Optimizing Conveyor Angle in Wave Soldering for Electronic Component Assembly

Angle in Wave Soldering for Electronic Component Assembly

During wave soldering for electronic component assembly, a series of complex decisions must be made to assure the highest quality. For example, the conveyor angle should be set at a precise angle that allows for optimal separation of the assembly from the wave without creating overlapping peaks or voids. It is also important to maintain accurate temperature control in the solder reservoir so that the solder flows properly throughout the entire process. These decisions require years of experience in order to be performed correctly and accurately.

A wave solder machine has two major components: the flat waves and the conveyor system. A flat wave is a result of engineering genius and is designed to ensure that all the solder flow over the front baffle and does not spill over the rear. If the machine and conveyor are configured properly, the assembly will separate from the wave at about half of its height. The rest of the wave is free to continue on its path with no obstructions.

However, bridging occurs if the leads of the assembly are not oriented correctly as they come out of the wave. This bridging is a problem because it causes the leads to break from the surface of the board and not make contact with their corresponding pads. It also results in unusable joints.

The problem can be eliminated by orienting the leads at an angle of between 15 and 30 degrees from vertical. This will reduce the amount of bridging and eliminate the need for a sleeve around the leads.

Optimizing Conveyor Angle in Wave Soldering for Electronic Component Assembly

An additional way to minimize bridging is by adding non-functional pads on the trailing edge of the board. These pads draw extra solder and help prevent bridging. However, the pads must be carefully placed in order to do this without drawing too much solder from other areas of the assembly. This requires careful PCB placement and a thorough understanding of the process.

In addition to the problems mentioned above, there are many other issues that plague wave soldering. For example, it is difficult to optimize the process for Surface Mount Device (SMD) components because of their smaller sizes and shorter lead lengths. Moreover, the high temperatures and turbulence in the solder wave can cause damage to those components and affect their functionality.

Many researchers have used various optimization methods to improve the wave soldering process, including Design of Experiments and regression models. Liukkonen et al. [3] have utilized a self-organizing map to perform quality-oriented optimization for the wave soldering process. The goal is to minimize a function that describes the total repairing cost of a wave-soldered printed circuit board. The optimization procedure uses the numbers of solder defects as input data.

They found that the SOM method is effective in identifying the dominant process parameters responsible for the defective solder joints. This approach has a significant potential to improve the quality of wave soldering for electronics products. This research was supported by the ETKO-project (Elektroniikan Tuotantoketjujen Kokonaisvaltainen Optimointi). The authors would like to thank the project funders for their support.

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