Category Archives: Bob’s Muses

Bob’s thoughts on various topics of interest

High Volume PCB Rework

There are cases where the nameplate holder and or the contract manufacturer is limited by their capacity when it comes to the rework of a high volume of PCBs. In a majority of the cases this is caused by a poor design by the OEM and a part or parts need to be swapped out, an undetected manufacturing flaw or an installed component does perform as per the specifications of the part. For hundreds or even a few thousand of fully assembled PCBs there is generally enough capacity in terms of either personnel or equipment to get the rework project completed in the time frame required but when it gets in to the thousands or tens of thousands of units, capacity can be constrained.


One of the reasons for this capacity constraint is having the immediate availability of lots of hand soldering technicians. Typically there only a few soldering techs available as boards in higher volume are pushed to have as many components placed as possible by the automated assembly equipment. This means there only a few soldering technicians with the advanced skill set which are required in order to perform high quantities of the rework project. Hence these resources must be found within either the temporary labor pool (their number is steadily shrinking as the number of available positions in a high volume manufacturing environment has shrunk.

The other capacity constraint is the manual nature of a majority of the rework equipment on the market today. For example most BGA rework systems are of the “semi automated” approach where loading and unloading of the part and board is done via human intervention. In addition the printing of the solder paste as well as the site excavation and preparation is also done via a manual process. This slows down the process and again requires armies of highly skilled rework technicians in order to get through large volume projects.

One of the ways companies are solving this challenge is by outsourcing these very large projects. In this manner the responsible company can manage the logistics of the project (getting product from customers, the supply chain and the manufacturing location) and letting the outsourced rework service provider take care of the rework and repair of the printed circuit boards. One of the examples of such a high volume rework project and how a much higher throughput was achieved can be demonstrated by the following video.



Cleveland Solder Training

Set on the Cuyahoga River on the shores of Lake Erie, Cleveland is an important business center in the state of Ohio. The major industry in the city is manufacturing, specifically steel, but includes other manufactured goods as well.

Although manufacturing plays an important role in the economy of Cleveland, diversification has taken place over the past few decades, and numerous companies have chosen the city to base their corporate headquarters out of. These include NACCO Industries, Applied Industrial Technologies, KeyCorp and Forest City Enterprises. NASA has a research center here as well.

The field of healthcare is an important provider of employment in Cleveland. In fact, the Cleveland Clinic is the largest private employment source in the city and offers over 37,000 jobs. Numerous other health care facilities are found here, including the University Hospital of Cleveland. In recent years, city management has made a concerted effort to grow the technology sector, and has offered numerous incentives to companies in this regard.

With the steel and manufacturing industry playing such a large part in Cleveland’s economic growth, skilled workers are essential to keep companies, and the city for that matter, at the forefront of trends in these industries.

At BEST, not only are we a leader in the field of solder training, but we are able to fulfill all your Cleveland Ohio solder training needs. We do this by providing numerous courses, including IPC Master Training Certification for both instructors and operators.

Our Cleveland Ohio solder training can even take place on your premises. How? Well we bring our Mobile Training Centre to you. In fact, we are the only Cleveland, Ohio solder training institution to offer training onsite.

For any queries, please contact us to have a solder training solution specifically drawn up for your needs.

Cincinnati Ohio Solder Training

Cincinnati Ohio’s economy is driven through diversification. The following fields contribute greatly to the economic base of the city: manufacturing, finance, insurance, education, health services, transportation, government and the wholesale and retail trade.

Numerous Fortune 500 companies have also made the city their home including, AK Steel, Procter and Gamble and Cinergy Corp. Cincinnati is recognized as an important international trade center of the United States. Interestingly, over 300 businesses in the greater metropolitan region are owned by companies outside of the States and from as far afield as Asia, Europe and Africa. These include Siemens, Bayer and AEG.

The manufacturing industry in Cincinnati is strong, with numerous goods produced including aircraft parts, auto parts, building materials, electronic equipment and robotics. The need for skilled workers in these manufacturing fields is great, and with ever evolving technology, training and improving employee skill sets has become an important priority for most companies.

