MTV Offers Solder Paste Testing Solution


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The miniaturization test vehicle (MTV) is a common benchmark test board that can gauge about 25 different paste properties and analyze how different solder pastes will perform in an assembly line. Chrys Shea details the work she’s done to develop and release the MTV.

Nolan Johnson: Chrys, let’s talk about your recent work with the SMTA specifically related to the MTV.

Chrys Shea: The MTV is meant to be a test vehicle that will help qualify new packages and processes for the next at least two to three years, but hopefully longer. We can always spin it if we need to get something smaller than an 0201 metric or a 0.3-millimeter BGA on there, but it’s sufficient to say that it will be solid for a while.

Johnson: What’s the overall purpose of this board and this exercise?

Shea: The original purpose of it was to help people quickly and easily qualify new solder paste because there’s always a lot of mystery around it and a fear of change; the process chemistry you’re currently using is the devil you know versus taking a risk on the devil you don’t. But every couple of years, solder paste manufacturers come out with better and better formulations. As a consultant, it kills me to go into a place where they need help and find them using a first-generation, lead-free solder paste when there are much better ones out there now. The impetus was to make qualifying a new paste quick, easy, and data-driven.

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Johnson: For those who haven’t met you yet, what’s your background? What do you do as a consultant?

Shea: My background is in process engineering. I spent the first eight years of my career on shop floors, either in production or an NPI capacity. Over the next 12 years, I worked for suppliers, helping people on production floors and managing some solder paste R&D and testing labs, and then I struck out on my own as a consultant. Now, I work independently for users or suppliers as need be.

Johnson: And your key area of expertise?

Shea: Soldering. I started out almost 30 years ago wave soldering. I love making solder joints. We do a lot more SMT than wave soldering these days, but I particularly enjoy stencil printing because it merges two of my favorite fields: automation and material science.

Johnson: It seems to me like a test vehicle such as this should have been around a lot earlier. How did this get started? What caused that to happen now?

To read this entire interview, which appeared in the May 2020 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.

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