What is SMT Rework Station?

PCB Repair 
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Editorial Team - PCB Directory

Nov 17, 2022

SMT Rework Station is a workspace system that is used to perform repairing, refinishing and modification tasks on printed circuit boards that have surface-mounted components and Ball Grid Array (BGA) packaging. Circuit boards with column grid array packaging, chip scale packaging, quad flat packaging, land grid arrays, and other surface-mounted devices can also be modified by these rework stations. SMT Rework Stations are also known as SMD Rework Stations or BGA Rework Stations. SMT rework stations are widely used in low-volume and short-run production operations. 

SMT Rework Stations are available in a wide variety of features like split-vision cameras and automated tools but generally, there are two types of SMT Rework Stations. 

Hot Air Rework Stations

In these stations, hot air is used to heat the PCB's parts. Hot air is moved and directed by various nozzles to ensure that heat is dispersed uniformly. When working on delicate and small components, technicians can quickly accomplish tasks by moving these nozzles to direct the air.

Hot Air Rework Stations generate more noise and are older than IR rework technology, so more technicians are trained to use hot air stations than IR rework stations.

IR Rework Stations

The IR rework stations heat PCB components using fixed ceramic heaters and infrared rays rather than hot air. The IR SMT rework station runs in complete silence. There are also fewer moving parts, which might make maintenance simpler.

 

PDR BGA Rework Station

 The fundamental working principle of the BGA rework station is that a single SMT or BGA is heated from above and below and is subjected to a similar temperature/time profile during rework as it does during reflow in the initial production process.

A complete "reflow" process is applied to the SMT component during the SMT rework operation. The rework station typically employs a software-controlled multi-stage reflow process, as advised by board and component manufacturers, where all parameters, such as temperature levels and ramp rates, are precisely controlled. 

BGA Rework System

 SMT rework stations have a variety of applications. One of the most frequent causes of rework is upgrades. A PCB might require parts to be replaced or upgraded by technicians. PCBs may contain a variety of faulty parts that may need to be reworked. Pads may be harmed during BGA removal, some components may be heat-damaged, or there may be excessive solder joint voiding. Errors can happen during the rework process. For instance, the PCB might have a poorly developed thermal profile for BGA rework or incorrect SMT orientation. If so, additional rework on the PCB will probably be required to fix the faulty assembly.

Though the initial investment in SMT Rework Stations is significant they offer several advantages:

  • Accuracy: The BGA rework station is thought to be a complex process requiring a great deal of skill and attention to detail. Anytime you try to rework a BGA, it is very simple to damage or destroy the entire PCB. These rework stations offer the necessary equipment to successfully achieve the required precision to complete the rework in a safe and precise manner without harming the entire device.
  • Efficiency: The highly specialised equipment commonly found in SMT rework stations, such as solder balls, pickup tubes, and nozzles, ensures that skilled technicians complete their rework tasks quickly.
  • Volume: Companies like original equipment manufacturers can manage a high volume of rework jobs on a variety of different-sized PCBs with the aid of the proper SMT rework station.
  • Cost: A BGA rework station's initial cost is an investment, but it pays off. Rework can significantly increase a PCB's lifespan, and it is frequently less expensive to do so than to assemble or purchase a new one.
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