Pace - Hand-Solder Training Critical in SMT Assembly, Rework and Repair

Our thanks to PACE for allowing us to reprint the following.

By: Christopher S. Barrett, Director of Training, PACE Incorporated

The evolution of the electronics printed circuit board continues to surprise, amaze and befuddle even the most experienced industry professionals. Like the products in which they eventually reside, what is stateof- the-art today, is yesterday’s news tomorrow. Component packaging, bare-board design, attachment technology and solder alloys are all advancing at lightning speed, always with an eye towards smaller, faster, and more complex, capable of doing more today that they could even mere months ago. And along for the ride are the methods in which the finished assemblies are manufactured, inspected and tested, have faults diagnosed and finally reworked.

Surprisingly, despite the advances in manufacturing technology across the board and industry-wide, there remains an element that has largely gone unchanged since the beginning, the human element:
1. Hand placement of components pre-oven or prewave,
2. Hand soldering of unique package styles,
3. Manual engineering sample builds, small production runs and of course, and
4. Manual rework.

These are just some examples in which the human element is ingrained in the overall manufacturing process, and there seems to be no real end to this requirement any time soon. It is realistic then, to suggest that the human element is every bit as important to the overall printed circuit board manufacturing process as the high-dollar, high-speed manufacturing machines themselves.

Unfortunately, the human element, especially as it pertains to SMT assembly rework and repair, is all too often overlooked in today’s electronics industry. It is easily lost in the discussions related to...

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