The significant increase in raw materials, packaging and transportation costs in the last year has impacted everyone's bottom line. Prices are going up in all markets and the same is true of solder.
In fact, solder pricing is expected to stay at or near all-time record high prices throughout 2022. With tin prices at an all-time high, inflation as well as global unrest, the prices will continue to rise for tin as well as solder.
Therefore, it is can be especially prudent to think of different ways to help reduce the overall costs of your assembly.
If you build your products with Lead-Free solder, below are two things you can do to reduce this higher input costs:
1. Consider changing bar or wire solder to a lower-Silver or no-Silver Lead-Free solder to reduce input costs.
If you are using SAC305 alloy containing 3% Silver, consider switching to SACX0307 or 99.3/0.7Cu alloys. SACX contains just 0.3% Silver but has similar performance to SAC305.
2. Reduce drossing (waste solder) on Wave Solder Machines to lower your solder usage. Below are some ways to do this:
Check your solder pot temperature with a thermometer or non-contact infrared thermometer. Running too hot creates excessive dross and wastes $$$. For soldering circuit boards, your Lead-free wave pot should be running at 510°-525°F (265°-274°C). Meanwhile, 63/37 wave pots should be running at 475°-500°F (246°-260°C).
Perform a major maintenance on your machine to clean the sump & pump - a partially clogged sump generates excess dross.
Consider using a Dross Reducing Powder like our Super Deox which will reduce drossing (scrap solder) by 60-80%. (Note - this only works on the pot surface - you still need to clean your sump).
By doing either of the above recommendations, it should help to reduce the overall costs of your assembly.