Speedline Technologies Completes Study on Lead-Free Process Optimization

The Advanced Development Group of Speedline Technologies, Inc., in cooperation with Agilent Technologies, concluded a three month Design of Experiment (DOE) to understand and quantify variables in a lead-free manufacturing process. A report of findings will be presented at the SMTA International Conference in Chicago in September 2005.

FRANKLIN, MASSACHUSETTS, USA (PRWEB) August 29, 2005 -- The Advanced Development Group of Speedline Technologies, Inc., in cooperation with Agilent Technologies, concluded a three month Design of Experiment (DOE) to understand and quantify variables in a lead-free manufacturing process. A report of findings will be presented at the SMTA International Conference in Chicago in September 2005.

Fundamental conclusions highlight that the positional accuracy of the paste deposit relative to the pad is the critical element in ensuring good fine pitch lead free assemblies, and is even more critical for some formulations than others. Solder volume can be readily managed across the supplier base with printer variables and stencil design. As with any solder pastes (lead-free and lead-bearing), the use of enclosed print heads such as the Rheometric pump will present advantages such as better aperture fill, however it is not the determining factor for a high quality process. The atmosphere and profile of the reflow oven contribute substantially to the overall quality of the Lead-free assembly.

Speedline and Agilent have undertaken a collaborative effort on a set of experiments to help printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) manufacturers understand how lead-free technology is likely to impact their established processes. Speedline and Agilent are working from the premise that process characterization, effective monitoring and process control in the lead-free solder steps are essential to maintaining desired yield and lower costs for the lead-free process transition.

The goal of this first DOE was to understand the impact of the positional accuracy of the printed solder paste to the component pad, the positional accuracy of the placed component to the component pad, and atmosphere and profile of the reflow process. The experiment was enabled by the accuracy and flexibility of Agilent’s Medalist SJ50 Series II Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) systems.

This comprehensive study took into account all of the steps in the SMT process. Inspection equipment was employed after the printer to measure volume and position, after the pick & place machine to measure component position, and after the reflow oven to measure the position of components after reflow soldering. Solder paste types were selected from three major manufacturers of high quality mainstream lead-free pastes. Data collected was reviewed for volume and position of the paste deposits as well as for presence and position of the placed components.

Dr. Gerald Pham-van-Diep, Director of Advanced Development for Speedline Technologies stated, “This study was undertaken to review the full potential for process needs as customers convert to lead free process technologies. It demonstrates that the process changes required in most situations to convert to lead free are not as daunting as some suppliers would have the industry believe. In essence, with appropriate process review, process development work and management of the variables available to the manufacturer, the switch to producing high-quality lead-free assemblies is achievable.”

The current study is part of an on-going and long-term program at Speedline, in collaboration with Agilent, specifically aimed at understanding the challenges of the transition to lead-free manufacturing.

About Speedline Technologies
Speedline Technologies is the global leader for single-source process knowledge, solutions, and service to the PCB assembly and semiconductor packaging industries. Based in Franklin, Massachusetts, USA, the company sells five, best-in-class brands – Accel microelectronics cleaning, Camalot dispensing systems, Electrovert wave soldering, reflow soldering, and cleaning equipment, MPM stencil and screen printing systems, and Protect global services, support, and training solutions. For more information, visit us at http://www.speedlinetech.com.


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Source :  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/8/prweb271567.htm