Printer Friendly
The Free Library
22,741,889 articles and books

BGA Repair: Ensuring Process Control and Saving Money -- A medium wavelength infrared system can be used to quickly and economically repair a wide range of area array packages.

Current international studies reinforce the global trend to area array packages. Ball grid arrays “BGA” redirects here. For other uses, see BGA (disambiguation).

A ball grid array (BGA) is a type of surface-mount packaging used for integrated circuits.
 (BGAs), chip-scale packages (CSPs) and flip chips not only provide significantly more I/Os (input/output) per mm2 of printed circuit board (PCB PCB: see polychlorinated biphenyl.
 in full polychlorinated biphenyl

Any of a class of highly stable organic compounds prepared by the reaction of chlorine with biphenyl, a two-ring compound.
) real estate, they also offer distinct electrical, mechanical and unit cost advantages. Increased density, reduced feature size and packaging all add up to shorter distances for electrical signals to travel, hence increasing speed and performance (Figure 1). Consequently, the numbers of flip chips and other advanced packages expected for 2002 have dramatically increased and will arrive at nearly 2 billion in the year 2003 (Figure 2).

Advances in assembly equipment have allowed for an acceptable ppm failure rate during the production process. However, for many companies, the concept of quality repair remains an expensive nightmare. A more thorough understanding of area array packages and their production parameters can reduce fears of BGA (Ball Grid Array) A popular surface mount chip package that uses a grid of solder balls as its connectors. Available in plastic and ceramic varieties, BGA is noted for its compact size, high lead count and low inductance, which allows lower voltages to be used.  repair, guarantee process control, and greatly save in rework re·work  
tr.v. re·worked, re·work·ing, re·works
1. To work over again; revise.

2. To subject to a repeated or new process.


Based on the historical experiences of most operators, three repair concerns remain paramount:

-removing the component off the board without damaging the substrate, lands and adjacent components during the process

-resoldering the components in a process controlled manner

- inspecting the quality of the procedure.

The density and performance requirements that drove the development of fine pitch, externally leaded devices such as quad flat packs (QFPs) cause enough repair headaches from a handling, hand soldering soldering

Process that uses metal alloys with low melting points to join metallic surfaces without melting them. Tin-lead solders, once widely used in the electrical and plumbing industries, are now replaced by lead-free alloys.
 and inspection standpoint. While area array packages do not present the same handling problems, the soldering process cannot be achieved with typical repair tools, and inspection was, at one time, quite difficult. If the estimates are correct regarding the expected use of such components, area array package repair must become a viable, user-friendly and cost effective option for millions of repair operators worldwide.

The Reflow (1) The process of heating and melting the solder that has been screen printed onto a printed circuit board in order to bond chips and other components to the board. Surface mount chips (SMT) use the reflow method. Contrast with wave soldering. See also reflowable text.  Process

Several key considerations exist during the reflow process. Uniform heat distribution and transfer across the entire surface of the area array package and its land pattern on the PCB are critical. The heating process and thermal profile must cause the package to reach reflow and then uniformly lower itself to the lands as the balls melt and form an intermetallic with the pads (Figure 3).

Figure 4 shows an x-ray image, optical picture and a cross section of a professionally installed PBGA PBGA Plastic Ball Grid Array . Note how the component has dropped, is parallel to the PCB, and how all balls are uniform in shape and are completely "wetted" or soldered Pronounced "sod-erd." Permanently attached by a hard metal bond. In order to replace a chip soldered to a circuit board, it requires heating the soldering joints until they melt. Contrast with socketed.  to the lands.

In contrast, non-uniform heating would cause the package to unevenly drop or tilt toward the side or corner that has prematurely reached reflow. If the process is stopped at this point, the component will not lower itself uniformly, will not be coplanar co·pla·nar  
Lying or occurring in the same plane. Used of points, lines, or figures.

 and, therefore, will be insufficiently soldered.

In addition, a critical consideration for extremely small, lightweight CSP/flip chip components is the airflow rate in the convection reflow ovens. While a minimum air flow rate is required to transfer the heat to the component and PCB, this rate must not allow these light components to be either blown away or to move during the reflow process. When the extremely small eutectic balls are in a liquid state, any movement can cause the surface tension and support function of the balls to be disrupted, resulting in the component dropping completely onto the board during reflow.

BGA Repair Requirements

The repair requirements of area array packages are affected by the current shortcomings A shortcoming is a character flaw.

