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Section 1:

Solder Reflow Basics


applied and the components are placed on
Introduction the board, the only way to create a
functioning circuit board is an effective
Electronics assembly is the general term for solder reflow process.
joining electrical components to printed
circuit boards (PCB). Surface mount
technology (SMT) is the electronics
assembly process where electrical
component leads are joined to the PCB via
individual pad connections located on the
board surface.

The basic SMT process consists of the


following steps:

1. Solder paste is applied to the PCB using


a screen printer. Stencils designed with
holes over individual pads control the A high-volume SMT assembly line.
solder application to the board.
2. Electronic components are positioned on Reflow Know-How: Prevent and Resolve
the PCB using placement equipment
SMT Process Problems
(pick-and-place machines, chip shooters,
etc.). Component leads are placed in
direct contact with the solder-pasted The reflow oven is the key to the soldering
pads. process. Properly working ovens should be
3. The solder paste is heated until liquidus ” invisible„ to line operators. Yet if process
(reflowed) then cooled until the solder problems occur during board production, the
hardens and creates permanent reflow oven is often the first place
interconnection between the component manufacturing engineers look to find
leads and the PCB. This process is answers. Knowing the reflow process and
performed in a SOLDER REFLOW ways the oven effects soldering results is
OVEN. critical to consistent SMT production.
4. After reflow, the assembled circuit
board can be cleaned, tested or
The purpose of the Reflow Technology
assembled into a final product.
Handbook is to explain the reflow process
in a way that answers basic soldering
High-volume SMT lines use automated
questions. The handbook also helps qualify
equipment to perform these steps. These
the performance factors you should consider
lines can typically produce a completed
to find a reflow oven to best suit your
circuit board in less than 20 seconds, with
process needs.
placement machines that can position
upwards of 40,000 components per hour on
the PCB. However, once the solder paste is

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
without going through a ” pasty„ stage. This
Solder Alloys is called the eutectic temperature.
The vast majority of electronic
When eutectic tin/lead is heated to a
interconnections are accomplished with tin-
lead alloy solders. temperature higher than 183°C it is said to
be in its liquidus stage. The relatively low
melting temperature has made eutectic
Tin tin/lead the solder alloy of choice for printed
Pure tin is a soft, shiny metal that is most circuit board assembly because circuit
often found in ore form rather than metallic boards made of FR4 substrate or similar
form. It is easily shaped and molded materials can be safely processed at this
without breaking. temperature.

The essence of the solder process is the In addition, the low melting temperature
ability of molten tin to dissolve nearly any means that the equipment that solders the
other metal. Copper is one of those metals, boards does not have to operate at higher
and copper is used extensively in the temperatures. Finally, a benefit most
manufacture of printed circuit boards. In the managers and accountants appreciate is the
next subsection we will discuss the role of low cost of tin/lead compared with other
compounds formed when surface copper is alloys.
dissolved by tin.
Intermetallic Compounds
Lead
Lead, when exposed to air, has a dull gray As mentioned above, molten tin dissolves
appearance. Like tin, lead is an easy metal most metals. During the solder process, the
to work with because it is both soft and primary metals in the solder form
flexible. compounds with the metals in component
leads and circuit board pads at boundaries
Lead does very little to aid the bonding of between the solder and the pad or lead.
metal to metal during soldering. However, (Figure 1-1).
when lead is combined with tin at a ratio of
63% tin to 37% lead, the melting point of
the resultant alloy becomes lower than that Sn63\Pb37 solder
of either pure tin or pure lead. The
abbreviation for tin in chemistry is Sn and
for lead is Pb, so this alloy is usually written One to two
Sn63Pb37. micron
intermetallic
This type of alloy is called a eutectic layer: Cu3Sn
and Cu6Sn5
composition. Pure tin melts at 232°C
(449°F) and pure lead melts at 327°C Copper
pad
(621°F). The melting temperature of
Sn63Pb37, however, is 183°C (361°F). At
Figure 1-1. The intermetallic layer at the
this temperature, the alloy goes from a boundary of the solder and copper surfaces.
completely solid to a completely liquid state

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These intermetallic compounds form a 163°C (289°F-325°F). The pasty stage
boundary layer that is extremely strong means the solder is no longer completely
when it is no thicker than one to two solid at 143°C, but not yet completely liquid
microns. At this thickness the natural until it reaches 163°C.
brittleness of the intermetallic layer is not a
problem. The lower melting temperature of this and
similar alloys means that the flux used in the
As the intermetallic layer thickens, it solder paste must also be different from that
becomes more susceptible to cracking. The used in eutectic tin/lead. This may change
cracking is caused by expansion and the shape of the thermal profile. Consult
contraction of the circuit board substrate as your solder paste supplier for the
it heats and cools during normal operation of recommended thermal profile for the
the electrical device in which it operates. particular low temperature solder you use.
The thickness of the intermetallic layer is
controlled primarily by controlling the Another matter to consider when you use
liquidus time of the solder. Most solder low temperature solder is that the melting
manufacturers recommend a liquidus time temperature of the solder is affected by any
between 45 and 60 seconds. (See Section 3 metals dissolved from leads or pads that
Profiling for additional information.) were plated to prevent oxidation. Usually
these contaminant metals raise the melting
point of the solder. If this becomes a
Other Solder Compounds problem in your process, it might be
necessary to strip the plating just prior to the
Some special applications require alloys low temperature soldering operation.
other than eutectic tin/lead solder. A
common application for other solder
compounds is double sided surface mount Silver
assembly. To solder on both sides of the Some printed circuit boards have
board requires bottom side components be components with silver plated leads. As
soldered with an alloy that has a melting noted in the section on tin above, molten tin
temperature higher than eutectic tin/lead. dissolves most metals, including the silver in
Then, the board is flipped over and top side silver plated leads.
components are soldered with an alloy that
has a melting temperature lower than that of One way to reduce the amount of plated
eutectic tin/lead. The higher melting silver that dissolves in the molten tin/lead is
temperature allows the solder used for the to add a small quantity of silver to the solder
bottom side components to stay solid during itself. The alloy Sn62/Pb36/Ag02 (62% tin,
the top side reflow, reducing the risk of 36% lead, 2% silver) is good for this
intermetallic growth. application.

Bismuth and Low Temperature Soldering


The addition of bismuth to tin/lead solder Another popular silver alloy Sn96/Ag04
reduces the melting temperature melts at 221°C (430°F) and is sometimes
significantly without adding serious used for double sided reflow.
solderability problems. A typical
tin/bismuth/lead alloy is Sn43/Bi14/Pb43.
This alloy has a pasty stage from 143°C-

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Lead Free Solder between the solder and the metal at the
surface of the pad or lead.
Among the most discussed topics in the late-
1990s is the effort to remove lead from Flux removes oxides from pad and lead
electronic products. Concerns about ground surfaces, as well as from the surfaces of the
water lead contamination are forcing the solder particles themselves. Molten solder
debate. Many governments are demanding then can flow evenly over the surface of
that Tin/Lead alloys be phased out and pads and leads and form intermetallic bonds
replaced with lead-free solders. Solder paste with them.
manufacturers are working to create new
alloys to meet what is likely to become a
Surface Tension and Wetting
new regulatory requirement for SMT Surface tension is the attraction that
assemblers. molecules at the surface of a drop of liquid
have for each other. If that attraction is
According to Phil Zarrow of ITM greater than the attraction for the material
Consulting, the most promising lead-free which the liquid touches, the liquid will not
alloys are in the Tin-Silver family with spread, but will remain in drop form.
variations incorporating relatively low
amounts of copper of bismuth. (Circuits Surface tension explains why a drop of
Assembly ’ August 1999). These alloys cost rainwater on a waxed car stays in drop form.
about the same as Sn63/Pb37, but the 221°C The wax surface is intended to repel water
melting temperature means that electronic and keep it from bonding to the car s
components must be exposed to reflow surface.
temperatures as high as 240°C for effective
soldering. The earth s gravity works against surface
tension and tries to flatten the raindrop into
Another reflow alloy being considered is an oval. If the attraction of the molecules of
Sn91.8/Ag3.4/Bi4.8. Adding bismuth rainwater for each other is greater than the
results in a melting range between 208°C pull of gravity and the attraction of the car s
and 215°C (Phil Zarrow: Circuits Assembly surface, the drop will remain somewhat
’ August 1999). round and self contained. If gravity is
stronger and the wax is worn down, the drop
Lead-free alloys are being evaluated to will disperse.
verify their performance to standard Tin-
Lead compounds. Anyone involved in SMT Wetting is the word used to describe the
production should be prepared to convert extent that solder flows over the surfaces to
their lines to lead-free soldering by the mid- be bonded. Poor wetting is the result of
2000s. solder particles in the paste bonding to
themselves to form a sphere, so the edges of
a poorly wetted solder joint are rounded
Flux rather than flat.

Wetting is measured by the angle made


Oxygen in the air combines with metal on
where the edge of a layer of solder paste
circuit board pads and surface mount
meets the pad on a circuit board. Poor
component leads and forms oxides. This
oxidation blocks the molecular attraction

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wetting leaves a thick edge and a large angle To make rosin based flux more aggressive
(Figure 1-2). when removing oxides, activator substances
are added. Many different substances are
used as activators, but it is not as important
to know exactly what the activator is, as to
Poor wetting:
know:
>90° angle to
Strong
Attraction
pad · at what temperature the activator
begins to work, because this affects
the thermal profile in the reflow
Acceptable
wetting: <90°
oven, and
Weakened angle to pad
Attraction · how corrosive the activator is, which
determines whether the board needs
Ideal wetting: to be cleaned and what cleaning
<45° angle to solution is necessary. Your solder
pad paste supplier can give you this
information.