BEST has been serving the Cincinnati Ohio solder training market with distinction in this regard. Not only do we provide your employees with the necessary skills to increase their knowledge and effectiveness, but we provide Cincinnati Ohio solder training opportunities with various courses and certifications. Our courses include, IPC-A-610, IPC J-STD-001, IPC-A-600, IPC/WHMA-A-620, IPC 7711/7721 and IPC Master Training for operators and instructors.

BEST has provided training solutions for a number of leading companies in the United States. These include Sanmina, Rockwell and Northrop. We are able to adjust our courses to your company’s individual needs, and we can provide onsite training through our mobile training center.

Are you a small company that needs training? BEST provides training for up to 100. If you have recently lost your trainer, plug us in in the mean time as your training resource. No matter if you are a small company or a large corporation, we can help. For your Cincinnati Ohio solder training solutions, contact BEST today.

Dayton Ohio Solder Training

Dayton Ohio’s traditional industries mainly consist of manufacturing, shipping, research and development. These core industries have developed over time, with many of Dayton’s businesses diversifying. A service-based economy has also begun to take foot in the city, which is composed of insurance, legal, healthcare, and government-based institutions. In 2008 and 2009, Dayton was ranked the best medium-sized metropolitan area in the United States for economic development.

Dayton’s area economy is largely composed of aerospace and defense contractors, as well as healthcare facilities. Hospitals in the region provide approximately 32, 000 jobs and contribute around $6.8 million to the economy. Impressively, Dayton ranks third in the United States for excellence in healthcare (study conducted in 2011 by HealthGrades).

The Aerospace industry is another massive contributor to the city’s economy. Since the Wright Brothers, the city has always been associated with flight, and is home to one of the biggest air force bases in the United States, Wright-Patterson AFB.

The demand for skilled labor in the city is increasing, and employers are either looking to employ skilled workers, or to train their staff. BEST has been serving the needs for Dayton Ohio solder training on an ongoing basis, providing both the knowledge and the skills for workers to increase their skill sets.

We do this by providing Dayton Ohio solder training in the form of numerous certifications. These include IPC-A-610, IPC J-STD-001, IPC-A-600, IPC/WHMA-A-620, IPC 7711/7721, as well as IPC Master Training for both operators and instructors.

Solder training is either provided at our facilities, or better still at your premises, through our mobile unit. We are the only Dayton Ohio solder training center to provide an onsite program. Having worked with numerous institutions including Flextronics, Plexus and GE Medical, you can be sure BEST has a solution for your solder training needs.

Columbus OH Solder Training

The city of Columbus, Ohio has an economy which is extremely diverse. Industries found in the city and surrounding areas include insurance, healthcare, retail, technology, education, banking, aviation, steel, energy and medical research. In fact, the biggest steel foundry in the United States, Columbus Steel Castings, operates just outside of Columbus. Additionally, as the state capital, many jobs are provided by government institutions.

A number of Fortune 500 companies have their headquarters in the city, ranking it 5th in the United States in this regard. Columbus prides itself on the diversification of its many industries. This diversification was one of the main reasons why the economic downturn of the 2007 recession had little impact on business here.

With the manufacturing industry a prominent player in the economy of the region, the need for skilled workers is paramount. BEST is an award winning leader in solder training in Columbus, specifically with regard to solder techniques. At BEST, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide Columbus, Ohio solder training which will help to improve the skills of your workforce.

We provide training and certification in numerous important fields. These include IPC-A-610, IPC J-STD-001, IPC-A-600, IPC/WHMA-A-620, IPC 7711/7721 and IPC Master Training for operators and instructors.

Our Columbus Ohio solder training courses emphasize “hands-on” work where each trainee is ultimately judged on the quality of the work they produce. We have trained many large corporations including Ericsson, Tellabs, Plexus and 3COM. You can be sure that BEST has a solder training solution to suit your needs.

