MAKING LED BULBS IN USA! SL1 LED Headlight Bulbs

Hey guys, Paul with Diode Dynamics.

And today I'm going to show you how we make our SL1 LED Headlight Bulbs right here in St.

Louis, Missouri.

We're proud to be the only U.

S.

based manufacturer of these types of products.

Some will say they do some assembly, but it's not quite everything you'll see here today.

Now like all of our products, the SL1 starts with a circuit board.

So, for the SL1 LEDs, we actually use a pretty unique board.

This is a full copper core.

So the entire thing is made of pure copper, and the LED connections are going to connect the LED directly to that core.

So something called "direct solder", it makes a big difference with the thermal performance.

We've got another video on that if you want to check it out further.

But we've got to grab our copper boards, as well as our control driver boards, and then we're going to grab some components.

So of course the SL1 uses about 40-50 different electrical components, but we carry all kinds of stuff for the different products we make.

Resistors, capacitors, we've got LED driver ICs.

And of course a whole lot of LEDs.

We stock anywhere from two to three million LEDs at any given time, so we're ready to produce what we need to.

So, we've got to grab the components, we're going to head over to our SMT line for assembly.

So to get started with assembly, we first got to put solder on the circuit boards so that we can put components on it.

You can see here we've got all of these stencils, and each one is going to be for different circuit board.

So this one's for our SL1 LED driver.

We've got one loaded up here and we're gonna put this in the machine and it's going to print the solder to the circuit board.

Now this machine basically works just like making t-shirts.

It's going to align everything visually to make sure everything's aligned, and then it's going to spread across with the stencil.

And push that solder paste to the circuit board.

So it's just that fast; only takes a couple of seconds.

And we've got our circuit board now that has the solder paste directly applied to each one of those individual pads.

So the next step of the process is our pick and place machine.

So is going to take that bare circuit board and put the components onto it.

Now these components can be really, really tiny, almost you can't even see.

So they're all loaded up here on reels, for handling, and it's going to pull those off the reels and place them on the circuit board.

Now this is a new Europlacer machine.

It's got a lot of great quality features.

For example, we can test electrically each component before it's placed, to make sure the correct component is loaded onto the correct feeder and reel.

So , a pretty smart machine, and allows us to start with really high quality standards.

Now when those circuit boards are all loaded up with components, they're going to come out to this inspection conveyor here.

With the nice light, we can check to make sure everything looks good and then we'll throw it right into our reflow oven.

So, this is a pretty big oven.

It's not too much different than the convection oven at your house, but it's divided up into about 10 sections.

So we're going to heat up the board to a plateau, spike it up, to create that solder reflow and bond all the components, and then it's just going to cool down slowly and come out at the end as a finished circuit board.

Now with the circuit board totally reflowed, and everything ready to go, the last step for SMT department is going to be inspecting this to make sure it works exactly as we expect.

We don't want any bad boards going into assembly.

So to do that, we've got our AOI (automated optical inspection), and it's gonna use a number of cameras and different types of color, to inspect each solder joint and also make sure each component is in the correct position.

That way we can ensure again the quality is 100% every step of the process.

So to do this, we're just going to load it in from the side, and then the machine's going to check out every one of those components on the board.

And that's going to spit out a report to us and we can go ahead and correct anything that it might see as a potential failure on that board.

So now we've got our circuit boards 100% quality tested, and we're going to start making it look like a real bulb over in assembly.

So as you can see, we're no longer on that white ESD tile, and that's because we're in our assembly area here at Diode Dynamics.

So as you can see, we've got different cells for each of the products we make.

For the SL1, we're actually going to assemble the drivers first, so let's take a look.

So our driver team is responsible for turning one circuit board into a sub-assembly here, that's encapsulated with that circuit board and then has our full wiring harness attached ready to go into that bulb.

So we've got all kinds of components here including a ton of Sunon MagLev fans.

We've got our customized wire harnesses, and with these you can see we've got over-molds, as well, to provide strain relief.

Again, quality being the top focus.

As part of that, we got to get that encapsulation.

So when they're ready to go, we're going to move over to our potting area here.

This is called "potting", you basically just fill it up with a very specific glue.

It's going to fill these up, and put them on cookie racks here.

Not for cookies, they are for bulbs.

So when those are cured, it'll be time to go ahead and start the assembly.

So we've got our cured driver here, totally potted.

The next step is connecting our LED board.

Again, using that factory-style connector to ensure quality.

And these guys are going to be putting this into our castings.

Now these castings have a thermal transfer material applied.

Again, no grease or anything.

This is really highly efficient thermal transfer material and we're going to have that prepped and ready to go.

Now we're finally ready to assemble the actual bulb.

The first step is sandwiching the LEDs between those two castings.

We're going to secure those together, and then snap them into our plastics.

You know, each one of these parts has been custom designed, so it all fits together really well.

Then we're gonna put the collar on the bulb, depending on the size.

Of course, we have to get the input connector and the collar the same, to make sure that we're delivering the exact size that you need.

We're going to test that out to make sure that the right collar is on there.

To do that, we've got this nice unique test box that we've assembled and we're going to have a cut out for each size.

This is pretty slick.

Every time the bulb is put in there, if it's not the right size, it won't light up.

There's a little switch in there that will light it up when it's fully inserted with the correct collar size.

So again, all of these 'poke-a-yolk' fixtures and other quality controls in place, to make sure that when the bulb is fully assembled, it's exactly what you purchased.

The last step is gonna be packaging everything up.

We of course got our nice colored boxes, as well as custom blow-molded inserts, so everything stays nice and secure on its way to you.

We've also got instructions with every kit showing you how to rotate that collar if you need to.

Everything you need to know to install your bulbs.

And with that, we've got yet another set of SL1 LED headlights completed, fully assembled here in St.

Louis, Missouri.

We're proud to be making these bulbs here, and we appreciate your support.

If you have questions about the assembly process or these bulbs, please feel free to contact us.

Thanks for watching.

.

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