Youngpool are a Chinese manufacturer of SMT production equipment. Their portfolio
of products includes two unique pieces of equipment, an auto- matic splicing machine and a vacuum degassing machine. Trevor Galbraith joins Marketing Director, Xavier Ong to discuss both machines.
Welcome Xavier. Maybe we can start by talking about the vacuum degassing machine. Why do you need to have a vacuum degassing machine for coatings and encapsulation?
Okay. For industries where they do a lot of conformal coating the customers are struggling with the bubbling effect. After the coating, there’s some bubble that are entrapped within the coating material. Right now, customers have no solution for this.
So, typically what the customer does is they put that PCB after coating aside for as long as 30 minutes or 25 minutes, hoping that the bubbles will escape by themselves. We now have a machine that can be put inline to solve this problem completely.
I see. When you talk about air bubbles, is that the same principle as voiding in
BGAs, where the position of the air pocket within the interconnection interface is more important than the size of the air pocket?
Exactly. Yes, all these air bubbles are formed during the coating process. Of course, some of the users have tried to experiment with different viscosities of the coating product. The idea is to get it as less tacky as possible so that it’s easier for the bubbles to escape.
But in fact, for this particular machine, I should say this is probably the only machine in the whole industry that has such a capability.
What is the tack time on the machine? When you put it through this vacuum degassing machine, is it a fairly fast process?
one we want to take a look at, which is an automatic splicing machine. That also has some unique features. First, it has an automatic clamping system to
accommodate different tape widths. Can you tell us how that works?
Yes. In fact, this automatic splicing machine, it comes in several models. It is trying to automate the whole splicing process and to make the job easier for the operator, and reduce the cycle time. Because right now, I should easily say, 95% of factories are still doing it the manual way. There is nothing wrong
with the manual way. But the thing is, the kind of splice that they’re using right now has poor adhesion and is just not good enough to provide a very secure bond after the splice has taken place. Imagine if the splicing tape quality is not so good.
After they do the splicing, when the tape tries to run through the feeders, the
feeder will start to pull and it would snap off. This will cost unnecessary stoppages of the machine. I mean, the pick and place machine.
What you’re saying is if the splicing is not accurate enough, then the sprockets would miss the holes on the reel?
Exactly. You would miss the hole. Even if it’s accurate and they’re using expensive tape, it might not be able to hold a top tape properly when the feeders start to index forward.
Does the crimping action also apply heat? And if so, why is that necessary?
Okay, very good question. Why are we able to create very strong splices? Because we are using both the heat technology and our very own splice tape that has been developed by Youngpool. We put
a lot of effort into developing a splicing tape to get the right mixture of adhesion, and together with the use of the heat,
to give very strong splices. Even after these splices, you can use this tape three months later and the adhesion will stay very, very strong. In fact, this is our pro- prietary technology for the machine.
Do you use a special type of adhesive, obviously inside the splicing material that you’re using?
For industries where they do a lot of conformal coating the customers are struggling with the bubbling effect. After the coating, there’s some bubble that are entrapped within the coating material. Right now, customers have no solution for this.
Yeah. If you ask me, this machine is a small process machine, so it is very much dependent on the viscosity of coating material that customer is using. The viscosity can range from 150 cP (centi-poise) all the way to 7000 cP. Based on our experience, a good cycle time, like 30
Yeah. It’s some kind of proprietary formula that is actually developed by Youngpool itself.
One of the interesting features of our auto machine is the ability to check reels before they are spliced, because we know that right now, if you spend enough time in the factory, you will find there are still mistakes that happen there. Operators loading and splicing the wrong reels to
We put a lot of effort into developing a splicing tape to get the right mixture of adhesion, and together with the use of the heat, to give very strong splices. Even after these splices, you can use this tape three months later and the adhesion will stay very, very strong. In fact, this is our proprietary technology for the machine.
the existing reels. All the components look the same, in terms of their outline, but during this miniaturization, everyone is moving into 0201s or even 01005s. So, we have this machine that actually checks the LCR management, to make sure that the old and the new material match before the splices take place. This is actually capturing a lot of attention from our users in the market.
So you can splice any type of tape at all? Even right down to 0201 metrics?
Yes, we don’t have a problem. We have one of the model, we call it L900. We can splice all types of tape, paper tape or plastic tape, black color or transparent tape, all the way from 8mm to 24mm, within the same machine.
That’s great. Now, I also see that the cart can be motorized. Are these machines heavy to push around manually? That’s a very interesting question. Because of this, we are start selling this
to 45 seconds is good enough to remove most of the bubbles.
Okay. So, most dispensers of encapsulations and coatings do not use heat. Why do you use heat in the degassing process?
In fact, this heat is an option for the machine. As far as possible, we try to avoid because if you heat, you might end up curing the material instead of releasing the bubbles. So we are actually, we try to avoid this process. But if for some reason customers need to use very highly concentrated material, then we need to apply a little bit of heat.
How does your process work then? How do you essentially get rid of the air bubbles?
Okay, how this machine works is by using the combination of vacuum and if heat is needed. In fact, we are turning off and on the vacuum in the very short pulses. So, all these pulses will create a stirring effect on the coating material and allow the bubble to escape to the environment.
Where would you say is your biggest market then for this degassing product?
We have visitor customers for many different industries, starting from home appliances up to automotive or medical. For most of the lower end products, they don’t really care about the bubbles. But especially for highly sensitive products, like in the automotive and medical field, bubbles in the coating material is not allowed.
Yeah. I would imagine a lot of the manufacturers of white goods and people like that wouldn’t be interested in it. But for high reliability, I would imagine it’s worthwhile and easier to get a return on investment.
Yes. That’s correct.
So, that’s one unique machine that you have at Youngpool. You’ve got another
machine successfully in Europe and in India and in the US. It very much
depends on the operator that’s handling the machine. I don’t get this kind of request to have the motorized version for operators in Europe and the US, or even in the India region, but when I start to do more in the Asia market, they are thinking that if there’s a motorized ver-
sion, it’s easier for the smaller operator to maneuver the machine. But, the machine only weighs like 65 to 80 kg.
Right. So, it’s an optional extra really basically.
It’s an option, yes.
Yeah, but it certainly looks quite neat. Okay. So, you said you’re selling it in the United States and Europe. Who are your main distributors there?
In US, my main distributor is ATEK Systems. In Europe, I have this agent from Hungary. He’s a Hungarian Asian. He’s small, but he’s doing a good job for now.
Okay, that’s interesting. So, it’s been distributed from Hungary. Are you looking for more distributors in other European countries?
Definitely. We are not actually sub- jected to the sole distributorship. So, yeah, if we can have more distributors, then it’s better for us.
So, the company’s a Chinese company, but I believe you’re headquartered out of Singapore. Is that correct?
Okay, it’s a Chinese company. Our headquarter is still in China, in Shenzhen. I’m the only one that’s in overseas, taking care of all the region outside China.
I see, I see. So, you’re the overseas marketing director, essentially.
Okay, great. Well, there’s two very interesting products there, Xavier. I want to thank you for sharing them with us today.