Test and Inspection

Robert Boguski

Needed: Solder joint forensic scientist. Common sense preferred.

Wanted: X-ray engineer. A test engineer with an interest in x-ray technology will suffice. So will a skilled and teachable technician. Hell, an intelligent person with a pulse will do in this economy. We’re open-minded. Just show us. No shrinking violets here. Honesty still matters to us (like being honest about the state of the economy and its effects on available talent). You should be honest, too, if you’d like us to hire you. Bring the aptitude; we’ll give you the qualifications.

We will train you.


Read more: Want CSI for Engineers? Inquire Within

David BernardIs the reflow profile the problem? X-ray can help.

Looking through some recent x-ray images of what I would call “good bad” boards (at least, that is what they are for me, as they showcase “good” examples of how certain “bad” types of failure look under x-ray inspection), I came across a number of different issues that are different from “traditional” BGA/QFN problems mentioned in this space before. To wit, I noted some images showed where solder paste had not reflowed under the devices, and there was the presence of foreign object(s), such as discrete components, trapped under the package.

FIGURES 1 and 2 show how unreflowed solder paste typically looks under QFN joints in an x-ray image. In the magnified view (Figure 2), individual grains of the solder paste are seen clearly, instead of appearing as a typical single smooth continuous joint. The cause of this is probably not an insufficient reflow profile. Rather, it is more likely the board has not been reflowed at all. As it may be desired, or necessary, to x-ray inspect (representative) boards after placement but before reflow as part of a quality control process, it is worth noting this characteristic shape of the solder under the components is different from what would be expected post-reflow.

Read more: Unreflowed Solder Under QFNs

Robert BoguskiAre we headed toward Singularity? Or just more PowerPoints?

Thus says IPC:

The Hermes Standard Initiative is happy and glad to announce that IPC has confirmed to recognize The Hermes Standard to be the successor to “the SMEMA Standard” IPC-SMEMA-9851, which has been the only globally accepted and broadly established standard for machine to machine communication in SMT with regard to PCB handover. Accordingly, The Hermes Standard was assigned an IPC naming code: It can now officially be referred to as IPC-HERMES-9852.

This strong acknowledgment means a lot for further enhancements of the global footprint and acceptance of The Hermes Standard. With The Hermes Standard having shown an impressively fast start from early drafts to worldwide awareness, it is now entering the second stage in global market penetration.

Read more: Better Living Through Data

David BernardWhen nondestructive methods are preferred, leverage the x-ray.

Read more: Bare Board X-ray Inspection: Start at the Base
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