Author Archives: Keith Cathcart

  • Remember to use our Tip Finder™ to find the right tips for your soldering station!

    We know how difficult it can be to figure out what tips will fit your particular soldering station. We introduced the Kimco Tip Finder™ to help you discover a wide array of soldering tips that will work with your station of choice.

    We regularly update the Tip Finder™ to include new tip series and stations. If you still have trouble finding the tips you need, do not hesitate to call us!

    Check out the how-to video below.

  • Free Shipping for New ADS200 AccuDriveTM Production Soldering Station

    Kimco is excited to introduce a special offer on a new product from PACE - the ADS200 AccuDrive Production Soldering Station model 8007-0578 makes electronics soldering easy to master and allows you to achieve more efficient production workflows. Plus, for a limited time, we’re offering free shipping on this slick new device.

    Read on for more details on the machine and how to take advantage of free shipping.

    The ADS200 AccuDrive™ Production Soldering Station from Pace Worldwide

    PACE Worldwide is recognized for innovative, cost-effective solutions in soldering, rework and repair of advanced electronics, and this new soldering station more than delivers on that reputation, designed for extreme, multi-shift production use, and created by a company that understands the needs of high-quality electronics manufacturers. For over 50 years, PACE has been known for the development of groundbreaking products, training films, curricula, materials and electronic assembly standards. As a leading supplier of products, services and solutions for electronics manufacturing and repair in North America, we’re excited to add this high-powered product to our extensive offering of specialist manufacturing and repair products.

    New AccuDrive™ Technology

    PACE’s new AccuDrive™ Technology will help you to spend less time checking and calibrating devices, and more time working. The soldering system is intuitive to use and easy to operate, no specialized training required. It was designed to seamlessly fit into your existing workflows and supercharge your production capabilities. Replace your older, high-maintenance soldering systems with the ADS200 and see your production times speed up and your costs go down.

    AccuDrive™ allows you to set highly-accurate temperatures, without the need to repeatedly change cartridges. Its fast heat-up achieves set temperature in seconds, and advanced electronics give you greater flexibility and speed by providing instantaneous load sensing and on-demand power so you can quickly reflow solder joints at safe, low temperatures, regardless of the mass of the application.

    Safe, Strong & Simple

    Simple to operate, just power the device on to begin soldering. A large digital LED display makes it easy to check the temperature of the unit from all angles, and you can quickly toggle between temperature presets at the touch of a button. An optional add-on ISB Tool Stand can extend tip life and save energy by automatically lowering temperature when the iron is set in the stand, and also makes it easy to clean the device so you can work continuously. Most importantly, of course, this rugged and ergonomic station is ESD-Safe and meets ANSI/ESD S13.1-2015 and 20.20 specifications.

    The AccuDrive™ Production Soldering Station's integrated Blue Series Tip-Heater Cartridges allow you to significantly lower your yearly soldering expenses through the use of inexpensive, long-life tips. The performance and responsiveness of these tips exceed that of many higher-priced alternatives and are perfect for demanding lead-free soldering or high thermal mass PCB's. These quick-change cartridges can be swapped while hot and instantly achieve set temperatures for continuous production soldering. A high-accuracy sensor with a robust heater delivers up to 120 Watts of power, and unlike curie point systems, one tip can be set at any temperature, from 380°F/193°C to 850°F/454°C without changing the cartridge.

    New TD-200 Cool-TouchTM

    The ADS200 AccuDrive™ Production Soldering Station also features the new TD-200 Cool-TouchTM Handpiece which is designed to stay cool and comfortable. The ergonomically designed handle is slim and lightweight to reduce grip stress and operator fatigue, and made out of aluminum so it stays cool and comfortable, even during extended production use. This device works safely on 0201’s, sensitive flex circuits or the highest mass, lead-free PCBs. From tip to the end of the cord, the TD-200 protects your ESD-sensitive devices.

    Free Shipping!

    Kimco is offering FREE SHIPPING for a limited time free on the Pace ADS200 AccuDrive™ Production Soldering Station so you can try out this new product in your electronics soldering stations and revamp your workflows.

     

     

    Ready to try one out for yourself? Learn more and place your order at online by clicking Pace ADS200 model 8007-0578 . You can also find all the PACE products that we carry, from replacement parts to rework systems, here.

  • The Best Quantum Storage Bins for Your Business

    Designed with the unique needs of electronics manufacturers in mind, the Quantum Storage Systems line of products are meant to hold up to heavy use with a large selection of industrial plastic bins and storage systems configurable to any need.

