At Your Own Risk -- And Benefit

Imagine if your boss said to you, “Name one thing about our process heating equipment that you didn't notice right away, but that you wish you had.” Would your “one thing” be positive or negative? Could you name anything at all?

Reading “Jacketing Has Insulation Maker Covered,” a case history in this month's issue of Process Heating, prompted the question. The article makes the point that as long as a heating system can meet the process needs, the operator accepts the results as satisfactory. What the operator may forget is the higher energy bills he may be paying thereafter, not to mention limitations in temperature control as well as increases in scrap rates, downtime and repair costs.

The case history from Controls Southeast Inc., Charlotte, describes a retrofit of the piping system in an asphalt-handling operation at an insulation maker. For the insulation company, the decision to retrofit was driven not by a desire to improve the process, but by other process equipment changes. Yet the results show that there was room for improvement, and by extension, that their previous system, which they were satisfied with, perhaps shouldn't have satisfied them at all.

Also in this issue of Process Heating is “Steam's 'Roll' in Papermaking” by Mark Utzinger, Miura Boiler Inc., Wheeling, Ill. A paper corrugator uses as much -- or more -- steam as a brewery, refinery or textile mill, and steam heat is crucial for the production of high quality corrugated board. A constant temperature must be maintained throughout the manufacturing process to achieve perfectly produced corrugated that is durable, consistent and very flat. Utzinger describes advances in steam production that can help paper processors improve process efficiency.

Drying or curing of organic substrates, adhesives, encapsulants, underfills, inks or coatings is one of the most critical processes in the manufacturing or assembly of advanced, as well as mature, semiconductor packages. In “Curing: A Vital Step in IC Package Manufacturing,” Ty Fedak of TPS-Tiros, Tempe, Ariz., and Ronald J. Molnar of Packagemate Inc., Phoenix, look at the heating steps in IC package manufacturing with an eye toward improving the process. They note that if performed improperly, the curing process can often lead to downstream yield and reliability issues, if not rework costs and delays. Yet, this key process step is often neglected, abused or simply taken for granted as a risk-free or benign step in the total assembly flow. They advise that you take a fresh look at your curing processes to be sure you're not settling for less than you deserve.

If, after reading the articles in this issue, you decide some new process equipment is in order, we have a little help. “Clean Cure” is our annual Equipment Overview on Ovens, in which we have compiled all the data you need to find oven suppliers who can help you solve your processing problems. Or, use our “Oven Spec Sheet” to define your process, and then send it to equipment manufacturers who can help you develop the heating system that can solve your problems.

Linda Becker
Associate Publisher and Editor