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Poll Finds Solder Finish, BGA Components and Reflow Soldering Most Challenging for Industry Engineers

Jan 22, 2012

NPL Defect Clinic Gets Marching Orders for IPC APEX EXPO 2012

More than 350 engineers who attended last week’s IPC webinar, Soldering and Assembly Defects, were polled on their biggest headaches with printed boards, PCB components and PCB assembly process failures. The survey results which identify solder finish, ball grid array (BGA) components and reflow soldering as the greatest challenges, provide webinar co-sponsor, National Physical Laboratory (NPL) of the United Kingdom with useful information as it prepares its NPL Process Defect Clinic for IPC APEX EXPO® 2012, February 28-March 1, in San Diego.

The survey shows where we need to concentrate our efforts in design, specification and process control,” says webinar instructor Bob Willis, an international technology expert who helps companies solve their most perplexing process-related issues.

The results indicate that among components, BGAs stir up the most problems for 29 percent of engineers with a close second of 27 percent voting for quad flat no-lead (QFN)/land grid array (LGA) components. In problems associated with printed board manufacturing, 39 percent chose finish solderability as most troubling with 27 percent selecting electrical shorts/opens. In assembly process failures, 27 percent point the finger at reflow soldering while 20 percent credit paste printing for their headaches.

At IPC APEX EXPO, Willis will teach four professional development courses; co-present at a free BUZZ session, Tin Whiskers, Delamination, Copper Dissolution, CAF, and Coating Adhesion; and run the NPL Process Defect Clinic in the exhibit hall.

Although he’s a big fan of teaching formats like webinars to reach out to engineers around the world, Willis is always glad for the time at the clinic to spend with engineers. “I’m happy to have the three days at IPC APEX EXPO where I can dedicate one-on-one time with engineers to help them resolve their unique issues,” he says. At the NPL Defect Clinic, Willis will be available to answer questions about printed board and assembly problems. He will also be running a series of mini seminars on key issues such as solderability testing, dye & pry on area array packages and component solderability.

Industry technologists may e-mail process problems and photos in advance of the show to processdefectclinic@ipc.org and stop by booth 533 to discuss proposed solutions.

The IPC webinar is posted at www.IPCAPEXEXPO.org/defect-clinic. For more information on all the events taking place at IPC APEX EXPO, including standards development meetings, visit www.IPCAPEXEXPO.org. Meetings such as the one for the IPC 5-21f Ball Grid Array Task Group which is currently working on the C revision of IPC-7095, Design and Assembly Process Implementation for BGAs, offer additional opportunities to contribute to and gain industry guidance on design and assembly process issues. Many of the problems expressed in the poll are addressed in the new C revision which will be finalized during the meeting and released in early spring.

Exhibits-Only registration is free to pre-registrants and includes free access to the NPL Process Defect Database Clinic and its mini seminars, BUZZ Sessions, and all free special events as well as the largest exhibition in North America for printed board design and manufacturing, electronics assembly and test.


IPC (www.IPC.org) is a global trade association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 3,100 member companies which represent all facets of the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $2.02 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Arlington, Va.; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore, India; and Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing, China.

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