In the past decade, the ways in which semiconductors are packaged have evolved completely. There’s a high demand for flexibility, smaller sizes, and greater functionality. All PCB professionals need to be well-versed in the two main methods of mounting components onto PCBs – surface mounting (SMT) and through-hole mounting. Through-hole mounting is the technique of mounting components onto bare PCBs involving the placement of component leads into drilled holes. Before the advent of surface mount technology in the early 1980s, this technique was standard practice.
Is Through-Hole Mounting Still Relevant?
Although most industry experts expected surface mount technology to make through-hole mounting processes obsolete, that has not been the case. Through-hole mounting may not be as advanced as SMT, but it does offer numerous advantages in niche applications. The mounting technique has always been very reliable. That’s why it’s used in products that need to be reliable and consistent at all times.
For instance, through-hole technology is used to manufacture aerospace products that experience extreme conditions. These products experience fast accelerations, high temperatures and often collide with heavy materials. They need super-strong connections between layers.
SMT components rely too much on solder for staying connected to bare PCBs. In extreme conditions, SMT components are not entirely reliable. On the other hand, through-hole component leads go through the entire board, giving all components the resilience and the strong connections, they need to withstand extreme stresses.
Why Should Soldering Professionals Learn Through-Hole Soldering?
If you look at the latest range of consumer electronics, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find traces of through-hole components. It’s clear that SMT components are favored by all manufacturers. The global SMT equipment industry is expected to reach a valuation of $2.7 billion by 2025. However, these advances won’t push through-hole components down the path of obsolescence just yet.
The rise of SMT is mainly down to the increase in demand for smaller and cheaper electronics. However, surface mount device parts will never be as durable, serviceable, and reliable as through-hole components. Soldering professionals must learn through-hole soldering because –
Through-hole components will always be preferred for military and aerospace products that demand dependability in harsh environments.
Through-hole components have stronger mechanical bonds than surface mount devices and can undergo all types of mechanical stresses. This quality makes them ideal for creating products that need to be tested and prototyped in extreme conditions.
Through-hole mounting involves drilling holes, which is a time-consuming process. You need to be good at hand soldering to create reliable assemblies. So, without proper training, it’s impossible to master this mounting technique.
Overall, through-hole mounting continues to be a vital aspect of PCB assembly processes across all industries. Being experts in this technology makes soldering professionals better-equipped to tackle the ever-changing demands of modern assembly facilities. Even though through-hole mounting is widely considered as a secondary operation, learning this technique is still very important for all soldering professionals.
Learning the IPC’s Through-Hole Soldering Standards
The Institute of Printed Circuits (IPC) has clear guidelines for soldering through-hole components onto PCBs. The IPC-A-610G is the applicable standard (also known as the “Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies”) for through-hole mounting processes.
This standard covers various aspects of PCB assemblies, including details regarding –
How to solder different components onto boards.
Clarifications regarding certain PCB terminologies.
Guidelines on how to install components on PCBs using through-hole mounting technology (section seven of the IPC-A-610G covers this topic extensively).
At a top through-hole solder training center, professionals will receive customized through-hole soldering training classes from IPC-certified professionals. They’ll learn how to identify, prepare, and handle different components. They’ll also learn how to solder diodes, capacitors, connectors, relays, and all other commonly used through-hole devices. Students also learn about the latest IPC J-STD-001 requirements regarding through-hole mounting processes.
The Importance of Receiving IPC-Certified Training
The key to mastering through-hole soldering and mounting is knowing and applying the guidelines mentioned in IPC standards. It’s the only way soldering professionals can meet industry demands while assembling printed circuit boards. However, IPC standards can be confusing. There are many guidelines in different IPC standards that mention through-hole mounting.
Soldering professionals have to be fluent in the following standards to have a clear idea of what the IPC expects from them when they carry out through-hole soldering and mounting processes – IPC J-STD-001, IPC-A-610G, and IPC-7711C/7721C. Merely following the requirements of these standards isn’t enough for soldering professionals. The need to make these guidelines natural parts of their regular workflows.
By receiving through-hole solder training center from IPC-certified experts, they can easily learn techniques like delamination (blister repairs), bow and twist repairs, hole repairs with epoxy, and countless others. IPC-certified trainers follow the latest IPC standards/requirements and provide experiential learning to students. Soldering professionals can learn by doing and see the intricacies involved in through-hole soldering first-hand!