Wave soldering is a large-scale soldering process by which electronic components are soldered to a printed circuit board (PCB) to form an electronic assembly.
The name is derived from the use of waves of molten solder to attach metal components to the PCB. The process uses a tank to hold a quantity of molten solder; the components are inserted into or placed on the PCB and the loaded PCB is passed across a pumped wave or waterfall of solder. The solder wets the exposed metallic areas of the board (those not protected with solder mask, a protective coating that prevents the solder from bridging between connections), creating a reliable mechanical and electrical connection. The process is much faster than manual soldering of components.
The following are characteristics of the wave soldering process:
The solder connection is very reliable and also a clean connection
The process is automated
The process reuses the flux and solder that is left over
It does require inspection, some touch ups, and also testing
The productivity and efficiency is increased
Proficient PCB board assembly service made available by PCB board producers
Advantages from professional PCB board assembly
When you’re wondering about executing the PCB board assembly in-house at a professional level you are soon going to realize the first investment expenditure is really large. You need at least: one pick and place equipment, one stencil printing machine and one reflow oven. Maybe you in addition want other relevant devices for inspection work and hand soldering gear. Additionally, you will need labor force and expertise that could raise the investment cost relatively. And eventually when you observe there’s little ROI from this sort of financial commitment you will definitely soon elect to use outside agencies for the PCB board assembly service. In most situations assigning the PCB board assembly job to an external service provider is mostly more cost effective.
Plus there is the aspect of quality; a provider focused upon PCB board assembly services will unquestionably have the practical knowledge and manpower to deliver good quality. They will also invest in their development by continuously having the latest technology to ensure the consumer gets all the benefits from the emerging assembly technologies. It’s probable that you will hit a equipment related constraint doing in-house assembly if you can not upgrade the devices regularly, for example, you might end-up in a situation where you aren’t able to successfully assembly the latest BGA package for a emerging processor.
Additionally there is the element of quality control. A reputable PCB board assembly shop may also get a great developed quality control service that you may possibly take advantage of by not needing to do the quality control in-house. Obviously, you may need to do one more quality control measure in-house but it is great to know at any rate the pcb’s are all running in the correct way when they go out of the assembly line.
Disadvantages of specialized PCB board assembly
A good reason you wouldn’t want to delegate the assembly of your project is to provide protection to intellectual property. For anybody who is concentrating on some top secret project or the latest concept that will transform something, you might want to keep that as secret as possible so in that case you could do the PCB board assembly in-house.
Also, there are cases when the turnaround time of a prototype is a must so you can not afford to wait a week for your PCB board to go back from a specialized assembly line. If so it may make more sense to perform the assembly on-site.
Charges are also a pretty important reason you may possibly not want to go with a professional PCB board assembly house, specifically for small businesses or hobbyists. Prices for PCB board assembly services have diminished considerably in the past several years hence it is less of an issue now yet still you’ll not see loads of people sending their one-time hobby projects to a PCB board assembly house.