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Solder Preforms

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Solder Preforms

Used for attaching electronic circuitry, packaging electronic devices, providing good thermal and electrical conductivity, and providing an interface for electronic connections.


AMETEK Coining is a Global Manufacturer of Solder Preforms

Soldering is an ancient art going as far back as 5,000 years in Mesopotamia. The people in those times had already perfected the joining of metals starting 4000 BC. This method was used to make swords and other weaponry, jewelry, cooking utensils and farming tools. Up to the 1800s, soldering metals were produced through burning coals or open flames.

In 1894, The American Electrical Heater Company of Detroit began to manufacture electric soldering irons. However, these soldering irons were not for industrial use.

In 1921, a German named Ernst Sachs developed and manufactured the first commercial electric soldering iron called ERSA.  Production started with a 200-watt electric solder iron. This marked the beginning of the widespread use of soldering.

Since the mass-production of ERSA, engineers and other proponents involved in the industry have devoted time and resources to the continuous development of soldering technology. The soldering industry combines chemistry, mechanics, physics and metallurgy. In the last century , soldering technology has become an independent subject in the world of metallurgy.

One such innovation is the development of solder preforms. These devices are made of solder alloys customized into shapes and dimensions specific to an application.  Micro stamped pieces of foil take the shape that matches solder joints, optimizing soldering distribution in a precise manner.  The size of a preform is determined by the volume of solder needed.  Preforms are preferred for precision applications due of the uniform volume, consistency, and adhesion it delivers to the joint.

AMETEK Coining started producing solder preforms in the 1970s.  General Instruments (GI), a semiconductor and cable TV equipment manufacturer, was one of the first customers.  The product was used for cable TV box components. Accton Technology Corporation, a Taiwanese company, specializing in networking and communication products, made use of the Coining solder preforms in the late 1980s.  Motorola mobile phones later applied solder preforms produced by AMETEK Coining.   Solder preforms manufactured by AMETEK Coining have made its mark in supporting the microelectronics industry not only in the United States, but in the international arena as well, for almost five decades.

solder preforms


Choosing Alloys for Solder Preforms

What are Alloys?

An can be described as a mixture of one metal with one or more other metals, or possibly non-metal materials.  Alloys results from a melting process that allows the materials to fully mix prior to cooling and solidification at room temperature.

Alloys are utilized as the main component of solder preforms due to enhanced properties they can provide, such as strength, hardness, machinability and resistance to corrosion.

AMETEK Coining uses a variety of alloys specific to customer needs. Coining’s decades of experience working with metals assure customers of high quality and efficient solder preforms.

Coining works efficiently with alloys of silver, gold, tin, lead, antimony, zinc, indium, copper, molybdenum, iron, nickel, Kovar and tungsten.  Special alloys can also be used such as palladium, germanium and platinum. Company metallurgists also work with additives like phosphorus, silicon and gallium if needed.

Customers only need to specify the end material properties, and our metallurgists will find a standard alloy, or design a custom material to meet the application need.

Coining’s vast experience with both lead-containing and lead-free solders provide customers with the widest range of options. 

For a more detailed alloy list, please click here COINING ALLOY LIST.

alloy - gold
alloys - copper

Solder Preforms Shapes and Sizes

Solder preforms come in a variety of standard shapes e.g. rectangles, squares, discs or frames, and sizes as required by customers. AMETEK Coining can customize preform geometry for any application.  Dimensions can also be held to tight tolerances for volume accuracy.

Alloys chosen for an application are based on physical properties and strength.  A key consideration is the soldering temperature and the operating temperature of the component being soldered. One common rule is to select an alloy that has a melting point at least 50°C higher than that of the operating temperature of the part being joined.

Another factor when determining size and shape of a solder preform is the location of the solder joint and the volume of solder needed. For flat dimensions, the design engineer will first determine the diameter, width and length. Once this is determined, the thickness can be determined. For through hole components, 10%-20% is typically added to the volume.  Pad to pad joints can have 5% less of the surface area.

The burr tolerance of each solder preform is also important to clarify, and this should ideally be close to standard tolerances to minimize added cost and lead time in manufacturing.  AMETEK Coining has wide experience and an array of standard shapes and sizes that customers can choose from which minimizes lead time, or the Coining metallurgists can develop a specific solder preform shape for the application.

An application’s unique requirements are always important factors in customized preforms. AMETEK Coining engineers and metallurgists are available for consultation regarding alloys to use and other application considerations.

Common shapes and dimensions include:

solder preforms shapes
solder preform shapes

Solder Preforms Applications

Solder preforms are used in a wide range of industries.  From small household appliances to robotics, the utilization of this product varies widely. In the electronics industry, attaching a through-hole component to a mixed board is no longer a difficult and costly process. Placement of a solder paste near or over a through-hole is one method that manufacturers have tried but this can be challenging due to spillage or inconsistency of volume. With solder preforms, this is no longer the case. 

Common applications of solder preform include:

  1. Household appliances
  2. Medical devices
  3. Aerospace applications
  4. Lighting products
  5. Navigation-related equipment
  6. Defense applications
  7. Communication devices

Miniaturization of Mobile Phones

Many people have not given a thought on how mobile or smart phones are assembled.  These communication devices are becoming smaller and smaller, while the manufacture of these devices is made possible in part by new technologies for joining these increasingly small components.

