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The pcb engineer explained several SMT welding defects and their solutions
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The pcb engineer explained several SMT welding defects and their solutions

The pcb engineer explained several SMT welding defects and their solutions

The circuit board manufacturer, circuit board designer and PCBA manufacturer explain several SMT welding defects and their solutions

This paper mainly analyzes the solder ball, riser, bridge and other welding defects in printed circuit modules produced by surface mount technology (SMT), and empirically summarizes effective solutions for reference.

Keywords: SMT welding defect

1 Introduction

The outstanding advantages of surface mount technology in reducing the volume and weight of electronic products and improving the reliability meet the requirements of manufacturing technology for the intercontinental range, mobile launch, safety and reliability, and advanced technology of future strategic weapons. However, it is not easy to formulate and select surface assembly process suitable for specific products, because SMT technology is a complex system engineering involving multiple technologies, and any change of any factor will affect the welding quality of electronic products.

The welding quality of component solder joints is a key factor that directly affects the quality of printed circuit assembly (PWA) and even the whole machine. It is affected by many parameters, such as solder paste, substrate, solderability of components, silk screen, mounting accuracy and welding process. In the process of SMT process research and production, we know that reasonable surface assembly technology plays a crucial role in controlling and improving SMT production quality. This paper analyzes the mechanism of several typical welding defects encountered, and puts forward corresponding process methods to solve them.

2 Several typical welding defects and solutions

2.1 Solder balls in wave soldering and reflow soldering

The existence of solder balls indicates that the process is not completely correct, and there is a risk of short circuit in electronic products, so it needs to be eliminated. The internationally recognized standard for the existence of solder balls is that no more than 5 solder balls can appear in the 600 range of printed circuit components. There are many reasons for tin balls, and the root of the problem needs to be found.

2.1.1 Solder balls in wave soldering

Solder balls often appear in wave soldering for two main reasons. First, when soldering a printed circuit board, the moisture near the through hole on the printed circuit board is heated and becomes steam. If the metal coating on the hole wall is thin or has gaps, water vapor will be eliminated through the hole wall. If there is solder in the hole, when the solder solidifies, water vapor will create gaps (pinholes) in the solder, or extrude solder to produce solder balls on the front of the printed circuit board. Second, the solder balls generated on the reverse side of the printed circuit board (that is, the side contacting the wave crest) are caused by improper setting of some process parameters during wave soldering. If the flux coating amount is increased or the preheating temperature is set too low, the evaporation of the components in the flux may be affected. When the PCB enters the wave peak, the excess flux will be vaporized at high temperature, splashing the solder from the tin bath, and producing irregular solder balls on the PCB surface.

For the above two reasons, we take the following corresponding solutions: First, it is critical to have a proper thickness of metal coating in the through-hole. The minimum copper coating on the hole wall should be 25um, and there should be no gaps. Second, use spray or foaming type coating flux. In the foaming mode, when adjusting the air content of the flux, it is necessary to keep the minimum bubbles as possible, and the contact surface between the foam and PCB is relatively reduced. Third, the preheating zone temperature of the wave soldering machine shall be set so that the top surface temperature of the circuit board reaches at least 100 ° C. Proper preheating temperature can not only eliminate solder balls, but also avoid PCB deformation due to thermal shock.

2.1.2 Solder balls in reflow soldering Mechanism of solder ball formation in reflow soldering

Solder balls from reflow soldering are often hidden on the side between two ends of rectangular chip components or between thin pitch pins. In the component mounting process, the solder paste is placed between the pin and the pad of the chip component. As the printed circuit board passes through the reflow soldering furnace, the solder paste melts into liquid. If the solder paste is not well wetted with the pad and device pin, the liquid solder will shrink and cause insufficient weld filling, and all solder particles cannot converge into a solder joint. Some liquid solder will flow out of the weld to form solder balls. Therefore, the poor wettability of solder with solder pads and device pins is the fundamental reason for the formation of solder balls. Cause analysis and control methods

There are many reasons for poor wettability of soldering tin. The following mainly analyzes the reasons related to relevant processes and solutions:

a) The reflux temperature curve is set improperly. The reflow of solder paste is a function of temperature and time. If the temperature or time is not enough, the solder paste will not reflow. The temperature in the preheating zone rises too fast and the time to reach the flat top temperature is too short, so that the moisture and solvent in the solder paste are not completely volatilized. When reaching the reflow temperature zone, the moisture and solvent will boil and the solder ball will be splashed. The practice has proved that it is ideal to control the rising speed of preheating zone temperature at 1~4 ° C/s.

