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Quality Plan (draft version 04

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Quality Plan
1 Introduction
This quality plan is deliverable 5.3 of the European lead-free soldering project “Lead-free soldering also for SME’s”. In this report the quality plan is demonstrated for the manual soldering process. A process has been selected instead of a generic lead-free description. This to prevent that it would become too broad or too generic on a too high level. Manual soldering has been selected because it is probably still one of the most critical lead-free assembly processes. This process heavily relies on the human factor concerning soldering techniques and working methods. Lead-free manual soldering is also a research topic within the project. This document provides a systematic guideline of critical aspects which should be specified and in control for the process.

2 Definition of quality plan
What is a quality plan? The following definition of quality plan has been translated from the glossary “Verklarende Woordenlijst Kwaliteitszorg” [1]: “An instrument which enables executors to built products which can meet the expectations of the customer. The plan, which is a result of quality planning, contains a description of the specific measures, facilities and sequence of activities with regard to quality, applicable to a product, service, contract or project.”

3 Scope
The quality plan is based on the manual soldering process and primarily focused on the lead-free related aspects. The quality plan is therefore neither product specific nor a general lead-free guideline. The focus is on quality related aspects, solder joint reliability is therefore not specifically covered by this plan. Quality and quality control are obviously important conditions for obtaining reliable solder joints, but to ensure reliability, one should also incorporate design and material parameters with respect to the operational conditions. Finally, this document is only guideline and can therefore not be used as a specification.

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4 Objective
To provide an instrument which can contribute to the quality level and the control of manually soldered lead-free joints. In a systematic and detailed description, guidelines and references are given which can be used to set up and control the process. Additionally this document can be used as a check list when performing process audits.

5 Quality plan
The quality plan is based on the process of the assembly and soldering of through-hole printed circuit boards. The basic flow of this manual soldering process is presented in figure 1. Table 1 contains the list of aspects which should be specified and controlled for this process. The main references in the table correspond to the references in the process flow.

M1 Printed circuit board P1 M2 Components

Mounting components

P2 Soldering

M3 Solder wire

T1 Insp. / testing
OK

P3
Not OK

Rework solder joint / Repair

Px Add. Process steps / further assembly

Figure 1: Process flow of the lead-free manual soldering process on which the quality plan is based.

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Table 1: Guidelines per process step. Ref. Description Critical aspects M1 Printed circuit board The adequacy of the printed circuit board design should have been proven before it is taken into regular production. The board design is preferably a result of a design phase in which design reviews have been conducted on a regular basis. The printed circuit board should meet the requirements of specifications like the ANSI/IPC A-600G: “Acceptability of Printed Boards” [2], or an equivalent. Relevant design standards are the IPC-D-275 [3] and IPCD-300 [4]. M1.1 Plated through holes / For plated through holes there is no design standard such solder lands as the IPC-7351 for surface mount technology [5]. The recommendations given in Klein Wassink’s “Soldering in Electronics” [6] can still be used as a guideline in the majority of cases. M1.2 Base material As far as know, it is for manual soldering not necessary to change the thermal properties of the base materials of the printed circuit boards (e.g. higher Tg, Td). Printed circuit boards are actually still a research topic with regard to lead-free soldering. M1.3 Board finish The manual soldering process does not require specific printed circuit board finishes. All currently available leadfree board finishes are compatible with the manual soldering process. M2 Components Specifications of components should be studied concerning any specific assembly related requirements. Non regular requirements and critical aspects should be documented in a manufacturing instruction. It is also recommend to record the RoHS compliancy declarations of the manufacturers of all components. This could be one of the basic requirements in case of an audit. M2.1 Thermal load The heat resistance of the components and component housings is normally not a critical aspect within the manual soldering process. Some components like for instance NTC’s can be very sensitive to thermal loads and may even require a special procedure for hand soldering. M2.2 Moisture Sensitivity Moisture Sensitivity Level (MSL) is normally not an issue Level within the manual soldering process [7]. M2.3 Component finish The manual soldering process does not require specific component finishes. All currently available lead-free component finishes are compatible with the manual soldering process. M2.4 Lead form The shape and length of the component leads can have an enormous impact on the joint quality. The lead shape and lead length should be specified for each component. Specific tools and tool settings should be documented in manufacturing instructions to assure the reproducability. Preferably also a perfect version of the product is used as an example (golden device) during component preparation.

