Trainee Project: How Do You Build a Soldering Tip Measuring Device?

From Arno Schaumburg (guest post) on July 24, 2012 in Category Careers with 0 Comments
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What di I do here, and more importantly, how do I do it?
Upon returning from the last department I worked in, I was back to the familiar trainee workshop. My task here was to build a device for measuring the temperature of a soldering iron tip for use in the electronics production. Ugh – the name alone is a tongue twister, and what is this BASCOM thing with which I am supposed to write the software? I had never done computer programming before. So to start, I constructed the printed circuit board and connected the display, wrote the program and installed it… successfully. “Hallo Welt” could be read on the display, meaning this little black component with all its connections actually understood what I wanted it to do. What a great feeling! Everything is doable, everything is achievable. 🙂

Adjustments based on Client’s Needs
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At the soldering you need intuition.

Now it’s about planning. What the “client” (Production department) wants and how I can make that happen. Draw up a draft, throw it away, expand the printed circuit board, program it, test it, ponder, program and test it again and, finally, the display reads 350°C. I felt as though I was running a marathon and the finish line was in sight. Another trainee connected my mess of cables to the printed circuit board as the conductors on this freshly-produced printed circuit board still glistened under the lamp light of my work space.

A happy End…

Now off to the trainee workshop for industry mechanics, where the retainer for my temperature sensor was made. I was very impressed by the precision of their work. Us electricians could have never done it alone. The software worked and the prototype was finished, the paperwork was all done and three months of work had been successful. It’s astounding what we achieved through teamwork and we are thankful for all the advice and tips we received from all our colleagues who helped with this project. A device for measuring the temperature of a soldering tip in full operation.

Project Data
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Arno builts a Soldering Tip Measuring Device.

The project was ordered by Production Services, the project manager for the Electricians for Devices and Systems was trainer Björn Krah.
The device is designed to measure the temperature of the soldering iron tip while in use to an extremely accurate degree. This is important as the temperature has to remain within a very small range, according to SMA Railway’s largest client, Alstom. The temperature reading on the soldering station itself is not accurate enough for this purpose.
Other sufficiently accurate devices on the market would cost at least €200, meaning they can even be produced as part of an educational project in the trainee workshop at a profit.

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The Author

Arno Schaumburg (guest author)

Arno is a second-year trainee for “Electricians for Devices and Systems” and has just completed the first part of his final exams.

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