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Pin-in-hole reflow specialist proves fit-for-purpose stencils

Tecan : 30 October, 2002  (Company News)
As the PCB manufacturing industry increasingly adopts the beneficial concept of pin-in-hole reflow, Dorset based stencil specialist Tecan, continues to boost its share of this developing new market, by providing feasible custom stencil solutions.
Pin-in-hole reflow is a technology aimed at PCB producers wishing to assemble both SMT and through-hole components on the same board. Using a combination of multi-level stencils and reactive squeegees in a single operation, PIHR can eliminate the need for subsequent hand or wave soldering. The technique ensures that appropriate paste volumes are deposited, for SM and through-hole components simultaneously. This produces shorter product cycle times, reduces manufacturing costs, eliminates secondary flux deposition and negates the need for subsequent hand or wave soldering.

As a world leader with unprecedented expertise, the company offers solutions for all-known difficulties experienced by manufacturers to date, dealing with a diverse range of PCB production requirements. For example, its multi-level stencils offer distinct thicknesses on the same stencil, tailored to produce the extra volumes required for PIHR needs, such as connectors, while also ensuring the appropriate thickness for the finest pitch SM components. Careful calculation of the appropriate individual paste volumes required is crucial, says the company, to ensure the resultant solder fillets meet acceptable quality criteria.

A selection of the factors for consideration when designing for success include, the size and shape of paste deposits, pad size and proximity, solder resist selection, component temperature specification, correct paste volume, stencil thickness, substrate quality and other potential constraints. The company has the unique ability to then produce the optimum stencil for an individual job. Significantly, a service is also provided which involves taking a given PCB in-house to prove the resultant stencil is totally fit-for-purpose.

Crucially supplemental to the company's PIHR stencil capability are its proprietary reflow reflector shields, custom built parts which fit over leaded components, such as connectors, crystal oscillators and switches, during the reflow process. Typically, these components are those which were not originally designed to cope with reflow oven temperatures. Until now, such components have presented problems for PCB producers because they have to be hand, or wave-soldered as a second operation, following the re-flow of SMD components. The reflow reflector shield completely negates the need for two operations.

It is not always necessary to use multi-level stencils, the company can provide optimum stencil solutions, cost-effectively, whatever the individual need. The highly-accurate stencils can be produced by using precision etching in combination with laser cutting, or by electroforming, all in-house. Using the new methods, and provided the recommended guidelines are followed, the technology is compatible with existing production techniques, personnel and processes.
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