Manufacturing highly integrated, electro-engineering components in Europe primarily demands, in addition to high quality, a high amount of flexibility to remain competitive against the cost advantages found in low-wage countries. Manufacturing facilities have to be transferable to a wide variety of products, preferably without retooling.
Demonstrator component to solder self-bonding wires on circuit boards. Source: Fraunhofer ILT
In addition, quick, highly automated manufacturing procedures are necessary for largely unmanned manufacturing. Exposed to these requirements are small and medium-sized enterprises who occupy market segments for highly integrated electrical engineering components in small and medium quantities; such segments cannot be served by mass production facilities. Examples are innovative products from medical or sensor technology for which a significant production step is the interconnection of enamel-insulated coil wires to connection pads on a circuit board.Currently, the interconnection is soldered manually for these products due to a lack of automation facilities. Since the process and the geometry of the component are complicated, the manufacturing process can only be reproduced with difficulty. The quality of the solder connection, thus, strongly depends upon the person conducting it. So that the insulating enamel layer is removed from the wire, the hot soldering iron has to be guided over the individual wire several times with a certain contact pressure - this way the insulating enamel melts and the bare wire surface contacts the liquid solder immediately. This method is not only time consuming, but also harbors a danger: the section of wire to be connected can tear when very thin self-bonding wires, e.g.
This automated soldering process allows not only a nearly free choice of connection geometries, but also makes manufacturing so flexible that any number of quantities - even individual parts - can be produced without increasing reaction time, as a particular product requires. Medium-sized companies in the sector of electronic manufacturing can clearly fall back on the expertise of the Fraunhofer ILT.Contact Partners at Fraunhofer ILT
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