PCB Repair/Rework Service

What is Involved in the IPC J STD-001G Training Program?

The IPC J-STD-001 certification program is a hands-on wire, terminal and hand soldering course designed around the industry standard “Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies”.This training program has a credentialed certification for those completing the hand soldering skills as well as the written standards testing program. It is the industry standard worldwide recognized by many and called out on electronics assembly contracts. There are numerous elements to the IPC-J-STD-001 training program including the hands-on portion and the standards application written portion.

The IPC J-STD-001 training is multifaceted and all-encompassing and is anchored on the IPC-J-STD-001 standard which dictates how things are assembled. The program itself is based on the IPC-J-STD-001 Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies. This standard defines how electronic assemblies inclusive of wires and terminals, should be built. This industry standard is a consensus document put together by end users, consultants, electronic manufacturing providers, suppliers, and board shops. An industry committee then designs the program. IPC the industry standards association administers the program including maintaining the training providers in the industry who are licensed by the IPC to perform the training services. This means the training program is multi-tiered with the master site license holders training instructors who can then administer the program within the various member companies. The credentials are awarded to those students who can demonstrate both application and knowledge of the standards along with being able to demonstrate hand soldering, wire, and terminal preparation skills. The credentials of the IPC-J-STD-001 program are portable meaning that they belong to the student. Each of the certification in the J-STD-001 program is valid for a two year period of time.

The J-STD-001 certification program requires that the student be able to apply the standard to a variety of written test questions. These questions are administered through an IPC training portal. Instruction is done over the 1-5 days, depending on which of the learning modules are required. The testing can be completed in the English language as well as many other languages including but not limited to Spanish, Mandarin, German and others. Instructors will guide the students through the program using examples, samples, videos as well as the IPC-provided materials for the class.

The hands-on portion of the instruction includes several different skills sets including a through-hole set, an SMT set, and wires and terminals set. Each of these hands-on skills is structured similarly. First, the instructor explains the standard for the section at hand. The instructor then goes on to show, usually through a projected image, the method for the assembly [process. The students then go back to their soldering workstations to duplicate the method. This is performed a few times with the instructor providing feedback to each IPC J-STD-001 certification class student’s workmanship. After the student has demonstrated competence the instructor signs off on the demonstration of the workmanship sample. This acknowledgment of the skills is gone through a variety of times. For example, in the SMT lab the following component package types are to be soldered: 0805 resistors, 1206 resistors, and capacitors, 1206 MELF diodes, 0402 resistors, DPAKs, SOIC 14s, QFP100’s and PLCC 20’s. The minimum requirement is that one-half of these hand soldering projects be completed using lead-free solder.

In order to become J-STD-001 certified the time required is (5) days for both the CIS as well as the CIT candidates assuming all of the modules will be instructed and tested on. Re-certification is required every (2) year.

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IPC Licensed Certification Center

Some contracts call for certain staff to be “certified” to an IPC inspection standard in order to assemble or inspect printed circuit boards. Others call for an IPC certification for inspection of bare boards or wire harnesses, enclosures or even the knowledge of a designer. These credentials are part of the IPC certification program. These programs stem from the standards created by the electronics industry and are administered by the not-for-profit trade organization the IPC.

The IPC standards certification program is a multi-tiered certification and training program which uses the IPC standards as its basis for building the classes. This multi-tiered system starts near the top with the IPC licensed certification center which employs professional soldering and assembly instructors to instruct on the standards and administer the certification tests. The IPC grants the licenses to the IPC licenses certification center in a given geography to perform various administrative and training functions. They are the first line of defense for the IPC in administering the certification program. These IPC licensed certification centers employ skilled and experienced instructors. These instructors include those with military soldering and wire harness assembly experience, those who have been in the industry for a period of time and have first-hand manufacturing experience or those who may have been line leaders who were thrust into the instruction role.  These are some of the backgrounds for those working as professional instructors for the IPC licensed certification centers.

The master instructors, working for these IPC licensed certification centers, are at the upper tier of the multi-tiered certification and training program and have several responsibilities. As the subject matter experts, these master instructor trainers or (MITs) can train and administer the testing for both trainers-called CITs or certified instructor trainers as well as CIS technician-level candidates. These MITs typically keep on top of their subject area by sharpening their skills by attending IPC committee meetings, technical conferences, and other technical events. As an IPC licensed training center employee they will also be training students from industry who will bring up situations and other problems in the industry. This further develops the knowledge base of the master instructors employed by the IP{C licensed certification center.

