Medical Electronics Symposium Conference Proceedings


THE IMPORTANCE OF REFLOW PROFILE QUALIFICATION, THERMAL PROCESS TRACEABILITY AND CONTROL

Author: Mark Pulis
Company: KIC
Date Published: 4/25/2005   Conference: Medical Electronics Symposium


Abstract: This paper will focus on advances in reflow process management available from several industry vendors, with detailed methods to qualify, control and provide complete documentation and traceability. This issue should be of concern to both those manufacturing, and those OEM’s contracting out their electronics manufacturing.

Many reflow documentation systems merely record the date and time a product was reflowed, and whether the oven recipe and temperatures were correct. The assembler must periodically run a profile to verify that nothing has changed in the process. The assumption is, if the test board is within spec, all the production boards should be within spec. What is needed is a means of tracing the thermal specifications for every board processed.

Hardware and software technology now make it possible not only to optimize the reflow setup, but then to automatically monitor the reflow portion of the SMT line at a previously unimagined level. This technology includes a statistical method for quantifying reflow process performance, which allows a simple and efficient application of Statistical Process Control to the reflow process. Below are the three areas of automated reflow management, which we will analyze in detail.

  • Qualification: For each process setup, the system will determine the optimal oven recipe by a unique method of modeling every possible outcome.
  • Control: This technology includes a statistical method for quantifying reflow process performance, which allows a simple and efficient application of Statistical Process Control to the reflow process.
  • Traceability: System software integration with network capabilities and bar-coding, records detailed process information for every piece of product to include; individual profiles, quality measurements for these profile, as well as process CPK and SPC charting.
  • By adding an automated reflow management tool to an existing oven, the manufacturer can maintain control of the reflow process, while documenting the critical process parameters.

    Key words: Profile, Virtual Profile, PWI, Documentation.



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