Reflow soldering is the main method for attaching surface mount components to Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).
The process involves placing components on the board over paste deposits during the pick-and-place operation. Then, the reflow soldering process creates a reliable electrical and physical connection. The solder pastes melt and cool down to form strong solder joints, without causing damage from excessive heat.
The reflow soldering cycle usually has four stages: Preheat, Thermal Soak, Reflow, and Cooling.
Preheat: The oven slowly increases the temperature to heat the boards and components evenly, avoiding temperature gradient to prevent component damage.
Thermal Soak: Activates flux particles, reducing oxidation, improving solder wetting, and extending component life.
Reflow: Reaches the highest temperature, determined by the component with the lowest maximum temperature tolerance.
Cooling: Solder alloys harden to form solder joints, ensuring proper wetting and preventing component damage or cold soldering.
In Reflow Soldering, quality is vital, requiring high-quality materials and careful profile optimization. Even though setting up an ideal Reflow Solder Profile for each assembly takes time and effort, it’s essential to achieve consistently reliable results.
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