Shortcomings may also be:
  • Shortcomings (SATC episode), an episode of the television series Sex and the City
 regarding reflow. While desoldering In electronics, desoldering is the removal of solder and components from a circuit for troubleshooting, repair purposes and to salvage components. Electronic components are often mounted on a circuit board and it is usually desirable to avoid damaging the circuit board,  can be handled with most available hot air equipment, the resoldering process is most difficult to control. In rework, as in production, quality is the ultimate goal. Quality BGA reflow can be achieved for production in the enclosed environment of a reflow oven.

However, rework cannot be done in a completely enclosed environment because the heating conditions required for BGA reflow are difficult to achieve when blowing hot air through a nozzle. Success here depends on uniform heat distribution across the package and PCB land pattern without blowing or moving the component during reflow.

Convective heat transfer Convective heat transfer is a mechanism of heat transfer occurring because of bulk motion (observable movement) of fluids. This can be contrasted with conductive heat transfer, which is the transfer of energy molecule by molecule through a solid or fluid, and radiative heat  in a repair situation involves blowing heated air through a nozzle that has the shape of the component. Air flow dynamics, encompassing the effects of laminar flow laminar flow

Fluid flow in which the fluid travels smoothly or in regular paths. The velocity, pressure, and other flow properties at each point in the fluid remain constant.
, high and low pressure zones and circulation rate, is a complicated science. When combining these physical effects Physical effects is the term given to a sub-category of special effects in which mechanical or physical effects are recorded. Physical effects are usually planned in preproduction and created in production.  with those of heat absorption and distribution, the construction of a hot air nozzle for localized area heating and, therefore, proper BGA repair become difficult. Any pressure fluctuations or problems with the compressed air compressed air, air whose volume has been decreased by the application of pressure. Air is compressed by various devices, including the simple hand pump and the reciprocating, rotary, centrifugal, and axial-flow compressors.  source or pump required by hot air systems will radically decrease the rework machine's performance.

Some hot air nozzles that contact the PCB to provide more even air circulation and heat distribution can experience co-planarity and spatial problems if adjacent components are too near. These nozzles will not contact the board, so the desired air circulation pattern in the nozzle will be disrupted and uneven heating of the BGA will result. Additionally, the heated air that exits the nozzle often heats adjacent chips and blows them away, or it burns adjacent plastic components.

Many semi-automatic convective re-pair systems often store several thermal profiles. However, this perceived benefit can be misleading unless the purpose of thermal profiling is clearly understood. In a production machine, an accurate thermal profile is the key to process control because it ensures that all joints heat uniformly and receive a sufficient peak temperature. The starting point Noun 1. starting point - earliest limiting point
terminus a quo

commencement, get-go, offset, outset, showtime, starting time, beginning, start, kickoff, first - the time at which something is supposed to begin; "they got an early start"; "she knew from the
 for setting the production parameters is the actual board temperature. By analyzing the actual material temperatures, the process engineer can adjust the machine heating zone parameters to achieve the board's desired thermal profile.

A convective repair machine that can store various profiles of the heating element Noun 1. heating element - the component of a heater or range that transforms fuel or electricity into heat
bar - a heating element in an electric fire; "an electric fire with three bars"
 and/or air flow temperature can only approximately indicate the thermal situation on the board. A more accurate procedure is to monitor and document the actual board or component thermal profile by attaching K-type thermocouples to the PCB during reflow. Actual inspection of the solder solder (sŏd`ər), metal alloy used in the molten state as a metallic binder. The type of solder to be used is determined by the metals to be united. Soft solders are commonly composed of lead and tin and have low melting points. Hard solders (i.  joint during reflow is the ultimate form of process control (Figure 5).

Infrared Repair Systems

A viable repair alternative to these convective heat transfer problems is a medium wavelength (2-8 micro) infrared (IR) system. To demonstrate the effectiveness of infrared, three different hot air rework systems were compared with a medium wavelength infrared system. In the test, the hot air nozzles were lowered to a specially treated FR-4 substrate, and the machine performed its loaded profile. Although the profile might lead one to believe that the entire area is heated uniformly and reaching a hot enough temperature, the test results clearly showed hot and cold zones with the hot air systems (Figure 6). In contrast, the infrared system showed even heating, with no cold zones.

Infrared is not a new repair technology, but it became less popular because of the limiting physical effects of previously used short wavelength IR systems. Thermal radiation thermal radiation

Process by which energy is emitted by a warm surface. The energy is electromagnetic radiation and so travels at the speed of light and does not require a medium to carry it.
, while uniformly distributed, is unevenly absorbed and reflected by objects lighter or darker in color. Although such a heat source is perfectly acceptable for PCB preheating, short wavelength IR systems used for reflow often overheat o·ver·heat  
v. o·ver·heat·ed, o·ver·heat·ing, o·ver·heats
1. To heat too much.