Figure 1-2. The effect of surface tension on RMA and RA are the most common
wetting. activator fluxes. RMA is mildly activated
rosin based flux, and is much stronger in
What Flux Cannot Do removing oxidation than water white. RA is
Even the strongest flux does not remove activated rosin based flux, and is more
thick layers of oxidation. At most, flux aggressive than RMA.
removes the oxide a few molecules thick
from a metallic surface. Flux Residue and Cleaning
Water white and RMA fluxes leave a
Flux Chemistry residue after soldering that is not corrosive
or electrically conductive at levels high
The basis of flux is usually a solid that has enough to affect the function or life of a
been dissolved by a solvent. The most circuit board. Residue from these fluxes has
commonly used solid for many years in PCB often been removed by washing, however,
assembly was rosin. Rosin is derived from for aesthetic reasons, or because it is non-
pine trees, and is an inert substance, which conductive it interferes with bed of nails
does not conduct electricity at room testing devices.
temperature. Rosin becomes liquid between
125°C and 130°C (257°F -266°F). The residue from RA fluxes can be more
corrosive, and usually needs to be cleaned
A substance known as water white flux from the board. RA fluxes require two types
(abbreviated w/w) is pure rosin dissolved in of cleaning:
isopropyl alcohol. Water white is mild and 1. A nonpolar solvent to remove the
able to remove only the thinnest layers of rosin, as well as any oils or waxes
oxide during soldering. that may have contaminated the
board during handling. Nonpolar
solvents such as chlorofluorocarbons

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(CFCs) were used for years, but assemblies, primarily to save money. Inert,
environmental concerns eliminated non-corrosive flux residues are left on the
them from consideration. Semi- boards and do not cause problems.
aqueous cleaning systems use a
terpene as the nonpolar solvent. The By virtue of the fact that the boards are not
terpene is then removed by a cleaned, it can be said the fluxes used are no
surfactant, which makes the terpene clean fluxes. However, in recent years the
soluble in water. term no clean has come to refer to a type of
flux specifically designed so flux residues
2. A polar solvent, which is usually are minimized. No clean fluxes generally
very pure water, removes the have the same aggressiveness as RMA
activator, as well as salts and other fluxes.
water-soluble contaminants that may
have gotten onto the circuit board Lower residue is achieved in no clean fluxes
during handling. by using a lower solids content than in other
fluxes. Solids content refers to the ratio of
A substance called a saponifier can be used solvent thinner to solid component in the
to clean PCBs also. One way to understand flux. A typical no clean flux now has less
and remember what a saponifier does is to than 15% solids, compared with 50% in
know that the root word is sapo, which is other types of flux.
Latin for soap. A saponifier acts like soap in
reacting with substances that are not water Since the solids in a flux are the basis for its
soluble (oils, for example) so that they effectiveness, reducing the solids content
become water soluble and can be washed tightens the process window for no clean
off. fluxes. Flux density control thus is more
important than with other fluxes.

Water Soluble Flux No clean fluxes can be either rosin or resin


Water soluble fluxes usually are based on based. The most noticeable difference is
the oxidation removing qualities of an that rosin based no clean flux produces a
organic acid such as citric or glutamic acid. thin layer of sticky residue that can be
Organic acid fluxes are more aggressive removed if desired. Resin based no clean
than RMA, so they provide good cleaning, flux produces a thin residue that is hard and
but they are usually corrosive as well. not sticky, but cannot be removed by water
Because of the corrosiveness of these fluxes, or other solvents. This can occasionally be a
a thorough water wash following solder consideration if rework is necessary.
reflow is necessary. Boards stored without
washing for more than an hour after exiting
Nitrogen gas inert atmosphere solder reflow
the reflow oven may have serious oxidation
is often helpful when no clean flux is being
buildup.
used, especially when it is used with fine
pitch surface mount devices. Nitrogen gas
No Clean Fluxes eliminates oxygen from the heat chamber of
Millions of printed circuit boards are the reflow oven so that oxidation is
manufactured that are never cleaned minimized. (See Section 4 Inert
following solder reflow. This is especially Atmosphere Soldering for additional
true in consumer product electronic information.)

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Section 2:
Printed Circuit Board Fabrication & Solderability

laminate, copper foil, prepreg, and other raw


Good Boards = Results materials of printed circuit boards. These
purchasing and manufacturing issues cause
Board fabrication is one aspect of the them to offer lower per board costs to
electronics production industry that SMT assemblers if the assembler buys in large
assembly engineers often know little about. lots.
It cannot be stressed enough that poorly
fabricated boards WILL cause solderability However, even in the era of just-in-time
problems during assembly. manufacturing, many companies keep
boards on the shelf too long. If the
This section covers PCB production basic assembler goes for the low per board cost
steps as it effects the assembly of populated and does not populate and solder the boards
circuit boards. In addition, this section will in a reasonably short time, oxidation buildup
describe how to apply this knowledge to on pads, even if they have been plated, can
prevent board solderability problems cause solderability problems. Often
BEFORE the boards ever get to the reworking boards that exhibit poor
assembly line. solderability is more expensive than the
savings gained by buying larger lots of
cheaper PCBs.

Therefore, it is important for the processing


engineer in a surface mount assembly line to
work with purchasing and management to
determine the safe shelf life of bare boards.
Solderability tests can determine the safe
time limit. Ensuring a good raw material of
boards is one of the most important parts of
high yield surface mount assembly. What
makes board oxidation particularly critical is
that it dooms the process before solder even
touches the PCB.
Soldered boards exiting a reflow oven.

Pad Oxidation and Board Storage

Circuit board fabricators prefer to produce


large numbers of boards in a single run.
This reduces setup time and offers the
benefits of economy of scale when ordering

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Problems that occur during substrate
PCB Manufacturing production usually have little impact on
solderability during SMT assembly.
Substrate Manufacturing
The Subtractive Process
Substrate is manufactured from thin sheets
of a dielectric material bonded to a sheet of After the substrate has been made, drilling
electrically conductive material. Figure 2-1 machines bore holes of different diameters
illustrates the first three steps of circuit in the exact locations on the board. These
board fabrication. holes are called vias. These vias are where
circuits electrical connections are created
between different layers of the board.

Next, an image of the circuit pattern is


transferred to the copper foil on the surface
of the board with either a UV photoresist
1-Substrate: 2-Drilling and 3-Transfer of
film or an ink screening process. In the UV
copper foil deburring circuit pattern to process, another step is required to remove
bonded to copper foil on the resist material from areas where the
fiberglass substrate
circuit will be. Incomplete removal of this
resist material can cause solderability
Figure 2-1. The first three steps in circuit
problems later. Resist residue on the copper
board fabrication. will not allow solder to bond to the pad.

Then 0.0000150 - 0.000020 inches of copper


FR4 is the most common substrate used in is chemically deposited (called electroless
printed circuit boards. Epoxy resin is used plating) in the drilled holes. This plating
to bond fiberglass to copper foil in the provides a base on which more copper can
creation of FR4. A fire retardant is added so be electrically plated. (See Figure 2-2.)
the substrate can be safely soldered in later
processes.

Some other substrates are:

· polyimide/fiberglass, which can sustain


higher temperatures and is much harder 4-Electroless 5-Add plating 6-Electroplate
than FR4 copper plating resist; tin/lead over
· FR2-fire retardant coated in drilled holes electroplate copper plating
copper to protect from
phenolic/paper, which is cheap and used next etching
mainly in low cost consumer electronics
· Flex circuits, usually polyimide, in some
Figure 2-2. The next three steps in
cases polyester, used in automotive and producing a PCB.
other applications where space and
weight are at a premium. New
technology allows adhesiveless material Then, a 0.0010 - 0.0020 inch layer of
for even thinner flex circuits. electroplated copper is added to the

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chemically deposited layer. Tin/lead UV radiation is then applied to the board.
plating---not solder, because the metals are The mask that is protected by the UV-
still discrete---covers the copper to protect it blocking artwork remains soft. The mask
from oxidation and the subsequent etching not protected by the artwork is exposed to
solution step. UV, which begins polymerization of the
mask. Polymerization is the linking of the
Now it is necessary to etch off the plating polymer molecules so the mask becomes
resist which again exposes the copper foil on hard enough to protect the board surface
the board surface that remains from the very from scratches and contaminants.
first step of the process. Then the tin/lead
can be etched off the circuit traces and pads. The mask that was protected by UV
radiation is still soft, and is removed by high
xxx-xxxxxx-x xxx-xxxxxx-x pressure water spray in a machine called a
developer. After this, the board is heat
cured to harden the mask to its final form.

Then the pads must be coated for a last time


xxxxxx-x xxxxxx-x

7-Etch off 8-Apply solder 9-Apply solder


resist material; mask to protect or organic to prevent oxidation. For about a decade
then etch board, and coating to pads this usually was done with a hot air leveler,
tin/lead from legend ink with (HASL, fuser,
circuits & pads part no. & other or chemical
which dips the board into a solder pot for
information bath) 3-10 seconds.
Figure 2-3. Final steps of PCB fabrication
As the board comes out of the solder, air
Figure 2-3. The finishing steps PCB
fabrication. knives blast it on both sides, leveling the
solder on the pads.

The Protective Process


This, however, can cause problems during
assembly:
When the electroplated tin/lead (Figure 2-2)
has been removed, the board is electrically · Bad air knives leave an uneven pad
complete. Solder mask is applied to seal out surface so components cannot lay
contaminants. flat.
· The solder in the hot air leveler is
Applying Solder Mask; Hot Air Surface contaminated by a tiny amount of
Leveling (HASL) or Organic Coating copper from each board. The solder
left on the pads thus becomes less
Solder mask can be dry film or liquid. Both solderable.
are photoimageable and require a very clean · Too much time in the solder pot
environment. After mask is applied over the creates a thick layer of intermetallic
entire board surface, UV-blocking artwork is alloy, which weakens joints made in
placed over the board. The artwork blocks assembly.
UV radiation from those places where solder
mask must be removed so that the pads can To overcome these issues, some board
be exposed for component placement during fabricators are applying an organic
assembly. compound that protects the pads, but

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without the thermal and mechanical stress copper content of the solder or other
that happens during hot air leveling. potential causes of poor solderability. If the
pads exhibit proper adhesion, then check the
electronic components themselves. The
following tests measure solderability of both
Solderability Testing component leads.

