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Solder Deposits During Wave Soldering

Solder Deposits During Wave Soldering
I have a question regarding the wave soldering process done for a PCB with PTH components mounted on top layer and SMT components on the bottom layer.

During wave soldering the PCB is passed over the wave just touching it. Is there a possibility for the solder to get stuck/deposited on the SMT components' body or cause a solder bridge between the components' pins in the IC area where the pins just come out of the package (i.e. at a height from the PCB material)?

We use solder mask on the PCB for unwanted deposition of solder on traces and pads etc., but what can we do to insure that the solder is not being deposited on the component body?


Expert's Panel Responses


Securing components on the bottom side of the printed circuit assembly is a common practice. The chip wave was developed to address this issue of surface mount component on the bottom side of the board. The orientation of the chip components relative to the direction of travel had become an issue and if they were oriented with the termination perpendicular to the wave then the potential of skips (i.e. missing solder) was very high.
This is where the chip wave came into play, its function was to splash solder at these difficult locations creating a pathway for the larger wave to complete the solder joint. When SOIC were assembled to the bottom side of the board, they also needed to be placed perpendicular to the wave so the solder could flow from one lead to the next as opposed to if the component was oriented parallel to the wave the wave would only see two set of leads, the front and the back side. This orientation was susceptible to many short between the leads and it was all due to the ability or the inability of the solder to flow off the component leads.
In some designs an extra pad was added to each side of the component to allow the solder to flow off the last lead. Therefore orientation was most important to prevent solder shorts and reduce the amount of solder skips.
Another important issue was the profile used to solder these components. Regardless of the soldering process used to create the solder joint, the thermal ramp up through the preheat still had to be 2 to 3 degrees C per second and the thermal shock could not exceed 80 to 100 degrees C and as can be imagine this was quite a task considering the components were going to be subject to the molten wave which was typically set at 250 degrees C.
Solder getting stuck on the component body has not been observed to be an issue as the component bodies are not metallic and the solder will not wet to non metallic surfaces.
Another technique is to use fixtures to prevent the solder from touching all the surface mount components. In this case however the surface mount components have to be installed using the traditional method of solder paste, pick and place and thermal reflow processes. After this surface mount process the through hole components can be installed and the board can be placed in a fixture which just exposes the areas to be soldered around the plated through holes. The fixture is then place on the wave solder system and the process of soldering the through hole component is completed.
There is plenty of information available regarding component orientation and wave solder considerations by doing the appropriate searches on the web.

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