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Celestica endorse solder dross recycling

Environmentally responsible EMS provider Celestica, teamed up with solder dross recovery solutions provider EVS International to support their ISO14001 accreditation, reduce solder consumption and in turn cut costs at their European hub in Spain.

Part of the Celestica teamCanadian formed company Celestica has a strong history of expertise and experience in providing quality electronics manufacturing services. With its dynamic operating network across multiple geographies, the company has grown through emergence into un-tapped markets and mergers and acquisitions. Celestica’s Spanish operation is based in the stunning city of Valencia, located in the centre of the Spanish Mediterranean coastline and equidistant from the country’s two major centres of Madrid and Barcelona. The facility specializes in low/medium volume, high-mix, high complexity printed circuit assembly and systems assembly, building components for a rich mix of products and applications - including as automotive, aerospace, security systems, radio stations, industrial printers, escalators and elevators.

Testament to the importance of the Spanish facility is its status as an industrial and aerospace and defence ‘Centre of Excellence’ for Europe, providing design, NPI, engineering and after market services for many of Celstica’s global customers. Plus, full support throughout the entire lifecycle of their products.

As an ISO 14001 accredited company, Celestica maintains its solid policy to protect the environment and ensure they conduct operations using sound management practices. Environmental objectives and targets are set each year to enable them to develop safe, energy efficient and environmentally conscious products and manufacturing processes, and they conduct rigorous self-assessments and audits to ensure their continual compliance.

In 2005 this led to the review of the wave soldering process, in particular an environmentally-friendly solution for the removal of dross, currently being taken off site by their solder supplier. “As well as looking at the environmental implications of the dross we produced, our distributor PROPELEC told us about a company who were reporting the efficiency of their solder dross recovery equipment would also reduce the amount of solder consumed,” explained Engineering Manager, Antonio Baixauli. “With the cost of raw materials rising, it was felt a solution that could deliver on both these counts would be of enormous benefit to us”.

The company concerned was EVS International, based on the South Coast of England. As PROPELEC knew the Directors of this company they were asked to invite EVS to Valencia to conduct a demonstration of their equipment. The trials led to the purchase of an EVS 6000 system for a lead-based line in 2005, with a further purchase of an EVS 3000 in 2008 for a lead-free line. “We were very impressed with the initial trials of the machine,” added Antonio Baixauli. “The process, from machine recommendation to installation and transition into our manufacturing process was extremely smooth. Following use of the machine the results have been amazing and our manufacturing quality maintained. Not only that, but it had little impact on our working environment, as it produced very low noise levels and no smoke emissions whatsoever.”

EVS machines have been designed for simple, one-person operation on the shop floor, using an existing operator dedicated to the wave soldering element of the line. There are no complex installation procedures, it is simply plugged into a single-phase supply and a six bar airline and is ready to go. “ Our operator found the system extremely easy to learn and simple to use in practice,” confirmed Celestica’s Sergio Lemus.

“Again it had little impact in terms of the day to day workload and we are now able to de-dross the wave and carry on and prepare the wave for production while the equipment is performing its de-drossing cycle.”

The purchase of the first EVS 6000 system and subsequent EVS 3000 system enabled Celestica to take full control of the solder dross they produced by bringing the recycling process in-house. “ With the high price of solder a company can benefit enormously from recovering pure solder from their solder dross,” explained Simon Norman, Director of EVS International. “Companies who incorporate our equipment into their process can expect up to a 50% reduction in solder purchases and with solder prices showing little sign of abating the return on investment is seen within months - not years.”

EVS International is the leading company in the manufacture of solder dross recovery systems globally, with multiple industry awards to their name. EVS machines also provide additional benefits, such as improvements in both the process and line productivity. W ith a cleaner wave pot manufacturers can experience a significant reduction in shorts and bridging on the board, as well as reduced wave maintenance. The machine will provide a consistent wave height and improved solder quality, due to reduced oxidation and operators have the potential to dramatically reduce their consumption of Nitrogen. “Celestica also had their environmental standard ISO14001 to consider,” added Simon Norman. “This is fast becoming mandatory in the industry and gaining and retaining accreditation is significantly helped by recycling dross at the point of manufacture.”

Both systems in use at Celestica have been designed using extensive feedback from the industry. This invaluable feedback has enabled EVS to finely tune the systems for reliability, ease of operation, maintenance and environmental management. The EVS 3000 has capacities of 10kg/20lbs, going up to 20kg/44lbs with the EVS 6000. In most cases the machines provide the facility for single operation de-drossing, of even the largest wave soldering machines.

How is recovery achieved?

A large integrated hopper ensures the rapid, simple and safe transfer of dross and speeds de-drossing times by up to 50 percent. Through an enclosed automated system, hot dross is loaded into a large hopper and sealed into the machine. Once started by the operator, the process recovers the solder into a tray in the form of ingots that are easily placed back into the solder pot and deposits the spent dross automatically through a chute to a covered dross bin. Celestica reported no smoke emissions; this is achieved because a ir is extracted by a powerful, standalone filtration system to ensure the air emitted is cleaner than the surrounding workplace. A hopper extraction system is used to prevent the escape of fumes and dust that may be generated when loading. An automatic air-knife cools the molten solder ingots until they are safe to handle, while premature removal of the ingot tray is prevented by a safety lock. In fact extensive safety features have been built into the machine to protect against any potential misuse. Handling and moving of dross is reduced to a minimum as it is contained within the machine until it is automatically ejected into the dross bucket. Maintenance is assisted by prompts from an LCD read out and facilitated by easy access to all working parts of the machine. Routine cleaning can also be carried out easily from a comfortable standing position.

Conclusion

The level of industry leadership Celestica has gained is not achieved by accident, but through a responsiveness to market needs and trends, investment in people, quality, technology advancements and the future. This has enabled Celestica to react to changing customer needs and therefore continue to grow the business. “This level of commitment is also true of their continued investment in equipment,” agrees Simon Norman. “Celestica continues to invest in the best equipment for their process and we are pleased they chose EVS for their solder dross recycling requirements.”

For Celestica, a focus on technology, passion for continuous improvement and a culture based on values and the empowerment of people is engrained. They remain dedicated to building strong, solid partnerships and providing flexible solutions to enable their customer’s success. “This has been an extremely positive experience for us,” summarised Antonio Baixauli. “The most significant benefits we have seen from our decision to invest in EVS have been the cost savings we have been able to achieve by recycling our solder and, of course, in maintaining our commitment to the environment by reducing waste. In my experience, few equipment purchases are able to show this level of return on investment and in such a short space of time.”

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