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The Reliability Impact of Reballing COTS Pb-Free BGAs to Sn/Pb for Military Applications
Keywords: reliability, BGA, reballing
The electronics assembly market has experienced a material shift from lead (Pb) based solders to Pb-free solders. This is a result of the widespread adoption of Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) legislation and practices in commercial industry. As a result, it is becoming increasingly difficult to procure commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components with tin-lead (SnPb) solder balls or finish. There are essentially three responses to the scarcity of acceptable SnPb parts: custom order, post process or adapt. Custom ordering parts with SnPb finishes negates the benefits of COTS based acquisition; however, has a reduced reliability risk because the material and processes are known. Reprocessing parts once in house saves money because the parts are COTS, but expends money and resources by performing post processing on them. Also, the additional touch labor and handling increases the risk of damaging the part. Finally, adapting to Pb-free finishes is the preferred long term approach because it preserves the cost benefits of using COTS parts and does not require post processing. It is the riskiest approach due to the lack of historical data in the DoD environment. This paper presents results regarding reballing 208 I/O Ball Grid Array (BGA) parts from tin-silver-copper (SAC305) solder to SnPb eutectic solder. It is important to understand the reliability risks associated with the reballing procedure, particularly as it relates to thermal cycling, shock and vibration environments. Three major efforts will be presented to answer these concerns. First, a survey of reballing vendors was performed to better understand the processes and variables associated with that industry. The results of that survey were used to down-select to five vendors that were used for the physical testing portion of the effort. Finally, physical testing consisting of thermal cycling, shock, and vibration was performed. The physical testing was performed on parts from the five different reballing vendors as well as native SnPb parts and native SAC305 parts. The results of these activities will be presented.
Joelle Arnold, Member of the Technical Staff
DfR Solutions
College Park, MD

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