We spoke with Yago from JBC about their soldering and reworking stations at MD&M 2019 and found that we had a serious case of soldering iron envy. These irons were small and powerful and, while quite a bit more expensive than the soldering irons laying around our spaces, most weren't actually *that* expensive. The interface and temperature control, as you can see from the video, is clean and clear and the speed at which they come to temperature is impressive. We didn't go over the rework station in the video but it would have saved us some tears in recent projects, though there would definitely have been tears when paying for that one. Here's the transcript of the video above:
YAGO: We're a premium manufacturer of soldering equipment or rework equipment. Our company is based in Barcelona, Spain, everything is manufactured in Europe. We have a two year warranty on all the products and what JBC tries to do is, we try to be ahead in terms of innovation. There are many different irons, there are many different brands and you can go from a $15 soldering iron to more expensive equipment. What's the difference, right? Because with $15 iron, maybe it does the job for you, but with more expensive equipment, for example, with JBC equipment, what we have is that we have the thermocouple sensor right at the tip, so you have more control with our stations.
We just released a processing system where you can monitor all the stations from a computer. You can analyze all the data - you can download temperature graphs, scan bar codes, and the main idea is that the operator will have a bar code on the board and when they scan it, everything is auto set up the station. With the maximum temperature they can use, minimum temperature, it's going to record everything. So, if in two years you have a problem with one board, you will be be able to trace back, see who was soldering that board, the temperature he was using, and all of that.
The thing is, JBC has regular irons, what most people know as a soldering iron. But we have two very special units - one is the Nano Station for which we have the smallest tips in the market, we get down to .1 millimeter tip size and the main difference is you can get to .1 millimeters of diameter on the other soldering irons but these ones are very thin and the tool is very ergonomic, so it makes it really easy to rework one component without burning the one next to it, and very easy to see under the microscope as well.
Apart from soldering equipment, we have rework equipment so this is the hot air station and there are many different options in the market, right? What we have, what we always try to deliver to our customers, is that you have more control. So our station comes with a thermocouple. So what you can do is you can set up soldering profiles so you can heat it up gradually and control the temperature. We also have what we call a protection and regulation mode. So you can stick these to any critical component, set a temperature, and make sure it doesn't go over that temperature and you don't overheat that component.
Normally, as you said, traditionally people will use a wet sponge that will create a thermal shock to the tip, that's really bad for it. JBC doesn't recommend that. Or they will use the brass wool. The problem with the brass wool is that you get splashes, you drag it out, or if you clean on the same spot it takes more time. And companies dealing with FOD issues will have a problem with that. What we came out with is these nice tiny tip cleaner that has two brushes inside and a sensor so it detects when you insert the tool and it starts automatically spinning. It takes just one second, in and out, to clean the tip. It keeps everything inside and it keeps it clean fast. It's going to extend the life of the tip because it's not as aggressive with the tip, it just takes one second to clean it and there won't be any FOD issues.
So, there are two very important things to be able to always take care of the temperature concern. One is the heating system. And the other is how powerful the unit is. With cheap irons you might get about 50 watts, 60 watts, 80 watts, with our entry line unit, you have 135 watts. And thanks to our heating system where we just heat from the very top of the tip we're really good on keeping that temperature constant and reaching our temperature really fast. As you can see, if I lift the tool from this stand, it just takes about three seconds to heat up and reach desired temperature.