Circuitnet Logo
We search for industry news, so you don't need to.
October 24, 2014
Circulation Over 51,000
Ask the Experts Index
You submit the questions, our Panel of Experts submit the answers.
Questions  I   Submit a Question  I   Experts Panel  I   Join the Panel
Type III vs. Type IV solder paste

What are the determining factors in switching from Type III solder paste to a Type IV solder paste as it relates to our screen printing process?

R.W.

Experts Comments

Typically as the stencil aperture / pad dimension reduces, a smaller solder particle size may be needed.

Rules of thumb

  • A minimum of 4-5 solder particles should span the width of the stencil aperture (for Type 3 powder, solder particle dia is 25-45 microns; for Type4 powder, solder particle dia is 20-38 microns)
  • Type 3 powder is used for (a) 20 mil pitch CSPs & above 16 mil pitch QFPs & above; Type 4 is typically used for anything smaller

Print objectives for smaller stencil apertures:

  1. maximize print transfer efficiency (volume of paste transferred from the stencil to the PCB)
  2. achieve consistent print volumes with minimum deviation both at time zero as well when the paste sits on the stencil (response-to-pause)
Achieving a good print process is crucial as:
  1. 80% of SMT defects aredue to the print process
  2. inconsistent print deposits for smaller apertures have a direct bearing on defects such as head-in-pillow & improper solder coalescence

Apart from solder particle size, the flux in the solder paste is crucial for achieving good consistent prints- the flux rheology is key in preventing paste getting trapped in the stencil aperture and instead get transferred onto the PCB

A good flux with Type 3 powder can be better at paste transfer than a bad flux with Type 4 powder

image
Karthik Vijay
Technical Manager - Europe
Indium Corp.
Currently with Indium Corporation and responsible for technology programs and technical support for customers in Europe. Over 15 yrs experience in SMT, Power, Thermal & Semiconductor Applications. Masters Degree in Industrial Engg, State University of New York-Binghamton.

Type 3 solder paste is generally considered to be the industry standard that will work for most printing applications. The use of Type 4 is really only needed for particularly fine-feature printing, where the Type 4 will produce better release and a more consistent volume deposit.

The breaking point for Type 3 solder paste in printing applications is generally considered to be in the range of a 9-mil stencil aperture width for most pastes, although other variables such as paste chemistry, stencil thickness and other printer parameters can impact this somewhat. This means that Type 3 paste will generally work well down to an aperture with an opening of 9 mils or greater. For apertures that are narrower than 9 mils in width, the user is best off using Type 4 paste to assure consistent release from the stencil.

The rule of thumb that is appropriate in this case is called the "Five-Ball Rule." This rule says that you need to be able to fit five of the largest powder particles across the narrowest aperture in order to achieve good stencil release.

Since Type 3 paste has a specification of 25 - 45 microns (roughly 1.0 - 1.8 mils), you can fit 5 of the largest powder particles across a 9-mil stencil aperture (5 particles x 1.8 mils per particle = 9 mils). If the aperture were any smaller than 9 mils, the Type 3 paste would fail the Five-Ball Rule and the user should consider Type 4 powder instead.

image
Brian Smith
General Manager - Electronic Assembly Americas
DEK International
Mr. Smith has been supporting customers in the electronics assembly industry since 1994. His expertise is focused on solder paste printing and reducing soldering defects. He holds a BS in Chemical Engineering and an MBA in Marketing. He has authored several papers in trade magazines and at industry conferences. He is an SMTA Certified Process Engineer.

The major reason to choose a Type-4 powder over Type-3 is to improve printing in small apertures. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend using 16mil pitch, and micro BGAs from 10mil and below and as a cut-off point for type-3 powder. In typical design rules, pad width is roughly half its pitch, so a 16mil pitch component will have a pad width of approximately 8 mil.

We have found that the stencil can have a greater impact on improved printing than powder. Some of the new Fine Grain foils allow for paste release down to a .45 surface area ratio. Work closely with your stencil provider to ensure they are able to provide you with the latest technology and best solution to meet your needs.

image
Mike Scimeca
President
FCT Assembly
Mike Scimeca created FCT Assembly after the purchase of Fine Line Stencil, Inc., and consists of two major operations: stencil manufacturing and the manufacturing of electronic assembly products such as solder paste, flux and solder bar.

The normal rule of thumb is the stencil aperture should be at least 5 times the average solder sphere in the solder paste. Type 3 solder paste has an average solder sphere of 36 microns. So any aperture smaller than 180 microns (7 mils) should use type 4 solder paste. The average solder sphere for type 4 is 30 microns. So any aperture smaller than 150 microns (6mils) should use type 5 paste.

image
Bill Coleman
Vice President Technology
Photo Stencil
For over 18 years, Dr. Coleman has been the vice president of technology for Photo Stencil, working closely with customers to understand their printing requirements. His efforts have resulted in several new stencil products.
Submit a comment - Add to the discussion.

Your Name
Your Email
Company
Country
Comment
  All comments are reviewed prior to posting. We will only post a comment that includes a name and company. You will receive an email if your comments are posted.
Authentication
Please type the number displayed into the box. If you attempt to submit information and receive an error, you may need to refresh the page and insert the information again.
 
Home  |  About Us  |  Advertising  |  Advertising Rates  |  Ask the Experts  |  Calendar  |  Contact Us
Free Subscription  |  Exclusives  |  News  |  Press Releases  |  Viewpoint  |  White Papers
We search for industry news so you don't need to. Circuitnet LLC, 22 Parkridge Road, Haverhill, MA 01835 USA
Copyright © Circuitnet.    All rights reserved.
Jeff Ferry, Publisher  | Ken Cavallaro, Editor / Business Manager

Visit Semiconductor Packaging News for the latest advanced packaging news and information.