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Maintaining Solder Paste Consistency for High Pressure Dispense Applications

Feb 17, 2017
Dispensing needles play a key role in the assembly of electronic components that rely on the application of minute quantities of adhesive or solder in precise locations. With the use of precision machined dispensing nozzles and tips, the required level of accuracy can be successfully achieved and even maintained under the right conditions.

The problem
However, there are challenges when it comes to maintaining the proper solder paste mix when dispensing it to bind electronic components to the substrate circuits. In an ideal dispensing process, the right volume and blend of solder paste is placed at every attachment location in order to sufficiently secure the die, establish a complete electrical connection, and avoid excess material that could interfere with circuit performance.

The solder paste mixture comprises both liquids (fluxes) and solids (solder particles) that must stay blended in the right proportions during dispense. Moreover, the dispense process should be repeatable at a fast pace and high volume, which is usually attained through automated dispensing with precise pressure control.

When correctly applied, the blend, shape, and volume of the solder paste should be precise and consistent across all applications. However, high pressure dispense of the paste results in differences in the resistance coefficients of the constituent liquids and solids, which affects the flow rate.

Ultimately, the materials begin to separate as they are dispensed out of the needle, causing the viscosity of the paste to change and lead to inconsistent application amounts, clogging of the needle, and overall defective adhesion. Collectively, these changes can result in countless problems during the mass production of electronic products.

The Remedy
The ideal solution is one that sufficiently addresses the problem and keeps it from occurring in the first place. There are different types of dispense nozzles and needles on the market for different applications. Depending on the internal shape of the nozzle, it is possible to reduce flow interference with applied pressure and also maintain steady high flow rate.

The paste material changes instantaneously during dispense because of the dispensing pressure. So, assessing the dispensing pressure makes it possible to come up with a nozzle that can increase material flow to subsequently minimize the likelihood of disturbing the solder paste composition. To achieve this, it is necessary to adjust the nozzle intake alignment to the dispenser syringe to allow even distribution of pressure on the dispersant, while keeping back pressure and friction at a minimum.

By matching the interior nozzle diameter to the same size of connecting syringe, the electronic industry has completely eliminated separation caused by variations in material flow. Using the same size of nozzle and syringe ensures smooth flow of solder, while machining the interior shape and surface of the dispensing nozzle allows for reduced friction and better flow.

Final note
Using the right dispensing needle for the application of solder paste in electronic components can help eliminate or reduce clogging and material wastage, increase machine running-time with longer intervals between cleaning and changing nozzles, reduce costs associated with material waste and changing or cleaning nozzles, and increase production.
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