Has moving to lead-free caused soldering or desoldering tip problems?

4th April 2006
ES Admin
The specialists at Intertronics have noticed that being RoHS compliant and lead-free brings all sorts of new issues – so if you have sorted out your machine soldering changes they believe that now is the time to look at your hand soldering, either as part of your normal assembly process, or during rework and repair.
Peter Swanson, MD at Intertronics, suggests that "first check that your soldering iron tips are themselves RoHS compliant. All Plato Soldering Tips manufactured since January 2004 are tinned with lead-free solder."

Peter also believes that higher temperatures and high tin content solders, common in lead-free soldering processes, place additional strain on soldering iron tips. He says that "many of our customers report that the tip life of our competitors’ product has been badly affected when going lead-free. The long life of a Plato Soldering Tip reduces tip changes, decreasing the total number of tips used and decreasing production time ... and saves money. Some have reported five times the life of their previous tip."

It has been found that it can be even worse for desoldering tips, where there is extra abrasion during use. Plato is the one of the largest manufacturers of soldering iron tips in the world, producing tips to fit the most popular soldering irons and soldering stations. The long life and fast heat recovery of Plato Soldering Tips increases user effectiveness and decreases production times. This is because Plato Soldering Tips are constructed from highly conductive premium grade copper to transmit heat to the work more quickly than other brands of soldering tips. This quick heat recovery enables more joints to be soldered per minute, thus reducing manufacturing time and costs.

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