In addition to having a trained staff with up-to-date knowledge of training, an IPC licensed certification center is also expected by industry to have the latest in soldering equipment. This means that certain types of equipment are at the IPC licensed certification center. For hand soldering skills this means that magnification needs to be of the latest vintage. This can be in the form of digital scopes, stereo microscopes, and other inspection equipment. For tinning wires, this equipment set would also include a soldering pot. Multiple heat sources for exposing students to different methods of soldering including conductive, convective, resistive and others would be expected by industry clients to be at the I{C licensed training center. Each of the workstations should have the proper grounding and ESD protection in order to display best practices for the students. As the electronic components continue to shrink in size the IPC licensed certification center should have a method for projecting the demonstration of the hand soldering skill for the student. For the student’s comfort each f the soldering stations should also be outfitted with some type of fume extraction system in order prevent any respiratory issues from arising during the training of soldering. In addition, the soldering lab of the IPC licensed certification center should have a variety of soldering materials, fluxes, cleaners found in the industry in order to best emulate the manufacturing environment.

The listing of IPC Licensed Certification centers can be found here:

http://www.ipc.org/ContentPage.aspx?pageid=IPC-Standards-Certification-Centers

There is a complete IPC training center on wheels at:

https://www.solder.net/training/mobile-training-center/

IPC A-610 Training for Trainers using IPC EDGE 2.0

Since the middle of August of 2018, there have been some changes to the way the program certification testing and to some extent, the training of IPC-A-610 trainer training and certification has been taking place. Some of these changes have occurred in the manner in which the certification testing is now taking place. Some of the changes have occurred in the way the instruction for IPC A-610 trainer classes are now taking place.

One of the changes to the manner in which certification administration for the IPC-A610 is now taking place is in the online training portal called the EDGE 2.0. Instead of testing using the previous platform, the testing platform has been recently upgraded for IPC-A610 CIT candidates with the EDGE 2.0 system. This testing platform is faster than the old one and allows you to see which questions remain unanswered. IPC-A-610 trainer candidates using this platform can also more easily navigate forwards and backward when taking the test. After signing in for the first time to establish your login to the IPC EDGE training portal the IPC-A-610 trainer candidate can begin working in the portal to obtain trainer level certification.

The first required material the IPC-A-610 instructor candidate must go through is the self-guided tour through the “IPC Essentials” material. This material consists of an overview of the electronics industry and includes a hierarchy of the various standards in the industry.  In addition to this material, the potential IPC-A-610 CIT candidate will learn about the various governmental advocacy, training, specification and other work undertaken by the IPC to support the electronics industry. The IPC-A-610 trainer will also learn about how important participation in the building up of these standards, including the Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies.

After going through the “Essentials” modules, the next mandatory training modules have to do with the IPC policies and procedures. All IPC-A-610 trainers will eventually have to pass through this training module. This module consists of instruction on the policies and procedures in the certification and training program. It is an online teaching followed by test taking in order to make sure each of the potential IPC-A-610 trainers knows the “rules of the road” when administering and instructing specialists back in their respective businesses. Each of the IPC-A-610 training candidates is expected to have this module, along with the policies and procedures, completed prior to coming to class for instruction. As a side note, these online training modules require the use of audio, so headphones for the trainers (and later for their students!) will be convenient.

The IPC A-610 trainers go through all of the material in the standard. One open book and one closed book exam are required at an 80 percent passage level in order for the student to achieve IPC-A-610 CIT status.  This certification testing is done through the relatively recently-upgraded IPC EDGE 2.0 testing platform. This testing platform, which was recently upgraded, features a faster interface, better navigation both forwards and backward through the test and a better overall testing experience for the IPC-A-610 trainer.

 

Laser Wire Stripping

There are a variety of methods available to wire and harness designers and assemblers in order to properly strip wire insulation. Each of these wire stripping approaches has its advantages and disadvantages.