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M3

Solder wire

M3.1

Alloy

M3.2 P1

Flux Mounting

P2

Soldering

P2.1

Solder station

P2.1.1

Solder tip

P2.1.1.1

Solder tip selection

P2.1.1.2

Solder tips in transition period

P2.1.1.3

Solder tip cleaning

Lead-free solder wires are currently readily available. It is recommended to gain adequate experience before using lead-free solder wires in regular production. This is in any case recommended, also for highly skilled operators. The manual soldering process does not require specific alloys. In case also other technologies are used on the board, it might sometimes be practical to stay with these alloys (e.g. in case of rework and repair). Deliverable D5.2 (compatibility diagram) can be consulted for lead-free soldering results concerning compatibility. The flux should have been tested and classified in accordance with J-STD-004, MIL-F-14256, or equivalent [8]. Component mounting should be done according to a product parts list and mounting drawing. Proper mounting is an important condition for obtaining defect free and reliable solder joints. Preferably, a golden device should be available for each product. Especially for the soldering step the operator should have the right skills and working methods obtained by professional training. Subsequently it is important that operators do refresher training on a regular basis. Each operator should be trained according to the same program. Prevent practicing the “sitting next to Nelly” approach. Currently there are a lot of soldering stations available on the market which are suitable for lead-free. These can however have very different heating and temperature control strategies. The power should be at least 80 Watt in case a soldering station with a conventional heating strategy is used for lead-free. An efficient heat transfer is one of the most important requirements for manually soldered products. The tip shape and tip condition are obviously some of the most important factors. The solder tip to be used should be specified for each product in a manufacturing instruction. For certain specific board locations it might be necessary to specify another solder tip / station. This would prevent possible problems or even damage due to inadequate heat transfer. Always select the largest solder tip possible for the soldering locations. The lead containing and the lead-free process should each have their own solder tips and should be clearly separated in production. Even mixing of small amounts of alloy can result in contamination of the solder and subsequently in less reliable joints. To maintain soldering performance it is necessary to clean the tip regularly during soldering. A hot tip can be cleaned by wiping off the dirt on a wet sponge. The sponge should only be wetted with de-ionized water. Together with this also special tip cleaners can be used. Proper tip cleaning

