Technical Articles Archives

Latex Gloves – Are You Allergic?

Many industrial manufacturing environments require workers to wear protective gloves, including during electronics and medical device production and assembly. Latex gloves not only protect workers from harmful chemicals but also protect products from worker contact and contamination during manufacturing Read more

ST 925 SMT Rework System–Three favorites combined into one nice savings

Save a few steps--and some money--with the Pace 925 SMT Rework System Pace has introduced a new low-cost “combination” system ideal for surface mount technology (SMT) rework. It’s worth adding up the savings by comparing the a la carte prices Read more

Metcal’s CV-5200 Connection Validation Soldering Station Changes Everything

You may or may not have heard about Metcal’s new soldering station, the CV-5200. The evolutionary tool removes much of the reliance on visual inspection of hand-soldered joints and adds a second, more technology-driven method for validating a successful Read more

Lead-Free Solder: What You Need to Know

Posted on by Michelle R. in Technical Articles Leave a comment

Health dangers associated with lead use are well-documented, and most countries have already begun the transition to lead-free soldering solutions because of these negative effects. Here’s what you need to know about working with lead-free solder.

Lead free solder image

Advances in soldering chemistry are slowly allowing lead-free solder to shed its reputation as an inferior alternative to lead-based solder. Adding tin, silver, copper and nickel in various amounts adds strength to lead-free solder and, in some cases, offers superior strength.

Lead-free solder also has less impact on the environment when used over the long term, as properly disposing of lead presents its own unique set of challenges. Lead-free alternatives are easier to dispose of when no longer needed, and they pose a much smaller risk to health.

It is important to note that the more pure lead-free solder is, the stronger and more reliable it is. This means that you should never mix it with lead-based solder, as this can lead to weakened joints. Also, lead-free solder does not require special soldering irons for use, especially when the application calls for switching soldering material.

For the latest in soldering paste and soldering products, All-Spec carries the brands that professionals trust at competitive prices. Call or visit us online today!



Today’s LED Assembly is More Than a Surface Issue

Posted on by Kathy S. in Technical Articles Leave a comment

Todays LED Assembly is More Than a Surface IssueWith all the hoopla surrounding LEDs and their longevity, is it any wonder why LED manufacturers are scrambling to extend the lives of painted or anodized aluminum components, ornamental brackets and lamp poles? While it’s common knowledge that adhesives and sealants help with these challenges, a lesser known solution lies in your surface treatment—the preparation of metal surfaces to extend the life of paint and to seal and protect the surfaces from corrosion.

Employing the right surface treatment technology has been known to double the long-term weather resistance of painted lamp bases and aluminum, street lamp poles. In fact, a large producer of public lighting structures recently reported a total savings of more than $100,000 a year in production and cleaning costs, treatment chemicals, energy and water usage as well as disposal costs.

Henkel’s BONDERITE EC² electro-ceramic coating process offers five to 10 times improved corrosion protection over older treatment methods and conventional paints. It also eliminates the need for surface pretreatment and one to two layers of paint. The environmentally-friendly process is responsible for substantial energy savings and waste reduction. Introducing this type of process into your operations is the next logical step, following the addition of integrated adhesives and sealants, to help today’s LED manufacturers achieve that sweet spot of peak efficiency.

New Tortilla LEDs Are Making the World a Little Brighter

Posted on by Kathy S. in Technical Articles Leave a comment

New Tortilla LEDs Are Making the World a Little BrighterUniversity of Utah professors have turned discarded pieces of tortillas into LEDs. The key is food waste. The researchers have synthesized food and beverage waste, including soft drinks, bread and tortillas, into carbon dots (CDs), which ultimately resulted in LEDs.

Quantum dots (QD), or tiny crystals that have luminescent properties and produce light, can be made from many different kinds of materials—some of which are toxic. CDs, or QDs made of carbon, eliminate concerns over toxic waste as the food and beverages themselves are not toxic.

During development, researchers placed the waste into a solvent under pressure and high temperature until the CDs were formed. The waste was heated both directly and indirectly from 30 to 90 minutes. After finding traces of CDs, the researchers illuminated them and monitored their formation and color. Because the dots are only 20 nanometers or smaller in diameter, multiple tests were run to determine the presence of CDs and what optical properties they possess. For comparison, a strand of human hair is approximately 75,000 nanometers in diameter.

Lastly, the CDs were suspended in epoxy resins, heated and hardened for use in LEDs.

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 31 percent of food produced in 2014 was not available for human consumption. This makes the new process both cost-effective and environmentally friendly over the commonly used cadmium selenide, which is toxic when broken down and expensive—about $529 for 25 ml.

How to Select a Benchtop Sign and Label Printer

Posted on by Kathy S. in Technical Articles Leave a comment

Workplace injuries, due in part to improper safety labeling, cost U.S. employers over $1 billion a week. For employees working with electricity or machinery, a standardized and organized system promotes workplace safety, ensures legal compliance, saves time and reduces mistakes.

Benchtop sign and label printers allow users to print custom labels on demand for arc flash, equipment, safety signs and more. Consider and compare the following popular industrial printers from Brady:


Label Printer

¼” – 4” wide output 4 in/sec print speed PC-connect

printing only


Monocolor printing

Sign & Label Printer

½” – 4” wide output 3 in/sec print speed Stand-alone and PC-connect printing Monocolor printing

Sign & Label Printer

½” – 4” wide output 5 in/sec print speed Stand-alone and PC-connect printing Monocolor & Multicolor printing

Sign & Label Printer

½” – 4” wide output 5 in/sec print speed Stand-alone and PC-connect printing; X-Y plotter cutter Monocolor & Multicolor printing

Label Printer

4” – 10” wide output 2 in/sec print speed Stand-alone and PC-connect printing Monocolor & Multicolor printing


Weigh the major factors above before purchasing a label printer for your facility. All-Spec carries a wide selection of affordable, Brady label printers to help you reduce costly errors and improve workplace efficiency.

Stretchable Metal Conductors May Foil Coiled Springs

Posted on by Kathy S. in Technical Articles Leave a comment

Stretchable Metal Conductors May Foil Coiled SpringsA new advancement in flexible electronics may prove advantageous by any stretch of the imagination—stretchable metal. The new discovery, by researchers at Washington State University, allows metal films to stretch to twice their size and may be ideally suited for bendable batteries, robotic skins, wearable devices and connected fabrics.

The research is the first step to overcoming the challenges of metal, coiled springs used by manufacturers for years. While the springs stretch and maintain connectivity, they take up space that complicates the design of high-density circuitry. Also, electricity must travel farther in coiled springs, so devices utilize more power and larger batteries.

During testing, metal films, made out of indium, were bonded to a plastic layer commonly used in electronics and stretched to two times their original size. Ultimately, the plastic layer broke, not the metal.

Researchers have filed for a patent and published their findings in Applied Physics Letters.