The miniaturization and functionality of mobile phones make it unmanageable to print enough solder paste to electronically connect shields to the pads. Solder preforms are a solution to such solder-starved conditions. In these processes, the preforms are positioned by component placement machines to provide precision volumes of solder exactly where it is needed.  This makes the solder preforms the best functional solution.

Terminal Capacitors

Capacitors are devices that store electrical energy. This is a passive electrical component with two terminals.  The terminals are connected mechanically and electrically using solder.  If a capacitor terminal solder connection is imperfect, it can have defects and be prone to disfunction. In some cases, solder preform use has reduced defects by 95%. 

AMETEK Coining Solder Preforms Applications

Solder preforms have been used in applications from fire sprinkler systems to aircraft engines.  The initial that became operational in 1984 had components soldered by these preforms. The ground-based radar programs made use of the product as well.  In the medical field, solder preforms are utilized in the manufacture of implants and heart pacemakers.

Solder preforms are an economical solution to solder-starved assembly applications. Consult an AMETEK Coining engineer to make sure that the right solder perform best suits your application.

solder preforms application

Benefits of Using Solder Preforms

Solder preform benefits include increased efficiency and productivity.  Since preforms are accurately made solder shapes with an exact volume of solder for an application, it delivers the precise solder to the right location.

This product minimizes, if not eliminates, manual processes in assembly, inspection time and clean up after production.  This cuts down production costs which is big consideration for many customers.

Preforms may be the only method to solder hard to reach joints.  The miniaturization of components for mobile and smart phones, medical devices and aerospace applications rely more and more on solder preforms.

Solder preforms provide a more stable quality alternative compared with hand soldering.  When a core wire is utilized to hand solder multi leaded connectors or to join non-planar components in electronics assemblies, preforms are a better method.

The use of optimized alloys and mechanical design of solder preforms results in the best manufacturing efficiency.  Low melting point preforms are usually utilized to strengthen other joints formed in an assembly. High temperature preforms are used if a manual soldering assembly is being produced prior to conventional or wave soldering.

AMETEK Coining’s technical team has decades of experience solving application challenges and providing guidance in all aspects of solder preform applications.

Technical Specifications of Solder Preforms

The electronics industry has largely shifted to lead-free compliance due to the Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive. RoHS was implemented in February 2003 by the European Union. It stipulated that all electronics sold to member countries must comply with this directive.  The restricted substances include lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium VI also known as hexavalent chromium plating, and pbb, pbde flame retardants used in plastics. Lead solder joints must be less than 0.1% to be considered as compliant. 

AMETEK Coining works with customers to ensure compliance with regulations and offers a wide range of lead-free solder preforms.  Coining metallurgists can also blend alloys specific to customer needs.

The company has hundreds of custom-blended alloys and can create new ones for unique applications. Such alloys are suited for extreme environments and temperatures, with eutectic and non-eutectic melting points above 1000oC.

Handling

Solder preforms are not only soft metals, but they can be small. It is important that no damage or scratches are made after the manufacturing process.  Excessive scratches on the surface area may result in the formation of high levels of oxide.  Vibrations can reduce the flux coating if used. Improper handling can cause performance inefficiency.  Solder preforms should be handled using lint-free gloves to avoid contamination.

Shelf Life of Preforms

There is no single predetermined shelf life for solder preforms.  This is dependent on the application in which it is used, handling and storage during transport and prior to customer use.  As a general rule, storage conditions to be free from outside contaminants and reduction of oxidation that may occur if stored for longer periods of time. Stored properly, solder preform shelf life can vary from just a few weeks to several years.

Packaging and Storage

When preforms are delivered to customers, AMETEK Coining sees to it that this is in a packaging that meets the requirements of the customer. Preforms should the stored in its original packaging and should not be opened until it is time for the application process. Solder preform packages or boxes should be stored in a dry, clean and cool environment.

 

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In 2011, AMETEK, Inc. acquired COINING, the world’s leading supplier of solder preforms, custom-shaped metal preforms, micro stampings and bonding wire solutions for interconnect applications in microelectronics packaging and assembly. Coining's products are used in highly engineered applications for the RF/microwave, photonics, medical, aerospace and defense, and general electronics industries.

AMETEK is a leading global manufacturer of electronic instruments and electro-mechanical devices. AMETEK's Corporate Growth Plan is based on Four Key Strategies: Operational Excellence, Strategic Acquisitions & Alliances, Global & Market Expansion and New Products

For further information about solder preforms and other products, please contact one of our offices. AMETEK Coining has sales offices in North America, Asia and Europe or use the CONTACT 188bet投注 form:

 

188bet投注 Sales Office: +1 201-791-4020             
NJ-MONSalesteam@ametek.com

                                 
China Sales Office: +86 21-3763-2111 EXT 8894   

angela.chen@ametek.com

 

Europe Sales Office: +381 62 291 143                       
sladjana.milorad@ametek.com

Malaysia Sales Office: +60 4 64-33062                       
Alvin.Ng@ametek.com