PCB fabrication can be a source of assembly The Dip and Look Test for Component
problems, particularly with regards to Leads
oxidation and misapplication of solder mask.
Engineers and machine operators who The dip and look test is similar in its ease
understand fabrication learn to make careful and simplicity to the pad test. It requires a
inspection of the raw board as the first step few pieces of equipment and some work
in troubleshooting SMT solderability space, but can be done quickly without
problems. interrupting production.

Several solderability test methods are If you have established that solderability of
commonly practiced. Regardless of the test the pads is good, take a board that has been
method you use, the process engineer should through the screen printer, but has no
evaluate the test”s level of complexity, the components on it, to use for this test. Heat
time required and cost compared to the the board on a hot plate, or by whatever
negative impact of the solderability problem. means are available that can be controlled.
Here are some quick and easy test
approaches that have proven useful for basic With a thermocouple attached to one of the
troubleshooting. leads, use a tweezer to place the surface
mount component on its pad. Some kapton
tape placed over the component to hold it in
A Simple and Fast Test for Determining
place helps secure the part.
Pad Solderability on Bare Boards
Heat the assembly through the thermal cycle
If solderability is in doubt, a simple test is to
(See Section 3 Reflow Profiling)
stencil solder paste on a bare board and then
appropriate for the solder paste, using the
reflow it without components. If the joints
thermocouple as a guide. Let the assembly
look good, but there is still doubt, have a
cool, remove flux residue if necessary, and
testing lab do an X-ray to determine
then inspect the lead for wetting.

Notes:

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Wetting Balance: A More Involved
Component Lead Test
sensor. A solder pot with molten solder is
raised so that the lead goes at least 1/8„
Wetting balance is good test because its
(3mm) into the solder.
accuracy relies on instruments rather than
the judgment of the person doing the test.
Leave the lead in the solder for 5 seconds.
The drawback is that those instruments are
Remove the lead. The force pushing against
often not readily available and they require
the lead should be reduced as the flux
training for proper use. In addition, this test
activates and cleans the surface of the lead if
requires a comparison against a known
the flux is working and the lead is not too
specification established on a component
corroded for it to work. This reduction of
with proven solderable leads.
force will be recorded on the force sensor,
and is compared with force results from the
To perform the wetting balance test, attach a
lead on the good solderability component.
lead with a clamp to the arm of a force

Notes:

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Section 3:
Reflow Profiling

What is a Temperature
The Typical Profile
or Thermal Profile?
The reflow profile is defined by the
High quality, low defect soldering requires relationship of temperature versus time
identifying the optimum temperature profile during heating. A typical profile consists of
for reflowing the solder paste. Achieving three heating slopes (the time vs temperature
SMT process consistency means repeating relationship or rate of temperature rise)
this profile over and over. Every solder defined by Figure 3-1. This ” three step„
joint on every board needs to be heated profiling approach has been commonly used
similarly if the desired soldering results are since the early days of SMT.
to be accomplished. From the solder“s point
of view, it does not matter what the heat Each solder paste defines the heating slopes
source to the solder joint is. and time and temperature limits within each
slope. It is best to consult your solder paste
What does matter is that the heat is applied supplier to determine the exact heating
to the solder joint in a controlled manner. condition required for the paste you are
The heating and cooling rise rates must be using. For the purpose of discussion, we
compatible with the solder paste and will use the traditional three step profile,
components. The amount of time that the which is typical of RMA pastes.
assembly is exposed to certain temperatures
must be defined and maintained. In other The three step heating profile slopes are
words, the solder reflow profile must first be called preheat, dryout, and reflow.
defined and then maintained.
Preheat
In the preheat section, the goal is to fully
225
PEAK TEMPERATURE preheat the entire SMT assembly to
200
SOLDER LIQUIDOUS temperatures between 100耐C and 150耐C.
175 183
The most critical parameter in the preheat
150 RATE WETTING
OF TIME section is to control the rate of rise to
T( oC) 125 RISE
between 1-4耐C/second.
100

75
The main concern is minimizing thermal
50
shock on the components of the assembly.
25
Preheat Dryout Reflow Cooling For example, multilayer ceramic chip
Time (Sec.)
capacitors can be vulnerable to cracking if
heated too fast. In addition, rapid heating
can cause the solder paste to spatter.
Figure 3-1. A typical
thermal profile.

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Dryout have water-cooled or refrigerated cooling
The second heating section, referred to as sections so the timeover and cooling rates
the dryout, soak, or preflow zone, is used can be precisely controlled.
primarily to ensure that the solder paste is
fully dried before hitting reflow
temperatures. It is characterized by a What are the Profile Control
consistent temperature (often between
150耐C - 170耐C) for an extensive (60-120 Limits?
second) time period.
The profile is not a simple line graph
The dryout portion of the profile acts as a between time and temperature, but rather a
flux activation zone for RMA solder pastes. band or process window as defined by upper
Dryout provides thermal stabilization of and lower control limits. Heating within the
large and small components to ensure limits will result in high quality solder joints
uniform heating as the SMT assembly enters providing all other aspects of the process are
the reflow zone. Convection ovens have in control.
reduced the need for the thermal
stabilization, as the entire profile tends to be The size of the reflow profile band is
uniform (referred to as ” Delta T„ defined as defined by the range of temperature
the temperature difference between the deviation (thermal tolerance) that can occur
warmest and coldest component lead on the during while yielding high quality solder
board). joints.

Reflow In Figure 3-2, the profile band size is


The reflow section of the profile elevates the indicated as 25耐C. The actual limits of the
solder paste to a temperature greater than the band will vary depending upon solder paste,
its melting point. For Sn63/Pb37 eutectic component type, and circuit board material.
solder, the melting temperature is 183耐C.
This temperature must be exceeded by PROFILE PROCESS WINDOW
approximately 20耐C to ensure quality reflow BURNT BOARDS
225 EXCESSIVE
for every solder joint lead. LIQUIDOUS
200 TIME
COLD 183
175 SOLDER
The amount of time the solder joint is above 150
GOOD
the melting point is referred to as the wetting THERMAL
SHOCK INCOMPLETE
T( oC) 125 DRYING
time or timeover. The wetting time is 30 to 100
60 seconds for most pastes. If the wetting 75
time is excessive, intermetallic layer may 50
form in the joint, which result in brittle 25
solder joints. Preheat Dryout Reflow Cooling

Time (Sec.)
Excessively slow cooldown while the paste
is liquidous can also cause the solder joint to
Figure 3-2. A graphical representation of
consist of a larger grain structure, resulting a 25 C reflow profile process band.
in a potentially weaker solder joint.
Common cooling rates are controlled
between 1-2耐C/second. Many reflow ovens

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It should be noted that the band width is of the production problems from improper
defined by the temperature and time axis. If profiling and possible causes.
the product temperature profile is not
maintained within the control limits, a defect One should note that these problems may
will occur. Figure 3-3 indicates some also be caused by non-reflow processes as
well.

Figure 3-3. Basic Solder Reflow Troubleshooting.

Problem Possible Cause (Profile Related)


Cracked chip capacitors Excessive rise rate in the preheat zone

Solder balls Incomplete drying before reflow


(dryout section too cool and too short a duration)
Excessive drying temperature (fluxes skin over)
Improper gas atmosphere (nitrogen versus air)

Cold solder joints Insufficient time over reflow temperature

Solder not wetting to leads Excessive drying time causing fluxes to deteriorate
Excessive reflow temperature/time causing oxidation

Solder not wet on pad Lead is heating faster than board (too much airflow)

Component/board burning Excessive reflow temperature

Notes:

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Defining the Profile Control your TC“s, it is important to keep in mind
that areas that are densely populated or have
Limits larger components will take longer to heat
up and also will hold heat longer. It is also
The profile control limits need to be defined important to place TC“s at the edges of the
for the given SMT assembly. To define board and in any areas with small or non-
these limits, one should be aware of not only existent components that will heat up faster
the solder paste requirements, but also any than the rest of the board.
specific requirements of components or the
circuit board material. The process band
width is defined as the total deviation in
temperature that can occur and yield reliable
results.

To determine the profile control limits,


thermocouples are attached to a sample
board populated with components.

The Thermocouple Attachment


Process
Thermocouple placement for determining profile control
NOTE: This section contains information from KIC limits. (Photo courtesy of KIC Thermal Profiling.)
Application Note #00001, Rev: 98-05. The entire
document is found at www.kicthemal.com.

It is strongly recommended to attach TCs Surface Preparation


with high-temperature solder for best Thoroughly clean your selected TC
results. An alloy like Indium #228 locations, taking care to remove any residual
(88Pb/10Sn/2Ag) with a 267耐C solidus low temperature solder and other
temperature is a good solder for TC contaminants that might prevent complete
attachment. high temperature solder wetting.
Use alcohol or a suitable solvent to scrub the
TC Locations attachment surface. Then place the solder
TC location is usually determined by wick on the surface and press the soldering
identifying critical or sensitive components iron into the wick, heating both the wick and
and attaching the TC“s to the appropriate the surface to be cleaned. Use as much wick
pads. Additionally, it is best to place the as necessary to remove all free flowing
TC“s so that you receive temperature solder droplets. When solder has been
readings from the hottest and coldest points completely removed, re-scrub the
on the board. The measurements received attachment surface to remove any remaining
from these three to twelve TC“s (depending contaminants.
on the size of the board) will allow you to
determine whether the thermal profile is Attachment
consistent throughout the product, and also Do not attempt to attach the TC by melting
to measure the heating and cooling profiles solder into the spot and then shoving in the
of heat sensitive components. In placing bead. Place the TC bead on the attachment

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
surface and heat both evenly, then touch the
solder to the heated TC bead and let the heat
from the TC bead melt the solder. This
method gives you superior wetting and a
stronger solder attachment to the pad or
lead.

