IBL-Löttechnik GmbH (IBL-Technologies LLC) from Königsbrunn, Germany has recently celebrated their 30th year anniversary in the vapor phase industry. With over 2,000 installed systems worldwide, and 37 Sales and Distributors representing 54 countries, the company has come a long way. This includes, in 2009, expanding their operation to North America, together with R&D Vapor Tech LLC taking over the portfolio in 2014. This made the company the only manufacturer producing in both Europe and North America. They are also looking forward to further expanding into South America.
The founder, Helmut Leicht, founded a mechanical engineer consultant firm in 1985 in a small apartment in Augsburg, Germany, after completing his engineering degree at the University of Munich. He decided to build a machine to solve all soldering problems. At that time, vapor phase soldering was already founded in the United States, but was expensive and complicated. Which led to other methods being used for soldering because it was easier to handle. Although the founder was told that vapor phase would eventually die, his response to that was; “No, vapor phase isn’t dead, it never really lived.” He was determined to find a better solution. In 1987, the company moved beyond engineering when it created the first prototype for vapor phase soldering in Königsbrunn. With improvements of materials and its procedure, the first machine was ready for use in 1991. By 1996, they introduced the Soft Vapor Phase technology. Just five years later, in 2001 in collaboration with Fraunhofer Institute, the company developed and patented the vacuum vapor phase system. Continuing with their growth, in 2008, Soft Vapor Temperature Control was introduced. Since then, they have not only expanded, they have also developed systems including, their Intelligent Profiling System IPS in 2012 and in 2013 their 2nd generation traceability system for a premium-line.
Having many successes to celebrate, this anniversary began with Helmut Leicht, along with his wife Eva, the CEO Jochen Lipp, and Andreas Thumm, welcoming the mayor of Königsbrunn Franz Feigl, Robert G. Linse from the office of Economic Development, as well as, their partners, clients, and employees. A historical overview of the year 1987 was given, including interesting facts, such as Aretha Franklin, the first woman to enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or how at that time, one liter of gas had only costed about 50 cents. This is when the company first started and has achieved so much since then. The founder and CEO both exclaimed that these accomplishments could not have happened without the motivated employees working for the company, the key to the success.
Continuing with the festivities of the celebration, the company also introduced new machines and systems to the market. With their vibrant colors of pink, green, and orange, the exterior and interior updated BLC 420 soldering machines were on display. Used for medium to high volume production, these machines are available in three different sizes: 420 (length 1,060 mm , 620 (length 1,260 mm), and 820 (length 1.460 mm). The exterior changes of this series includes swinging doors changed to panels for easier access and a large touchscreen display. The interior changes includes an installed PC, creating more possibilities than before. The easy to use software makes generating soldering programs fast and simple. For instance, it is now possible for this machine to do both lead free and lead soldering with different temperatures. Other advantages to this machine is that there is a fast setup, the transport system is maintenance free, and records the solder profiles. The Intelligent Profiling System, including Soft Vapor Temperature Control for temperature-controlled profiles, completes the image of a premium steam phase soldering system for the highest demands, available both as a batch and as an inline system.
The main attractions at the anniversary celebration were the new VAC745, with a circuit board size of 635 x 444 x 70 mm, and the VAC765 with a circuit board size of 635 x 644 x 70 mm. These machines have both the advantages of vapor phase, as well as, the vacuum process, guaranteeing high quality void-free solder joints. With a 15-inch touchscreen, these machines offer an easy to use system with unlimited program and data storage. They are equipped with the Integrated IPS Intelligent Profiling System, which also includes real time recording capability of solder profiles. With its Vapour Technology during the vacuum process, this increases reliability of the finished products. Double vacuum is also available further increasing thoroughness and quality. The Rapid Cooling System ensures a fast transition from the liquid to the solid. Not only do these machines decrease the chance of rework and touch up, they are also designed for low maintenance and have low running costs.
Other benefits include a maintenance free-patented transport system, a fluid filter system, all moving parts are located outside the process chamber, and, panel doors which saves floor space.
As of last year, the company has developed about 60 % of their own milling parts. The soldering systems that they have also produced includes the MiniLab, SV260 Economy, SV540 Economy, and the SLC/BLC Premium systems. These machines are flexible with easy to use software. For instance, the SV540 is a high-performance system for single and serial production with a small footprint of just 80 cm, which makes it able to fit through any standard door. Mr. Leicht concluded this wonderful event, with a powerful message. “What we have done until now, for the last 30 years, I would say it was the startup period. Now that we are settled quite well, with the ideas that we have in mind, we will create much more business than we’ve had in the past. We will continue to grow.”
SMT Hybrid Packaging, Booth 4-205