The electronics manufacturing industry is changing, taking the world towards an eco-friendlier and sustainable future. The new initiatives of adopting lead-free solder in place of the conventional leaded alloys is a bold move, yes, but the sheer benefits it will generate for preserving the health and wellness of our natural environment definitely outweigh the challenges posed by this switch.
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The electronics manufacturing industry is changing, taking the world towards an eco-friendlier and
sustainable future. The new initiatives of adopting lead-free solder in place of the conventional
leaded alloys is a bold move, yes, but the sheer benefits it will generate for preserving the health
and wellness of our natural environment definitely outweigh the challenges posed by this switch.
By following certain tips and tricks, you can always make use of lead-free soldering alloys with your
existing circuit board manufacturing tech and hardware to create good quality solder joints. Here
are some points for you to follow:
Whether your process involves hand soldering or machine soldering of components on your circuit
board, the first and most important factor for you to take into consideration is the heat resistance
threshold of all elements involved. You should make sure that your soldering iron, circuit substrate
and electronic components – all can take increased heating temperatures (typically 70-110°F higher
than leaded solder) necessary to make the lead-free solder a liquid. If not, the extended
temperatures and longer dwell time might end up damaging these surfaces irreparably.
Suitable liquid soldering flux
Lead-free soldering necessitates that the flux used to clean, de-oxidize and decontaminate surfaces
before carrying out the soldering process should also be capable of
dealing with the higher temperatures involved. The flux shouldn’t
burn or turn corrosive and damage the components on the circuit
board. In most cases, liquid soldering flux with chloride compounds
are considered to be most preferable and suitable for lead-free
Lead-free solder joints look substantially different from those created using leaded alloys. These
joints will look duller and coarser as compared to their counterparts, but that doesn’t mean that
they are lacking in strength, durability, resilience or performance matters. Take some time to
understand its properties, both aesthetical and otherwise, before you decide to rework a joint.
Patience, patience, patience…
Lead-free solder behaves differently from its leaded alternative. It will take a longer time to achieve
requisite flow consistency owing to its higher melting temperature. Its dwell time will also be
significantly longer. Rushing the soldering process will only result in the creation of weak and
unreliable joints with the alloy. Patience is the key here and you will need time to adjust your
understanding of the soldering process in accordance with this new lead-free alloy. Take your time
to understand before moving ahead.