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BGA Shifting During Reflow
We have a BGA component that is shifting during inline reflow. What could likely be the cause of the BGA shifting?
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BGA Shifting During Reflow
We have a BGA component that is shifting during inline reflow. The BGA is shifting enough to cause some open joints.

The BGA component is a full array with 400 balls and 1mm pitch. We are using a standard tin-lead reflow process.

The component shift is definitely happening during reflow as we have checked the position prior to reflow using our X-ray system.

What could likely be the cause of the BGA shifting?
I. G.
Expert's Panel Responses

Movement of a component could be caused by elevated mechanical vibrations stemming from a questionable conveyor system or blower motor.

Other sub-systems to explore would be sources of impinging gas, such as outputs of convection plenums, cooling tubes, recirculation returns or gas distribution plumbing in both the heating or cooling regions of the reflow system.

Uneven heating or especially cooling can cause dissimilar forces that can shift a component, this is frequently witnessed with passives but larger devices are not immune from this phenomenon.

A quick test to eliminate the heating & cooling variables would be to duplicate the process with a few identical samples processed through the reflow system while set-up to operate at room temperature.

If the component continued to shift, chances are its oven related. If it didn't move, then it may be thermal related such as device uniformity, heating rates and cooling rates. I'd also double check pad-package geometries to be safe

Al Cabral
Regional Sales Manager
Al Cabral is Regional Sales Manager for Finetech and Martin rework products. His expertise includes through-hole, surface mount and semiconductor packaging with an emphasis on soldering and heat transfer. Al has been a significant contributor to the development and optimization of reflow and rework processes and systems, particularly lead-free transitions and microelectronic applications.

Without seeing the board, the types of components being loaded, board finish, and the paste type being used, the following are possible causes:

Excessive surface tension under the part could be the cause. To address this, try reducing the volume of paste the stencil is depositing by either reducing the stencil thickness, or reducing the size and or shape of the aperture.

Oven profile could also be a factor. Check to be sure the zones are uniform. Inconsistent heating zones could be causing the shifting.

Finally, large ground planes or larger components on the board could be acting as a heat sink or heat shield, could be contributing to the problem.

Stephanie Nash
Integrated Ideas & Technologies, Inc.
Stephanie Nash is the Director of Technical Services & Marketing for Integrated Ideas & Technologies, Inc., a premier manufacturer of SMT stencils. She has been instrumental in the stencil design and technical support.

I would check the level of the oven, and the velocity of the convection fans.

Before I got too crazy, I would rotate the PCB 180 degrees and see if that helps.

Edward Zamborsky
Regional Sales Manager
OK International Inc.
Mr. Zamborsky serves as one of OK's technology advisers to the Product Development group. Ed has authored articles and papers on topics such as; Low Volume SMT Assembly, Solder Fume Extraction, SMT Rework, BGA Rework, Lead Free Hand Soldering, Lead Free Visual Inspection and Lead Free Array Rework.

Before mentioning any comments, what is the reflow configuration, paste which you are using and also the location of BGA in the PCB i.e in the center or on the PCB edge?

Are you confirm the BGA mounting at pre reflow?

Sandip Thakor
Quality Engineer
Matrix Telecom Solution P Ltd
Sandip Thakor has 9 years of experience in electronics industry specializing in soldering technology. Thakor has experience in lead free installation, process optimization and developing quality standards.
Reader Comment
To observe a BGA shifting under reflow, watch this unique x-ray video of the actual BGA reflow alignment.

Gil Zweig, Glenbrook Technologies, USA
There is a lot of data to be collected in order to determine the root cause and create a counter measure. Please contact me and we can work together to fix this problem.
Georgian Simion
Engineering and Operations Management
Independent Consultant
Georgian Simion is an independent consultant with 20+ years in electronics manufacturing engineering and operations.
Contact me at georgiansimion@yahoo.com.
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