BEST Columbus Ohio solder training can take place at our training facilities, or even on your own premises. This is thanks to our mobile training center, which is the only one of its kind in the region. In fact, we are the only IPC Certification Center to offer this facility. Contact us today to let us plan your customized solder training in Columbus, Ohio.

Ann Arbor Michigan Solder Training

The city of Ann Arbor, Michigan is home to one of the leading research universities in the United States – The University of Michigan. This institution is paramount to the economy in the region and employs over 30,000 people, of which 12,000 are found in the university’s medical center alone.

A number of technology companies are also based in the city, largely thanks to the research and development funding from the University. Another factor is the number of high-quality graduates Ann Arbor produces.

Although the University of Michigan drives much of the economy in the city, other important industries include health services, research facilities, laboratories, automobile manufacturers, and a number of high-tech industries. In recent years, both web development and online media companies have started to spring up in the city as well; either as expansions from other areas, or as start-up companies.

Skilled workers are highly sought in Ann Arbor in numerous fields, including research and manufacturing industries. BEST, a leader in training to electronics-based technology in the region, provides Ann Arbor, Michigan solder training to industries in the city itself, as well as in outlying areas. BEST is well respected in their field, having provided training for many clients including Motorola, Nokia and IBM.

As a leader in Ann Arbor Michigan solder training, BEST will provide your workforce with the required training and certification in many areas including IPC Master Training Certification for both instructors and operators.

Our Ann Arbor Michigan solder training courses are specifically designed to ensure “hands-on” training and can be undertaken at our facilities. We also offer our mobile training center, which we can bring to your premises. We are able to meet your training needs, developing a tailor-made program for you, whether you’re looking for single training, or the training of large groups.

Grand Rapids Michigan Solder Training

Grand Rapids or “Furniture City” as it is often called, is the main furniture manufacturing location in the United States. It is home to the five largest office furniture companies in the world.

Although furniture manufacturing is the primary contributor to the economy of Grand Rapids, the city is still is home to a very diverse range of other industries. Among these are healthcare and information technology, as well as a large number of manufacturing based companies producing consumer goods.

As with most modern cities, Grand Rapids attracts a number of companies, especially in the field of manufacturing. In fact, it is ranked in the top 10 United States cities for automotive, biopharmaceuticals and metal manufacturing. It is also ranked in the top 20 for the manufacturing of plastics.

With manufacturing playing an important part in the economy of the city, a large emphasis is placed on skilled workers, especially those trained in the field of solder techniques. Grand Rapids, Michigan solder training, provided by BEST, allows employers to support their workforce, so they can stay at the forefront of current practices in the field of solder technology. The training also allows workers to learn new skills in their field as new techniques and equipment come to the fore.

BEST is not only a leader in Grand Rapids, Michigan solder training, but provides certification in a number of areas in this important field of manufacturing. These include IPC Master Training Certification for both instructors and operators, IPC-A-610, IPC J-STD-001, IPC-A-600, IPC/WHMA-A-620 and IPC 7711/7721.

Grand Rapids, Michigan solder training programs provided by BEST can be conducted at our facilities which are just around the corner in Chicago IL or we can bring our mobile training center to your workplace. We are able to train from 1 to 100 employees, and will structure a program to suit your needs.

Detroit Michigan Solder Training

Detroit is one of the most influential cities when it comes to the overall economy of the United States. It is recognized as the capital of the world’s automobile industry, but other important sectors also contribute towards its economy. These include finance, life sciences, information technology, advanced manufacturing, as well as engineering.

With America’s three biggest automobile companies situated in the city, manufacturing plays perhaps the biggest part in its economy. Over 500,000 workers are employed in ‘high-tech’ industries, with 70,000 in automobile manufacturing alone. Not only is this industry key for providing jobs in the city, but it also contributes significantly toward tax revenues. A Center for Automotive Research study showed that $91.5 billion and $43 billion were paid to both state and federal tax respectively 2010.

