Informational Q & A  

Apollo Seiko: Accomplishing the Soldering of Nitinol Alloy

Q: What is it that Apollo Seiko does?

A: Apollo Seiko was actually the first company to automate the soldering process 50 years ago. We now offer a variety of affordable selective soldering solutions that are suitable for most soldering applications. Our technologies have grown to include iron tip, laser, ceramic sleeve and selective flow. We have also advanced beyond soldering and can provide solutions for related tasks such as board cutting, screw tightening, fluid/ adhesive dispensing, and more.

Q: Where do you see the most market growth for yourselves?

A: Recently we have had much success in the medical industry. Our laser soldering systems have become popular because they are able to provide a precise and repeatable process for nano-sized components. We also have had recent success in soldering components containing Nitinol.

Q: What is Nitinol and why is it so popular?

A: Nitinol has become the alloy of choice involved in the manufacturing of stents, catheters, heart valve replacements, as well as other endoscopic instruments. It is prevalent because of its shape memory and super elastic characteristics.

Q: How exactly has soldering provided this unique solution?

A: When it comes to assembly of Nitinol components traditional bonding methods just don’t cut it. High heat processes, such as welding, reduce the memory characteristics of the alloy. This makes considerably lower temperature soldering the method of choice. Another major issue is the intrinsic titanium-oxide-rich exterior layer of the alloy that hinders access and bonding ability for the molten solder. Fortunately, advances in flux formulas have yielded both flux and solder paste products that are able to remove the surface oxides and wet the solder to the surface. Here at Apollo Seiko we have experienced great success using these special flux products to attach Nitinol catheter wires to stainless steel or platinum components. We are eager to continue this success with similar applications.

Q: How do companies with similar applications find out if your solutions will work for them?

A: We offer a no-charge application evaluation program. Companies will send us samples of their project and our engineering team then reviews the project and provides a solution.

Please contact us if you have any questions about this process or our technology. If you have a Nitinol application that you would like tested on one of our systems please consider our no-charge, application evaluation program.