Tobi Delbruck
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INI SMT (Surface mount technology) assembly setup

The setup we use at INI is a duplication of the setup in Bassen Tor Lande's lab in Norway. It has all the pieces for manual but relatively painless assembly of PCBs with lots of surface mounted parts.

All this information came from  Jan-Tore Marienborg, a grad student in Bassen's lab who taught me how to do this stuff and who researched and assembled all the equipment. All I did was a lot of digging around on the web and calling distributers to find prices and availability in Switzerland.

Many of the links here are broken due to web page changes at their sites, but if you search you should be able to relocate them. Sorry...

In order of importance, I would list the necessary items for surface mount assembly as follows:

  1. Soldering iron with talon
  2. Stereo inspection microscope
  3. Hot air pencil, desoldering iron
  4. Solder paste pump
  5. Reflow oven
  6. Pick and place machine

Soldering iron with talon (tweezer) for manual placement

Metcal makes the best soldering irons, in my opinion. They have a unique technology for heating the tips and a vast selection of tips. The tips heat up to working temperature in a few seconds. Only drawback: Both unit and tips are expensive. This solder iron has a talon tweezer that lets you remove parts, hold parts in place, etc. It is made by  We can get specialized tips for manual soldering or removal of SMT parts for about $40 each.

Metcal MX-500TS system configuration

Also requires tip cartridges for iron and for talon
 Metcal Product Literature: TATC SMT Rework Soldering Cartridges
 Metcal Product Literature: STTC Through-Hole Soldering and SMT Touch-Up Cartridges - Standard Cartridges

The system configurations are  Metcal Rework Systems and Upgrades Configurations

             Eagle Close, Chandlers
             Eastleigh, Hants. SO53
             4NF, England
             Tel: +44 (0) 1703 489100
             Fax: +44 (0) 1703
             Bensheimer Strasse 61
             Tel: +49 (0) 6142 9360 0
             Fax: +49 (0) 6142 936050

                 Hilpert Electronics AG -
                 Tafernstrasse 29
                 CH-5405 Baden-Dattwil
                 Phone: +41 56 493 20 20
                 Fax: +41 56 493 27 27

Part # Description Price CHF
MX-500TS-21 Metcal Talon SMD solder and desolder rework system 2050
SMTC-043 SMD iron for QFP 208 225
STTC x 36 Chisel  47
STTC x 37 Chisel  47
STTC x 38 Chisel  47
STTC x 25 Chisel  47
STTC x 07 Chisel  47
STTC x 22 Chisel  47
STTC x 06 Chisel  47
STTC x 40 Chisel  47
STTC x 45 Chisel  47
STTC x 65 Chisel  47
STTC x 15 Chisel  47
STTC x 97 Chisel  47
STTC x 83 Chisel  47
TATC-501 Talon .8-9.4mm Fine point 235
TATC- Talon 0-9.1mm 6.4mm blade 235
TATC- Talon 1.5-10.7 15.7mm blade 235
TATC- Talon 0.0-19.8mm TSOP 32 235

Total: 3826 CHF

Stereo magnifier for inspection

This very nice magnifier lets you free view the boards at two magnifications. The table mount makes it unobstuctive and very easy to use. Mantis is made by vision engineering.
 Vision Engineering Stereo Microscopes

Distibuter, Germany

Vision Engineering, LTD.
Anton Pendele Strasse 3
D-82275, Emmering
Phone: 49 (0) 8141 40167-0 Fax: 49 (0) 8141 40167-55

Swiss distributer is Asmeto AG (, +41 1/ 784 78 20, Contact Guido Rüegger +41 (0)1 687 49 24
Near Zurich on way to Chur. Unt. Schwandenstrasse 42
CH - 8805 Richterswil

Cost from Asmeto 2660 CHF.  Replacement lamps are part #M-005 for pack of 4, extra desicators are M-006 for pack of 10.

Hot air pencil, Desoldering iron

This solder iron shoots out hot air, and lets you rework bad solder joins on fine pitch SMT parts like 208pin FPGAs.  You can blow away solder bridges.  Essential. Unfortunately, this particular hot air pencil is a real piece of junk. You have to plug in either the hot air pencil or the desoldering tool and the connector is very flaky. I would look for a Metcal equivalent if I were going to buy another one.

Weller WMD1

Distributed by Farnell.  873-846, page 630 (1999 catalog).

