The Impact of Reduced Solder Alloy Powder Size on Solder Paste Print PerformanceAuthors: Timothy O'Neill, Carlos Tafoya and Gustavo Ramirez
Date Published: 8/28/2017 Conference: SMTA China
From the Apple Watch and body cameras for law enforcement to virtual reality hardware and autonomous transportation, the opportunities for electronics to improve our lives are limited only by our imaginations. The capability of existing PCB assembly technology needs to advance rapidly to meet the mission profile of these new devices. The demand common to all of these devices is increased functionality in a smaller space. For the solder paste manufacturer, this path inevitably leads to incorporating finer metal powder into solder paste to facilitate ultra-fine pitch printing. This study evaluates the benefits and implications of finer mesh solder powder on critical aspects of solder paste performance. Type 4, 5 and 6 SAC305 solder pastes were tested and their characteristics in several key areas were measured and studied. The key input variables included powder size, effect of room temperature storage, pause time and PCB feature types. Output included print transfer efficiency, volume repeatability and performance stability over time. The goal of the study was to measure the benefits derived from smaller particle size and identify possible negative implications. With this information, assemblers and technical support personnel will better understand how to apply their resources to ensure the most robust process and optimized performance. The study was undertaken in two parts to measure both print characteristics and reflow characteristics. The print results are reported in this paper.
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