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Impact of Pb free on test and inspection by teradyne

Impact of Pb free on test and inspection by teradyne

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Published by: smtdrkd on May 24, 2008
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OnBoard Technology April 2004 - page 54www.Onboard-Technology.com
     Q     U     A     L     I     T     Y
The PCB fabrication and electron-ics packaging / assembly indus-tries use many chemical processes,some of which are regarded as con-taining substances harmful to theenvironment. Over the last yearsenvironmental issues have in-creasingly had an impact on theseindustries. New legislation andstricter rules are forcing industrialsectors to adopt new manufactur-ing practices, and to move towardsthe proscription or restrictionof hazardous substances such asLead, Chromium and brominatedflame retardants, etc. In the fu-ture, the use of these materials willalso generally introduce additionalcosts - with significant impct onprofitability and competitiveness- because they are difficult to dis-pose of and treat. Around the world, the major in-dustrial nations are rapidly mov-ing to eliminate Lead from manu-facturing processes, including fab-rication and assembly of printedcircuit boards with components.North America, the European Un-ion, and Japan all have plans to go“Lead- free,” making it imperativefor many companies to move awayfrom Lead as soon as possible.Some companies are taking advan-tage of the situation and are using“Lead-free” as a major marketinginitiative, for example in the con-sumer market.The move to Lead-free solder hasa particularly important impact onall phases of printed circuit boardassembly, including test and in-spection. Some of the technicalissues involved and the impact of Lead-free solder on the major testand inspection technologies - au-tomated optical inspection (AOI),automated X-ray inspection (AXI),and in-circuit test (ICT) – are ex-amined below.
New solder formulations
The upcoming ban on the useof Lead has prompted electron-ics manufacturers and industryorganizations such as NEMI (Na-tional Electronics ManufacturingInitiative) and IPC to consider sev-eral alternatives to the traditionalTin-Lead solder chemistry. Tera-dyne has participated in NEMI’s“Roadmap of Lead-free Assemblyin North America,” the “Lead-Free Hybrid Assembly and ReworkProject,” and in the IPC 7-32 sol-der inspectability standards com-mittee.New Lead-free formulations in-clude Tin-Silver-Copper and Tin-Copper. The majority of the elec-tronics industry seems to be mov-ing toward the Tin-Silver-Copperfamily of alloys for Lead-free sol-dering. NEMI has recommendedan “industry standard” Lead-freealloy of Sn3.9Ag0.6Cu (+/- 0.2%)for reflow and Sn0.7Cu for wavesolder. However, as with any proc-ess change, the most appropriatemix for a broad range of applica-tions should be carefully consid-ered, along with the logistics andeconomics of specifying a particu-lar alloy.
Reflow temperature
Lead-free solder mixes have highermelting points, which can lead topossible component and/or boarddamage. With Lead-free solderformulations, melt temperaturesrise from 183
C to approximately217
C for SnAgCu, with tempera-ture spikes as high as 260
C. Thehigh temperatures can be some- what reduced by longer pre-heattimes. Rework temperatures alsoare affected, with some parts reach-ing 280
C. Components need tobe qualified for these higher tem-peratures, and some non-qualifiedcomponents may actually requirehand assembly, with relevant ad- junctive and unpredictable costs.
Optical inspection issues
Inspecting Lead-free solder termi-nations is fundamentally no differ-ent than inspecting a conventionalleaded joint. The image of a Lead-free joint is similar in appearanceto that of a traditional Tin-lead joint. The key to inspecting ei-ther type of solder is an inspec-tion mechanism that can correctlymeasure the visual attributes of each image type.However, there are some differ-ences in the visual appearance be-tween Lead-free and leaded solder joints that can affect AOI systems.Lead-free solder joints are typicallymore striated and rough than cor-responding lead joints, due to thephase transition from liquid tosolid. As a result the joints may ap-pear slightly duller and uneven. Also, Lead-free solder has a highersurface tension and does not flowas readily as leaded solder, causinga slightly different-shaped fillet.These visual differences will prob-ably require a recalibration of AOIequipment and software. For ex-ample, automatically learned passlevels in some AOI systems maybe slightly different for Lead-free joints.If a company is currently usinghuman inspectors and consideringmoving to AOI, now may be a logi-cal time to deploy these systems