The typical wire insulation or “stripping” removal of the insulating jacket from wires and cables can be accomplished via several methods. The oldest and most common method involves mechanical wire stripping. In this method, either a manual tool or an automated machine feeds wire into a pair or more of mechanical shears. These shears pinch or “bite” through the insulation. Once the insulation is cut in this manner, the insulation is pulled off leaving the exposed conductor core. In another method, a heated wire melts the insulation much the same way thereby cutting through the insulation. Liquid chemical stripping agents can also be used in some applications to dissolve the jacketing material. The wire then needs to be neutralized to stop the process. In some applications, abrasion wheels grind away the insulating jacket.

Laser wire stripping was developed in the 1970s as part of a NASA and other defense programs. The need was for a method to strip wires without the potential for damaging inner conductors. In the 1990s laser wire stripping grew in usage as ever smaller devices need to be connected to including mobile phones, laptop, and other consumer devices.

There are several advantages to using laser sources to perform wire stripping. Inherent in the laser wire stripping process is its repeatability. The laser sources can be precisely defined as a sophisticated system of “beam steering” mirrors which steer the laser beam precisely and repeatability. There are no wearing parts or wearing devices. The beam is precisely steered as well as the energy is delivered via a sophisticated electronic control system. This causes the material to ablated or “burned away”. In some set-ups, the laser energy is absorbed by the jacket or insulating material whereas it is reflected by the conductor strands. This means that a C02 laser has a stop-gap limit that is set by the material making laser wire stripping a repeatable process even with variations in cable and insulation thicknesses. Properly set up laser wire insulation stripping systems will not damage the wire or the insulation. This is advantageous to industries requiring a high degree of precision as well as process control and verification such as the medical device and defense industries.

When the job calls for out-of-round, flat ribbon cable or other odd-shaped cable cross-sections, laser wire stripping is a good flexible answer. Through the use of proper tooling and programming and laser source selection, these wires and cable can be stripped repeatably using a laser source. Since the process is non-contact and the tooling is programmable, laser wire stripping is the way to go when odd-formed cables for wires need to be stripped.

Another area where laser wire stripping shines is in cases where window pane or slitting patterns are required. Again because the cutting source is programmable,  precise ablation techniques using a laser are an advantage. There are no mechanical blades or fixtures. The set-up is done via programming and by waiting on long lead time, custom-made tooling that needs to be figured into the project budget.

The versatility of laser wire stripping machines makes them a very flexible tool. Different wavelength lasers as part of the wire stripping system are tuned to different materials. Therefore, having a supplier with multiple wavelength machines is key to the custom wire harness and cable assembly houses, as these vendors have the greatest flexibility when different wire stripping projects with different materials arise.

Laser wire stripping is finding its way into many medical applications. Typical laser wire stripping applications in the medical industry include but are not limited to catheter-delivered devices and implantables, both application requiring very fine gauge wires that require the precision of lasers to remove the outer jacket material. In addition, very fine diameter coax cables, like are found in ultrasonic devices, are well-suited for the precision of laser wire stripping.

Micro co-ax cables are well-suited for laser wire stripping. They are made up of a metallic conductor with a dielectric insulation. This, in turn, is covered by a braided shield and a polymer jacket. Laser wire stripping starts to make the most sense when cables are smaller than 26 AWG sizes, as this is when more traditional mechanical stripping methods begin to not be as repeatable. Ribbonized versions of the micro-coax are also a good application for laser wire stripping, especially when window pane stripping is required. The control of the laser source in laser wire stripping allows window stripping and slitting along individual insulators.

Whether in the military, space or medical fields laser wire stripping has advanced as a technology which can very precisely and very repeatably strips the insulation from the wire jacket. The advances in smaller, specialty cables will keep laser wire stripping here for years to come.

BGA Replacement

In modern electronic components, there are numerous reasons why a BGA may need to be replaced on a circuit board. This requires that a BGA replacement process, otherwise known as “remove and replace”, needs to take place. A BGA replacement may need to take place because the wrong component was initially installed on the PCB. In some cases, a replacement BGA may need to be placed onto the PCB due to the actual failure of the component. Finally, the BGA may need to be swapped in cases where the alloy needs to be changed. 

