Assembly in Action: Equipment Helps Meet ‘Green' Targets
May 25, 2007
Like many electronics companies around the world, manufacturing and professional services company Cornet Technology Inc. (CTI, Springfield, VA) has been updating its processes in recent months to comply with the European Union’s directive on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic products.
Like many electronics companies around the world, manufacturing and professional services company Cornet Technology Inc. (CTI, Springfield, VA) has been updating its processes in recent months to comply with the European Union’s directive on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic products. The legislation, which was enacted into law in July 2006, requires that manufacturers use unleaded solder in nearly all of their telecommunications products sold in Europe by 2010.
In addition, the company, which specializes in the design, integration and manufacture of data, voice and video network switching products and systems, has been taking steps to ensure its operations and products comply with similar legislation enacted in California.
According to CTI director of operations, Wally Schott, the company could have put off the upgrades to a later date, because they don’t affect many of his customers. However, doing so earlier rather than later just made good business sense.
“Cornet Technology made a conscious business decision to become RoHS compliant, because the company recognizes that adopting green manufacturing techniques is not only environmentally responsible, but also beneficial to our employees. Even though RoHS regulations have yet to take hold in Virginia, Cornet Technology is proactively working to minimize the impact of our manufacturing facility on the local environment of Northern Virginia-and our employees-by voluntarily incorporating the EU and California RoHS directives,” Schott says.
To meet its environmental goals, the company had to upgrade a number of pieces of equipment on its surface mount assembly line in Springfield so that it could replace the lead components on its circuit boards with new, eco-friendly, lead-free parts. Doing so represented a technological challenge, due to the fact that lead-free solders have dramatically different properties from their lead-based counterparts.
Ultimately, CTI installed a number of new machines, including an X5 solder paste printer from EKRA America Inc. (Marlborough, MA) and an XPM², 10-zone, lead-free certified reflow oven from Vitronics Soltec Inc. (Stratham, NH).
With regard to its new solder paste printer, CTI is now not only equipped to work with lead-free materials, it can also create more compact boards that require less space, while still delivering high-quality product enhancements.
Referring to the company’s new reflow oven, which is capable of reaching the higher temperatures necessary for soldering lead-free surface mount components, Schott says, “Three factors entered into the decision-making process… First, we wanted a RoHS-certified product. Second, the oven had to be easy to use. Third, the equipment’s zones had to accommodate all board sizes in order to give us sufficient capacity to last for at least 5 years. Because the Vitronics Soltec XPM² 10-zone reflow oven met all three criteria, it was the natural product choice for Cornet.”
For additional information on electronics manufacturing, call 703-658-3400 or visit www.cornet.com.
For additional information on solder paste printing, call 508-486-9566 or visit www.ekra.com.
For additional information on lead-free solder reflow, call 603-772-7778 or visit www.vitronics-soltec.com.