Wave soldering Effects of cooling rate Thermal
Effects of cooling rate
It is important that the PCBs be allowed to cool at a reasonable rate. If they are cooled too fast, then the PCB can become warped and the solder can be compromised. On the other hand, if the PCB is allowed to cool too slowly, then the PCB can become brittle and some components may be damaged by heat. The PCB should be cooled by either a fine water spray or air cooled to decrease the amount of damage to the board.
Thermal profiling is the act of measuring several points on a circuit board to determine the thermal excursion it takes through the soldering process. In the electronics manufacturing industry, SPC (Statistical Process Control) helps determine if the process is in control, measured against the reflow parameters defined by the soldering technologies and component requirements. Products like the Solderstar WaveShuttle and the Optiminer have been developed special fixtures which are passed through the process and can measure the temperature profile, along with contact times, wave parallelism and wave heights. These fixture combined with analysis software allows the production engineer to establish and then control the wave solder process.