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Laser Reflow: A Solution for Medical Electronics Assembly
Keywords: laser, solder, medical
With the advent of RoHS legislation in Europe, numerous medical equipment manufacturers have found that the higher reflow temperatures required result in damage to their products using their existing heating methods. In the realm of medical micro-electronics, some parts are too small or too light to be soldered using contact heating. In the quest for miniaturization and ergonomics, access to solder connections can be restrictive by design. In all three cases, lasers offer opportunities in non-contact selective soldering that succeed where other methods fail. Laser soldering is not new. Manufacturers have been experimenting with use of lasers for reflow since the 1970s. Early CO2 and Nd:YAG systems were both bulky and expensive. They also were designed for high power cutting and marking operations as opposed to lower power heating. At the time, and until recently, solder materials were not compatible with the extremely high heating rates typical of laser heating. Flux components would vaporize too quickly and explode, spattering flux and alloy away from the heated area. Flux designed to survive the rapid reflow environment foster good wetting it the short laser heating cycle and resist spatter.
John Vivari, Application Engineering Supervisor
EFD Inc.
Lincoln, RI

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