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Wave Soldering Myths and Facts

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Rework and touch-up are part of production.


Rework and touch-up are necessary only because of production failures on the assembly lines. Defects are production failures. Rework and touch-up cost huge sums of money in labor, floor space, rework stations, inspection, hand soldering equipment, consumables, management time, slower throughput, and the increased risk of field failures. You don’t have to live with your current defect rate. Don’t accept it.


The key to good wave soldering is thermal profiling.


Thermal profilers give no accurate information on how your boards pass through your solder waves or on your fluxer performance. Without this information the process is fatally uncontrolled.


A glass plate provides all the information we need.


A glass plate gives no precise, repeatable, quantified or retrievable data. Neither does it measure immersion depth. Assessments are subjective, depending on human judgment, eyeballing and reflex.


If I change the chemistry I can eliminate my defects.


What if your wave solder defects are not due to your flux type or solder alloy? What if your defects are due to a wave soldering process that can be improved? In that case, changing chemistry is futile. Before changing your flux vendor or your solder type, endeavor to attack and eliminate your defects with the most proven technology and techniques available. It could save you a lot of time consuming, costly and ineffective changes.


Our defects are caused by bad board design and cannot be eliminated.


Sometimes a board does have design errors that provoke wave solder defects. Before giving up or engaging in a slow moving, costly redesign, you can employ clear procedures to attack these defects. This will determine if the defects can be overcome by refining your wave soldering process for the specific boards in question. Many if not most wave soldering defects caused by bad board design can be overcome with improved process targeted by board type.


The new wave machine controls process.


Some look to expensive wave machine upgrades to solve process deficiencies. But old equipment does not equal defects and new equipment does not equal good boards. It is the process and manufacturing engineers who must control and optimize your wave soldering process, because no wave solder machine can. An optimized process is the best way to determine whether an expensive investment is needed in your wave machines. Even more so it is the best way to attack and eliminate your wave soldering defects. A good wave machine will not eliminate defects caused by poor process.


“The Optimizer made us re-think how we should wave solder.  We shouldn’t blame the board design as often and we cannot rely on a thermal profiler to control our wave process.”

– Martin Orozco, Process Engineer, TRW Automotive

“In all my years in PCB assembly, I have never seen such an enthusiastic response to a training program.  Other vendors never really improved our problems like you have.”

– Luis Velazquez, Engineering Manager, Plexus

“Your company walked in here and quickly showed my staff how to reduce defects that we’ve had to live with for a long time.”

– Dennis Herrick, Director of Operations, Condor

“Many of our voids and insufficients were assumed to be design defects.  Your training instructor used our Optimizer’s measurements to make adjustments easily and now we should never see these defects in our production again.  What a relief!”

– Enda Moran, manufacturing Manager, CEL

“We thought we had tried everything possible to eliminate a bridging problem.  Using the Optimizer, in only a couple of minutes we got rid of the bridging completely by adjusting the dwell time.”

– Alfred Santilla, Wave Solder Supervisor, Universal Lighting

“Your instructor solved our excessive solder and bridging by adjusting our process based on our Optimizer’s data, and showed us how we can easily do this by ourselves.”

– Gary Wirth, Production Supervisor, Honeywell

“Using the Optimizer’s techniques every day on one board type, we saved 257 hours of touch up and rework per month.  This saved our facility over $50,000 in 12 months on this one board type alone.”

– John Lanferman, Process Characterization Group Leader, Celestica

“Your wave soldering seminar gave us concrete methods and procedures completely different and beyond anything we’ve ever heard or seen from other vendors or ‘experts’.”

– Juan Guevara, SMT and Through Hole Manager, Alps Automotive

“The proactive nature of your methodology, which allows us to identify board defects and production issues before they happen, is critical for raising yields.”

– Luis Lopez, Operations Manager, Benchmark Electronics

“I have worked with wave solder machines for years and can honestly say that this was the most informative and thorough class that I have attended on this subject.

– Dale Shedd, Process Engineer, Adtran

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