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Reflow Profiling Management

Reflow Oven Automatic Profiling Explained

Shawn Hailstone - Friday, August 16, 2013

The KIC RPI reflow oven automatic profiling and  monitoring tool ensures all your PCBs a profiled within spec. and to the optimum profile 24 hours a day.

Thermocouples mounted in the reflow oven monitor the temperatures as the PCB travels through the reflow oven.
Comparing these temperatures with a profile created previously, the RPI software ensures the PCB is reflowed within the spec. required for the components and solder paste.

If for any reason the temperatures are outside the spec. the operator is alerted for corrective action to be taken.

A PWI score is given to each PCB, this score easily identifies how close the PCB was to the spec. during reflow, without needing to look at many figures and results.

The results are logged for each PCB for traceability.

X5 Reflow Profiler

Shawn Hailstone - Thursday, September 13, 2012



Robust and Compact Hardware

This X5 reflow profiler has new and improved hardware designed to withstand the roughest and toughest daily handling! The electronic circuitry is designed to tolerate a high level of voltage spikes that occasionally occur in some ovens and wave solder machines.

A TWO YEAR warranty on this reflow profiler provides confidence in the build quality.

The X5 reflow profiler is availalbe in 7, 9, and 12 channel versions using standard type K thermocouple connectors and uses standard AAA or recharageable batteries. Additionally you can power the X5 reflow profiler via the USB cable when connected to a computer. Get better data to precisely identify what is going on with each reflow profile and process in the factory.


Data Intelligence Software

The X5 reflow profiling software uses a modern, graphical interface that quickly and intuitively guides you through the task of reflow profiling. Manual prediction capability comes standard with the X5, allowing you to manually adjust and improve upon your process or oven setup. The Navigator PowerTM software feature automates process improvements and optimization for you and ships standard with the X5 reflow profiler.
Within seconds, the Navigator Power  will identify the single best reflow oven profile.

The X5 reflow profiler also comes standard with SPC charting software that helps reveal changes in the reflow profile over time.

The X5 hardware and software establish a new generation of reflow profiler to improve your production quality, productivity, and documentation.

Technical Specifications

System Accuracy: ±0.5C
Resolution: 0.1C
Internal Operating Temp: 0C to 85C
Sample Rate: 0.1 to 10 per second
Data Points: 224,640
PC Connection: USB 2.0 (Std-A/Mini-B)
Power Requirements: (3) AAA batteries or USB cable when connected to a computer
Radio Frequency (RF): 433.92MHz
Thermocouple Compatibility:
7, 9, 12-Channel Unit:
Type K, Standard

7-Channel Unit:
9-Channel Unit:
12-Channel Unit:

(L x W x H mm)
206.0 x 60.0 x 17.0
206.0 x 75.0 x 17.0
206.0 x 98.0 x 17.0

Thermal Shields: See Temperature Tolerance Table below for specifications


Accuracy bassed on factory calibration.

Temperature Tolerance Table (maximum endurance in minutes at specified temperature)
(Length x Width x Height)
150C 200C 250C 300C 350C
CoolTouch Stainless Steel Shield, 7CH 302.0 x 75.0 x 23.0 17.5 12.0 9.0 7.7 6.5
CoolTouch Stainless Steel Shield, 9CH 312.0 x 90.0 x 23.0 18.1 13.1 10.1 8.4 6.7
CoolTouch Stainless Steel Shield, 12CH 323.0 x 113.0 x 23.0 17.7 12.0 8.9 7.4 6.1

Computer Configuation

Minimum System Requirements

    Dual Core / 1 GHz Processor PC with 2 GB RAM
    2 GB available storage
    Video 1024 x 768 resolution / 16-bit
    1 available USB port (for data download)
    1 available USB port (for software key)
    Microsoft® Windows® XP, Vista, or 7. (32-bit or 64-bit)


Optimising your Thermal Profiling

Shawn Hailstone - Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The One-Best Process Set Up -- Automatically

KIC Navigator Screenshot

KIC’s powerful Navigator™ software is a system that automatically determines the single best oven recipe for every product. Once the initial profile is run, the Navigator evaluates billions of combinations of conveyor speeds and setpoint temperatures in less than a minute, so operators no longer need to set search parameters.

You give the Navigator your profile specs and the Navigator presents the process set up that will produce a profile centered in the process window, with the lowest Process Window Index™ (PWI). With the Navigator, an operator with limited process knowledge can find the optimal profile every time.

