancer in humans
  • Occurs mainly in occupational settings – can affect the nervous system; cause headaches, decreased sensation in the fingers and toes, a drunk-like feeling, irritation of the nose and throat
  • Not found in any of the 1,699 current and former National Priority List sites identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • In the EU, nPB has been classified as reproductive toxicant per Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), which makes it a “substance of very high concern”

 

 Special Product Information

• Known as n-propyl bromide nPB, bromopropane, 1-propyl bromide, 1-bromopropane, CAS# 106-94-5
• Originally used in the production of pesticides, flavors and fragrances, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals
• Since 2007, it has been approved for use under the U.S. EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) as a suitable replacement for ozone depleting chemicals and still remains
• Meets the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) Section 313(d)(2)(B) statutory listing criteria because it can reasonably be anticipated to cause cancer in humans
• Occurs mainly in occupational settings – can affect the nervous system; cause headaches, decreased sensation in the fingers and toes, a drunk-like feeling, irritation of the nose and throat
• Not found in any of the 1,699 current and former National Priority List sites identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
• In the EU, nPB has been classified as reproductive toxicant per Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), which makes it a “substance of very high concern”

To coincide with the introduction of their nPB products, our nPB-free product vendors have created associated technical information and brochures about nPBs –

ChemtronicsTechnical Brief – Reducing Exposure to Toxic Cleaners with Replacement Solvents

LPS2.0 nPB-Free Cleaners and Degreasers

3MReplace nPB with 3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids

TechsprayTechlab Report – Facts on Hazardous Cleaning Solvents and Recommended Cleaning Solvents

MicroCare Safer Cleaning Choices Replace nPB Solvent in Aerosol Sprays


Get to Know Stencil Rolls

Posted on by Barb N. in Product Spotlight Leave a comment

You Get What You Pay For

You’ve most likely done it—chosen a lesser priced, no-name brand item hoping it will perform as well as the brand name one. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s always a risk and generally based on the critical nature and use of the product or past experience. Should you take a risk when considering lower priced stencil rolls?

First you need to understand what you may be losing while believing you’re gaining.

stencil-rolls-all-specWhat’s the Diff?

You may not be able to see the difference and be dazzled by the price but you might want to look below the surface before you decide to go the cheaper route. Consider paper towels. You have a bounty (no pun intended) of choices and generally brand name towels promote anything from thicker, to more absorbent, to softer and on and on until you give up trying to compare. Most of us have tried the cheaper version of paper towels. Did you see a difference? Most likely you did and it had to do with quality.

Before Choosing Cheap – Consider This

Off-Brand or Premium Brand Stencil Rolls

We’re all brand aware and we know that some brands have earned the trust of customers because the product does what it says it will do every time. That’s part of the reason you pay a higher price–reliability. Also, keep in mind—most manufacturers will require high-quality, hydroentanged fabric because lower-quality ones can cause problems. Can you afford to sacrifice quality for quantity?

stencil-rolls-microcareCue the Glue

Some very cheap stencil rolls use glue fillers to lessen the material costs. The glue used in stencil roll paper made from polyester fibers can actually dissolve and weaken the paper with the application of solvents used in stencil wiping. As a result, if examined by a microscope, you’ll find that more residue has been left behind and caused increased linting. Glue fillers may make the paper cheaper, however what you gain in price, you lose in the paper’s ability to pick up contaminants.

Take a Second When Considering “Seconds”

There’s a reason why they’re called “seconds” and if you’re not sure why a particular batch has that description, you should find out before you buy. Seconds are called “seconds” because they haven’t met the manufacturer’s quality standards for some reason. How will that one decision affect quality on down the line?

Shorted

No, they really did short you and knowingly. We can revisit the paper towel experience or let’s talk toilet paper. Yes, the roll ran out really fast—but it was cheaper. Hmmm–less for less? You bet your bottom dollar.

cheap-expensiveThere’s no real comparison when truly comparing paper towels and toilet paper to the critical nature of stencil paper rolls. The sophistication that goes into researching and developing efficient and effective stencil rolls pales in comparison. However, as paper goes, they both use the same gimmicks to get you to believe you’re getting more for your money. And, companies like MicroCare have documented proof of rolls being priced significantly lower because the rolls have much less paper on them. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Guarantees

When buying, look for a company that offers unconditional guaranteed quality. For instance, MicroCare not only promises quality but also that their unique MicroWipe FP paper will lower your stencil printing costs.


ESD Mat Cleaning Dos and Don’ts

Posted on by Barb N. in ESD Mats, ESD Testing Leave a comment

How you clean your ESD mat–and with what–can make a big difference in performance and in life expectancy of the product. Excellent cleaning solutions have been specifically formulated to easily and effectively remove flux, solder, chemicals, dirt and grime without damaging your mat. Using these special cleaning products will help extend the life of your mat.

Follow these dos and don’ts when cleaning your ESD mat – 

itw-chemtronics-9700_es1664t_dv_webxlDon’t

  • Clean with alcohol or ammonia. These chemical will cause your mat to dry out and become brittle.
  • Clean with a silicone-based cleaner. It will leave a residue that could reduce the mat’s ESD capabilities.
  • Use strong chemicals. They could corrode your mat.

Do

  • Clean with the proper solution and mixture for your specific mat.
  • Create a cleaning schedule so you’ll never have to worry about residue build-up.
  • Consider the brand of the cleaner. Oftentimes companies test their cleaners on their mats.
  • Remove any residue immediately, such as flux and solder.
  • Test your mats regularly to ensure optimum performance of your ESD mat.
  • Clean your mat if the RTT or RTG tests show a rating less than normal.

 

All-Spec carries a selection of mild and highly effective ESD mat-cleaning solutions.