By David Griffith, Inovar
With over 300 employees, a 65,000 sq. ft. facility, and a strategic location in Logan, Utah, Inovar is a complete EMS company with service lines spanning from full-scale product design to end customer fulfillment. Management-owned and successfully running for 18 years, it is consistently recognized as one of Utah’s fastest growing companies.
Inovar’s growth has been fueled by dedicated employees, top-notch technical capabilities, and outstanding customers. Many customers are over a decade old and truly embrace their contract manufacturing relationship with Inovar as a partnership. Inovar’s customer selection process and breadth of vertical markets, including medical, military, communication and industrial, has driven capability development and provided financial stability.
Behind the years of growth and success is a commitment to drive process improvement, deep engineering resources, and a world-class attention to customer service. A key factory in the company’s process improvement is choosing the right partners to purchase equipment from, and one such partner is Metcal.
Several years ago and based on several customer recommendations, Inovar decided to purchase its solder tips and solder rework systems from Metcal. After years of successful use, Inovar moved the Metcal MX-500s to its Mexico facility, and replaced them with MX-5200s at the Logan headquarters.
“The customer base that we serve has diverse product lines with a wide variety of electronic through-hole assembly (THA) components,” commented Jef Nielsen, Process Engineering Manager at Inovar. “Our employees use the Metcal MX solder stations to properly solder many of these components. Metcal’s SmartHeat™ technology is built into all Metcal soldering systems and allows the solder tip temperature to remain constant, independent of the size or type of component, resulting in more reliable solder joints. Our operators have commented on the impressive control of tip temperature and on a fast tip temperature recovery rate.”
Metcal’s SmartHeat™ Technology allows operators to solder and rework at lower, safer temperatures and produce solder joints faster without overheating PCBs or components.
During solder joint construction, it is important that the soldering iron provide a constant tip temperature. Often the temperature of the solder tip is increased to improve throughput and reduce recovery time. These actions increase the opportunity for damage from overheating. SmartHeat™ technology ensures constant tip temperature, allowing for higher throughput with lower temperatures. This reduces the risk of damage from overheating and increases tip life. A bonus benefit of SmartHeat™ is the fact that it does not need calibration, which saves both time and money.
Metcal has led the way with SmartHeat™ technology for 35 years, and is raising the bar again with its latest patented technological innovation that will forever change hand soldering. Currently, the industry standard is based on a visual inspection of the solder joint. Metcal has developed a better way – Connection Validation (CV). Metcal’s new CV soldering system evaluates the quality of the solder joint by calculating the intermetallic compound formation and providing closed-loop feedback to the operator. It is simply SmartHeat™, made smarter.
This is important because most of the processes in an electronics manufacturing environment (screen printing, component placement, convection reflow, cleaning) are well controlled. Hand soldering is still the main area where the “human variable” plays a key role, and where process control is a constant challenge. Metcal now offers a high level of hand soldering process control by means of new technology that ensures proper joint formation through feedback from the solder joint and sophisticated calculations and temperature and time.
“When we first introduced ‘SmartHeat™’, we offered customers a new level of process control in their hand soldering operations by taking the temperature controls out of the hands of the operators,” explains Rick Talbot, Regional Sales Manager at Metcal. “CV is the next step in the process control evolution. Now, we not only offer temperature control, but can also tell the operator, via a visual indicator on the hand piece, when a good intermetallic connection has been formed.” Metcal will debut Connection Validation (CV) in its booth #3035 at IPC APEX Expo in San Diego, CA in February 2017.
Metcal will continue to bring its partners, like Inovar, new and innovative technology through which they can serve their customers in the most efficient and advanced ways.
The leadership team at Inovar recognizes that customers have a broad array of EMS choices but that only Inovar offers the best combination of execution, capabilities, and access to executive management of an EMS company in the US. Inovar will continue to work with top-tier companies to serve its customers with the highest technical capabilities.