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56 SMT Magazine • August 2015 FeAture Over the last 30 years I have seen pro- cess problems in soldering, PCB manufac- ture, component failures and investigating product failures worldwide. In many cases, the same process problems or failure modes just go round and round and will return if the true cause of failure is not detected. The causes can be highly complex or very simple. The examples in this article show typical failures of boards and solder joints, the solutions for which are all online if you care to search. Some people say that when we went to lead-free, all the problems changed; actually, many remained the same and looked different, but now there are new ones to solve. The following resources provided by Na- tional Physical Laboratory (NPL) and IPC may help you solve your process problems in the coming years. In the second part of this article, I will illustrate some process problems and their root causes. First let's look at the Defect Data- base Live and then our "Defect of the Month Video" from IPC. Defect Database Live The National Physical Laboratory has cre- ated an Industry Defects Database that allows engineers to search through a range of defects covering components, printed circuit boards and assembly problems. The aim is to add more defects and via submissions from the industry each month. The defects database allows engi- neers to submit defects online with full details and solutions to current problems or requests for advice and possible solutions to the process issues or failures (Figure 2). The database is unique in the industry as there is no other managed resource of its type with the added scope of having defects added via requests for defect examples from the industry. IPC Defect of the Month I was invited by IPC to produce a Defect of the Month video clip, to be featured on their Case study: deteCting ProCess defeCts figure 1 (above): Typical failures of boards and solder joints. by Bob Willis

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