The limits of automating electronic component rework

Geren N.

JOURNAL OF ELECTRONICS MANUFACTURING, vol.7, no.3, pp.225-238, 1997 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


The increased complexity, cost and lead count of surface mount (SM) components, coupled with the increased density of circuit assemblies, have demanded more accurate and sophisticated rework equipment. Hence, semi automated rework equipment capable of reworking key components has experienced continuous growth in the market. Since then, a considerable amount of investment has been made on the semi-automated component rework equipment. However, now it has become important to consider a fully automated rework because the skill required to rework defective components has increased to an extent where manual replacement and solder dispensing are essentially impossible steps of rework, and because there is a demand for consistent, reliable and high quality repairs and health hazards associated with the use of chemicals. In this field, three different research groups have so far attempted to develop the automated rework cell. All three groups have published materials mainly concentrated on how to reduce operator involvement; improve rework system integration; and reduce damage to printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) and adjacent components. However, the limits of automating electronic component rework and main rework concerns related to the automation have not been reported yet. Therefore, this paper discusses the difficulties and restrictions in automating electronic component rework both for through-hole (TH) and SM components including standard, fine and ultra-fine pitch SM components.