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The Printed Circuit Assembler's Guide to... ™
Solder Defects

by: Christopher Nash and Dr. Ronald C. Lasky

Solder defects in surface-mount technology (SMT) assembly have been an issue for decades. Further, the combined challenges of Pb-free soldering and ever-increasing miniaturization have resulted in new or exacerbated defects in electronics assembly, but there are proven ways to avoid defects.

Indium Corporations’ Christopher Nash and Dr. Ronald C. Lasky address six top defect topics, as well as how to avoid them, including (1) voiding in bottom-termination components, (2) graping, (3) head-in-pillow and non-wet opens, (4) tombstoning of passive components, (5) insufficients, and (6) solder balling and beading.

This book will be especially beneficial to PCB assemblers in improving their assembly processes and the reliability of the end-product, eliminating field failures, and reducing costs.



ISBN: 978-1-7370232-7-2

Christopher Nash

Christopher Nash is the senior product manager for Indium Corporation’s PCB Assembly Materials. With an intimate understanding of customer needs and challenges, he works closely with Indium Corporation’s R&D team to deliver fully scaled, launched, marketable product solutions for the PCB Assembly market. Chris also provides comprehensive technical advice in the selection, use, and application of solder paste and flux to electronics assembly customers throughout the world. He is responsible for ensuring the product line is poised for future growth to best meet the needs of existing and potential customers.

Chris joined Indium Corporation in 2005. He has authored numerous process and technical guidelines and has presented at numerous industry forums and conferences. He is a member of the SMTA and participates in the occasional IPC standards development committee.

Chris has bachelor’s degree from Clarkson University. He is certified as a Six Sigma Green Belt from Dartmouth College’s Thayer School of Engineering and has earned his certification as an SMTA process engineer.

Dr. Ronald C. Lasky

Dr. Ronald Lasky is a senior technologist at Indium Corporation, as well as a professor of engineering at Dartmouth College. He has more than 30 years of experience in electronics and optoelectronics packaging at IBM, Universal Instruments, and Cookson Electronics.

Dr. Lasky has authored six books, and contributed to nine more, on science, electronics, and optoelectronics, and has authored numerous technical papers. Additionally, he has served as an adjunct professor at several colleges, teaching more than 20 different courses on topics ranging from electronics packaging, materials science, physics, mechanical engineering and science, and religion.

Dr. Lasky holds numerous patent disclosures and is the developer of several SMT processing software products relating to cost estimating, line balancing, and process optimization. He is the co-creator of engineering certification exams that set standards in the electronics assembly industry worldwide. Dr. Lasky was awarded the Surface Mount Technology Association’s Founder’s Award in 2003.

Dr. Lasky holds four degrees, including a Ph.D. from Cornell University in materials science, and is a licensed professional engineer. He lives with his wife in Vermont.

Indium Corporation is a premier materials refiner, smelter, manufacturer, and supplier to the global electronics, semiconductor, thin-film, and thermal management markets. Products include solders and fluxes; brazes; thermal interface materials; sputtering targets; indium, gallium, germanium, and tin metals and inorganic compounds; and NanoFoil®. Founded in 1934, the company has global technical support and factories located in China, Germany, India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the USA.

For more information, please visit Indium's website

This book has been technically reviewed by the following expert:

Joseph O’Neil

Principal, OAA Ventures

Joseph O’Neil has nearly 30 years of experience in the electronic manufacturing services (EMS) sector. He serves as chairman of the IPC Education Foundation, and has served on the IPC Board for over 12 years. Joe was formerly the owner and CEO of Hunter Technology, which grew from 80 to 360 [...]

Chapter Summaries

  • Chapter 1

    Minimizing Voiding in SMT Assembly


    Chapter 1 addresses the concern of voiding in bottom-termination components (BTCs).
  • Chapter 2

    Graping


    Chapter 2 details the graping effect, a challenge driven by miniaturization trends and demands for RoHS-compliant Pb-free assembly.
  • Chapter 3

    Head-in-Pillow and Non-Wet Open Defects


    Chapter 3 explains how head-in-pillow (HIP) and non-wet open (NWO) defects are a major concern.
  • Chapter 4

    Tombstoning of Passive Components


    Chapter 5 covers the stencil printing process and how to ensure the amount of solder paste is adequate and consistent.
  • Chapter 5

    Solder Paste Insufficients


    Chapter 5 covers the stencil printing process and how to ensure the amount of solder paste is adequate and consistent.
  • Chapter 6

    Solder Balling and Beading


    Chapter 6 examines some of the most commonly observed defects in the SMT assembly process: solder balling and beading.

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Joseph O’Neil Joseph O’Neil has nearly 30 years of experience in the electronic manufacturing services (EMS) sector. He serves as chairman of the IPC Education Foundation, and has served on the IPC Board for over 12 years. Joe was formerly the owner and CEO of Hunter Technology, which grew from 80 to 360 employees during his tenure. He obtained his Bachelor of Business Administration degree with emphasis in finance and management from Loyola Marymount University. Joe currently advises clients through his firm, OAA Ventures, which he founded in 2015 following the acquisition of Hunter Technology by Sparton Corporation. OAA Ventures provides consulting and advisory services to electronic manufacturing service providers, printed circuit board fabricators, and technology start-ups.