Cost: 1973 chf.


Solder paste pump

This is a pump that can put out little controlled dots of solder paste, for manual or as an alternative to the stencil applicator system. It is operated with a foot pedal, and the amount of paste put out is controllable with a knob.

Martin dispenser SD-02:

Norweigian distributer is Krepro have a Norwegian website; if you go to Utstyr for dispensering  you should get to the page for the dispenser. Dispenser comes with footpedal and some cartridges.

Krepro A/S
Postboks 233, Bønsdalsveien 32, 2070 Råholt
Telefon 63 95 20 00    Fax 63 95 20 50    Epost

Cost:    MA-SD.00.0002     Smart Dispens m. adapter     8.370,- krone (1592 CHF)
plus some adaptors, est 1000 krone (190 CHF)

Another possible dispenser is the   Techcon dispenser system. In particular, it might be the TS9150 dispenser. Available through OK International

Once again, distributer in Switzerland is
                Hilpert Electronics AG - Email
                 Tafernstrasse 29
                 CH-5405 Baden-Dattwil
                 Phone: +41 56 493 20 20
                 Fax: +41 56 493 27 27

Looks like this


Cost: 2000 est

Reflow oven

The oven takes the board with the SMT parts stuck on top of the solder paste and preheats and then melts the solder. Preheating and melting time/temp are controllable and must be calibrated by junk board. This is the extreme low end for reflow ovens and it is not a very good oven. The temperature is rather uneven and once you set it off, there is no way to terminate the reflow cycle gracefully, even if your board is smoking. You can pull out the drawer to stop the cycle but then you don't get a proper cooldown. If the cycle terminates before the parts are soldered, you have to just repeat the whole cycle--there is no way to just prolong the reflow part for a few more seconds.

Reflow oven: Techno HA-06
This is actually HA-02, ha-06 is slightly larger

Technoprint in Netherlands,
Luuk Kuil directly at 31-341-563026 or fax at 31-341-563027.

Zurich distributer

Kontact Systems
Gewerbestr. 16 Zurich
01 986 2400
01 986 2480
Cost: 4700 CHF. 4-5 weeks.

An alternative from Harotec is ECOSOLD 160

Cost: looks higher

Part pick and place

This machine lets you easily pick up, rotate, and put down SMT parts onto a PCB that has solder paste on the SMT solder pads. It is made by SMT technology. The model is HPS 350.

Cost: about 2500 BP.  6400 CHF.

An alternative from  SMT / SMD ASSEMBLY EQUIPMENT BY HAROTEC is the
 ECOPLACER EP-2003 . This is a Swiss company. I got a quote from them for a semiautomatic placer. Just the basic unit, without any automation but with lots of optional accessories, looks to be around 20,000CHF.

Another interesting alternative is from ETT GmbH in Germany.   They carry pick and place devices (SMT-5000 looks good) for about 3000 euros.   They also carry a paste dispenser, the SMT-550, that looks very nice.  They also have a combined part picker and paste dispenser, the SMT-8500.

Thomas Anic
Wolfslaufstrasse 2
D-63768 Hoesbach Germany
Tel. +49 6021 589780
Fax. +49 6021 589735

Solder paste stencil holder/applicator

This jig holds a solder stencil plate that lets you apply solder paste to the entire board in one shot.
Made by  SURFACE MOUNT TECHNOLOGY model is SP350.  Bassen's lab does not have one of these and neither do we. If you are at the point of needing one of these, you are probably better off going to an assembly house, like SMTEC, with who we have had very good experience. You get the stencils made for about 150 CHF from a layer in your PCB design, takes a few days. Separate from PCB fab.

Cost: about 1700 BP. 4343 CHF

Surface Mount Technology
  Tel: 0044 1983290333
  Fax: 0044 1983295499
  Ask for: Neil Everitt

PCB Design Software

We presently use both Altium's Protel DXP (about $2000) and Eagle (about $400).


Item Model Cost (CHF)
Pick&Place SMT HPS 350 6400
Hot air iron Weller WMD1 1973
Tweezer iron Metcal MX 500 3826
Magnifier Vision Engineering Mantis 2660
Reflow oven Technoprint HA-06 4700
Solder stencil printer SMT SP350 4343
Solder pump Martin SD-02 1782
Design Software Protel 99 update 1000

With MWST 7.5%, total is about 29000 CHF

September 13, 2007
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