Rework is a necessary part of any soldering operation. Whether machines or humans are assembling the printed circuit boards, inconsistencies happen. When a component is misplaced, misaligned, improperly soldered, or needs to be replaced, typically a soldering iron will be the tool of choice. But for many operators and applications, a solid hot air tool provides additional rework capabilities.
Some of the main concerns for hot air tools is the perceived lack of process control, slower productivity, and safety with hot air.
So, how can we alleviate these worries? With the right rework system.
Streamline The Rework Process Through an Intuitive User Interface (UI) For Easy System Settings & Adjustments
Rework situations vary, so it is essential your hot air tool includes precise and simple temperature and flow rate control.
Figure 1: “On-the-fly” mode
Many hot air systems on the market are not intuitive to use. The menu structures are confusing, the displays are limited, and they are simply not plug-in-play. A system that is not intuitive for the operator is a system that is going to regularly bog down throughput.
When comparing systems, be sure to investigate exactly how the hot air unit operates. Most system manufacturers have demos and how-to videos on YouTube. Watch them to see exactly how each unit is configured. You may be surprised by how few are user-friendly.
Designed with ease of use in mind, Metcal’s new HCT-910 Hot Air Rework System features a new “on-the-fly” manual mode, which allows for fast temperature and airflow adjustments with a single knob (Figure 1). Easily toggle between temperature settings and air flow rate, turn the knob to the desired setting, and push the knob to set.
Enhance Operator Safety with Clear System Status Indicators
Figure 2: HTC-910 Lighted Hand-pieces
One key to increased productivity and process control is maintaining operator safety. To ensure an injury-free workplace around potentially dangerous tools, it should be as obvious as possible when the convection system is hot.
On Metcal’s HCT-910, the current state of the system is prominently displayed on the large display screen. This is an excellent way to quickly determine if the heater is engaged.
Even better is the HCT-910’s status indicator light right on the hand-piece (Figure 2). When the system is in Heating mode, the LED on the hand-piece shines red. When the system is in Cooling mode, the LED turns blue. This enables operators and floor managers to quickly assess the state of the unit, even from across the room.
Protect Sensitive Components with Accurate Temperature
Accurate temperature helps avoid additional rework and waste. This sounds obvious, but there are systems where the set temperature is not the same as the temperature of the air coming out of the nozzle. To emphasize how quickly the rework system can bring solder to liquidous when set to a target temperature of, say, 400 °F, the unit may actually be heating to 450 °F or more, potentially damaging heat-sensitive components.
Systems like the Metcal HCT-910 are designed to deliver “true to display temperature,” so operators and managers can be confident they know exactly what level of heat they are working with, with no overshoot.
Figure 3: Tool-less nozzle system
Keep The Rework Moving Quickly with Tool-Free Nozzles for Quick Changes
There is no need for the operator to waste time fumbling with a screwdriver when it is time to switch to a different nozzle configuration. Keep the work flowing by choosing a hot air station designed for tool-less nozzle changes. The Metcal HCT-910 features an improved tool-less bayonet system (Figure 3) and is backward compatible with legacy HCT-900 nozzles. A quick turn unlocks the nozzle, which is then simply lifted off the heater tube assembly. Another nozzle easily slips on and is secured in place with a quick turn in the opposite direction.
Choose The Metcal HCT-910 Hot Air Rework System
The Metcal HCT-910 was designed to be a high-performance, easy-to-use hot air rework system, with the goal of helping manufacturers maximize productivity.
Status indicator lights on the hand-piece
Easy to configure and monitor
Intuitive user interface with convenient presets and admin lockout
Accurate temperature, up to 600 °C (1112 °F)
Airflow from 5 – 120 l/m (4.24 cfm)
Tool-less nozzle/bayonet design
Clearly designed digital screen for temperature and flow rate display
System presets and password-protected admin mode
Multi-language (English, Spanish, German, French, Chinese)
Hand-piece holder mountable on either side of the unit