This section provides an overview for soldering robots as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 10 soldering robot manufacturers and their company rankings.
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A soldering robot is a device in which a soldering iron is attached to a robot for automatic soldering.
Because it uses a robot arm, etc., a soldering robot can solder in a narrower space than conventional soldering automation devices such as mounting mounters and soldering machines. In the past, soldering in tight spaces could only be done manually by humans.
Soldering robots are used for soldering, but they are better suited for manufacturing small quantities of a wide variety of products rather than mass-produced items. They are also good at soldering to parts with localized solder or low heat resistance temperatures, and other detailed and precise work that is conventionally done manually by human operators. However, this makes the process more time-consuming than other automated soldering equipment.
For example, the soldering of the amplifier board of the Smart Fiber Sensor is done by the slide soldering method with the introduction of soldering robots. The robot is in charge of soldering in precise areas with a land width of 0.5 mm and a pitch of 1 mm, thereby improving work efficiency.
Soldering robots consists of a robot with an arm, a soldering iron, a controller, and a teaching pendant that sets the conditions. Some robots are equipped with a nitrogen gas generator to prevent oxidation of the soldering iron tip and solder surface.
Robot types include small tabletop robots, as well as SCARA and Cartesian robots, depending on the style of the robot arm. They can be used by inputting soldering conditions from a teaching pendant and having them perform the prescribed soldering.
Soldering robots include tabletop robots, SCARA robots, and Cartesian Coordinate Robots. In addition, they are classified according to the soldering method. The most common soldering methods are the soldering iron method and the laser method. The soldering iron method is still widely used today.
In the soldering iron method, the soldering iron is heated to nearly 350°C, and solder is poured from the tip of the iron to join the metal. Compared to the reflow soldering method, in which cream solder is applied and then heated to melt the solder, the iron method does not apply heat directly to the electronic components. Therefore, it is possible to perform high quality soldering with minimal thermal damage.
In the laser process, the solder is melted by a laser beam. This method uses the fact that a laser beam can be focused by a lens or mirror to form a high-density beam that heats an object to a high temperature. Components and solder are placed in the area where the laser beam hits the object, and the solder is soldered. This laser method is suitable for narrow and fine processing because of its non-contact soldering.
The advantages of using soldering robots are the increased automation, speed, and accuracy of the soldering process. Good soldering depends on the temperature of the soldering iron, contact time to the board, contact area, and other factors.
If these factors are not properly controlled, the soldering iron may be too low in temperature or too short of contact time, which can cause solder to flake. Solder flux will result in a weak and brittle bond. The same is true for burnt solder, which is caused by insufficient heat conduction. This situation is especially likely to occur at work sites where there are many inexperienced novice workers, which increases the defective product rate and lowers production efficiency.
In such cases, it is effective to introduce soldering robots to the shop floor and have them perform the same tasks as experienced workers. Most soldering robots are capable of positioning control in 0.1 mm increments and have high positional repeatability (work accuracy). In addition, motor-driven robots can operate at high speeds, which means they can work faster than humans and avoid human error due to fatigue.
Most soldering robots can be systemized relatively easily. Normally, complex programming work is required to integrate a robot into a production line. For example, a vertically articulated robot needs to be programmed with a specific robot language and input the "work to be performed by the robot."
However, if the work to be performed by the robot has already been determined, as is the case with soldering robots, the programming has been done by the robot developer in many cases. Therefore, after installation, the user only needs to set parameters such as soldering position information and heating time, and the robot can be integrated into the production line.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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