2. To cause to become excited, agitated, or overstimulated.

 dark component bodies and FR-4 substrate material before the reflecting leads reach proper reflow temperatures. In contrast, medium wavelength IR systems transfer heat perfectly uniform across a surface and also reveal an even absorption/reflection ratio between dark and light materials (Figure 7).

With an optimally designed medium wavelength IR repair system, K-type thermocouples can be easily placed on the board to monitor and document precise thermal profiles during the actual reflow process. This system can be used to repair microBGAs, CSPs and flip chips because of its inherent advantages.

First, an IR system has no air flow that could blow away or vibrate the component during reflow. Second, the IR system's heat can be uniformly focused, directed and transferred to an exact component size and location on the PCB.

In addition, adjacent component heating can be reduced or completely prevented by covering components with reflective foil. Even components situated as close as 0.5 mm from the component to be repaired can be safely blocked from the IR heating source. In contrast, due to the escaping air or required nozzle thickness, a hot air system cannot be used with densely placed components. Finally, a top and bottom medium wavelength IR repair system can also act as a "mini-reflow oven" for process controlled reballing of all types of area array packages.

A purchase decision for an area array package repair system must begin with a sound base of the technological requirements, as process control is paramount. The equipment must always be able to ensure quality by every operator while increasing ease of use. To provide a high return on its purchase, a repair system should be able to repair surface-mount devices, through-hole devices and plastic connectors without needing additional nozzles.

An open IR system instead of the enclosed environment inherent in hot air systems effectively eliminates "blindness" during the rework process. By optically capturing reflow in real-time during rework, the even collapse of the component's solder balls can be assured. Such process-controlled repair of area array packages is one of the hottest subjects in the industry today.


Area array packages tend to arouse fear on the part of repair operators from an ease of use standpoint, quality control inspectors from a process control standpoint, and purchasing agents from a capital investment and operational cost standpoint. However, such fears can be overcome with more understanding of the design of the various area array packages, their production reflow requirements, and the repair technology available. By going back to the basics, everyone wins.

For area array package repairs, medium wavelength IR systems provide ideal heat transfer and distribution, and are also flexible, user-friendly and cost-effective. Having an ideal repair solution, don't be afraid of BGAs; let them come in the trillions!


Cliff R. Bockard is the national sales manager sales manager ngerente m/f de ventas

sales manager ndirecteur commercial

sales manager sale n
 with ERSA ERSA Engineering of Reconfigurable Systems and Algorithms (conference)
ERSA Employer Retirement Savings Account
ERSA En Route Supplement Australia (aviation)
ERSA Ernst Sachs
ERSA Extended Runway Safety Area
 Soldering Tools and Inspection Systems, ERSA Inc., Old Lyme Old Lyme (līm), residential and resort town (1990 pop. 6,535), New London co., SE Conn., on Long Island Sound, at the mouth of the Connecticut River; settled c.1655, inc. 1855. , CT; e-mail:

Copyright [copyright] 2001 Miller Freeman An earlier subsidiary of United News & Media ( Miller Freeman was a leading trade show organizer and publisher serving a variety of industries. In 1996, it acquired the Blenheim Group, producers of the popular PC EXPO trade show, and in 1999, it acquired the CMP  LLC (Logical Link Control) See "LANs" under data link protocol.

LLC - Logical Link Control
COPYRIGHT 2001 UP Media Group, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 Reader Opinion




Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:ball grid array
Author:Bockard, Cliff R.
Publication:Circuits Assembly
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2001
Previous Article:Laser Soldering Applications for RF Shield Rework -- By using one-piece RF shields and lasers for rework, throughput can be increased while...
Next Article:Reworking CSPs-The Devil Is in the Details -- Consistent, cost-effective rework of CSPs requires proper training and equipment, as well as careful...

Related Articles
2001 Semiconductor Packaging and Assembly Outlook.
A Ticking Bomb -- After several encounters with BGA component repair, a wiser-if not more humble-operator emerges.
New study reveals component defect levels: an extensive study of almost one billion solder joints reveals the defect levels and most common defects...
Waste not, want not: simplify BGA rework by reusing leftover solder.
Mastering the dark art of screen printing: simultaneous visual inspection of the PCB and stencil improves product quality while minimizing operator...
Finding BGA opens in production: a new method using AXI compares reflowed BGA ball sizes to detect open solder joints.
Rework and repair.
Rework with lead-free solders: temperature differences between eutectic and lead-free solders mandate tighter processes, better profiles and precise...
Split vision rework system.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters