"We see it as our social responsibility to support fair tin mining"

W. Kolb Fertigungstechnik GmbH has already been a permanent member of Stannol's customer base since 2019. The Willich-based company, which counts around 180 employees, has been manufacturing electronic assemblies for customers from a wide range of industries for about 30 years. In spring 2022, Kolb switched its entire THT production to Stannol's sustainable greenconnect range. Mike Prince works in production engineering at Kolb. In this interview, he explains how the change from conventional solders to greenconnect solders and fluxes worked out.

 

How did you become aware of greenconnect?

M. Prince: Quite classically through our contact person at Stannol, who introduced us to the products and was able to enthuse us immediately. At that time, we had already been dealing with the issue of sustainability for some time and asked ourselves how we could reduce our carbon footprint, for example. Stannol's greenconnect products were therefore a good starting point for us.

Why did you decide to switch to greenconnect? What do you expect from the change?

M. Prince: Our plan is to use production materials in the future whose manufacture applies sustainability principles that go beyond the legal minimum. For us, this means using resources responsibly and in moderation, avoiding waste and minimising our carbon footprint. But the origin of the raw materials used is also important to us. Tin mining in particular is characterised by child labour, a poor level of occupational health and safety and a massive lack of transparency. We therefore see it as our social responsibility to support fair tin mining – and to use products that guarantee a compatible approach to people and the environment.

Which greenconnect products are currently in use?

M. Prince: We started at the end of 2021 with the Fairtin solder wire Kristall 611, which we use for hand soldering. It was not only the fair origin of the solder that convinced us, but also the high quality: flux splashes are extremely minimised with Kristall 611, which leads to very good soldering results. We then decided to switch the entire production to greenconnect in order to use the full sustainability potential for us. Fairtin solid solder wire for our selective soldering system and Fairtin bar solder for the wave soldering system followed. In March 2022, the flux EF350 Bio was added to complete the overall package.

How did the change-over work out in production?

M. Prince: It went smoothly, the products convinced us right from the start. The composition of the EF 350 Bio flux, for example, is almost identical to that of the conventional flux. Therefore, we could simply exchange the flux – without having to change the process parameters. We did carry out a test run in advance as a precaution, but there were no real concerns during the change. After all, the experience we have had with Stannol products so far has been consistently positive. In addition, we have enjoyed a trusting and reliable cooperation with the sales department for many years.

Mike Prince was interviewed by Simone Bauer.