    Made out of injection molded plastics, these rugged stackable containers come in a number of sizes, configurations and colors. The bins are large and tough enough for the storage of heavy power tools and yet also optimal to keep your smallest items safely contained and organized. Choose from a variety of containers and storage systems including bins, carts, shelves and more.

    Dividable Grid Containers

    Quantum’s dividable grid containers are perfect for small electronics. The injection molded carbon-filled copolymer polypropylene dividable grid totes and boxes will protect your electronic components, printed circuit boards and flex circuits from electrostatic discharge. These containers have a resistivity of less 105 ohms per square and are permanently conductive, unaffected by washing with normal cleaners. Removable dividers allow you to customize the interior space to fit your needs, and a snap-on lid protects from dust and keeps your items secure during movement and transport.

    Stackable Hanging Bins

    Quantum's conductive ultra-stack hanging bins are injected molded and made in the USA from a carbon-filled copolymer polypropylene material. Surface resistivity of these conductive bins is less than 105 ohms per square and the resistivity is unaffected by washing. The material itself is conductive, so you don’t have to worry about the deterioration of any conductive paint or coating. These conductive bins come in a variety of colors and sizes. A non-conductive option, available in black, is also made in the same shapes and sizes. The clear variety of the Quantum conductive bins are a bestseller. The clear material allows you to conveniently see what is stored inside so you can work more quickly and efficiently. Rugged and durable, these containers are resistant to heavy chemicals and made to last. Some bins also come manufactured from recycled 100% post-consumer high-density polypropylene. Available in black, these bins have all the features of Quantum's standard bins but at a more economical price.

    Utility Carts and Tray Carts

    The Quantum Storage System also offers a conductive utility cart and tray cart. Chrome finished, they come with a drag chain at the bottom which maintains contact with your ESD floor. Large casters allow for smooth transport of your items, and can be locked into place for stability. Conductive bins can be loaded and stacked onto the utility cart, which will smoothly transport even heavy loads. For the tray cart, each fiberglass tray is static dissipative and the cart comes with an optional stopping mechanism to attach to the ends of the trays for added security. A three-polymer heavy duty cart is also available as an alternative to the chrome utility cart.

    See all the available options and get more information here or click below to go to a specific product:

    You can also see more details and examples of how each product can be used through our series of videos, just click below!

  • Why Use Ionizers

    You’ve heard about ionizers before...but do you really need them? If you want to protect your workstation from electrostatic discharge (ESD), then the answer is most likely yes.

    Certain preventative measures can be taken to protect your workstation from electrostatic discharge. In order to maintain a proper ESD control program you will sometimes need to use additional equipment -- this is where the ionizer comes into play.

    Below, we’ll go over four methods for reducing electrostatic discharge both with and without the use of an ionizer to show you the difference.

    Three Ways to Reduce Electrostatic Discharge Without an Ionizer

    In an ESD protected area, insulators can be controlled by doing the following:

    1. Use insulators and maintain a perimeter
    In addition to using a grounded work surface, be sure to use insulated items. These insulated items should be a minimum of 30 centimeters away from all ESD sensitive items at all times.

    2. Use ESD protective items
    To add an extra layer of precaution, replace your insulative items with fully ESD protected versions. For example, instead of using a regular drinking cup at your workstation, replace it with a fully insulated thermos.

    3. Periodically apply topical anti-static agent
    For items which cannot be replaced with an ESD protected version, protect against electrostatic discharge by periodically applying a topical anti-static agent. Examples of such items might be your keyboard.

    Why use an ionizer

    When none of this is possible, the insulator is termed process essential and therefore neutralization using an ionizer should become a necessary part of the ESD control program.

    How ionizers remove electrostatic discharge
    While conductive items can be discharged of their negative ions by being placed on a grounded surface, an insulator will still maintain a positive charge when placed on a grounded surface. Here’s an example:

    This instrument is a digital static field meter which measures voltages associated with electrostatic charge. If we rub two paddles together -- one an insulator and the other a conductor -- and hold them over the field meter the meter shows that the insulated paddle holds many thousands of volts, which in this case is a positive charge.

    The conductive paddle holds a much lower negative charge but it is still charged.

    If we place both paddles on a grounded surface and hold them over the field meter again, the insulator is still holding a large positive charge.

    However the conductor is no longer holding a charge. By placing the conductor on a grounded surface the charge was transferred to the mat and away to the ground.

    An ionizer can help maintain an ESD protected workstation for both insulators and conductors.

    Once the ionizer is turned on it sends out thousands of matching pairs of both positive and negative ions in the air flow. If we hold the positively charged insulative paddle into the air flow it will attract negative ions thereby neutralizing the charge on the surface.