Your temperature reading will come from


the first point of contact between the two
wires leading from the TC. To insure
accurate readings, it is critical to carefully
separate the two wires all the way up to the
TC bead after soldering.

High temperature solder is an efficient heat


conductor, so if a tiny bit gets between the
TC bead and the lead or pad, you will still
get an accurate reading. However, too much
solder at the measurement point will
increase the heat capacity of the TC and Each of the curved lines is the temperature as sensed by a
thermocouple attached to a product as it passes through
cause your peak temperature measurement the oven. (Graph courtesy of KIC Thermal Profiling.)
to read low.

Oven Setup How Does Oven Performance


Relate to the Reflow Profile
Once the thermocouples are placed on the
test board, the reflow oven is set up to create Control Band?
a three step thermal profile on the board.
Common oven parameters that are adjusted Once the three step profile is defined and the
to create the thermal profile are: oven parameters are determined, the reflow
oven must be able to produce consistent
· Zone setpoint temperatures results within the reflow profile band. The
user should be aware of all variables that
· Conveyor speed
influence the band. To achieve high quality,
· Fan speed
low defect soldering results, the sum of all
· Refrigerated cooling rates (if the non-uniformities must fall within the
applicable) defined reflow profile band. These variables
may be defined as product related and oven
Profiling then becomes essentially an related.
iterative process comparing the test board
temperature results to the desired profile. If
Product Related Variables
the results differ, oven parameters are By far the most critical product related non-
adjusted and the test is rerun. uniformity is that created by large mass
differences on the product. Since it is easier
to heat an area that has no components as

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
compared with an area with large The mass (M) times the specific heat (Cp ) is
components, temperature differentials will often referred to as thermal mass. Greater
exist on the product. thermal mass requires more heat to achieve
a given temperature rise.
Oven Related Variables
Consistent thermal repeatability under In Figure 3-4, the area populated with the
product load (oven temperature changes due PLCCs has considerably more thermal mass
to mass variation) and edge-to-center and per unit area than the area with the discrete
front-to-back product heating uniformity are components.
the two most common factors that effect the
reflow process.
HIGH MASS DIFFERENTIAL LOW MASS DIFFERENTIAL

The following sections describe these three


main causes of non-uniform heating in the
SMT reflow process: board mass
differential (product related variables),
conveyor and heater edge effects and
product loading (oven related variables).

Mass Differential
The amount of temperature rise of a product
as it travels through an oven heating zone
depends upon a number of variables. The Figure 3-4. Comparison of high mass
temperature rise of an object subjected to versus low mass differential boards.
heat is determined by the following
equation:
The high mass area will be more difficult to
DT = Q x A x t / (M x Cp ) heat. The non-uniformity caused by thermal
mass differential may be measured by
WHERE: thermocoupling a lead on the largest and
DT = Product Temperature Rise (耐C)
Q = Heat Absorbed (W/cm2) smallest device, and running a profile. (As
A = Exposed Area (cm2) described previously.)
t = Heating Dwell Time (seconds)
M = Mass of Object (kg)
Cp = Specific Heat (W-sec/kg-耐C)

Notes:

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Oven Uniformity repeatable results. Ovens will generally
A second main cause of non-uniform specify a maximum loading factor (ranging
product heating is the oven heating pattern. from 0.5 to 0.9).
This can be caused by edge effects on the
heaters (less heat at the end) or by heat The loading factor becomes an important
sinking of the conveyor system. The edge consideration when sizing an oven. (See
effect may be caused by insufficient airflow Section 7 Choosing Your Reflow Oven.)
around the edges of the machine, or by non- The non-uniformity caused by repeatability
uniformities that are inherent in the heaters. can be measured by running a profile on a
test board, then loading the oven down.
The heat sinking of the conveyor is really a Periodically, run the test board within the
mass effect, similar to the one described oven load and compare with the unloaded
above. The oven uniformity may be profile.
measured by thermocoupling a bare board
over a matrix of points, and running a
profile. The matrix should include points on Board
the board edges (front, back, left, and right), Length Space
and the center of he board.

Oven Repeatability
Repeatability refers to the oven“s capability
to repeat a given profile. Repeatability is Board Length
affected by machine loading (number of Load Factor =
Board Length + Space
boards in the oven). Figure 3-5 shows a
typical product loading condition. The
loading factor is defined in the figure.
Figure 3-5: Load factor calculation
The higher the value of the loading factor, combines board length and the space
between the boards.
the more difficult it is for any oven to give

Notes:

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Section 4:
Nitrogen Inert Atmosphere Reflow
Reflow soldering in a nitrogen atmosphere is As solder particles become smaller, the ratio
a common process consideration in SMT of surface area to volume of the particles
assembly. The issue is not the ability to increases. This can be shown by:
reflow in nitrogen, but rather the ability to
reflow in the absence of oxygen. Heating Ratio = (p * D2 ) / (1/6 * p * D3)
solder in the presence of oxygen will create
oxides, which are generally non-solderable Ratio = 6 / D
surfaces.
Where: D = Particle Diameter
Oxidation is effected by temperature,
surface area, flux content, metal content and Thus, as solder particle size decreases, the
condition, and oxygen levels around the surface area to volume ratio increases.
solder joint. Lets take a look at the variables
that effect oxidation and discuss their
impact.

Temperature
Oxidation is directly related to temperature.
Higher temperatures mean faster rates of
oxidation. Thus, reflowing at the lowest
SMALLER PARTICLES HAVE
possible temperature reduces the amount of GREATER SURFACE AREA
PER UNIT VOLUME THAN
oxidation created during the reflow process. LARGE PARTICLES
Convection technology helps (as compared
with IR) in that heating uniformity is better Figure 4-1. Surface area of solder particles.
and thus the maximum temperature on the
product may be reduced.
With more available surface area in the
solder paste, there is a greater tendency
Surface Area towards oxidation.
More surface area means more area
available for oxidation. As the pitch Flux Content
between leads becomes finer and finer, the In the early days of reflow soldering, solder
tin/lead solder particles in the paste must paste contained aggressive enough fluxes to
become smaller to obtain good paste print easily remove oxides. Often CFC solvent
definition. cleaning was used to remove any remaining
residue from the board.

As CFC“s were phased out, so has the most


effective means of cleaning rosin based

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
pastes from the board. Today, water-soluble not be air reflowable. Thus, the weaker the
Organic Acid (OA) fluxes are used, and the flux, the greater the chance for oxidation.
cleaning process has changed to a water
wash system. No-clean soldering requires tight control of
the process. All of the components and
Many companies have eliminated cleaning boards must be highly solderable. Since the
completely and have gone to a no-clean board is not washed to remove any solder
process. The term ” no-clean„ is misleading, balls from the product, the reflow process
as it only implies that water wash cleaning must prevent solder ball build up. Solder
has been eliminated. Some people have balls can create short circuits on the product
changed nothing in their process, except if they are not removed.
they no longer clean the product.
Metal Content and Condition
This is satisfactory providing the desired Some metals are more solderable than
functional life of the end product is not high, others. It is much easier to solder to a board
which may be the case with many consumer that has a tin/lead coating on it as compared
products. After several years of operation to a bare copper board. The condition of the
and thermal cycling, the residues that were metal to be soldered also has an impact on
left on the board can cause short circuits, or solderability. If boards have been sitting on
simply corrode the circuit away. If the the shelf unprotected for many months, a
desired long term reliability of the product is coating of oxidation will be over the metal.
important, then this is not satisfactory. This will make the reflow job more difficult.
Double sided reflow can also be more
The amount of residues left on the product difficult when reflowing the second side.
will determine its long-term reliability. The The second side has already been heated
bottom line is that higher residue pastes are once, which may have created surface
more solderable in air. Although the line is oxidation.
moving, the low residue pastes (<2.5%) may

Oxidation Variable Variable Trend Reflow Result

Temperature Hotter Worse

Air Velocity Higher Worse

Oxygen Content Lower Better

Exposed Area More Worse

Metal Content Non-Tinned Worse

Flux Activity Less Worse

Figure 4-2. Variables that effect oxidation.

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Oxygen Levels
None of the variables in Figure 4-2 by itself The purity level required (if any) is dictated
is enough reason to use a pure nitrogen by the process variables discussed
environment in the reflow process. previously. There is no magic number of
However, if several of these combine (such purity that is required for a given board.
as a fine pitch, low residue paste), then an
atmosphere void of oxygen may be required Solder pastes are continuously changing in
in order to accomplish satisfactory reflow. the quest towards air reflowable pastes that
leave no residue. While the perfect paste
This requires an oven that can run at low does not exist, solder pastes have
levels of oxygen. The oxygen level is continually improved to the point where one
measured in parts per million, or ppm. Air should experimentally determine whether
atmosphere is 21% oxygen, which is nitrogen has any significant impact on your
210,000 ppm. Most ovens have the option process. If it does not, do not use nitrogen!
to operate at less than 100 ppm oxygen
environment.

