QC Electronics urges companies that are considering switching to the lead-free wave soldering equipment to make sure they consider the full impact on the business operations. For those considering moving away from wave soldering, one important consideration is the cost of converting your equipment. Not only will companies have to change to a new type of soldering equipment but they will probably have to upgrade their solder pot as well. As a wave solder pot is made specifically to hold a specific type of alloy, and can be aggressive towards other materials.
For companies that are using older equipment, it will require more maintenance compared to new lead-free wave soldering equipment. It all depends on the condition of the machine, and older machines should continue to be used until they are fully depreciated as switching to a new equipment can be really expensive. Plus, it is important to understand that existing wave solder equipment produces tin-lead alloys that are denser than lead-free alloys. This means that the hardware from older equipment will sink to the bottom of a soldering pot. For this reason, it is important to replace all parts on your assembly line that are not designed for lead-free soldering with titanium parts.
If your company is ready to make the switch to lead-free wave soldering equipment, QC Electronics states that there are a few important decisions to be made. For those using a “no clean” process a more aggression flux may be needed, a different type of solder alloy should be used and the application details will also change. all of these factors should be considered when making the switch to lead-free.
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