The Process Window Index

PWI Bullseye

Profiling Reduced to a Single Number
For precise ranking of profile performance, the KIC software uses the Process Window Index (PWI). The PWI measures the profile’s fit to the process window in a mathematical and objective manner by using a single number. This aids in optimizing the process by comparing and ranking alternative profiles in terms of their fit to the available process window. The lower the PWI, the more efficient and stable the process! (See the PWI data sheet for a detailed explanation)

Computer Configuation

Minimum System Requirements

    800 MHz Processor / 256 MB RAM1
    2 GB available storage (for product history)
    Video 1024 x 768 resolution / 16-bit
    1 available serial port or 1 available USB port with serial to USB adapter (for SlimKIC 2000 data download) -or- 1 available USB port (for KIC Explorer data download)
    1 available parallel port or USB port (for software key options)
    Microsoft® Windows® 2000, XP, Vista, or 7. (32-bit or 64-bit)
1 When KIC Software is running on a computer with other applications, a faster CPU and more RAM may be required.

MVP Reflow Profile Check Tool

Shawn Hailstone - Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spot checking your reflow profile without sacrificing a PCB

Program the KIC MVP™ fixture by running a single profile on your PCB. Subsequent profile runs only require the use of the MVP fixture without the production board. The single programming run eliminates the need to sacrifice your PCB.

The reflow profile from the fixture matches the reflow profile on the PCB

Profiling fixtures designed to periodically check changes in the reflow oven have been used for many years. The difficulty has always been in relating the data from a fixture to what is actually happening on the production boards. KIC’s patented sensor technology enables the fixture to provide profile measurements that accurately represent the relevant PCB. Simply attach TCs to the critical components on the PCB and clip it onto the MVP for an initial programming run. Subsequent profile runs with the MVP fixture no longer require the use of the PCB, yet the MVP will accurately measure the profile on the production board. The profile displayed by the fixture is the same profile that the PCB would have experienced in the oven at that time.

Thermocouple Preparation

Shawn Hailstone - Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It is important to prepare your Thermocouple correctly. If the wires contact each other near the bead this can cause spikes on the reflow profile graph altering the results.

Component Specific Specs

Shawn Hailstone - Wednesday, March 21, 2012

When Reflowing sensitive components it can be difficult to create a suitable reflow profile.

With the KIC software it is possible to enter the Component Specific Specs and the KIC software will suggest the best settings for your reflow oven, ensuring the sensitive components are not at risk.

Reflow profiling made easy!

How To Attach Thermocouples to a PCB

Shawn Hailstone - Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The most popular and recommended method of attaching thermocouples to a PCB is by using Thermocouple Attachment Tape.


Shawn Hailstone - Friday, March 09, 2012

A thermal profile provides the time vs. temperature information on a part going through the thermal process. The job of any manufacturer is to make sure that this thermal profile accommodates the relevant thermal process. The Process Window Index (PWI) measures how well the profile fits the process window. It characterizes this relationship with a single number!

This method displays the results from a reflow profiler or data logger in a simply way, a single number showing if the reflow profile is in spec.

Due to the complexity of both the thermal profile and the process window, it typically is not easy to identify whether the process is in spec, much less how deep in spec the profile is. That is until you use the powerful and exceptionally simple PWI concept:

    A PWI number of 100 and above means that your reflow profile is out of spec
    A PWI of less than 100 signifies an in-spec reflow profile
    The lower the number, the closer to the center of the process window

Think of it as the Richter scale of your process. A single number provides all you need to know. It enjoys the following benefits:

    Transcends language barriers
    Is equipment and personnel independent
    Instant analysis
    Forms the foundation for process optimization

Another benefit, as modern electronics have increased in complexity and factories strive to produce the required quality in volume, simply setting up your thermal process in spec is no longer adequate. The process needs to be deep in spec in order to accommodate the natural drift that is inherent in any process over time. The PWI concept characterizes each reflow profile in terms of how close it is to the center – the sweet spot – of the process window. This means that it automatically ranks alternative reflow profiles. Whether you have two or two million alternative process setups for your application, the PWI number will immediately alert you to the very best reflow oven setup.

When combining KIC’s extremely accurate process simulation with the speed of modern computers, you arrive at the ability to select the best reflow oven recipe to produce a process in the “sweet spot” of your process window – in seconds!

Calculating the PWI

The PWI for a complete set of reflow profile statistics is calculated as the worst case (highest number) in the set of statistics. For example: if you run a reflow profile with three thermocouples and four profile statistics are logged for each thermocouple, then there will be a set of 12 statistics for that reflow profile. The PWI will be the worst case (highest number expressed as a percentage) in that set of reflow profile statistics.

The PWI is calculated using a formula that includes all statistics for all thermocouples. The formula for the PWI is calculated as follows:

    i=1 to N (number of thermocouples)
    j=1 to M (number of statistics per thermocouple)
    measured_value[i,j]=the [i,j]th statistic's value
    average_limits[i,j]=the average of the [i,j]th statistic’s high and low limits
    range[i,j]=the [i,j]th statistic’s high limit minus the low limit

Thus, the PWI is the worst case reflow profile statistic (maximum, or highest percentage of the process window used), and all other values are less.