    It’s like magic...or better yet, science!

    Still have questions? Watch our instructional video to learn more about why you should use ionizers here.

    What size ionizer is best?
    The size of the ionizer needed depends on the size of your workstation. For small workstations and desktops not more than 1-4 feet, a single-fan ionizer will work. For larger workstations or a grouping of desktops, several overhead multi-fan ionizers may be more suitable. As a supplement, or to reach small interior areas and remove lodged debris, a point-and-shoot ionizer or ionizer gun works best.

    Shop these and other ESD protective items for your manufacturing workspace from KIMCO’s ionization equipment.

  • Bevco Chairs now On Sale & Ships FREE

    For a limited time, enjoy free shipping on all Bevco chairs. Bevco is the leader in quality seating solutions for office, clean rooms, lab, and industrial applications.   In addition, they offer a perfect solution for today's modern sit stand office desk.

    No coupon code is needed, simply choose your Bevco products and checkout and you'll be given FREE shipping. This is a great time to upgrade your chairs!

    If you're not sure what chair you need, try out our new Bevco Chair Configurator 

     

     

     

     

     

    And take a look at these Bevco product videos!




  • Vision Engineering End of the Year Promotion

    OFFER 1

    FREE Smart Cam with every Lynx EVO system – a $1,910 value

    Take your inspection results to the next level with the Lynx EVO and get the Smart Calynx-evom HD digital camera and software for FREE!

    Smart CAM (EVC130) offers easy convenient image/video capture while retaining both optical paths for stereo viewing.

    • Stunning 3D (stereo) optical imaging.
    • Quickly and simply capture HD images or video.
    • Add annotation / mark-up captured images with included PC software.

    Quote AP16 with your order

    Terms and Conditions: A Lynx EVO system comprises of a head, zoom, stand, objective and ring light or 360 degree rotating viewer. Promotion runs from 11/1/2016 to 12/22/2016, orders must be placed by 12/22/2016. Distributor orders to be drop shipped. Not to be combined with any other offer. Offer available while stocks last.

     


    OFFER 2

    ½ Price 360o Rotation Viewer with Lynx EVO or EVO Cam system purchase- $1,935* savings

    Enhance your inspection with the 360o rotating viewer, at 50% off.
    The rotating viewer for the Lynx EVO and EVO Cam delivers an oblique view of the subject that can be rotated 360° degrees around a central point, making it ideal for working with evo-cam_-2 evo-camengineered, electronic, or precision parts – the fastest, simplest way to inspect all the way around a component without holding it.

    • Easy to switch between rotation view and conventional direct view.
    • View all around a component, quickly and accurately.
    • Ideal for electronics inspection (PCB solder joints, holes, pillars and thread forms), mechanical, medical and plastics components and more…
    Terms and Conditions: A Lynx EVO system comprises of a head, zoom, stand, objective and ring light. An EVO Cam system comprises of camera, stand, objective and ring light. Promotion runs from 11/1/2016 to 12/22/2016, orders must be placed by 12/22/2016. Distributor orders to be drop shipped. Not to be combined with any other offer. Offer available while stocks l

    *savings based on EVO Cam 360o viewer RRP.
    Quote AP16 with your order

  • Is Water Harmful to Electronic Components?

    hose-spraying-waterMany experts in the electronics assembly world will cringe when they hear about a manufacturer hand-washing their boards with soap and (gasp!) water. The first point to bring up here is that boards should never need to be washed. This is a clear indication that you are somehow bringing dirt into the process, whether through alcohol, brushes, or something else the boards are coming in contact with.

    Know Your Water Grade

    There are three grades of water that you can use to clean the boards; tap water, distilled water, and deionized (DI) water. For this type of precision cleaning you should never use tap or distilled water, which themselves contain contaminants that can affect your boards. If you must clean your boards with water, the only choice is deionized water.

    Deionized water is measured by the water’s resistance to electric current. 50kOHM is standard and can be purchased easily and at a relatively low cost. 1 megaohm is really the minimum required for this type of precision cleaning. In high-precision manufacturing, such as semiconductors, 20 megaohms is the industry standard. Obviously cost and availability are both big factors. As you increase the pureness of your water, it also becomes more difficult to handle.

    One option is a sealed, closed-loop system which purifies the water, performs the cleaning task, and then recycles the water. However, this type of system is costly and can result in a slow through-put. Given these restrictions when using water in the cleaning process, more and more manufacturers are switching to cleaning with solvents. The ideal solvent is strong enough to remove the contamination, while still mild enough to not damage any components on the board.