Notes:

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Section 5:
Reflow Oven Heat Transfer
uniform product heating, as heat will
The Three Heat conduct from a hot spot to a cold spot in the
Transfer Modes in product. Thus, if a product is difficult to
reflow, often a good solution is to reduce the
Reflow Soldering oven heater setpoint temperatures and
conveyor speed. This allows more time for
There are three different heating modes the conductive flow to occur and the product
involved with most SMT reflow processes: will heat more uniformly.
conduction, convection, and infrared
radiation (IR). All three of these heating Conduction hinders the process if an edge
modes occur naturally in our daily lives. conveyor in contact with the board is cooler
Perhaps the easiest way to understand each or hotter than the product. Conduction heat
of these heating modes is through example. transfer can result in a hot or cool spot along
the edge of the product, preventing uniform
solder joints on the outer fringes of the PCB.
Conduction
Infrared
Hot Cold Infrared Radiation (IR) occurs when two
Spot Heat Spot bodies of different temperatures are in sight
of each other. The best example of IR is the
Heat Flows From Hot to Cold heating of the earth by the sun. Dull, rough
To Help Equalize Temperatures
surfaces absorb the sun°s rays better than
shiny, smooth surfaces. An object in the
Figure 5-1. Example of conduction direct sun light will become hotter than if in
heat transfer. the shade.

Conduction Radiation
Conduction heat transfer occurs when two
solid masses of different temperatures are in Sun
contact with each other. A good example is
when a pan is placed on an electric burner.
Most of the heat is transferred to the pan by Radiant Energy
the contact between the pan and the burner. From The Sun
Conduction also occurs within the same Heats The Earth
mass if a temperature differential exists
within the mass.
Figure 5-2. Example of infrared
Conduction can both help and hinder the radiation.
SMT reflow process. Conduction helps in

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
IR in SMT applications works similarly. Forced convection requires an external force
Fluxes, plastic components, and epoxy glass that pushes or pulls the flow over the object.
laminate absorb IR very well. Shiny, A common house fan is a good example.
reflowed solder will reflect the IR energy
away. Solder joints around small packages Convection
(such as chip resistors, capacitors, and
SOIC°s) are in sight of the IR energy and
heat very well. Solder joints around larger Cold Object Is
Hot
Heated By
devices (such as PLCC°s) are shaded, and do Air
Convection
not heat as well. Flow
From The Hot
Air Flow

Convection
Convection heat transfer occurs when a fluid
(such as air, nitrogen, or water) passes over Figure 5-3. Example of convection heat
an object (such as an SMT assembly). A transfer.
cool breeze on a hot sunny day provides
convective cooling. Hot air from a hair Typically, forced convection heating or
dryer provides convective heating. cooling rates are higher than natural con-
vection rates. Most reflow ovens today use
Convection heating or cooling requires forced convection as the primary heat
contact of the flow with the solid part. Only transfer mode.
the layer of the flow that is in contact with
the part is actually transferring heat.
Convection may be classified as natural or
forced.

Natural convection occurs when no flow is


being forced over the object. Temperature
differences between the object and the
environment create the convective heat
transfer. Perhaps the best example is the
chimney effect, where a strong convective
current rises away from the hot embers to Research International won the 1998 SMT Magazine
the cooler outdoors. Vision Award for advances in Soldering Equipment.

Notes:

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Conductive heat transfer is proportional to
Heat Transfer Equations the cross sectional area (A) between point 1
and point 2. In SMT reflow, a thicker board
Conduction will provide greater populated uniformity
In order to understand what parameters are than a thin board since the cross sectional
important in conduction heat transfer, one area is greater.
can consider the variables in the general
conduction heat transfer equation. Conductive heat transfer is also dependent
upon the distance between point 1 and point
Q = K * A * ( T1 - T2 ) / DX
2 (DX). The greater the distance, the less
Where: the heat transfer. Thus, a thicker board has a
Q = Conduction heat transfer (W ) better chance of maintaining a higher
A = Cross sectional area (cm2 ) temperature difference between the top and
K = Thermal conductivity (W/cm - C)
T1 = Temperature at point 1 ( C) bottom side of the board than a thin board.
T2 = Temperature at point 2 ( C)
DX = Thickness of material between IR - Infrared
points 1 and 2 (cm)
Infrared (IR) heat transfer occurs when two
The thermal conductivity (K) is a measure objects at different temperatures are in sight
of how well the object conducts heat. of each other. The heat is transferred by
Insulators (such as epoxy glass) have very electromagnetic waves of 0.78 to 1000
low thermal conductivity and permit very micron wavelengths. All objects emit some
low amounts of conductive heat transfer. level of infrared energy.

Conductors (such as copper) have a very The quantity of infrared energy emitted and
high thermal conductivity and permit high the wavelength of the emission are both
amounts of conductive heat transfer. Thus, dependent upon the absolute temperature of
an SMT assembly with high amounts of the object. As the source temperature
copper will heat more uniformly than one increases, the heat transfer output increases
without much copper. Conduction through exponentially to the fourth power.
the circuit board during the reflow process Increasing the source temperature results in
improves heating uniformity, as the heat shorter wavelengths. Decreasing the source
conducts from the hot spots to the cold temperature results in longer wavelengths.
spots.
In order to understand what parameters are
important in infrared heating, one can
k = Therm a l
C onductivity
consider the general equation for heat
transfer between the heat source and the
t
1

object being heated. The purpose is not to


Surface 1 Surface 2
memorize the equation, but rather to point
out the significance of what is involved.
t
2

D x

Figure 5-4. Conduction heat transfer model.

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
The general equation for infrared heat Control of infrared is generally done by
transfer is: controlling the source temperature.
Q/A = Fv * es * at * s * ( Ts4 - Tt4 ) Providing that the overall source emission
can be regulated, IR energy provides high
Where: levels of repeatability.
Q/A = Infrared heat transfer (W/cm2)
Fv = Geometric view factor (0 - 1)
es = Emmissivity of the source (0 - 1) Convection
at = Absorptivity of the target (0 - 1) Convection heat transfer occurs when a fluid
s = Stefan-Boltzmann Constant
(5.67 x 10-12 W/cm2/ K4)
at a given temperature contacts a solid mass
Ts = Source temperature ( K) at a different temperature. If the fluid is
Tt = Target temperature ( K) hotter than the mass, the mass will be
heated. If the fluid is cooler than the mass,
the mass will be cooled. Perhaps the easiest
IR Source way to understand convection is to look at
the convection equation and note the
significance of each variable.

The following is the general equation for


convection heating or cooling:

This Area is Shaded by Adjacent Components Q/A = H * (Ta - Tt )


Resulting in a Lower View Factor
Where:
Figure 5-5. IR view factor. Q/A = Convection heat transfer per unit area (W/cm2)
H = Convective film coefficient
(W/cm2- C)
The geometric view factor Fv is the fraction Ta = Fluid temperature ( C)
Tt = Target temperature ( C)
of energy that leaves the source that hits the
target. In SMT reflow, the oven chamber The amount of heat transfer can be modified
designs yield very high view factors in the by either changing the convective
range of 0.90 to 0.95. An important aspect coefficient (H) or the temperature difference
of the view factor comes in product design. (Ta - Tt ). Increasing the fluid temperature
If two very large components are in close will increase the temperature difference, and
proximity to each other, the view factor to a thus the amount of heat transfer will
solder joint between them is decreased, increase proportionally.
which makes it more difficult to reflow.
The convective coefficient (H) can have a
The source emissivity (es ) and the target significant impact on the heat transfer. The
absorptivity factors (at ) are in the range of value of H is related to a number of
0.90 to 0.95 for most SMT applications. variables, including velocity of the flow and
Solder paste is an excellent absorber of angle of attack of the flow. Increasing the
infrared energy. Shiny gold components flow velocity will increase the value of H.
may be difficult to heat, as they tend to be
reflective. Most often, however, the board For example, when one is outside in the
material, solder paste, and the components wind, a low velocity cool breeze on a warm
all absorb quite well. day will feel quite nice. However, a strong
wind on that same day may feel very cold.

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
That is because the higher velocity wind has
a higher convective coefficient, and thus
Heat Transfer Mode
removes heat more effectively from your Interaction and their
skin.
Effect on SMT Reflow
In SMT reflow applications, increasing the
velocity of the flow also improves the In SMT reflow applications, there is no such
amount of convection heat transfer. There thing as pure convection or pure IR. The
are practical limits to this, as too high only way to achieve a 100% convection
velocity may cause components to shift system would be to have gas flowing over
around. the product with no chamber walls inside the
reflow oven. Obviously the reflow oven is a
Parallel Flow mechanical device with walls that absorb or
emit heat, so 100% convection is a physical
Air impossbility.
Boundary
Velocity
Layer
(V)
At Surface, V=0 Thickness To have a 100% IR reflow system, the
chamber would need to be operated in a
Perpendicular Flow vacuum (no air fluid heat transfer). Most
Surface Air Velocity (V) reflow processes currently occur in some
Agitation
Prevents
process gas whether air, nitrogen or vapor
Boundary phase techniques.
Layer
Buildup
However, reflow oven heat transfer designs
utilize a greater convection component,
Figure 5-6. Fluid flow patterns.
while others utilize IR as the primary heat
source. For the sake of simplicity, this text
The flow direction also has a significant will refer to a convection dominate heat
impact on H. Convection heat transfer relies transfer machine as a convection machine,
on contact between the flow and the object. and an IR dominated machine as an IR
machine.
Parallel flow can result in a stagnation or
boundary layer in which the heat transfer is In SMT reflow applications (with the
diminished. Perpendicular flow can break exception of vapor phase), convection,
up formation of a boundary layer and conduction, and IR all play a role in the
enhance the convective heat transfer. heating process. Referring to a system as
Perpendicular flow thus provides higher 100% convection or 100% IR is an error in
heat transfer rates than parallel flow. terminology. An oven may be dominated by
convection or IR, but the other heat transfer
is always present. IR dominant systems
usually range in the convection/IR ratio of
60/40 to 40/60. Convection dominant
systems have ratios in the range of 70/30 to
90/10.

