Spirit Electronics has added more capacity for its automated BGA reballing service.
Spirit’s high-efficiency proprietary process removes non-leaded solder balls from a ball-grid array (BGA) and replaces them with leaded solder balls.
“Our BGA reball technology safeguards against critical concerns around mechanical and heat damage from removal through reflow”
“Our BGA reball technology safeguards against critical concerns around mechanical and heat damage from removal through reflow,” says Spirit CEO Marti McCurdy. “Any time you modify a high-reliability IC, you need to protect the electrical integrity of the component, or you risk reductions in performance at three-temperature electrical testing and potential failures from the interconnect that can compromise your end application.”
“The ball scan inspection, and the inspections throughout the process, are where the automation is truly impressive,” says McCurdy.
Most commercial BGAs on the market are lead-free due to restrictions like RoHS. Solder exchange, also known as reballing, is the defense industry solution to create leaded BGAs to meet aerospace requirements, but the process comes with risks.
Spirit uses two innovative solutions to control ball removal and placement to protect the original BGA pads. The first is a custom-designed robotic arm that moves each BGA through automated flux application, heat activation and a hot solder wave to effectively detach the original array of solder balls.
The second half of the process uses an automated production line to attach new solder balls. The advanced machinery includes an automated solder paste dispensing printer, high-speed pick-and-place to ensure the placement of any size solder ball as small as .020” (.50 mil), a 10-zone reflow oven and a premium deionized wash system.
Not only does the automation afford superior precision in the placement and reflow of new solder balls, but the line provides automated optical inspection (AOI). Each ball is inspected before placement. The machine will automatically reject damaged balls to avoid placing nonconforming solder balls that cause excessive rework.
Post-wash, Spirit’s automated line performs a final ball scan checking for diameter, spacing, pitch, missing balls and damage down to the BGA substrate. If any issue is detected, the problem is identified by ball location, and the BGA is segregated from the rest of the tray.
The BGA reballing process adds to Spirit’s increasing in-house services, including MIL-STD-883 test methods rolled out earlier in 2022, circuit board assembly and authorized distribution for leading microcircuit and semiconductor manufacturers.