SMT Reflow Soldering Equipment / Machine
SMT Reflow Soldering Equipment / Machine or Reflow Oven is Used for SMD Reflow Soldering.
SMT reflow soldering equipment / machine is the second major equipment after pick-and-place machine in any SMT line.
Types of SMT Reflow Soldering Equipment and Reflow Process
There are many reflow soldering methods used in SMT (Surface Mount Technology) and each method has advantages and disadvantages. Equipment cost, maintenance cost and yield are some of the leading decision factors.
The most widely used reflow soldering processes in electronics are:
- Vapor Phase; and
Vapor phase process is very versatile and it can be applied to assemblies of any shape. Many models of phase process are available in both batch and in-line types. The capital costs of the vapor phase and infrared processes are comparable but the operation cost may be higher for vapor phase.
Infrared equipment has been widely used in the hybrid industry, but at a much higher temperature, for firing thick film deposits on ceramic substrates. The same equipment was initially tried for reflow soldering on glass epoxy substrates with terrible results: burning, charring, and warpage of boards.
Now the electronics industry has made tremendous progress in redesigning heating elements to eliminate earlier problems.
Different Zones of Reflow Oven and Reflow Soldering Process
- Preheat zone: This is the first chamber or zone of any reflow oven. The temperature of the board and all the SMD components is gradually and uniformly raised to prevent any crack to the SMT PCB due to thermal shock.
- Thermal soak zone: This is the high temperature zone where the temperature is high enough to melt solder paste so that the component leads get soldered to the pads on the circuit board.
- Reflow zone: This zone is also called “time above reflow” or “time above liquidus”. It is part of the reflow process where the maximum temperature is reached. The maximum allowable peak temperature limit is determined by the type of electronic component on the PCB assembly with the lowest tolerance for high temperatures (the component most susceptible to thermal damage).
- Cooling zone: This is the last zone to gradually cool the PCBA and solidify the solder joints.
The development of a reflow profile for each product is key to obtaining optimum yields no matter which reflow system is used. With an appropriate profile, any of the systems will work.
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