Automation of Preheat Processes


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Automation of Preheat Processes


Prodrive Technologies is a developer and manufacturer of world-class electronics. It comprises over 1300 employees and is one of the fastest growing companies in Europe. Our organization is mostly based on two groups: Development and Operations. The Development department is oriented at developing first-class electronic, mechanic and software solutions. The operations department is responsible for production, assembly, testing and life-cycle-management of electronic products and systems in the range of 1 to more than a million pieces per year.

Within the operations department, The PCBA (Printed Circuit Board Assembly) department is oriented at producing PCB’s using a variety of processes to assemble and test both Surface Mount and Through Hole Technologies. Within PCBA, innovating our processes with the focus on quality, automation and production times is a constant and never ending challenge! For Through Hole Technology, the selective wave process is used to selectively solder components on PCB’s. One of the many important parameters to create a good solder connection is the preheating the PCB’s to a sufficient temperature to reduce the thermal shock during the soldering process and to increase the wettability of the solder alloy.


Determining the correct preheat settings is a product specific characteristic, and is currently measured manually using a data logger system with thermocouples. Manually measuring and fine-tuning every product is a time consuming process which needs to be done on the production lines, reducing the productivity of the production lines.

The preferred way would be to design a model or calculation tool to determine the needed preheat parameters. In order to achieve this, the heat transfer of the preheat modules needs to be characterized and tested. With these heat transfer values, a model needs to be designed that is able to calculate through different PCB’s/material compositions. This model needs to be tested thoroughly on the actual machines to determine the accuracy.  


  • Characterization of the heat transfer values within the used preheat modules
  • Offline model or tool to determine the needed preheat settings
  • Verification of this model by testing on the machines


Important note: all our graduation assignments are dependent on time. Please see them as an example of the many great things you can do at Prodrive Technologies. If you have the same passion for technology as we do, we always have an assignment for you!


Benefits as a student

Next to the benefits which are true for every Prodriver that are listed below, some special benefits must be highlighted for students. First of all you will be treated as a real Prodriver. Your opinion and ideas will be heard and treated as full. Next to this you will get the chance to work with colleagues with a very high level of knowledge in their field and get the chance to use our world class lab and production facilities for your graduation assignment.





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