If a component has a poor electrical connection to the PCB, it will not work. Poor solderability is at the root of many component failures.

It is better to find potential problems prior to assembly as the cost of downtime,failure analysis, rework and administration generally greatly exceeds the cost of preventative testing.

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The six main causes of solderability failures in the PCB assembly are

Poor Component Leads
Plating, Contamination, Oxidation, Coplaner

PCB Pad Defects
Plating, Pollution, Oxidation, Warping

Solder Quality Defects
Composition, Impurities exceeding the Standard, Oxidation

Flux Quality Defects
Low Solderability, High Corrosion, Low SIR

Process Parameter Control Defects
Design, Control, Equipment

Other Auxiliary Materials Defects
Adhesives, Cleaning Agents

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Our Testing Process

Selection and Control of Samples

None of the standards stipulate a sample size. Consistent with the AS6081 protocol for destructive physical analysis (DPA), we recommend a sample of three pieces per homogenous lot. Those three pieces should represent the good, the bad, and the median condition observed during inspection. The condition of the leads is the driving factory as to whether they meet solderability requirements.

The Precondition

Preconditioning by baking or steam aging is recommended prior to solderability testing to simulate package storage. You need to know not only if the components pass today but also if they will pass when actually mounted to the PCB sometime in the future. Minerals and chemicals in tap or bottled water could skew results, so we have a water purifier to ensure that the steam itself does not contaminate the leads.

Process Control – Contamination

Incoming solder should be free from contamination and tested regularly (with XRF) to make sure it has not become contaminated during use. Solder is replaced every 30 days, or prior if accumulation of contaminants (identified by weekly testing) gets close to the limits. Contaminants include Cadmium, Antimony, Arsenic, and Bismuth plus Copper, Gold, Zinc, Aluminum, Iron, Silver, Nickel, and Lead.

 The Evaluation

None of the standards stipulate a sample size. Consistent with the AS6081 protocol for destructive physical analysis (DPA), we recommend a sample of three pieces per homogenous lot. Those three pieces should represent the good, the bad, and the median condition observed during inspection. The condition of the leads is the driving factory as to whether they meet solderability requirements.

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