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16 SMT Magazine • October 2017 by Stephen Las Marias I-CONNECT007 For this month's issue of SMT Magazine, I-Connect007's editorial team brought sever- al experts together for a teleconference call re- cently to discuss the many aspects of soldering, from solder paste, to automation, inspection, and the challenges in achieving the perfect solder joint. In attendance were Indium Corporation's Brook Sandy-Smith, technical support engineer; Metcal's Robert Roush, product support engi- neer; and from MC Assembly, Andrew Nunen- kamp, director of engineering, and Vince Burns, quality engineer and an IPC Certified Trainer. We also talked about the strategies and pa- rameters to consider to ensure reliable, good solder joints. The Challenges The first topic in the discussion is the chal- lenge in achieving the perfect solder joint. When it comes to soldering and soldering ma- terials, Sandy-Smith comments that the ques- tion she hears the most is regarding the type of flux that can be used to wet to unusual surfaces. "Many times when people are soldering, they're not just soldering to a PCB with a suit- able surface finish. In these cases, we often get questions about soldering to unconventional surfaces. When people are doing regular SMT assembly, I frequently get questions about what to do if the components are oxidized or if the surface finish on the component is difficult to solder to." Roush, on the other hand, says many of their customers are very concerned about pro- cess control and throughput, and the balance between the two. Customers want to make sure that they're getting as much product through at a reasonable rate, but that they also want to en- sure that they're minimizing scrap. "They want to make sure that they're pro- ducing a quality product at the end. They're looking for guidance on training or advice on solder tip geometry selection and that type of thing. It really comes down to all the little pro- FEATURE

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