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As we know,SMT reflow oven is the most important soldering technology in surface mount technology. It has been widely used in many industries that need to produce PCB, which is including mobile phones, computers, automotive electronics, control circuits, communications, LED lighting and many other industries. More and more electronic devices are converted from through hole to surface mount, and reflow oven replaces wave soldering is a obvious trend in soldring industry.
So what is the role of reflow oven equipment in the increasingly mature lead-free SMT process? Let’s take a look at the whole SMT surface mount line:
The whole SMT surface mounting line consists of three parts, such as steel mesh solder paste printing machine(also called SMT stencil printer), SMT pick and place machine and reflow oven furnace. For the machine, and compared with lead free, and no new demands on the equipment itself; for screen printing machine, and a lead-free solder paste in the physical properties there are some differences, so put forward some improvement on the device itself,for SMT pick and place machine, the process of lead and lead free is nearly same, but there is no qualitative change. the key of lead-free is in the reflow oven.
The lead paste (Sn63Pb37) melting point of 183 degrees, if you want to form a good weld must have the thickness of 0.5-3.5um intermetallic compounds in soldering, intermetallic compound formation temperature is above the melting point of 10-15, the lead soldering is 195-200. The maximum withstand temperature of the electronic device on the circuit board is generally 240 degrees. Therefore, for lead soldering, the ideal soldering process window is 195-240 degrees.
Because of the change of melting point of lead-free solder paste, lead-free soldering has brought great changes for soldering process. At present, the lead-free solder paste is Sn96Ag0.5Cu3.5 and the melting point is 217-221 degrees. Good lead-free solder must also be formed 0.5-3.5um thickness intermetallic compounds, intermetallic compound formation temperature is also above the melting point of 10-15 degrees, for lead-freesoldering, that is, 230-235 degrees. Since the highest temperature of lead-free solder electronic device will not change, therefore, for lead-free soldering, ideal welding process window is 230-245 degrees.
The substantial reduction of process window brings great challenge to ensure soldering quality, and also brings higher requirements to stability and reliability of lead-free wave soldering equipment. Because the equipment itself is coupled with the electronic device transverse temperature difference, due to differences in size of heat capacity will produce temperature difference in the heating process, so in the process control of lead-free reflow oven can be adjusted in the process of soldering temperature window becomes very small, this is the real lead-free reflow to the difficulty.
So for have a longer process time so that we can adjust the process soldering temperature windown easier, The SMT reflow oven manufacturer developed the long heating zones reflow oven. Now most reflow oven used in the lead free process is 8 heating zones or 10 heating zones reflow oven. and some longest reflow oven has 18 heating zones.
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