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EVS Install Cost Saving Solder Dross Recovery Solution at Automotive Systems Supplier Calsonic Kansei

During June to August 2009 CKNA-Lewisburg reclaimed 5905 pounds of 63/67 solder through solder dross recovery, providing a saving of over $22,700.00.

Cost Saving Solder at Calsonic KanseiNovember, 2009 - EVS International, the leader in solder recovery, has announced the successful implementation of its solder dross recovery solutions at global leader in integrated automotive systems, Calsonic Kansei (CKNA) in Lewisburg, NA. The Tier 1 automotive parts supplier of electronic sub-assembly systems, for leading manufacturers such as Nissan, Honda and Suburu, has now integrated solder dross recovery into their process. The decision to automate this element of the production process was made as part of the company’s ongoing strategy to improve their manufacturing process and reduce costs.

Richard Wilson, Manufacturing Engineer, Electronics Department, of CKNA-Lewisburg: “A major expense in solder consumption comes from the wave soldering process. Prior to automating our solder dross recovery process our wave soldering operators would scoop dross from the solder pot into a dross pail at the beginning of each shift. However, due to the constraints in the time allocated to perform this task typically no attempt was made to separate the solder from the dross.”

CKNA-Lewisburg builds their PCB assemblies on six SMT lines which incorporate four wave solder and three selective solder machines in the process. The lines are run in two shifts per day over four days per week. Richard Wilson added: “We did trial and discount another provider’s option. We then carried out a 30 day evaluation of the EVS system focusing on the amount of solder reclaimed, ease of operation, and length of time required to perform the task and the projected return on investment. The EVS system met and exceeded all of our evaluation criteria.”

The system has completed 1300 cycles over an eighteen month period and during that time CKNA-Lewisburg has experienced zero downtime or maintenance issues. Richard Wilson summed up: “The durability of the system has certainly added to the economic benefits. During the three months June to August 2009, to use one example, our facility reclaimed 5905 pounds of 63/67 solder, providing a saving of over $22,700.00. One of our goals was to reduce the solder consumption to less than 3,500 pounds per month. Since September 2008 we have consistently met and exceeded that goal, with an average of 1500 pounds used each month. This is by far the best investment in equipment we have made in terms of ease of use, effectiveness and return on investment.”

A further benefit of solder dross recovery comes in the form of a clean solder pot, which is necessary to produce high quality printed circuit boards. If dross is allowed to accumulate in the pot it can transfer to the bottom of the board causing bridges and contamination. The EVS system enables a faster and easier cleaning routine and maintains a clean solder pot. Simon Norman, Director of EVS International comments: EVS is delighted that CKNA-Lewisburg have maximized the many benefits attributed to using the EVS system and that it exceeded all their considerable goals. Particularly the percentage of pure solder recovered from their dross, together with their durability and ROI requirements. Also, with the added benefits of a cleaner wave to improve the process, increased productivity and reducing the company’s carbon footprint, companies using EVS will be helped in gaining and retaining ISO14001 accreditation which is rapidly becoming a ‘must have’ environmental standard.”

The EVS System

The system installed at CKNA-Lewisburg is the EVS 6000 offering capacities of 20kg/44lbs. Its large integrated hopper makes rapid transfer of dross both simpler and safer and speeds de-drossing time by up to 50 percent. The process used is unique to EVS International and protected worldwide by established and pending patents. Simple in concept, but revolutionary in its effect, it breaks new ground in the efficient regeneration of waste in a shop floor environment.

The new EVS is an enclosed automated system that features enhanced health and safety characteristics. Hot dross is loaded into the large hopper and sealed into the machine. The process, once started by the operator, recovers the solder into a solder 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. Air is extracted via a powerful stand-alone four-part filtration system, which ensures that the emitted air is usually cleaner than the surrounding workplace. A Hopper Extraction System is used to prevent the escape of any fumes and dust that may be generated when loading. Additionally, an automatic air-knife cools the molten solder ingots until safe to handle. Premature removal of the ingot tray is prevented by a safety lock.

Handling and moving of dross is reduced to a minimum because it is contained within the EVS system until it is automatically ejected into the dross bucket. Extensive safety features are built into the machine protecting against misuse and abuse. A variety of switches and sensors are deployed and electrical and electronic circuitry is fuse protected. Maintenance is assisted by prompts from the LCD readout and facilitated by easy access to all working parts of the machine. Routine cleaning can be carried out from a comfortable standing position.

The system is designed for simple one-person operation on the shop floor using existing staff. There are no complex installation procedures, just plug it in to a single-phase supply and a six bar airline, and it is ready to go. Once the system has reached operating temperature, hot dross can be loaded and the hopper door shut. After the start button has been pushed, no further operator intervention is required until the solder ingots are removed. The cycle takes six minutes plus cooling time.

The EVS 6000 is managed by an advanced microprocessor control system integrated into the cover structure. Its clearly labeled fascia includes function buttons, an LCD display and LED indicator lights. The LCD and LEDs indicate operational data such as temperature of chamber (before start), ready light on, cycle time elapsed (after start), position of piston and door, and total cycles completed.