Solderstar, a leading specialist manufacturer in the design and development of thermal profiling equipment, is celebrating its 20th year in business. This month marks two successful decades of investment, growth, and commitment to offering the electronics manufacturing industry the most innovative equipment on the market.
Solderstar was formed in 2002 when Electronic Engineers and lifelong friends Mark Stansfield and Pat McWiggin saw the worldwide move towards lead-free soldering in response to the EU WEEE (Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment) legislation.
Combining their expertise in engineering software development and many years in hardware and firmware design, Mark and Pat used their electronic manufacturing knowledge and skillsets to design and manufacture their first profiling solution.
“Initially, we targeted smaller manufacturers, who generally lacked engineering resources, but faced significant challenges in moving over production to the new alloys,” said Pat, Solderstar Technical Director.
“Higher process temperatures with lead-free production necessitated better control of the reflow process and mandated ongoing process control to avoid damage to components during reflow and subsequent costly reliability issues in the field.
“Manufacturers who needed to assess the capabilities of their existing ovens and potentially evaluate new ones clearly had an increased need for tools for both process setup and ongoing monitoring. Temperature profiling was about to become much more important, and this is where Solderstar came in.”
Solderstar’s first system, the 4 and 6 channel Neptune dataloggers, were welcomed by the industry looking for a reliable solution to temperature profiling. Since the launch of the Neptune 20 years ago, the company has developed many innovative products used in Wave, Selective and Vapour soldering processes worldwide.
Mark Stansfield, Managing Director at Solderstar, said: “We started with a philosophy that still exists today. Solderstar systems should be robust, reliable, accurate and most importantly easy to use with minimal training. Every feature you see in Solderstar products is there for a reason, with the sole aim to help engineers efficiently perform the day-to-day task of maintaining their soldering machines.
“We have dedicated ourselves to 20 years of product innovation, design and manufacture of thermal profiling systems that offer process improvements and efficiencies. By listening to our customers and demonstrating agility in supporting their developing requirements, we have built up a reputation as a leader in the field.
“Solderstar remains committed to continuing to deliver excellence in thermal profiling solutions. We look forward to building on the foundations which have been made over the last two decades.”
Over the years, the company’s portfolio has evolved with many innovative systems added to meet the needs of the ever-changing electronic manufacturing landscape. Solderstar’s latest product is the SLX thermal profiler launched last year. Designed with the capability to enhance profile information, and with additional sensors to measure new process parameters, the datalogger requires no measurement setup making the process of reliable data capture quick and easy.
With new thermal profiling solutions and software in the pipeline, Solderstar’s product offering will continue to grow.
Solderstar History at a Glance
2002 – Solderstar was established.
2002 – The 4 and 6 channel Neptune dataloggers were launched. The systems had class leading thermal protection, accuracy and were extremely robust and reliable. Many early systems are still in regular use to this day!
2004 - The first evolution of the Solderstar SL datalogger was introduced with the SmartLink interface. Uniquely, it could be used on both reflow and wave soldering processes, boasting 16 measurement channels.
2005 - The Waveshuttle PRO fixture was launched allowing a temperature profile, wave height and other key wave soldering contact parameters to be measured in a single pass.
2007 – The Solderstar APS – Automatic Profiling System for reflow ovens was introduced
2008 – The DeltaPRObe reflow oven verification fixture was launched, with unique configurable thermal sensors and process adjustability.
2010 - Solderstar technical and calibration facility in Germany is established
2011 - An innovative heatshield was introduced for vapour phase soldering
2012 - The world’s first dedicated instruments for selective soldering process setup and control.
2015 - Autoseeker was added to the portfolio. A powerful software optimization tool for reflow ovens capturing and optimizing the profile for reduced power, process window or throughput.
2016 - Solderstar LLC – North American office opens in Clearwater, Florida.
2019 - Solderstar VP Nano system is introduced for use on the latest vacuum vapour phase machines. It has been adopted as the standard system by many of the world leading vapour phase machine manufacturers.
2021 - Solderstar SLX zero set-up thermal profiler is introduced