printed circuit board

b) If the solder balls always appear in the same position, it is necessary to check the sheet metal design structure. The corrosion accuracy of the opening size of the template does not meet the requirements, and the size of the bonding pad is too large, and the surface material is soft (such as copper template), which causes the outline of the solder paste that is missed to print is not clear and bridging with each other. This often occurs when the bonding pad of the device with fine spacing is missed to print, and a large number of solder beads between the pins will inevitably be produced after reflow soldering. Therefore, according to the different shapes and center distances of pad graphics, appropriate template materials and template manufacturing processes should be selected to ensure the quality of solder paste printing.

c) If the time from the patch to reflow soldering is too long, the solder paste will not reflow and the solder ball will be produced due to the oxidation of solder particles in the solder paste, the deterioration of the flux and the reduction of its activity. Choosing a solder paste with a longer working life (we think at least 4 hours) will reduce this effect.

d) In addition, the printed circuit board with solder paste misprinted is not cleaned sufficiently, so the solder paste remains on the surface of the printed circuit board and in the through-hole. Before reflow soldering, the components to be pasted shall be re aligned and pasted to deform the solder paste. These are also the causes of solder balls. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen the sense of responsibility of operators and process personnel in the production process, strictly follow the process requirements and operating procedures, and strengthen the quality control of the process.

2.2 Standing problem (Manhattan phenomenon)

One end of the rectangular chip component is welded to the pad, while the other end is tilted. This phenomenon is called Manhattan phenomenon. The main reason for this phenomenon is that the two ends of the element are heated unevenly and the solder paste melts successively. The following conditions may cause uneven heat at both ends of the element:

a) Defective element arrangement direction design. We imagine that there is a reflow welding limit line across the width of the furnace in the reflow welding furnace. Once the solder paste passes through it, it will melt immediately, as shown in Figure 1. One end of the rectangular element of the chip type first passes through the flow welding limit line, the solder paste melts first, completely soaks the metal surface of the element, and has liquid surface tension; The other end does not reach the liquid phase temperature of 183 ° C, the solder paste is not melted, and only the bonding force of the flux is, which is far less than the surface tension of reflow solder paste, so that the element end at the unmelted end is upright. Therefore, both ends of the element are kept in the reflow welding limit line at the same time, so that the solder paste on the pads at both ends is melted at the same time, forming a balanced liquid surface tension, and keeping the position of the element unchanged.

b) Insufficient preheating of printed circuit components during vapor phase welding. Vapor phase welding uses inert liquid vapor to condense on component pins and PCB pads, releasing heat to melt solder paste. Vapor phase welding is divided into equilibrium area and saturated steam area. The welding temperature in the saturated steam area is as high as 217 ° C. During production, we found that if the components to be welded are not preheated sufficiently and undergo a temperature difference of more than 100 degrees, the vaporization force of vapor phase welding is easy to float the chip components with a package size less than 1206, resulting in the phenomenon of vertical pieces. We eliminated the vertical plate phenomenon by preheating the components to be welded in the high-low box at 145 ° C-150 ° C for 1-2 minutes, then preheating them in the equilibrium zone of vapor phase welding for about 1 minute, and finally slowly entering the saturated vapor zone for welding.

c) The influence of pad design quality. If the size of a pair of pads of a chip component is different or asymmetric, the amount of solder paste missing will also be inconsistent. Small pads respond quickly to temperature, and the solder paste on them is easy to melt, while large pads are on the contrary. Therefore, when the solder paste on the small pad melts, the component will be straightened and erected under the effect of the surface tension of the solder paste. If the width or gap of the pad is too large, it may also be vertical. The pad design in strict accordance with the standards and specifications is the prerequisite to solve this defect.

2.3 Fine pitch pin bridging problem

The main factors leading to the bridging defects of the pins of fine pitch components are: a) the solder paste with missing printing is not well formed; b) Fabrication of defective fine pitch leads on the printed circuit board; c) Inappropriate reflow temperature curve setting, etc. Therefore, we should start from the quality control of the key processes such as template making, silk screen printing process, reflow welding process, and try to avoid the hidden danger of bridging.