Detroit is certainly developing in other fields as well, and is one of the top five financial centers in the United States. It is also ranked 5th for employment in the emerging technology field in the country.

With the automobile industry at the forefront of the city’s industries, and the a larger emphasis is placed on workers with a particular skill set. One of these skills, due to the fast increase in electrical controls systems including electronic powered sensors in a vehicle, which is highly sought is soldering. Detroit Michigan solder training, provided by BEST, is an extremely helpful way to increase the skill set of employees. It is also useful for those who are currently unemployed and looking to upgrade their skill set.

As a leader in Detroit, Michigan solder training, BEST provides IPC Master Training Certification for both instructors and operators. Courses include IPC-A-610, IPC J-STD-001, IPC-A-600, IPC/WHMA-A-620 and IPC 7711/7721. We provide training for 1 to 100 students, either at a training center, or onsite with our mobile training center. For your solder training needs, contact BEST for a Detroit, Michigan solder training program specifically adapted to your needs.

IPC-A-610 F Standard

The latest IPC standard on the acceptability of electronic assemblies is revision “F” dated August 2014.

IPC-A-610F Standard

This standards book lists via illustrations and photographs the acceptability of rigid, rigid-flex and flex assembled circuits. This document contains the latest industry guidelines and specifications with respect to soldering, soldering fillet geometries, PCB hardware, wires, boards, components as well as terminals. This is a tool in which  OEMs can speak with their contract manufacturers regarding what is “acceptable”, what is a “defect” and what is a “process indicator” on a finished assembly depending on the class of product. Defined in the specification are the different classes of products with Class I products having just having to be able to operate, Class II products being able to operate on a continuous basis and Class III products where the continued operation of the board is critical to an operation.

This standard book has an associated training program which is designed for quality, sales, purchasing, material control and process engineers involved in the manufacturing and procurement of printed circuit boards. In this training program companies can either send an individual to become a trainer in these teaching theses standards (a CIT-certified instructor trainer) or the company can hire a trainer to train their staff in the latest standards. These specification books are used in the classroom as part of the teaching along with instructor-supplied “war stories”, examples, photos and other tools. In order to speak to someone about solder training to see what some of your options are look here. The training can be accomplished via a solder training company who hods the IPC license.

These standards can be purchased on Amazon IPC-A-610F Standard or on the website herIPC-A-610F Standard.

What is better… A Mini Metal Stencil or an Adhesive-Backed Plastic Stencil?

We were wondering what was a better performer for PCB rework……a miniature metal stencil or the newer plastic film stencils with and adhesive backing.

Mini Metal Stencil

It was pretty evident that the mini metal stencil had met its match with the adhesive-backed plastic film stencil. The short comings of the metal stencil are well-known. It takes up a lot of PCB real estate making it difficult to use on today’s difficult boards. When printing the technician has to at the same time apply squeegee pressure, which will cause the stencil to shift off pad, while holding the stencil in the correct position over the pads. Post cleaning, especially with 4 mil or thinner stencils, the stainless has a propensity to be bent. This bending causes there to be a lack of intimate contact with the stencil and board and causes smearing of the solder paste.

The mini metal stencils’ counterpart, the adhesive-backed plastic film stencil, has taken over the majority of rework printing applications as it has overcome ,any of these above problems. The repositionable adhesive backing allows for micro adjustments of the stencil over the pads to be printed while at the same time allowing for intimate contact between the stencil and the PCB. Furthermore this backing allows for multiple passes of the squeegee which  means that the apertures are filled up with solder paste consistently. The flexible nature of this stencil allows for it to be placed in to very tight quarters on the PCB making it ideal for today’s high density of circuit boards. Finally. the ability to put a flap in the stencil allows for it to be a barrier which will prevent solder paste from being seared all over the board.

Plastic Film Rework Stencil

Plastic Film Rework Stencil

To see the outcome of the performance of the plastic film rework stencil over that of the mini metal rework stencil see the results of the performance here.