Prime the Pumps! – Pump-kin Meter Mix Case Study
When a challenge presents itself in electronics assembly, you have two options – carry out the standard procedure that’s been accepted, or aim to improve the standard through engineering expertise. Arctos recently found itself at these crossroads and chose to do better for their customer.
One of our customers needed a specific epoxy solution for the potting of their electronic components. Electronics potting is a manufacturing process where a completed electric assembly, such as a circuit board, is submerged by a compound material to protect it against environmental hazards. These hazards include shock and vibration, moisture, or corrosive materials that threaten to render the assembly nonfunctional.
These potting compound materials form an epoxy resin that provides electric insulation, permanently protecting the inner workings of an electronics assembly. Our customer provided us with the specific epoxy mixture that was perfect for their product, but it required a large batch to achieve the necessary mix ratio.
The standard for large batch epoxy resin mixtures is to mix the solution by hand to accommodate the larger containers needed to achieve the correct ratio, but mixing large batches risks the repeatability of creating the same quality resin and thus the quality of the product’s potting and encapsulation. Without machine precision maintaining exact ratios, human error could compromise the integrity of the build to potential environmental threats. We’re always looking to improve processes and make standard procedures better, so instead of accepting the hand-mix solution, Arctos rose to the challenge to find a better way.
The Pump-kin Meter Mix Machine
The Pump-kin Meter Mix Machine is an epoxy pump used for meter mixing and dispensing high quality potting material for smaller builds. Epoxy mixtures are made of two chemical components mixed at precise specifications to ensure the correct bonding agent. The Pump-kin Meter Mix Machine has a two gallon reservoir for storing these chemical components and a nozzle system that pumps in the specified ratios every time, no matter how much or how little is needed per unit.
The main difference from a hand mixed solution, as what would be needed for Arctos’ customer large batch potting material, is the guarantee that the ratios are the same for every unit. With hand mixed solutions, you need to calculate the levels of each compound per unit to ensure the ratio is being maintained so that the compound will perform as intended. This takes more time per unit and is not sustainable or repeatable for larger orders.
The Pump-kin Meter Mix Machine maintains these levels for you, freeing up the headspace and the risk factor involved with the hand-mixed solution. Even partial strokes have the correct ratio, and you never have to make more compound than needed – you can pump only what you need without the need for per-unit calculations.
This resulted in less material costs for the customer and allowed for more potting per batch of epoxy mixture thus making the process more efficient overall.
How Arctos Uses the Pump-kin Meter Mix Machine
With the Pump-kin Meter Mix Machine, our customer who required a custom, large-batch resin mixture no longer required hand-mixed batches, thus speeding up their supply chain. Their custom resin could be mixed through the Pump-kin and dispensed in small enough quantities for their smaller builds, allowing more assemblies to be completed in a smaller amount of time.
While most would be happy with a more efficient process, the experts at Arctos could not leave it at that. As they continued to use the Pump-kin – making sure that the customers’ compound was being mixed at the correct ratio – they discovered a much easier to mix ratio requiring much less of the compound mixture. This resulted in less material costs for the customer and allowed for more potting per batch of epoxy mixture thus making the process more efficient overall.
Arctos – Going Further to Ensure the Best Quality Assemblies
While the nozzle system of the Pump-kin is designed to ensure the correct and precise ratio every time the compound is pumped, residue builds up in the feedline from the reservoir tank to the dispensing nozzle through consistent use. This is one of the challenges in using the Pump-kin that Arctos is equipped to meet.
Arctos performs routine maintenance on our pumps to ensure all of our assembly machines work with precision and accuracy every time. There are ‘set it and forget it’ solutions at Arctos. Every batch and every order undergoes an extensive quality check to ensure you get exactly what you ordered – every time.
While machines make the process easier, nothing replaces a well-trained, expert eye when it comes to quality assurance – so with Arctos, you get machine precision with expert quality assurance.