'Symbolism revolves around shared meanings - patterns of beliefs, rituals and myths, whichevolve through time and function as social glue, binding communities together' (Smircich 1983).'Myths can also be defined as a dramatic narrative of imagined events, usually to explain originsor transformations of something. It also reflects an unquestioned belief about the practical benefits of certain techniques and behaviour that is not supported by demonstrated facts (Trice &Beyer 1984).'Myths are often communicated through the telling of a story. Myths are devices of mind thathave been used throughout time to provide explanations, reconcile contradictions, and helpresolve dilemmas. However, myths have also been known to distort images and misdirectattention (Bolman & Deal 1984).
This last myth mentioned above pertains, in particular, to electronic soldering techniques and themost common myth is better known as 'the dry joint'. It in fact distorts images and misdirectsattention. The definition of 'dry joint' is nowhere to be found in the IPC-T-50G standard Terms
and definitions for Electronics. Where dry film can be found, the definition of a dry joint
excels in its absence.Maybe IPC made a slip-up and forgot about this very commonly used 'term'? IPC used to be better known some 10 years ago by the name: The Institute for Interconnecting and Packaging
Electronic Circuits. It is a large world-wide organisation with its base in the USA, but
stretches from Vladivostok to Los Angeles. Literally hundreds of companies with thousands of members communicate, exchange and standardise issues in the field of electronic assembly.Once consensus is reached with respect to a new process or terminology, it is taken up in their manuals and standards. There is no way the popular 'dry joint' could have been forgotten or overlooked. So what is the case? We have to accept the unthinkable: it is not defined and doesnot exist.Many operators, inspectors, trainees, engineers, CEOs, managers and others have been using itsince World War 2. It should have ended there and then but it did not. It lives on like a myth inelectronics. I have heard it everywhere in South Africa, being used by engineers, managers,directors of companies, operators and technicians. Worse, I have seen it once in a reputablecompany on their official inspectors' fault sheets. It read: PCB001xxx, 5 dry joints, at
� � �
R11, C23, IC2, TR3, and R3. How do we fix something that does not exist?
When confronted, the classical answer is: You know what we mean by dry joint. No, I am
afraid not, and neither does IPC know. It is a deeply-entrenched myth that has almost become areality. The foregoing myth could be compared with the myth of Santa Claus or Father Christmas. Everybody talks about him, especially around Christmas time. His name is knownworldwide, some children even believe in him, yet he does not exist.