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Stop Baking Components

Posted on Jan 28, 2016

Drying parts is known to reduce their shelf or field life. Are there situations where baking is overkill?

The demands of moisture sensitive devices (MSDs) and the standards that govern their handling have generated additional manufacturing processes and procedures. In some cases, these processes and procedures are no longer needed because the standards have changed, are conservative in application or even misinterpreted. Regardless of these realities, some processes, like baking, have become entrenched – a permanent fixture that may waste precious time, energy and money.

The well-deserved concern that if MSDs enter the solder process, internal (sometimes external) component damage may occur due to moisture expansion or delamination is legitimate. Expansion of moisture during the fast temperature changes brought about by the solder process can weaken or damage components, shortening their life. This weakening or damage is not always detected in post-solder inspection and test. Weakened components shipped to the customer could result in premature failure of the product in the field.

The most common industry standard (J-STD-033) that governs the handling procedures and processes for MSDs can be difficult to understand. As a result, procedures are often implemented that tend to err on the conservative side, and manufacturers often assume better safe than sorry. One of the easiest ways to be “safe” rather than “sorry” is to bake all MSDs

Traditionally, baking has been regarded as a cure-all for multiple soldering problems. However, in several situations, this is simply not the case. Many thermal processes are required (curing, solvent evaporation, etc.) in the component manufacturing process. Most components should not require any additional baking between the time they are removed from the manufacturer’s moisture barrier bag (MBB) and when they are soldered. There are only two reasons to require baking MSDs after removal from the MBB (FIGURE 1):

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