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Section 6:
Reflow Oven Convection Methods

Research International DeltaFlo 10LN Low Nitrogen Convection Oven

Convection Oven
Technologies occurs when an independent device (such as
a fan) forces the air over the product.
While convection is a relatively simple Typically the convective coefficient is
technology, there are several technical greater with forced convection than with
aspects to consider. This section discusses natural convection, which results in
some of the key differences including: improved heating of the product. Early
infrared/convection ovens relied on natural
convection to help improve heating
· Forced convection versus natural uniformity. Forced convection ovens
convection usually have better heating uniformity than
· Turbulent flow versus laminar flow the infrared/convection ovens.
· Fresh gas input versus recirculated gas Forced convection can be either laminar or
input turbulent. Laminar flow is characterized by
· Defined convection flow path versus very stable flow patterns. Convection heat
uncontrolled flow path transfer requires contact between the air and
the object. (See Figure 6-1.)
· Methods of forcing convection gas flow
Thus, a stable gas jet allows more air to
Natural convection occurs when the air (or come in contact with the object. Because of
nitrogen) surrounding an object is at a this contact, laminar forced convection can
different temperature than the object. The have heating efficiencies of greater than 30
density differences between the hot and cool percent. Turbulent flow is characterized by
air causes a physical motion to occur, which vortices, eddy currents, and high heating
assists in heat transfer. Forced convection rates. Thermal efficiencies are typically
only 10 to 15 percent.

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Turbulent Flow
The non-defined flow path ovens (Figure 6-
Air Jets are Unstable.
Most of the Air Flow Does Not 3) do not direct the flow from zone to zone.
Contact Object
Low Heating Efficiencies Gas eventually reaches the exhaust and
(5 - 15%)
High Heat Transfer Rates leaves the oven.
Laminar Flow
Air Velocity (V)
These ovens work satisfactorily thermally,
Air Jets Remain Stable.
however they usually have oven flux
Most of the Air Flow Contacts
the Object
cleaning issues associated with high-volume
High Efficiencies (25 - 35%)
Medium Heat Transfer Rates
PCB production.
Exhaust Fresh Air Input Exhaust

Defined vs Non-Defined Reflow Oven


Flow Patterns
There are two methods of directing the flow
within convection ovens. The defined flow
path oven (Figure 6-2) moves the gas from
zone to zone. It does not allow the same gas
to become trapped in a given zone, which Figure 6-3. Example of a non-defined flow
could become excessively contaminated pattern reflow process gas is recirculated
with fluxes. These ovens will typically stay within each zone. Flux is not removed from
the zone and builds-up in the heater cavity.
cleaner by preventing flux buildup.
Figure 6-1. Forced convection flow patterns.

PREHEAT DRYOUT ZONES REFLOW COOLING SECTION

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

LAMINAR FLOW CONVECTION TO BOARD FRESH GAS IN REFLOW ZONES

Figure 6-2. Example of a defined flow pattern process gas is recirculated to the
previous zone. Flux is removed via exhaust collectors. Fresh process gas keeps oven
clean (free of flux residue). Also see Figure 5-4.

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
How is the reflow process gas
recirculated to the previous zones?
Heater configuration continuously
cleans oven convection flow jets.

1 2 3 4 5 6

Highest pressure here


forces recirculated gas to
be constantly purged.

Fresh input gas into every bottom zone insures clean process
atmosphere and versatile bottom/top temperature control.
Figure 6-4. Positive pressure in the reflow zone purges flux laden gas to the exhausts.
This design feature creates the defined flow pattern within the reflow oven.

Recirculated Gas: Too Much


Recirculation Means Flux Cleaning
Recirculated flow has the disadvantage of
Air introduced into a heating zone may picking up contamination each time the air
either be fresh or recirculated. Fresh gas is re-used. No-clean fluxes prevent solids
input requires heating the air from ambient from building up on the PCB. These solids
to the zone temperature. In comparision, end up in the reflow process gas and will
recirculated gas input requires only heating collect in the heater cavity if the oven is not
the air a small amount, since the gas is designed properly. The result is a dirty
already ” hot„ . Thus, an advantage of process atmosphere or machine downtime
recirculated flow is a lower power due to the need for oven flux cleaning.
requirement to heat the zone.

Notes:

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
meters. Compressed sources have high
Ways to Generate pressures, allowing high velocities if
Forced Convection in desired. An air compressor or compressed
nitrogen supply is required.
Reflow Ovens
Compressed gas reflow is used when the
There are three methods of generating application requires an extremely accurate
forced convection in reflow ovens fans, thermal profile with filtered process gas.
compressors and flow amplifiers.
Flow Amplifiers
Fans The third common method used to create
Fans are an inexpensive and reliable method convective flow is the flow amplifier. The
of moving high volumes of air. Fans flow amplifier uses a compressed source to
typically have low pressure generating induce flow. In a flow amplifier,
capability, so exit velocities may be limited. compressed gas flows through the inlet into
However for most board profiles this should an annular chamber. The gas is then
not be a problem. Most convection reflow throttled through a restriction at high
ovens use fan forced convection. velocity. The compressed gas flow towards
the outlet adhering to the outside wall. A
low pressure area is created in the center,
which induces flow.

Figure 5-1. Forced convection flow patterns.


Inlet Gas(Compressed)
Flow is restricted
with small ring
nozzle causing
cold spot.

Entrained Exit
Air Flow

Convection fan in a preheat zone. Note that the fan motor Compressed gas flow
is outside the heater chamber for improved fan reliability. through annulus

Figure 6-5. Schematic of a flow amplifier.


Compressed Gas Sources
Compressed input gas sources (such as The advantage of a flow amplifier is that
compressed air or nitrogen) are also used to flow volumes are similar to a fan without
create forced convection. The pressure must any of the fan life issues. However, a major
be regulated in order to achieve constant drawback to the flow amplifier is that the
flow. Compressed sources have the flow amplifiers tend to clog with fluxes.
advantages of providing a controlled The ring nozzle causes the gas to expand
atmosphere, which is free of particulate and cool. The cooldown of the gases causes
contaminants. flux to precipitate out of the flow. There is
also a thermal efficiency loss with the gas
If compressed air is used, the humidity can cooldown.
be controlled using an inline dryer. Flow
velocity is easily controlled with flow

Research International Page 30


Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Section 7:
Choosing Your Reflow Oven

What Size Oven do I Size The Oven Properly


Need? The oven must be sized to handle the
production rate of the pick-and-place
equipment. The calculation is shown below:
The basic requirement of any reflow oven is
to be able to consistently reflow the product
Line speed (minimum) =
at the required speed to meet production
needs. Boards per minute x Length per board
Load Factor
Selecting a reflow oven requires that the (See Figure 3-5 for description of Load Factor.)
profile process band has been defined and
the oven can successfully heat within the Operating the oven conveyor speed greater
band. Production throughput rates can be than the line speed ensures that no product
met providing the oven has been sized jams will occur on the onload area of the
correctly. reflow oven.

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
In order for the oven to be properly sized, To meet process requirements of this
the process speed defined below must be example, the reflow oven needs at least 9
greater than the minimum calculated line feet of heated length so that an 8-inch board
speed. This will ensure that bottlenecks will can be processed at 27 inches/min conveyor
not occur at the reflow oven. The process speed for a 4-minute profile.
speed should be determined through testing
or by the following equation: Note that the overall length of the oven will
exceed 9 feet including the cooling section
Process speed = and conveyor loading sections. The
calculation is for HEATED LENGTH NOT
Oven chamber heated length
OVERALL OVEN LENGTH needed.
Process dwell time

Example of Oven Sizing Calculation


Comparing Reflow
An SMT assembler wants to produce 8-inch
boards at a rate of 180 per hour. The solder Ovens
paste manufacturer recommends a 4 minute,
three step profile. How long an oven do I When selecting reflow equipment, it is
need to process boards at this throughput? important to take into consideration all
aspects that may affect the process and
Boards per minute = 3 (180/hour) production. Try to avoid becoming too
Length per board = 8 inches focussed on one issue, such as populated
Load Factor = 90% uniformity, as it may not lead you to the
(2-inch space between boards) optimum decision. The recommended steps
Process Dwell Time = 4 minutes in the selection process are described in the
following paragraphs.
Calculate Line Speed:
(3 boards/min) x (8 inches/board)
0.9 Thermal Performance
Oven thermal performance is defined by the
Line speed = 26.67 or 27 inches/minute sum of the temperature non-uniformities
caused by mass differential, oven
Therefore, the reflow oven must have a uniformity, and oven repeatability under
process speed of at least 27 inches per production loading conditions. A set of tests
minute. must be conducted with the desired product
on the oven in question.
Determine oven chamber heated length with
process speed equation:

27 in/min = Oven chamber heated length


4 minutes

Oven heated length = 108 inches (9 feet)

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Throughput
Oven throughput (in boards per unit time) is
defined by the following equation:

Throughput =

Conveyor Speed x Load Factor


Length per board

Note that in the previous example, the


throughput in boards per minute was a
given.

Process Gas Research International s patented tensioned


If a nitrogen atmosphere is required for rail stays parallel over any temperature range.
solderability or no-clean processing, one
needs to consider the purity required and the
gas consumption. Software
The best technically designed oven in the
Be careful how the purity is measured, such world may be no better than the worst if the
that it is not measured at the gas inlet. software is difficult to operate. When
Measure purity in an area representative of comparing software, keep the user in mind.
what the board will see on the conveyor, not Consider file access and edit security. Ask
the nitrogen inlet in the oven. Purity in questions about networking machines to a
reflow is the most critical area since solder host.
is liquidus.

Conveyor Design
One needs to define whether a mesh
conveyor or an edge-type conveyor is
required. Typically edge conveyors are used
for in-line processing or if double-sided
assembly is required.

The most important issue with edge


conveyors is the ability for the conveyor to
remain straight to avoid dropping boards.
Find out how parallel the edge conveyors
will be during heating conditions avoid Research International StarWin 3.0 Software
simply taking measurements in a cold oven
only.

Page 33 Research International


Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Reliability/Serviceability/
Documentation
Once a machine is placed into service, it is
critical that it remains operational. Evaluate
the product design from a structural as well
as a functional standpoint.

