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Laser Solder Reflow: A Process Solution
Keywords: Solder Reflow, Laser Reflow, Laser Soldering
Solder reflow is accomplished by introducing heat to a body of solder and the two or more metal parts being soldered together. The heat liquefies the solder, allowing it to spread out and wet to the parts. Through the process of wetting, the liquid solder forms an intimate connection, diffusing into all the parts. The key to a successful soldering operation is getting the right amount of heat into the right parts at the right time. From a purely theoretical point of view, it does not matter where the heat comes from. This paper delves into the “what, when and why” questions used to determine laser reflow as the most appropriate heat source. Laser reflow is not a new process. Manufacturers have been using lasers to reflow solder for decades. Barriers to the use of lasers have traditionally been system cost as compared to alternative heating methods. Early laser systems were extremely expensive and, in fact, were developed for cutting, welding, and ablative marking as opposed to less intense heating such as is required for soldering. Laser technology has matured immensely in the last decade. In particular, today’s diode laser systems now offer a more cost-effective way to implement laser reflow when non-contact discrete point heating is desirable.
John Vivari, Application Engineering Supervisor
EFD, Inc.
Lincoln, RI
USA


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