We wrap up our special, three-part Q&A interview series (focusing on the Hakko FX-951 Soldering Station, the FM-203 Dual-Port Soldering System, and the FR-801 Hot Air Rework System that are part of our 30th Anniversary Partner Promo) with this look at the FR-801. Our Hakko representative, Dave Ford, tells us what all the hot air is about…
Dave Ford: Well, that's a very good question. When surface mount technology (SMT) became commercially viable in the 1980s, we used infrared (IR) reflow ovens to make the solder connections. Almost immediately we began to see post-soldering failures with predominantly active components using fine traces inside the component. Different materials accept heat from various radiant sources at different rates causing internal traces and external bodies to expand and contract at dissimilar rates. This creates a thermal tug-of-war and damages sensitive components. We discovered this in destructive tests of failed components.
Q Source: How does a hot air system address this problem?
Dave Ford: We got into all kinds of complicated discussions about emissivity, color, radiant heat sources, component materials selection, mass, and other contributing factors. In the end, we found that the best solution across the board was to move from radiant IR to forced-air convection ovens.
Q Source: Why is hot air the best solution?
Dave Ford: Hot air gives up its latent heat to dissimilar materials at a very similar rate. So, the coefficient of thermal expansion problem was virtually solved quickly by this simple change.
Q Source: But we're working on one component at a time in rework, right?
Dave Ford: Yes, but by imitating the process by which the component was attached in the first place we stand the greatest chance of successful rework.
Q Source: Okay, so we’re focused on the FR-801 Hot Air Rework System today, but there’s also the Hakko FR-802 and the Hakko FR-803. How does the FR-801 stand out?
Dave Ford: The FR-801 is Hakko's most economical initial purchase for hot air repair. While all three stations use the same nozzles, each has its own place in the market. Each station also has an internal air pump with variable pump speed and variable heater temperature control. What is different is just how those two variables are controlled.
Q Source: What are those differences?
Dave Ford: The FR-801 uses analog rotary dial controls for pump speed and temperature output. The FR-802 uses digital controls for both variables with a lockout card for process control. And the FR-803 also uses digital control with a card key lockout, includes a microprocessor to allow for ramp/soak, spike/cool profiles, and stores up to 50 different processes on-board. It also features central vacuum pickup and can be linked to various Hakko preheaters via an umbilical cable to control them as part of the overall rework process.
Q Source: Is the FR-803 for more advanced applications?
Dave Ford: Setting up the FR-803 with controlled bottom-side pre-heater is not unlike setting up a reflow oven and more closely matches the original manufacturing environment. This setup is more prevalent with complicated assemblies and processes like military or cell phone boards, BGAs, and QFNs.
Q Source: In closing, why should our customers purchase the Hakko FR-801 Hot Air Rework System?
Dave Ford: Cost and simplicity. Any of these systems will get the job done; the difference is where the intelligence resides: either in the machine or in the operator. What you are purchasing when you move from the FR-801 to the other Hakko hot air repair options is efficiency, which is speed, safety, and repeatability.
Q Source would like to thank Dave Ford, our Hakko representative, for spending some time to share his in-depth knowledge of Hakko products with our readers.
To place an order for the Hakko FR-801 Hot Air Rework System please visit our 30th Anniversary Partner Promo Page at QSource.com or contact us via phone (800-966-6020) or email.
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