Published on 24 January 2013
By introducing TWI's novel design of thermode holder, Townsend Coates was able to use its larger range microjoining equipment to carry out precision tasks. The company achieved over 15 sales of Unitek Miyachi equipment fitted with the new holder, equating to about £100 000 of new business - a return of 100 times the investment.
Industrial Member Townsend Coates asked TWI for assistance in developing a self-aligning mount to carry current to its range of Unitek pulse-heated thermodes.
The aim was to adapt existing thermodes making them suitable for reflow soldering of multi-lead fine pitch devices and also for adhesive bonding applications using anisotropic adhesives. (The latter enable adhesive joints to be produced, which incorporate electrically-conducting paths in one axis where pressure is applied). Both techniques require a constant contact force along the length of the thermode.
The thermode holder had to be small, low in mass, and in keeping with existing head design. It needed to be easy to mount on the Unitek range of small reflow heads, and to allow for a quick change of thermode. Minimum current loss and maximum transfer of weld energy were also essential.
Working to these and other exacting specifications, the Mictrotechnology Centre at TWI was able to create a small swivel thermode holder or 'swivel kit' as it is now known. As well as this solution, TWI technologists were also able to provide useful background knowledge on its use and operation.
Townswend Coates now markets the new equipment in many areas for assembly and repair, including microelectronics, liquid crystal display and automotive airbag production.
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