Composition of Solder and Solder Joints

In a variety of manufacturing industries from consumer electronics to aerospace, there are strict specifications regarding the composition of solder used in various components. For proper functionality and component reliability, using the correct, specified solder can be essential. This is further complicated by the two different, sometimes conflicting requirements that apply to solder materials: high reliability and compliance with Pb-free regulations. In certain industries-especially consumer goods and electronics manufacturing-solder used in printed circuit boards and electrical components must meet regulations such as the EU’s RoHS regulations and the U.S. Pb-free regulations-that are designed to keep toxic heavy metals out of the waste stream.

Conversely, other industries that rely on proven high-reliability solder have sought necessary exemptions to such regulations, because eliminating lead from their tin-based solders (and certain other solders) invites the risk of tin whiskering. This, in effect, would render these traditional high-reliability alloys no longer reliable in contexts where no-fail long term reliability is essential, such as in aerospace electronics. This duality in the needs of electronics manufacturers has added significant complications to the solder supply chain; while most solder manufacturers have switched over to lead-free formulations, the need for high-reliability exempt solders continues to make it necessary for some manufacturers of solder (as well as manufacturers of components that use solder) to have both lead-free and lead-containing solders in their supply chain. CONTACT BRUKER TODAY TO LEARN HOW OUR HANDHELD XRF ANALYZERS CAN HELP YOU AVOID SOLDER MATERIALS MIX-UPS.

XRF Alloy Analysis of Solder and Solder Joints

Because of the supply chain complications stemming from a majority of-but not all-manufacturers switching to Pb-free solder products, there has been a significant rise in the need to keep the two above-mentioned solder types separated at all steps of the manufacturing process:

  • Solder manufacturers must assure that they deliver solder of the correct composition to each client
  • Component manufacturers must check solder upon receipt, in process, and before shipping components such as PCBs (printed circuit boards) to customers
  • Electronics manufacturers are responsible for making sure that all of the components they use in their products meet the relevant composition specifications-either Pb-free or high-rel Pb-containing solder and other alloy components.

The need to identify and verify the composition of solder at every step of the manufacturing process makes accurate, fast analytical tools a must-have. Handheld XRF alloy analysis instruments are an essential tool for quickly determining the composition of solder, whether on the factory floor or as part of a finished component. The easiest way to test solder for the presence or absence of lead-as well as for complete chemical composition-is to use an advanced handheld XRF tester such as the BRUKER S1 TITAN, and to test the solder directly on the roll. Our advanced technology in the form of a camera that allows you to pinpoint your exact analysis area also allows you to test solder balls and joints on finished products. Light, handheld, fast, highly accurate Bruker handheld XRF analyzers can help eliminate all supply chain and materials mix-ups. Contact Bruker today for a free demonstration at your facility.

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Metallurgy, Aero Space, Scrap and Recycling, Food Processing, Plumbing, Petrochemicals Metallurgy, Aero Space, Scrap and Recycling, Food Processing, Plumbing, Petrochemicals
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