Fully-Automatic Pollen Monitor Provides Relief For Allergy Sufferers

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With a focus on a multitude of technologies, Helmut Hund GmbH provides scientific and technical innovations by the support of a reflow soldering system 

Whenever the weather gets warmer, with shrubs, trees and flowers starting to bloom, millions of people suffering from allergy find their eyes begin to itch and their noses to run. In order to be able to simply enjoy the spring days, allergy sufferers have to rely on up-to-date information on pollen counts – be it to allow them to adapt their daily medication accordingly or plan outdoor activities.

This is where the latest development from Helmut Hund GmbH, based in Wetzlar, Germany, provides relief. The latest product from Hund, the BAA 500 pollen monitor has been developed over many years until it reached series-production readiness, together with the Fraunhofer-Institute FIT, Sankt Augustin and ITEM Hanover.

How it works

The electronic measuring equipment extracts pollen fully automatically from the ambient air it draws in, deposits it on special sample carriers and carries out analysis under an automatic light optical microscope with connected image processing. This leads to a highly-precise determination of the allergy-relevant pollen in real-time (currently 38 different types of pollen have been recognised), regardless of temperature and time of year, without human intervention in the recognition process, data retrieval 24×7 using internet and app.

In this way, those suffering from allergies receive information in real-time so that they can plan their daily routines. In addition to the Wetzlar site, information on pollen count can also be called up for other locations such as Berlin, Munich, Wiesbaden or Leipzig, further pollen monitors are in planning. Just recently, an electronic pollen information net (ePIN) based on the HUND pollen monitors was commissioned in Bavaria. One of the eight pollen monitors erected in Bavaria is located very close to Ersa in Wertheim.

Both in this “pollen business” and in the company’s core business, the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) is supported by Ersa as a system supplier with high-performance soldering technology from selective to reflow and soldering tools.

Old foundations

The origins of Helmut Hund GmbH go back to 1967 when the then 17-year-old Helmut Hund founded his company in Wetzlar. The first product back then was a patented ICL for electric motors. Over the years, the product range changed, becoming significantly more complex. 

In keeping with the company claim “We bring technologies together”, HUND brings technical components from the areas of optics, fibre optics and light engineering and plastics technology together with high-performance, durable modules and equipment to customer specifications. The main focus, however, is on what is known as the OEM business, the production of modules for system solutions in the areas of medical technology, sensor systems, automation and environmental engineering. 

Initial contact with Ersa 

The first contact between Helmut Hund GmbH and Ersa GmbH came about in the mid-1990s with the purchase of a wave soldering machine which, over 25 years later, is still in reliable use for small series and miniseries production. In 2012, the pressing question was whether to upgrade the wave soldering system or purchase a new selective soldering machine? 

Following a thorough examination of both technologies, the ultimate decision was in favour of the latter – more specifically an Ersa VERSAFLOW 3/45 selective soldering system. “Due to the throughput it offers, we decided on the VERSAFLOW 3/45 with two pots. This allows us to process products with the greatest possible speed,” reports Alexander Müller, Head of Production Electronics. As a variety of soldering tools can be mounted on the pots of the miniwave soldering system, a high level of flexibility with low cycle time is guaranteed. In this way, both extremely delicate double-sided modules can be processed and surface solutions executed.

At the end of last year, a further soldering equipment decision had to be taken. Within the investment planning framework, the existing and somewhat outdated reflow soldering system was to be replaced with a new model. Thanks to the positive experience with the already-installed Ersa machinery, Hund GmbH also involved Ersa GmbH in this decision-making process. The focus of the testing was, on the one hand, on the evaluation of just how the Ersa system had developed further in technological terms by comparison with the previous model and, on the other, the extent to which the processes of the relevant reflow system matched the products planned for it. 

At the very top of the list of requirements was the very important issue of traceability, which is of major significance in medical technology in particular. “Up to then, we had perceived Ersa as a strong manufacturer, primarily in the areas of selective and wave soldering. We have to admit that we were more than very positively surprised when the requirements we make of a reflow soldering system were best met by the Ersa HOTFLOW 4/14,” commented the Process Technology Department at HUND.

About the Ersa HOTFLOW 4/14

The Ersa HOTFLOW 4/14 is a high-end reflow soldering system with a process length of 4.4 m, divided into 14 heating zones and 3 cooling zones. Like all systems of the HOTFLOW 4 series, it stands for high energy efficiency and increased throughput with the known high soldering quality and process stability. The completely new, intelligent nitrogen control reduces consumption by 20 per cent. Also, the efficient blower motors ensure total energy savings of more than 25 per cent.

The HOTFLOW 4/14 also scores high in terms of productivity to footprint ratio. Thanks to the dual and triple track conveyor options, throughput can be significantly increased without increasing space requirements. Up to three differently adjustable conveyor speeds ensure maximum flexibility in production. The proven pin-and-chain conveyor with automatically step-less adjustable centre support transports even demanding products safely through the system. With the patented Grip conveyor it is also possible to process flexible printed boards.

Ersa HOTFLOW 4/14

A further highlight of the HOTFLOW 4 is the optionally available residue terminator for thermal process gas cleaning. The hot process gases are extracted directly