Main article: rework (electronics)
Defective surface-mount components can be repaired by using soldering irons (for some connections), or using a non-contact rework system. In most cases a rework system is the better choice because SMD work with a soldering iron requires considerable skill and is not always feasible.
Reworking usually corrects some type of error, either human- or machine-generated, and includes the following steps:
Melt solder and remove component (s)
Remove residual solder
Print solder paste on PCB, directly or by dispensing
Place new component and reflow.
Sometimes hundreds or thousands of the same part need to be repaired. Such errors, if due to assembly, are often caught during the process. However, a whole new level of rework arises when component failure is discovered too late, and perhaps unnoticed until the end user of the device being manufactured experiences it. Rework can also be used if products of sufficient value to justify it require revision or re-engineering, perhaps to change a single firmware-based component. Reworking in large volume requires an operation designed for that purpose.
There are essentially two non-contact soldering/desoldering methods: infrared soldering and soldering with hot gas.
With infrared soldering, the energy for heating up the solder joint is transmitted by long- or short-wave infrared electromagnetic radiation.
No compressed air required
No requirement for different nozzles for many component shapes and sizes, reducing cost and the need to change nozzles
Fast reaction of infrared source (depends on system used)
Central areas will be heated more than peripheral areas
Temperature control is less precise, and there may be peaks
Nearby components must be shielded from heat to prevent damage, which requires additional time for every board
Surface temperature depends on the component's albedo: dark surfaces will be heated more than lighter surfaces
The temperature additionally depends on the surface shape. Convective loss of energy will reduce the temperature of the component
No reflow atmosphere possible