2.3.1 Selection of formwork materials

70% of the SMT process quality problems are related to the printing process, and the template is an essential key tool, which directly affects the printing quality. The template materials we usually use are copper plate and stainless steel plate. Compared with copper plate, stainless steel plate has smaller friction coefficient and higher elasticity. Therefore, under certain other conditions, it is more conducive to solder paste demoulding and solder paste molding. According to the statistics of the assembly test of QFP208 devices with 0.5mm pin center distance, the number of defects caused by the unqualified omission of copper templates accounts for about 20% of the total number of solder joints (208) of devices; Under certain other conditions, the average defect rate caused by using the stainless steel template to miss printing is 3%. Therefore, for the printing of fine pitch components with pin center distance less than 0.635mm, it is required that stainless steel plates must be used, and the thickness is preferably 0.15mm~0.2mm.

2.3.2 Process control of silk screen printing

Before reflow soldering, if the solder paste collapses and the edge of the formed solder paste is unclear, pin bridging will occur due to the softening of the flux in the solder paste when placing components or entering the reflow preheating area. The collapse of solder paste is due to the use of unsuitable solder paste materials and unsuitable environmental conditions, such as high room temperature, which will cause solder paste collapse. In the silk screen process, we carefully control the rheological properties of the solder paste by adjusting the following processes to reduce collapse.

a) For silk screen fine pitch lead wire, the template with thin thickness is usually selected. In order to avoid less solder paste missing, the required solder paste viscosity should be low, so that the solder paste has good fluidity and is easy to miss printing. In addition, it is not easy to take away the solder paste when the template and PCB are demoulded, so as to ensure the amount of solder paste coating. But at the same time, in order to maintain the ideal shape of solder paste printing graphics, a higher solder paste viscosity is required. Our solution to this contradiction is to use 45-75um smaller particle size and spherical particle solder paste, such as the RMA390DH3 solder paste of Aifa. In addition, the appropriate ambient temperature shall be maintained during silk screen printing. The relationship between solder paste viscosity and ambient temperature is as follows:


Where: u - viscosity coefficient;

A. B - Constant

T - absolute temperature.

It can be seen from the above formula that the higher the temperature, the smaller the viscosity. Therefore, in order to obtain higher viscosity, we control the ambient temperature at 20+3 ° C.

b) The speed and pressure of the scraper also affect the rheological properties of the solder paste. Because they determine the shear rate and shear force of the solder paste. The relationship between solder paste viscosity and shear rate is shown in Figure 2. When the type of solder paste and the ambient temperature are appropriate, and the pressure of the scraper is constant, slow down the printing speed to keep the viscosity of the solder paste basically unchanged, so that the supply time of the solder paste is longer, the amount of solder paste will increase, and good molding will be achieved. In addition, controlling the slow demoulding rate and the minimum gap between the template and PCB will also play a good role in reducing the fine pitch pin bridge. According to the SP200 screen printing machine we use, we think that the ideal process parameters for printing fine pitch lines are: the printing speed is kept at 10mm/s-25mm/s; The demoulding rate shall be controlled at about 2s; The minimum clearance between the template and PCB is less than or equal to 0.2mm.

2.3.3 Process control of reflux process

The spacing between fine pitch leads is small, the pad area is small, and the amount of solder paste missing is small. During welding, if the temperature of the preheating area of infrared reflow soldering is high and the time is long, more activators will be exhausted before reaching the peak temperature area of reflow soldering. However, only when there is sufficient activator in the peak area to release oxidized solder particles, can the solder particles melt rapidly, so as to wet the metal pin surface and form good solder joints. Clean free solder paste has a lower activation range than the solder paste to be cleaned. Therefore, if the preheating temperature and time are set slightly improperly, there will be bridging between the thin welding leads. We control the volatilization of the activator in the solder paste by reducing the thermal temperature and preheating time, ensuring the fluidity of the cleaning free solder paste in the welding temperature area and the wettability of the metal lead surface, and reducing the bridging defects of fine pitch lines. For fine pitch devices and RC devices, we use typical examples of reflow temperature welding curves.

3 Conclusion

With the wider and deeper application of surface assembly technology in various fields, people attach great importance to SMT welding quality problems. SMT welding quality is closely related to all aspects of the entire assembly process. In order to reduce or avoid the above welding defects, it is necessary not only to improve the ability of technicians to judge and solve these problems, but also to pay attention to improving process quality control technology and improving process management, Effective control methods can improve the SMT welding quality and ensure the final quality of electronic products. Please correct any mistakes in this article. PCB manufacturers, PCB designers and PCBA processors will explain several SMT welding defects and their solutions.

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