Switching To Lead-Free Solder:Test And Inspection Issues
by Michael J. Smith,Teradyne 
     Q     U     A     L     I     T     Y
OnBoard Technology April 2004 - page 55www.Onboard-Technology.com
because human inspectors willneed “recalibration” at this timeanyway.
Results of industry study onLead-free solder inspection
In 2002 Teradyne helped fundthe National Physical Laboratory(NPL), UK to independently evalu-ate the ability of AOI systems to in-spect Lead-free solder joints. TheNational Physical Laboratory is theUnited Kingdom’s national stand-ards laboratory, an independentcenter of excellence in research,development and knowledge trans-fer in measurement and materialsscience.The NPL performed a study andpublished the results in July 2002under the title “A Comparison of  Automated Optical Inspection Sys-tems for Use with Lead-Free Sur-face Mount Assemblies.” The goalof the project was to determine if Lead-free assemblies presentedany problems for automatic opti-cal inspection systems.The test vehicle used in the study was a single board type devel-oped specifically for the study. Anumber of boards were produced,some with defects, and some de-fect free. The board included manydifferent solder termination types.Each assembly contained nearly100 components with a total of over 1400 Lead-free solder joints.The component types incorporatedinto the design included 0.4mmpitch 256-pin QFPs, 0.5mm pitchTSOPs, and 0402 resistors. Thedefect categories covered includedmissing components, misalignedcomponents, components of cor-rect size but wrong value, poorquality solder joints, components with wrong polarity, solder bridg-es, and poor component planarity.The study evaluated AOI systemsfrom six different manufactur-ers, including Teradyne. Identi-cal software algorithms were usedfor Lead-free inspection and forinspection of conventional Lead-solder assemblies. The study foundthat results were similar to or bet-ter than those found with LeadPCBs. False detect rates were alsosimilar for both sets of results. Testtimes were unaffected by the Lead-free nature of the test vehicle. Although results did vary slightlyamong the different machines, thestudy concluded that most AOIsystems can be used to inspectLead-free surface mount assem-blies. Some systems that use color-based algorithms and systems thatrely on single cameras have expe-rienced problems in evaluatingLead-free solder joints. As a prac-tical matter, a color image is notneeded by an AOI system to analysea solder joint; a monochrome im-age contains all the necessary in-formation. Angled camera systemsnormally performed better at someJ-lead defects such as bridges, voidsand insufficient solder joints.
Automated x-ray inspection issues
 With Lead-free solder ball joints, we can expect an increase in voids.Lead-free solders have sufficientdensity to allow cracks and voids inthe solder joint to be detected. Cop-per, Tin and Silver are still “dense”materials and therefore, like Lead,impede X-rays. Some recalibrationof the X-ray system maybe be re-quired, but all the X-ray inspectioncompanies - whether they producemanual X-ray or automatic X-rayinspection systems - have conclud-ed that Lead-free has no inspectionissues but does offer an opportuni-ty for increased inspection require-ments on the manufacturing lineto characterise good joints, moni-tor the assembly process and, mostimportantly, analyse the structuralintegrity of joints (Figure 1).
Impact of Lead-free solder on ICT
 As we have documented, Tin alloysare the Lead-free choice; however,Tin has demonstrated a “whisker”phenomenon—generally smalland thin protrusions of metal that“grow” out of a solder joint or pad.These whiskers can become largeenough to short across two landsand can carry sufficient currentto cause equipment malfunction.
Figure 1 – An AXI System – the Teradyne XStation HS 

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