The first and most obvious step in the replacement of the BGA process is to make sure that the right component is being placed on to the correct location on the PCB. Not only must this be in the right location but the component must be in the correct orientation. This is confirmed by matching the part orientation designator, usually a notch or a tick on the part, to the silk pattern of the PCB. 

The next step in the BGA replacement process is to pick the right process given the device at hand, the board it is being placed on, the skill level of the operator and type of rework equipment it is being processed on. There are numerous methods for attaching the replacement BGA but the processes can be divided into the flux and solder paste attachment methods. There have been numerous articles and papers describing the difference in first pass yield between using ”tacky” flux and solder paste in the BGA replacement process.

stencilquik

As a last step the device needs to be inspected in order to insure that the BGA replacement process has been done properly. The inspection criteria normally used rely on the IPC A-610 standards the IPC-7095 BGA processing guidelines or an internally-generated customer-specific specification. By following these steps a good outcome can be assured for BGA replacement.

Solderquik Preform | BGA Reballing Kit

Solderquik Perform

There are several reasons that either BGAs or CSPs would need to be reballed. These include the need to reball a device after the device has been removed from the PCB and the exact same device needs to be placed back onto the PCB. In other instance, the device package has the incorrect solder alloy balls on it which means that the device balls need to be removed or deballed and replacement balls need to be placed back onto the device package. In still other instance, a new size solder ball may need to be placed onto the device in order for further processing  requirements.

 

 

In such reballing cases for low volume reballing requirements less than a few hundred pieces, the rework technician will typically use a solder reballing preform.  The solder reballing preform has solder balls embedded in which correspond to the ball size, number and pattern of the device. After the balls are removed from the existing package and the pads are wicked or prepped otherwise as low and as flat as possible the package pads have solder paste flux applied to them. The solder reballing preform whether the solderquik preform or the EZReball preform is then placed with the device on top of the preform and is reflowed. Post reflow the preform remnants are removed , the device cleaned and inspected.

The solderquik preform has been around for many years and  is well-suited for some applications. It consists of the solder balls embedded in a water soluble paper which after reflow is dissolved in DI water. The SolderQuik Preform is a stamped out design which means that any new patterns require some new tooling to be developed. This requires tooling charges and extended lead times for the solderquik preform to get in to the users’ hands.

There are several disadvantages inherent to the solderquik preform. One of them, citied above is the extended lead time and tooling cost associated with any of the new patterns. In addition, the mechanical tooling does not allow for very tight spacing in the solderquik preform design. In fact, pitches below 0.4mm are not currently available in the Solderquik preform.

 

Related Topics

Reballing BGA 

Ball Grid Array Repair

Solder Reballing

BGA Solder Reballing

Ball grid array, chip scale packages as well as other device packages with solder balls may require the solder reballing process to be performed on the package.

If the area array balled device needs to be removed from the printed circuit board it will need to have “fresh” balls placed back on to the package if the device will be re-used. In this solder reballing process the device, after removal from the PCB will have uneven deposits of solder left on its pads. After cleaning up and inspecting the device the pads need to have the remnant solder removed form them. This process is deballing. Deballing can be accomplished either through the use of a solder excavation machine, a mini way sold soldering fountain or through the use of solder wick and paste flux aided by a  soldering iron. After removal of the remnant solder, solder reballing calls for inspection of the devices. Solder balls can now be re-attached using fixtures and loose solder balls, solder preforms or through semi or fully automatic solder ball attachment machines. There is a variety of reflow ability for re-attachment of the solder balls including hot air, infrared, and vapor phase reflow techniques.

Solder reballing also can be used to change the alloy of the solder balls residing on the balled package. This occurs in cases where  legacy lead bearing solders are used or in applications where the reliability has not yet been done using a different alloy or in cases where a unique alloy is required. In some cases, the assembly may need to meet regulatory guidelines and the alloy needs to be changed out.

Solder reballing, when done properly, has been shown to not have a detrimental effect on the long-term reliability of the printed circuit board assembly. While each assembly is different the impact of reballing has shown that while growing the IMC of the solder joint, in most all cases studied up to 3 reballing attempts did not negatively impact the reliability of the assembly. The unique nature of each assembly along with the end use operating environment will determine what type of testing will be required to test the impact of solder reballing.

Whatever the need BEST can be your outsourced service provider with respect to solder reballing services.

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