An often misunderstood concept in reflow soldering is heat flow and how it can influence the temperature of the product being heated. Controlling the reflow oven soldering process requires monitoring not only temperature but also heat flow. Since heat flow is what causes objects to increase in temperature, measuring your oven’s ability to increase the temperature of fixed thermal mass objects will allow you to detect variation in heat flow. By observing the temperature rise in the mass over a fixed amount of time, you can discover if the same amount of heat has been transferred into the mass. Such a measurement, combined with ambient temperature, yields a much more complete assessment of a reflow oven. Only by knowing the heat flow capacity of an oven can you be assured that the oven will heat your circuit boards at the same rate and to the same temperature, every time. This assures maximum yield and quality in the reflow process.
Key Learning Points:
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- Heat flow AND ambient temperatures must be measured to truly access the effectiveness of the oven to heat.
- By observing the temperature rise in a known mass over a fixed amount of time, you can discover if the same amount of heat has been transferred into the mass.
- There are effective tools that can measure both ambient and heat flow metrics.