Is the oven designed to withstand the rigors


of production? Review the product
manuals, drawings, and spare parts lists.
Find out where the nearest servicing center
is located. Is training available?

Maintenance Downtime
Maintenance downtime is perhaps the most
overlooked aspect of equipment selection.
The key to meeting throughput requirements
is a continuously operating reflow oven.
Flux cleaning downtime and frequent
scheduled maintenance will reduce the
number of hours available to solder boards.
Compare maintenance requirements
carefully before selecting an oven.

Research International Page 34


Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Section 8:
Oven Price vs Cost of Ownership
When multiple oven vendors pass the The expected oven life is 5 years, with a
previous technical selection criteria listed, discount (interest) rate of 10%. Assume the
then a proper cost evaluation should be used oven is fully depreciated at the end of 5
to compare ovens. This is especially years with no residual value (worth $0 “ the
important when comparing ovens that utilize worst case scenario).
different heating technologies, as initial
price and operating costs can be The cost of ownership should reflect all the
significantly different. operational and opportunity costs of running
the oven. Direct costs like electrical power
Often, the initial cost of the equipment is the usage and process gas requirements (such as
only cost considered when comparing nitrogen) are included. Indirect or lost
equipment. It is certainly important when opportunity costs related to lost production
companies have tight budgets, BUT IT IS caused by maintenance downtime. Flux
OFTEN FAR LESS SIGNIFICANT cleaning and chain lubrication are examples
THAT THE OPERATING COSTS. To of machine downtime that will reduce board
make an informed comparison, all costs production. Figure 8-1 gives a real world
should be analyzed with a common basis example of these costs. When included in
based on an annual cost of ownership the Cost of Ownership model (Figure 8-1), it
approach. shows that when the impact of major cost of
ownership factors is analyzed, the ” cheaper„
As an example, compare two ovens with a oven actually costs TENS OF
vast difference in sell price (Figure 8-2). THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS MORE
OVER JUST ONE YEAR OF
OPERATION!

The next 2 pages describe how for a typical high-volume SMT line:

· Oven purchase price differences of 20-25% are INSIGNIFICANT when


compared to increased cost of ownership

· Advanced ovens can payback 20-25% price premiums vs basic ovens IN THE
FIRST 6 WEEKS of operation, based on reduced maintenance and downtime
(opportunity) costs, even with a 10% cost of money factored in

· Advanced ovens improve profitability by NEARLY $170,000 PER YEAR based


on the Real World example described by Figure 6-1 and Figure 6-2

· Reflow oven downtime is the MOST SIGNIFICANT cost factor for high-volume
machine evaluation

Page 35 Research International


Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Figure 8-1. Maintenance cost scenario.

Real World Case Study: Flux Cleaning Creates ” Regularly Scheduled Bottlenecks
A large contract manufacturer operates four SMT assembly lines in a plant that runs approximately 22 hours per day
except for changeover and maintenance. The maintenance technician describes the reflow oven flux cleaning
maintenance procedure:

Every three weeks, two technicians disassemble each reflow oven for flux cleaning. Reusable c ondensers collect
flux in the cooling zones, and air jets require cleaning for the flux not collected by the heat exchanger. Newly
cleaned flux condensers replace soiled units in the oven so that the latter 슏s fins can be degreased off-line. The
cleaning process requires 10 hours/month for EACH REFLOW OVEN.

Based on its cost structure, the plant s per line annual maintenance expense for reflow oven is:

Labor: 2 people @ $40/hour (burdened) * (10 hours/month oven cleaning) * (12 months/year)
= $9600/year

Flux Condenser Defluxing Cost: $100/month covering degreasing solvent, using a commercially
available degreaser (not degreased by hand scrubbing) = $1200/year

Direct Maintenance Cost per Line = $10,800 excluding the cost of repl acement flux condensers

LOST BOARD THROUGHPUT MEANS LOST PROFIT

The cost is in lost production, however, is many times greater. For continuous board production, reflow oven
maintenance creates ” regularly scheduled bottlenecks„, i.e. the capacity of the plant is equal to the capacity of the
bottlenecks wherein each hour of reflow oven flux cleaning is a production hour lost for the entire plant (Goldratt, The
Goal, p. 157).

For example, a typical production line might include:

Board Sell Price: $100


Board Cycle Time: 0.3 minutes (180 boards per hour)
Board Bill of Material Cost (PCB and components): $90
Labor Cost per board (direct and overhead): $1

SOURCE: Lasky, Baldwin, Throughput: The Critical Cost Variable in DCA Assembly, SMTA National
Symposium, November 1996, p. 1.

Applying 10 maintenance hours per month imposes the following reductions in board production throughput (and
profitability) per assembly line:

Board Production Rate * Maintenance Downtime = Lost Throughput per Line

(180 boards/hour) * (10 hours/month * 12 months/year) = 21,600 boards/year lost per line

Lost Line Throughput * (Board Sell Price - Board Cost [Material & Labor]) = Lost Line Profit

(21,600 boards lost/year) * ($100 - 91) = $194,400 ANNUAL LOST PROFIT PER LINE

Research International Page 36


Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Figure 8-2. Advanced reflow ovens cost more, but improve profitability by more than
$847,000 over the five-year life of the oven.

Reflow Oven Cost of Ownership Model


Assumptions (Figure 6-1)
Number of assembly hours/year 4160 4160
(2 shifts)
Board Cycle Time 180 boards/hour 180 boards/hour

Oven A (Advanced) Oven B (Average)


Purchase Price $95,000 $75,000

Capital Recovery Factor 0.2638 0.2638


10% Interest for 5 Years (A/P, 10, 5)
Annual Oven Cost $ 25,061 $ 19,785

Direct Costs
Nitrogen Gas Consumption 30 54
(cubic meters/hour)
Nitrogen Cost $0.19/cubic meter $0.19/cubic meter
Annual Nitrogen Cost $ 23,712 $ 42,682

Power Consumption (KVA) 43 38


Electrical Power Cost $0.16 KVA/hour $0.16 KVA/hour
Annual Power Cost $ 28,442 $ 25,292

Direct Maintenance Costs


(See Figure 6-1 for calculations)

Flux Cleaning Maintenance 1 8


(hours/month)
General Maintenance 2 2
(hours/month)
Annual Direct Maint. Costs $ 1,440 $ 4,800
(2 people @ $40 incl. Overhead)

ANNUAL DIRECT COST OF


OWNERSHIP $ 78,655 $ 92,559
(Oven + Nitrogen + Power + Maintenance)

Opportunity Costs
(See Figure 6-1 for calculations)

Board Profitability $ 9/board $ 9/board


($100 board sell price @ 9% Gross Margin)
Annual Production Lost $ 38,880 $ 194,400
($9/board x 180 bds/hour x Maint. Hours) (From Figure 6-1)

TOTAL ANNUAL COST OF


OWNERSHIP
(Direct cost + Opportunity Cost) $ 117,535 $ 286,959

Page 37 Research International


Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Section 9:
Vertical Reflow Multitasking PCB Production

requires a smooth mechanical motion, many


non-fluctuating temperature zones, exacting
timing for each zone, and a significant
cooling area. Modular vertical stationary
reflow (MVSR) oven operation is quite
different.

How Vertical Reflow Works


MVSR systems like TOWERTM by Research
International use individual chambers,
vertically stacked, to perform the entire
thermal profile without moving the board.
These chambers are self-contained and
computer controlled mini-ovens and each
provides the necessary heating and cooling
required for all reflow operations. Profiles
are generated by controlling the power of a
single heater instead of moving the board
through a series of heated zones at different
temperatures.

Vertical reflow is designed for SMT


assemblers who:

· Need to fit more high-volume lines into


an existing manufacturing plant
· Need to process jobs of varying board
types and profiles
· Need to convert SMT lines
IMMEDIATELY to a new board type Each one of these chambers performs the entire thermal
profile.

Current Reflow Approach


A typical conveyor oven reflows a board by Circuit boards entering the TOWERTM are
moving it laterally through a series of placed on an elevator and are moved to an
horizontal temperature zones to create the available chamber for reflow processing.
desired thermal profile. Proper reflow Those boards that have already been

Research International Page 38


Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
processed are removed from the chambers Since the board is stationary during reflow ,
by the same elevator and then passed on to energy can be focused to high component
the in-line conveyor. mass areas (like shielded connectors) and
shielded from low mass areas (populated by
capacitors, for example). In this way, each
component on the board is brought to reflow
temperature in a single step and temperature
gradients are minimized for even the most
difficult boards. These boards can
potentially be reflowed entirely instead of
having subsequent wave or hand soldering
processes post-reflow. For typical surface
mount boards, standard convection profiles
are used without focusing heat to high-mass
board regions.

TOWERTM is installed in a standard


production line just like an in-line
conveyorized reflow oven. Mechanical and
electrical interfaces to periphery equipment
are the same for both MVSR and conveyor
ovens. A comparison of the conventional
The elevator feeds boards into each chamber. reflow versus MVSR is shown in Figure 9-1.

Boards are in motion only when they are in


a cool (solder is non-liquidus) state.
Figure 9-1. Traditional (in-line) reflow vs vertical reflow.

