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16 SMT Magazine • February 2017 by Stephen Las Marias I-CONNECT007 In an interview with SMT Magazine, Tom Hunsinger, vice president of marketing at Alpha Assembly Solutions, discusses how their com- pany is addressing voiding—one of the greatest challenges in soldering. Stephen Las Marias: From a soldering standpoint, what are the greatest challenges that your custom- ers face? Tom Hunsinger: Voiding continues to be a criti- cal issue for our customers in both BGA and in bottom terminated components, where you're using that termination as a heat sink, or LED packages where the device is being used to drain heat away from the LED. That becomes more challenging because the solder is being used as a thermal interface material and so the presence of voids means you are lowering your thermal conductivity. Understanding what causes the void forma- tion during the assembly process is paramount and usually is where customers need some assis- tance. Flux, for instance, plays a big role in con- trolling void creation particularly during the pre- heat phase of a reflow process so optimizing your profile can significantly reduce voiding. It is also important to use soldering materials that match the application, so at the onset of a project, we take the time to discuss the design parameters with the customer so that both parties have the right information to decide on which alloy is best. Las Marias: How is Alpha helping customers ad- dress voiding? Hunsinger: In terms of voiding, Alpha is in the process of developing several products that will help prevent void formation. One is a solder paste material that was developed to meet the high reliability needs of both the automotive and lighting markets, while also delivering low levels of voiding. We also have a new solder pre- form coming soon that is designed specifically for large area power components that require consistent low-voiding solder joints from nor- mal SMT processes. ALPHA on New Technologies to Tackle VOIDING FEATURE INTERVIEW

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