Ask the Experts
June 26, 2024 - Updated
July 3, 2007 - Originally Posted

BGA re-balling process

Can you recommend a process or semi-automatic machine for re-balling BGA's?

Is there a process or system available to repair these components after rework and repair?


Expert Panel Responses

VJ Electronix has not typically recommended re-balling BGA packages due to the stress induced to the package through multiple thermal cycles. When one factors in the original ball attach, reflow of the component to the board, removal from the board, residual solder removal, re-ball attach, and re-attach to the board, the package is subjected to a minimum of seven thermal cycles. In most cases, for reliability, it is far more prudent to scrap removed components. However there are many cases where scrapping components is not practical. Cases include high value components and components with limited availability (i.e., prototypes). There is also a relatively new requirement stemming from Lead Free packages. Many components are no longer available with tin-lead solder balls. Since there are still a number of applications, such as Mil-Aero, where tin-lead solder is required, these packages can be prepared and re-balled with tin-lead spheres. Removing residual solder from the BGA after removal for rework, or removing entire solder balls for tin-lead re-balling, requires precise control to avoid damage to the component. We recommend use of a non-contact solder scavenging tool. For small quantities using of hand tools should suffice. For high quantities the component can be fixtured face up on the table of an automated rework system. There are a number of automated systems for re-balling BGA components. The cost of these systems must be justified by the volume of re-balling. When justified, these systems provide the ability to accurately and quickly re-ball a wide variety of components. For low to mid volume we have also had very good success with solder ball preforms ( The preform is an array of solder balls suspended in a removable backing material. The preform is aligned and placed using the rework system pick and place mechanism, and reflowed using the rework nozzle. After the solder balls are reflowed onto the component the backing material is removed. Another nice benefit of the preform for standard rework is the ability to re-ball the board. The same process is applied except that the array of solder balls is placed directly onto the pads at the rework site and reflowed to the board using the rework nozzle. The process is completed by placing the prepared (bare) BGA component onto the solder balls on the board and reflowing using the same profile used for standard rework process. The benefit of this process is one fewer thermal cycle for the component.

Don Naugler
General Manager
VJ Technologies, Inc.
Don is the General Manager of VJ Technologies, Inc., a leading manufacturer of X-ray Inspection and Rework equipment for the electronics manufacturing industry. He has more than 20 years experience in development, manufacturing, and support of a wide range of capital equipment.

Much will depend upon how many spheres need to be placed or replaced. Assuming that the component (for example BGA, CSP, etc.) comes from the manufacturer with minimal defects, replacement of one or a small number of spheres can be achieved using the FINEPLACER Pico Rework System. In this case, the defective sphere(s) is removed by a "touchless" vacuum solder removal process, fresh flux is applied, and the new solder sphere is placed in position and reflowed using Finetech's COMISS hot gas module. Obviously, if a large number need to be replaced, it would be preferable to remove all spheres from the component, and, using a template, replace and reflow all spheres at the same time. Our Ball Array Placement Module can handle simultaneous, high precision placement of up to 200 solder balls directly onto a substrate or wafer.

Neil O'Brien
Sales Director
Neil O'Brien has worked in the field of electronic manufacturing equipment for over fifteen years and is currently Sales Director for Finetech, a manufacturer of precision rework systems and die bonders.

Photo Stencil offers a Universal BGA repair tool. The tool holds the BGA package in place with a ball drop stencil registered to the holding tool. The entire tool, with balls in place, is sent through the reflow oven. See our website for more information.

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.

A great source for solder spheres for re-balling is East Spheres.

Doug Farlow
Production Solutions, Inc.
Mr. Farlow is President at Production Solutions Ins. where they manufacturer the Red-E-Set family of board support systems. His expertise is board support solutions for screen printers, pick and place machines, chipshooters, dispensers and AOI machines.

Winslow automation have an excellent process for reballing.

Edward Zamborsky
Regional Sales Manager
OK International Inc.
Ed Zamborsky is a Regional Sales & Technical Support Manager for Thermaltronics, located in New York. His position requires frequent customer visits throughout North America and the Caribbean and his position encompasses not only sales but the role of trainer and master applications engineer for all of Thermaltronics products. His expertise includes such specialties as hand soldering, convection and conduction reflow techniques, array rework, fluid dispensing equipment, and fume extraction. Ed has authored many articles and has presented many papers on topics such as; Low Volume SMT Assembly, Solder Fume Extraction, SMT Rework, BGA Rework, Lead-Free Hand Soldering, High Thermal Demand Hand Soldering, Lead Free Visual Inspection and Lead Free Array Rework.

We sell a fixture for reballing BGA's one at a time. You apply liquid flux to the bottom of the part, Place the part in the fixture. Pour the spheres into the fixture and reflow the part. You would need a fixture for each part number you want to reball. The kit contains the fixture, 25K spheres and the liquid flux. The kit sells for $295.00 ea.

Ted Marek
SMT Sales Associates Inc
Mr. Marek is the Founder and President of SMT Sales Associates Inc. SMT is a distributor and manufacturer's representative organization in the PCB assembly marketplace. He has over 11 years experience helping customers select soldering materials and capital equipment.

There are several reballing techniques that are quite effective at reballing or even initially placing spheres for prototype components. STI has a reballer kit that has been used for as many years as BGA packages have been in common use for our products. Each kit is specific for the component package footprint and is reusable.

Mel Parrish
FSO/Director Training Resources
STI Electronics Inc.
Mel Parrish is the FSO and Director of Training Materials Operations, Soldering Technology International (STI), in Madison Alabama. Before coming to the STI, Mel was the Training Manager for the Electronic Manufacturing Productivity Facility (EMPF) and President of Manufacturing Technology Training Center Inc. (MTTC) in Ridgecrest, CA. He remains active in industry trade associations and organizations such as IPC, SMTA, and SME.

BGA reballing has been quite common for several years. We utilize a few different pieces of equipment to support the requirement. Both will require proper prep of the component prior to reflowing the new solder spheres in-place. The use of a fixture to hold the component and overlay solder spheres in position along with either a full convection reflow system, or small benchtop oven can be utilized. We use MARTIN’s Mini-Oven for Reballing and Solder Bumping.

Andy Price
Sales Engineer
Circuit Technology Center
Mr. Price has been a key member of the team at Circuit Technology Center since 1985. He has vast expertise, experience and understanding of complex circuit board rework, repair and modification operations. He is one of the most knowledgeable experts in this area across the globe.

Reader Comment
We offer reballing of BGA's and CSP's as a service for our customers. They want to be able to check the device in an ATE tester when the first level investigation of a failing phone for instance has shown that the BGA or CSP is not working correctly. By reballing and testing with the ATE tester, our customers can conclude that the device is still working correctly and that the solder balls were broken or that the device itself is failing.
Danielle Hoogstede, MASER Engineering B.V.

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