Traditional Method TOWERTM/MVSR Approach

· Board passes through multi-zone oven to reflow · Board is stationary during reflow and cooling cycles
solder and cool board
· Convection minimizes Delta T caused by mass · Convection heat input optimized for different regions of
differences board (optional)
· Set point temperature, air flow, and belt speed are · Set point temperature and user defined time duration
typical profile variables controls profile
· User inputs zone setpoint temperatures to create · User determines time/temperature profile and oven
recipe automatically adjusts to create recipe
· Desired profile verified through trial and error · Oven adjusts heat input automatically for test board
· Underboard support runs through one plane · Stationary board allows multi-point support
· Large components on underside not possible due · Underside components do not vibrate since board is still
to conveyor vibration
· Inert atmospheres created by purging oxygen · Inert atmospheres can be created by purging oxygen OR
creating a vacuum
· Performance determined by initial capital · Buy the capabilities you need today and expand/retrofit
investment (buy large and nitrogen version) as customer“s needs change
· In-line oven operating costs incurred regardless of · Operating costs (nitrogen use and power consumption)
boards produced proportional to board production levels

Page 39 Research International


Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
18-inch (46 cm) long board, at a 90% load
Vertical Oven factor (2-inch [5 cm] space between boards).
Throughput Besides a smaller footprint for equivalent
assembly volume, the impact of this MVSR
Board production rates are no longer tied to throughput on board production is the ability
the heated length of the reflow oven, but to multi-task PCB assembly.
rather to the number of chambers utilized for
the specific production run. More chambers
mean higher production volume. For
Multitasking Board
example, a typical 4-minute board cycle Production
consisting of a 3-minute heating profile, 30
seconds of in-chamber cooling (liquidus
Unlike dual-lane conveyors for in-line ovens
timeover) and 30 seconds of elevator
which can only process 2 types of thermally
transport/secondary board cooling means an
similar boards, MVSR ovens can reflow
individual chamber produces 15 boards per
thermally unique board types in each
hour (assuming the chamber is loaded with
chamber. Since each chamber is like a
only one board per cycle). If six chambers
” lane„ of a dual-lane conveyor, MVSR
are operational for this production run, the
provides the equivalent of 8 lanes each with
production rate is 6 chambers times 15
an independent profile and board size
board/hour/chamber = 90 boards per hour.
(length). Multiple pick-and-place lines
If higher volume is needed, activating 8
dedicated to each board type can be routed
chambers produces 120 boards per hour.
to a centralized MVSR oven (Figure 9-2)
instead of having separate reflow ovens
Compared to current reflow ovens, 120
throughout the plant.
boards/hour is the rate of a 10 foot heated
length in-line oven, running at 40 inches
(102 cm) per minute conveyor speed for an
Figure 9-2. Multiple SMT production lines can be routed
into a single TOWERTM.

Multiple Lines TOWER Reflow Oven Production Flexibility


Chamber 8
Dedicated
Board Stencil Chamber 7 to
Placement BOX BUILD ASSY
A Printer Board A
Chamber 6

Chamber 5
Board Stencil LOW VOLUME LINE
Placement Dedicated
B Printer COMBINATIONS
Chamber 4 to
Board B
Chamber 3

Board Stencil MAINTENANCE


Placement Chamber 2 WORK-AROUNDS
C Printer Dedicated
to
Chamber 1 Board C

Research International Page 40


Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Section 10:
Semiconductor Reflow

Most SMT components use wire leads, chip. These solder balls provide the
which extend from the edge of the package. package-to-PCB connection in a CSP.
A new generation of chips relies on solder
ball leads instead of wire leads. Common Common ball placement processing
names for these semiconductor chips are ball techniques are gravity transfer and vacuum
grid arrays (BGAs) and chip scale packages transfer. Solder ball inspection is often the
(CSPs). final step in the placement process. Most
automated ball placement machines
Reflow processes accomplish all of these steps in a single
are used to attach platform.
solder balls to
BGAs.

Semiconductor
reflow has much
the same issues as SMT reflow. The
approach for profiling, determining inert
atmosphere purity requirements, cleaning
post-reflow flux residues, etc. are essentially
common to both types of products.

Solder Ball Attachment


Process A solder ball attachment line: (L-R) Placement machine,
reflow oven, cleaner.
Solder ball attachment consists of three
primary processes.
Nitrogen Convection Reflow
· Solder ball placement CSP ball attach reflow is usually performed
· Nitrogen convection reflow in a nitrogen atmospheres with purity levels
· Aqueous cleaning from 10-25ppm. For these purity levels,
nitrogen use should not exceed 900 SCFH.
A convection heat transfer technique is
Solder Ball Placement critical for reaching high volume BGA
The solder ball placement process typically production rates. Other reflow methods like
begins by screen printing a layer of solder conduction are simply too slow for mass
paste onto the chip substrate. The paste production of CSPs. For chip scale
provides adhesion sites for the next step - packages on the order of 0.012-inch
placing preformed solder spheres on the (0.3mm) diameter, heat transfer must occur
in a low velocity nitrogen convection
(LVNC) environment. LVNC ensures

Page 41 Research International


Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
solder balls will remain stationary on the Aqueous Cleaning Process
substrate during convection reflow. Fan Flux removal is accomplished by
convection or air jets blowing excess transporting CSPs through a cleaner that
nitrogen onto small CSPs can dislodge achieves cleanliness without damaging the
molten solder balls. Finally, the CSPs product. As packages enter the cleaner a
should be cooled to maintain short timeover prewash section with direct feed from tap
at reflow temperature and to prevent thermal water supply removes gross contaminants
shock when entering the cleaner. via upper and lower spray bars and a series
of nozzles. During the next phase the
product should be thoroughly washed with
60°C water, at pressures between 20 and 50
psi depending on the package configuration.
The final rinse flood should be deionized
(DI) water between 15 to 18 Meg Ohm to
assure cleanliness results less than
1mgram/square inch NaCl. Finally, the
package should be completely dried, cooled
and protected from excessive static levels.

ChipFlo solder ball attach reflow oven.

Notes:

Research International Page 42


Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Section 11:
Research International Thermal Solutions

Over the years, Research has produced a All our products are supplied with the CE
variety of customized heating systems. We (Common European standard) mark for
developed furnaces for PCB fusing in the safety.
1980s, and created the most innovative line
of surface mount solder reflow ovens during
the 1990s.
A Customized Approach
to Reflow Oven Design
Research was the first major reflow oven
manufacturer certified to ISO 9001 quality Research International offers a complete line
standards. of solder reflow ovens. These ovens range
from low volume machines to vertical
reflow ovens.

Page 43 Research International


Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
Research International The Most Complete Reflow
Product Line
· TOWERTM Modular Vertical Stationary Reflow Oven
· DeltaFlo Low Nitrogen Convection for High-Volume Circuit Card Assembly
· MicriFlo Controlled Atmosphere Convection for High-Volume Circuit Card
Assembly
· ThermaFlo Fan Forced Convection for High-Volume Circuit Card Assembly
· ChipFlo Low Velocity Nitrogen Convection for BGA Solder Ball Attachment

Research International Guaranteed Reliability


No-Clean Reflow Ovens
Research International makes the only no-clean reflow oven. Our patented convection flow
circulation pattern eliminates heater cavity flux build-up. The result is constant production
without cleaning downtime expense.

Total Performance Guarantee


Our exclusive 90-day Total Performance Guarantee means complete
satisfaction with your DeltaFlo, MicriFlo or ThermaFlo purchase or
we“ll refund your money. That“s reliability with a guarantee.

Comprehensive Lifetime Warranty


Research International offers the first and only lifetime warranty covering the in-line conveyor
assembly, circulation fans and heating elements.

Research International Your Partner for Reflow


Solutions
The Research International commitment to our customers begins with responsive service. From
installation through its production lifetime, Research International is dedicated to the continuous
operation of each reflow oven delivered. Hundreds of customers worldwide depend on our
ovens for reliable reflow.

We think you“ll find Research International offers the best thermal solution for any type of
circuit card or semiconductor chip component assembly. Contact one of our dedicated reflow
specialists today!

Research International Page 44


Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
TOWERTM Modular Vertical Stationary Reflow

Features
· Eight vertically stacked ” miniovens„
· Stationary reflow
· Automated profiling

Benefits
· Process multiple board types simultaneously
· Rapid line changeover
· Small footprint

DeltaFlo Series Low Nitrogen Forced Convection

Features Benefits
· ConstantClean heater cavity flux · Flux cleaning maintenance eliminated
prevention
· Variable height heater cavity · Tall component reflow possible
· Automated nitrogen consumption · Lowest nitrogen use possible for large
control boards
· Advanced cooling section · Board cooling to room temperature

Page 45 Research International


Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
MicriFlo Series Controlled Atmosphere Convection

Features
· CoolClean heater cavity flux
prevention
· Dual processing roller chain conveyor
· Controlled atmosphere air or high
purity nitrogen operation

Benefits
· Flux cleaning maintenance eliminated
· No conveyor chain lubrication or
maintenance required
· Optimal profile control

ThermaFlo Series Fan Forced Convection

Features
· ConstantClean heater cavity flux
prevention
· Mesh belt or dual processing
conveyor
· Optimal temperature uniformity

Benefits
· Flux cleaning maintenance
eliminated
· No conveyor chain lubrication or
maintenance required

Research International Page 46


Solder Reflow Technology Handbook
ChipFlo Series BGA Solder Ball Attachment

Features
· Space saving 72-inch linear footprint
· No-clean heater cavity flux prevention
· Mesh belt or tape drive conveyor
· Low velocity nitrogen convection keeps
solder on the ship

Benefits
· Designed for clean room production
· Flux cleaning maintenance eliminated
· Nitrogen purity with low gas
consumption

ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION


Books

A Guide to Defect Free Soldering and A Guide to the Control of Solderability


Woodgate, Ralph. Woodcorp, Inc. Miller Freeman Books, San Francisco, California.

Solders and Soldering


Manko, Howard H. Manko Associates. McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, New York.

SMT Consulting Services

ITM Consulting 긔 ” The SMT Process Specialists„


Phil Zarrow
P.O. Box 921
Durham, New Hampshire 03824 USA
Tel: (603) 868-1754 Fax: (603) 868-3623 Web: www.itm-smt.com

Internet Sites

Surface Mount Technology Association (non-profit) www.smta.org


KIC Thermal Profiling www.kicthermal.com
Research International www.research-intl.com

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Solder Reflow Technology Handbook