Technological advancements and improvements have also benefited the soldering and the de-soldering station, and the modernization has culminated into a variety of soldering equipment. The new line can be classified as Wave Rework Station, BGA Rework Station, SMD Stations and other kinds of soldering stations for specialized job flow applications. Much more than being a mere soldering tool, these new machines can improve the flow of the operations and can better the performance. While all soldering stations can easily be efficient towards the simple soldering jobs, they can also be used to work on the integrated circuits, SMT or Surface Mount Technology boards and the Multilayer boards.
Parameters to consider while selecting the right soldering station
Some of the important parameters and factors that must be considered before actually purchasing a soldering and desoldering station include:
Heat Up Time- If you have a regular soldering job flow, it will require that the tip of the soldering iron heats up fast. Stations with heat recovery capabilities offer better thermal efficiency and have lesser heat-up time as well.
Temperature and Wattage Control- For most of the soldering jobs in day-to-day use or in the industries as well (including the electronic industries), soldering stations having around 40 watts of capacity are adequate. But a greater capacity serves as a backup, is not bad and may be useful in certain instances. It is better if the station provides flexibility towards setting the temperature and wattage, and most stations have the knob that can be adjusted for a given temperature.
ESD Safety- Electrostatic discharge is a predominant cause of failure of components and hence an ESD safe soldering station and design should only be considered. These stations improve the quality of the work and offer reliability in the long term.
Soldering Tip Cost- Soldering tips need to be changed often as they undergo wear and tear. The soldering station’s iron should be accommodated with cost-effective tips when the time comes.
Some of the choices that you get while buying a soldering station are given below.
Contact Soldering Station- This Is by far the most popular soldering station variety and has its power supply inbuilt to its architecture. Voltage and heating temperatures can be changed through the power supply unit itself and fixed as per the want, usage and application considerations.
Lead-Free Soldering Station- These are not always expensive and only use the lead-free solder. Their use may also be mandatory for certain regulated markets where leaded items are prohibited. The stations offer good efficiency towards soldering and possess reliability. As extra heat may be required for melting the solder, the supplier should provide to the manufacturer adequate information and guidelines for using the soldering stations in the most cost-effective, reliable, and best way.
Hot Air Rework Station- These soldering stations can preheat the components and hence can be used for working on SMT components. They find their use in SOIC (Small Outline Integrated Circuits, DIP (Dual Inline Packaging) and in other kinds of integrated circuits (ICs).
Infrared Soldering Station- When you have to work on the more complex soldering jobs, the infrared soldering machine and station is the best option. As a beam of radiation or infrared light is focused on the objects for soldering, any kind of overheating or mechanical damage is prevented.
To choose the right and best soldering station for a particular job, it is important to know the specifications of the application and the budget available. Productivity, the presence of additional and useful features, and the market considerations (as in the case of lead-free solder station) should also be kept in mind.