Methinks ESD has been a problem since the 1400s. Consider gunpowder stores in military forts. Even before Shakespeare’s time, soldiers were charged with keeping them uncharged for fear of blowing them up. By the 1860s, paper mills were thwarting ESD in the drying process via grounding, flame ionization techniques and steam drums.
What does that mean for 2016 processes and beyond? Today’s electronics manufacturers are continually innovating to offer customers better, more cost-efficient solutions. While costs associated with latent damage are difficult to pinpoint, industry experts estimate average product loss as high as 33 percent. Even with technological advances, ESD continues to impact virtually every aspect of the global electronics environment. In fact, as electronic devices advance, our voltage tolerance decreases as well as our capacity for heat dissipation.
To mitigate some risks associated with modern processes, a new range of dissipative materials based on fluoroelastomer and perfluoroelastomer polymers has been designed for wafer processing and wafer handling applications. Of course, you’ll want to make sure these materials are compatible with your specific process environment and with the devices themselves. It is important to note, however, that with the correct material and precautions in place, you can continue to combat ESD in the future without getting medieval.
Guarding your sensitive equipment from the ravages of static electricity can be daunting, especially if you have to outfit an entire team of engineers with static-safe materials. Knowing the requirements of your particular environment is the first step.
The second step? Know your dissipative mat. Whether you need it for the floor, table or workstation, make sure you understand its specifications—like RTG versus RTT. Do you know the difference?
Resistance to Ground (RTG) is the resistance from the mat to the ground point. It is the primary measurement for general auditing purposes. This measurement ensures your mat conducts a charge from a point on the surface to the ground point. The guideline in ESD STM-7.1 for RTG is 1×106 to 1×109 ohms. ANSI/ESD S-20.20 has an upper limit of <1×109 ohms.
Resistance to Top (RTT), also called Resistance to Point, is the resistance from one point on the mat’s surface to another, which is measured to help ensure consistent resistance. The ESD STM-7.1 guideline for RTT is >1×106 ohms.
When it comes to equipping your entire facility, staying on budget is also critical. Your third step is to shop All-Spec. All-Spec’s selection of ESD-safe benchtop and floor mats runs the gamut. And, at All-Spec prices, you can easily equip your team—and maybe a few others—with all the tools it needs to run smoothly.
Afraid to try adhesives? Worried they’ll make too big a mess or won’t be reliable? Think again.
Today’s adhesives are making a clean sweep. Used as an alternative to mechanical fastening, welding and other joining methods, adhesives are relied upon daily—and rightly so. Engineers around the globe use them because they are a viable, cost-effective solution for industrial production processes.
For almost every application, adhesives beat nuts and bolts. In threadlocking, for example, vibration, shock and temperature changes cause nuts and bolts to loosen. When this happens, equipment failure is all but inevitable, costing millions of dollars every year. Adhesive solutions for structural bonding reduce labor costs and fill large gaps between parts.
Interested in gasket sealing? No problem. Sealants prevent fluids and gases from leaking by creating strong, impervious barriers.
If you’re considering an adhesive solution for your business, consider some free advice from Henkel, the industry leader. All-Spec has partnered with Henkel to offer an exclusive, four-part, LOCTITE webinar series during February and March. Attend one or all of these one-hour, live sessions.
Just by attending, you’ll receive:
- Free, on-site process review by LOCTITE engineers
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- $50-savings on LOCTITE Syringe Dispensing System Kit (#883976)
Don’t be afraid to click here for more information or to register; adhesives can help you achieve that much needed competitive advantage.
Equipment failure. It’s still a major problem even with the recent uptick in automated processes. Faulty mass soldering continues to require the reflow work of a deft hand. But how do you ensure successful manual soldering when the process is so highly dependent upon an individual operator’s skill level?
Consider the following best practices from CircuitMedic to streamline the hand soldering process:
- Fine-Pitch Gull Wing Soldering
- Clean and prepare pads; apply liquid flux to corner pads.
- Position the component and align pads.
- At one corner, place tip at the junction between the pad and component lead. Solder the component in place.
- Wait for solder to solidify, and solder the opposite corner.
- Place small diameter solder along the edge of the component leads.
- Place tip against the solder in line with the tip of the first component lead to be soldered. A uniform amount of solder will flow, creating a consistent solder joint.
- Move tip down the line until all leads along the side are soldered.
- Auxiliary Heat Desoldering for Multilayer Circuit Boards
- Apply a small amount of liquid flux to joints of the component to be removed.
- Place tip against the lead on the board’s component side.
- Align desoldering tip with a component lead end; contact the joint lightly.
- When solder melts, begin rotating the desoldering tip.
- Continue to rotate until a change in the motion is detected.
- As soon as the solder in the joints is completely molten, activate the vacuum and extract the solder.
- Remove the desoldering tip and the soldering tip from the component lead.
- Desolder remaining component leads using a skipping method to reduce thermal buildup.
- Probe component leads to ensure they are not soldered to the side of the plated hole; remove component.
- BGA Dog Bone Masking
- Inspect dog bones under a microscope to determine if solder mask is needed.
- Scrape away loose solder mask and solder connecting the BGA pad to the via.
- Seal the exposed copper with a small amount of high-strength epoxy.
- Process BGA normally.
Depending on your application and environment, follow the above steps and help ensure successful handiwork is always within your reach.
Oops! Found another design error? Sometimes designers who fail to validate the schematic, layout and board risk wasting time on rework and wire tacking. And, sometimes wire tacking seems to be a necessary evil in an ever-changing design environment.
Jumper wires, also called wire tacks and patch wires, are discrete electrical connections that are part of the original design. The purpose of these additional wires is to bridge portions of the conductor pattern formed on a printed board. Haywires, on the other hand, are discrete electrical connections that are added to the board in order to modify the basic conductor pattern.
When do you need to add them? Well, you might need additional wires if a design flaw appears in production and test. Also, you might need additional wires if an upgrade or modification is needed, and it’s not possible to scrap the boards. Sometimes a damaged board requires a repair involving additional wires.
However, not all rework options require jumper wires or haywires. Take a look at this rework option case study from CircuitMedic. Here, circuit patterns were corrected using flat ribbon conductors.
Whichever option you choose, experts advise careful consideration of all proposed rework methods based on your unique situation—before your board goes completely haywire.