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Get your Thermocouples On!

Posted on Jun 20, 2018

Literally. But, what is the most effective way to attach thermocouples for the best performance? Like a lot of process techniques, the thermocouple connection method employed often comes down to personal preference, cost and convenience. As the company that pioneered in-transit thermal profiling technology, ECD knows a thing or two about thermocouples and thought we’d share our experience with the below tips.

Thermocouple attachment methods – pros and cons:

Kapton® tape

Pros: This is probably the most widely used method of connection, as the tape is easy to attach, easy to remove and low-cost. Available on most manufacturing floors, Kapton tape is transparent and allows accurate placement of the thermocouple.

Cons: The primary drawback with tape is that it can lift when heated, so can compromise the stability of the thermocouple which could impact profiling performance.

High-temperature solder

Pros: Solder is a long-term attachment material when used with the proper metal surfaces, so provides good stability and can be attached to very small components.

Cons: Several metals are not compatible with solder, it can affect the solder joint alloy composition, requires soldering skill to attach and can be higher cost than other methods.

Aluminum foil

Pros: With the higher temperatures of lead-free processes, aluminum foil adheres better than Kapton tape and promotes solid contact with surfaces. The foil is easy to apply and remove without damage, has long-term stability and works well for thermocouple attachment to very small components.

Cons: While aluminum foil is great for small components, it’s not the best solution for miniaturized contact areas such as component leads. It is also not transparent like tape, so seeing exact thermocouple placement after the foil is applied isn’t possible.

 

Want to learn more about thermocouple attachment methods? Read more here

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