    GoKimco has a complete line of solvents, ideal for finding this healthy balance for cleaning your boards.

  • Gauging Solder Paste Volume

    stencil-printingKnowing just how much solder paste to dispense onto a stencil for a production run can often seem like a guessing game. The ultimate goal is for the paste to completely fill the aperture and release onto the board with 95% transfer efficiency. If the board is not sitting flush again the stencil, then you may see a greater than 100% transfer efficiency. This can lead to a final paste height that is higher than anticipated. Too little solder paste, and you risk not covering the board entirely, leading to an array of problems.

    The amount of paste that you dispense onto the stencil will vary depending on the size of your production run. For a smaller number of boards, ten or under, a minimal amount of paste will be needed to achieve the smooth, rolling action that you need. For larger production cycles, you will want to apply the maximum amount of solder paste possible without loading the squeegee too high, creating flooding and spilling over the sides. A good rule of thumb is 0.75” diameter down the length of the squeegee as a minimum and a 1.5” diameter as a maximum.

    Operators should always be watching for paste leaking out of the sides of the squeegee, which can result in skip defects. Paste remaining idle during the printing process can dry out and harden faster. To prevent this, operators should be trained to open the printer regularly, every 30 minutes is a good rule of thumb, and reposition the paste to the middle of the squeegee.

    It is good practice to print one dummy board before each production run. This first run often uses an excessive amount of flux and can pick up any dust or contamination that can then be loaded into the apertures of the board. Running this test board also ensures that the paste is rolling and that the squeegee is set up properly, with no streaks left behind.

    Using a quality solder paste paired with the right squeegee can make a big different in your product run.

    GoKimco has a complete line of solder paste and quality squeegees to ensure that your production process runs as smoothly as possible.

  • Epoxy Bonding Problems on RoHS Boards

    epoxy bonding rohsIf you have seen problems with epoxy bonding components to RoHS circuit boards, you are not alone. This may be related to the surface energy of the board. Generally high surface energy is a good thing, while low surface energy is detrimental. The surface energy of the solder resist varies with the many types available. Oven curing the solder resist tends to lower the surface energy because the silicones are then forced to the surface during the curing process.

    It may be useful to perform a simple control test to investigate the surface energy of the boards. This can be done using dyne pens or a contact angle test. If you are using a dyne pen, 36 to 38 dynes is average. A no-clean, assembled board would be about 32 dynes, and you would not want to work with anything lower than this.

    To perform the contact angle test, measure the contact angle of a droplet to see how much the droplet beads up or wets out onto the surface. If when you perform the droplet test you find that the beads are quite round and do not wet this indicates low surface energy and poor bondability.

    From here you should conduct a suitable gas plasma treatment on some of the boards and see if this improves bondability and adhesion. You can bond actual parts to both the control and plasma treated boards to confirm any improvement in adhesion.

    If you are bonding to a metal surface, you should always first prep the surface with etch or alcohol. This will ensure the area is clean prior to any epoxy applications. GoKimco offers a complete lining of cleaning wipes to prep the area. Visit

    To find the best epoxy solution for your application shop GoKimco.

  • Surface Texture on Solder Joints after Reflow

    surface defects reflowSeeing surface effects when using lead-free solder is not an unusual occurrence. There are many factors that could be causing texture on the solder joints after reflow.

    The following are several of the more common factors that could be contributing to this defect:

    • Thermal profile used, peak temperature and cool down rate
    • Metal finishes on the parts that were soldered, dissolution occurs which can impact color
    • Reflow atmosphere
    • Physical or chemical properties of the flux, some fluxes react more with the solder surface than others
    • Flow properties of the flux during the reflow process, some fluxes flow more rapidly than others, giving extended exposure to oxygen
    • Excessive oxidation of the parts to be soldered
    • Shelf life of the paste or how the paste was handled prior to use

    Keep in mind that while the surface of the board may look frosty, discolored, or be demonstrating shrinkage effects this does not necessarily point to a reliability issue. Instead the solder joint may remain in excellent working condition with adequate intermetallic bonding.

    If you suspect that there may be a reliability issue associated with the appearance you will need to do some pull/shear testing to examine the bond layers. Use a quality pair of shears for the most accurate results. (https://gokimco.com/search?form_key=ViRkrOmJrsyABtEG&q=shear) If there is a problem with the bond layers, examining the reflow process for problems and / or changing to a different solder paste can correct the problem.

    GoKimco has a wide variety of solder pastes so that you are sure to find one that will sort out this issue. Visit https://gokimco.com/solder-flux-mask/solder-paste.html.

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