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56 SMT Magazine • October 2017 more heat that can reach the component and pin parts, the faster and easier soldering is for the operator. Also, very critical is the use of the appropri- ate flux because it takes oxidation off the pins and the pads. Las Marias: What is the proper temperature to achieve good intermetallic formation? Moreno: Good intermetallic connection needs to be achieved. The problem is that when it's re- ally high temperature, the intermetallic bonds increases. If you go with lower temperature, the soldering tip's life is longer. Soldering can be done in several different temperatures, so as low a temperature you can select, will help the tip last longer. At the end, of course, it is not that big a difference between 320°C and 350°C in terms of soldering. But the tip life will last longer with 320°C than in 350°C. In this way, we recommend going as low a soldering temper - ature as you can. Sometimes, we know that op- erators are under pressure from production, so they increase the temperature to do soldering faster, but the quality and reliability will be com- promised. Operators should be trained properly, and they need to be trained in soldering. Las Marias: After hand soldering, is visual checking enough to know whether the solder joint is good or not? Moreno: Visual checking is not enough. You can- not see whether intermetal- lic bonds are being formed just by looking at the solder joint. For example, if you do barrel fill, you need ex- tra equipment such as X-ray inspection machines, where you can see if the barrels are filled or not. Sometimes you could see the top and the bottom of the solder joint, but inside, it is not a good joint. Las Marias: What can you say about the move towards automated/robotic soldering? Do you see this trend becoming more popular in the future? Moreno: We are quite sure that automation and robotics will increase. In line with this, JBC just developed new soldering tools for automation including a soldering head, new cartridges, fea- tures automatic tip changing, tip cleaning, and automatic fillers—all of them Industry 4.0-en- abled. Las Marias: Who will achieve the perfect sol- der joint: a robotic soldering system or a highly skilled operator? Moreno: First, someone needs to tell the robot how to do it. If you don't know how to pro- gram this robot to make the perfect solder joint, you are lost. Robots are quite good for repetitive tasks, like in a production environment. But good operators with really good skills can also work in rework environments, where several different tasks need to be done. He can choose the appropriate temperature, appropriate tools, just by looking at the PCB. Las Marias: Thank you very much, Enrique. Moreno: Thank you. SMT SOLDERING TIP: KEY TO GOOD SOLDER JOINTS Stephen Las Marias talks with Enrique Moreno.

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