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P2.1.1.4

Solder tip tinning

P2.1.1.5 P2.1.1.5

Solder tip life Solder tip replacement Temperature setting

P2.2

P2.3 P2.3.1 P2.3.2 P2.3.3

Soldering operation Tip positioning Supplying solder Dwell times

P2.3.4 P2.3.5

Pulling back solder wire / iron Cooling

T1

Inspection / testing

can extend the tip life and therefore save costs. Always leave the soldering tip clean and coated with solder when not in use. This will prevent oxidation of the solder tip (lead-free tips are more sensitive to oxidation). Be aware of the flux activity of the solder when tinning the tip for storage. Too active fluxes can cause corrosion failures on the tip. New tips should always be properly tinned before use. It is good practice to turn off or down the soldering station when it is not used for a longer period. This can extend the tip life significantly and therefore reduce costs. The operator should be able to recognize tip wear in an early stage. The solder tip replaced interval should preferably be specified in a maintenance instruction. A poor soldering performance is not the right indicator! Use the lowest possible temperature setting to prevent thermal damage, fast flux usage / degradation and tip degradation (life extension). This temperature setting should be determined for each product and documented in a manufacturing instruction. For the actual soldering operation it is important that the operator has the right technique and is aware of the behaviour of lead-free solders. Place the tip the as close as possible to the most heat demanding part. Often this means on the pad and against the lead. Maximize the contact area with lead and pad. The solder should start to melt when applying it to the solder location. Avoid directly supplying the solder on to the tip. Soldering times of lead-free solders are significant longer. Operators should be aware of this and should not get hasty. During soldering no pressure should be applied on the tip and no scrubbing movements should be made. Increasing the solder temperature can reduce soldering times, but this will increase the initial thermal shock and speed up the flux usage or even lead to early flux degradation. Pulling back the wire might require a faster movement compared to SnPb. After that the iron is removed. During cooling of the joint, the assembly should not be moved. There might be a tendency to directly rework the joint based on the result. With lead-free this almost never leads to a better result. Proper techniques should be used in case rework is needed (removal old solder, adding new flux etc). Solder joint evaluation should be done according to e.g. IPC-A-610 [9], IPC-DRM-PTH [10], or equivalent. Revision D of the IPC-A-610 is updated concerning leadfree soldering. Operators should be trained in evaluating solder joints according to standards. Deliverable D5.1 (Inspection criteria) should be consulted for results which are obtained during practical tests.

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P3

Solder joint rework / repair

P3.1 P3.2

Thermal load during repair Solder mixing

Px

Cleaning

Px

Joint integrity

Operators should be trained in repair procedures. Rework and repair activities should be conducted according to the requirements of IPC-7711 [11], or equivalent. Non regular components should be included in a manufacturing instruction. Deliverable D5.4 (Repair Acceptance catalogue) should be consulted for lead-free soldering guidelines. During repair work the thermal load on components should not exceed the profiles specified in IPC/JEDEC JSTD-020C [8]. Different alloys should be kept strictly separated. Even mixing of small amounts of alloy can result in contamination of the solder and subsequently in less reliable joints. A cleaning strategy can be based on for instance the IPCC-65: “Guidelines for Cleaning of Printed Circuit Boards and Assemblies” [12]. Tacky flux residues should also be avoided. Contamination can easily stick to these and can subsequently influence the electro-chemical reliability. Apart from the requirements of the IPC-610D, manually soldered joints should exhibit a proper intermetallic bond. A consistent intermetallic layer should be present between the solder and the base materials when a cross section is made of the joints. The thickness of the layer depends strongly on the composition of the layer.

6 References
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] Onnias, A, “Verklarende Woordenlijst Kwaliteitszorg”, Kluwer Technische Boeken - ISBN 90 201 2813 2, 1e druk 1993. ANSI / IPC A-600G, “Acceptability of Printed Boards”, Association Connecting Electronics Industries, 01-Jul-2004. IPC-D-275, “Design Standard for Rigid Printed Boards and Rigid Printed Board Assemblies”, September 1991. IPC-D-300, “Printed Board Dimensions and Tolerances”, Revision G, January 1984. IPC-7351, “Generic Requirements for Surface Mount Design and Land Pattern Standard”. Klein Wassink, R.J., “Soldering in Electronics (Second edition)”, ISBN 0 901150 24 X, Electrochemical Publications LTD, 1994. JEDEC / IPC J-STD-020C, “Moisture / Reflow Sensitivity Classification of Plastic Surface Mount Devices, Revision C, July 2004. IPC J-STD-004A, “Requirements for Soldering Fluxes”, Association Connecting Electronics Industries, 01-Jan-2004.

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[9]

IPC-A-610, “Acceptability of Electronics assemblies” Revision D, Association Connecting Electronics Industries, January 2000.

[10] IPC-DRM-PTH, “Through-Hole Solder Joint Evaluation Desk Reference Manual”, Rev. D, 11/05. [11] IPC 7711/21A “Rework of Electronic Assemblies & Repair and Modification of Printed Boards and Electronic Assemblies”, Association Connecting Electronics Industries, 01-Oct2003. [12] IPC-C-65: “Guidelines for Cleaning of Printed Circuit Boards and Assemblies”, Revision A September 1999.

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