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Surface mount assembly (SMT) has a crucial role to try out inside the Awesome Introduction (NPI) process for electronics manufacturing.

The high degree of automation inside the SMT methodology comes with a selection of advantages, from automatic correction of errors, to simpler and faster assembly, better mechanical performance, increased production rates and reduced labour costs.

The SMT assembly process on an electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider could be separated into four key stages:

Solder Paste Printing
Pick and put
Oven Profiling
Automated Optical Inspection (AOI)
Depending on the complexity in the design, or your own outsourcing strategy, your product or service could move across these processes consequently, or else you might find that you just omit a stride or two.

We would like to highlight the actual attributes, and the vital importance, with the solder paste printing process on your NPI.

Attempting to your specifications
Step one to your EMS provider may be to analyse the pcb (PCB) data which is specific on your order, to make sure that they select the required stencil thickness as well as the most suitable material.

Solder paste printing is the most common method of applying solder paste with a PCB. Accurate solder paste application is hugely important in avoiding assembly defects which could possess a knock on effect further down the production process. So it is vital that key stage is correctly managed and controlled from your EMS partner.

Solder paste it's essentially powdered solder that is suspended within a thick medium called flux. The flux behaves as a kind of temporary adhesive, holding the ingredients available before the soldering process begins. Solder paste is applied for the PCB by using a stencil (generally metal, but occasionally nickel,) then after the solder is melted it forms an electrical/mechanical connection.

The thickness from the stencil 's what determines the total number of solder applied. For many projects it may well be also necessary to have a lot of thicknesses in various areas from the one stencil (often referred to as a multi-level stencil).

Another primary factor to take into consideration inside the solder printing process is paste release. The right sort of solder paste ought to be selected in relation to the size of the apertures (or holes) inside the stencil. In the event the apertures are very small, as an example, then this solder paste could possibly be very likely to sticking with the stencil rather than adhering correctly for the PCB.

Controlling the rate of paste release however can be managed, either start by making changes to the kind of the aperture or by reduction of the thickness in the stencil.

The solder paste that is utilized may also influence on the ultimate print quality, therefore it is crucial that you find the appropriate combination of solder sphere size and alloy for the project, and to make sure it is mixed on the correct consistency before use.

Ensuring quality
When the stencil has been designed along with your EMS partner is ready to generate the first PCB, they are going to next want to consider machine settings.

Put simply, the flatter you can preserve the PCB over the printing process, the better the outcome will likely be. So by fully supporting the PCB in the printing stage,either using automated tooling pins or having a dedicated support plate, your EMS provider can eliminate the potential for any defects including poor paste deposit or smudging.

You'll want to think about the speed and pressure of the squeegees during the printing process. One solution is usually to get one speed to the solder paste but to possess varying numbers of pressure, depending on the unique specifications of the PCB along with the entire squeegee.

Cleaning the stencils, both ahead of and throughout production, may also be essential in ensuring quality control. Many automatic printing machines have a very system that can be set to completely clean the stencil after having a fixed variety of prints which assists to prevent smudging, and prevents any blockages of the apertures.

Finally too, the printers really should have a built-in inspection system (for example Hawk-Eye optical inspection) which may be preset to watch the use of paste over the whole PCB after printing.

The solder paste printing process can be a precise and detailed the one which will have a significant part to learn in the ultimate success of the new service. And, as this blog post highlights, a huge amount of detailed effort is planning to happen under the surface before your EMS partner solders the 1st electronic component to a board.




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