The classic trade-off in manufacturing processes tends to be between precision and volume of manufacture. While there are some processes in which that can be true, modern selective soldering systems can all but eliminate having to choose between the two.

Mini-wave selective soldering machines can give the manufacturer the best of both worlds, making precise connections without sacrificing volume of output.

Other soldering processes demand you choose, but there is increasingly less need to do so.

Older Selective Soldering Processes Require You Choose Volume Or Precision

In previous decades, typical selective soldering systems required the manufacturer choose between volume of production and speed of manufacture.

Wave soldering systems are quick to solder, but aren’t the most precise. Precision of soldering is achievable with proper masking or use an a precisely-made aperture, but adding that tooling to components does take time away.

Some speed is gained with hand soldering. The board is given to the technician, who can begin soldering right away. However, the natural imperfection of the human hand increases errors and can’t produce the same solder joint time after time after time.

Reflow ovens produce at incredible volume, but also lack precision and aren’t usable with through-hole components.

Fountain soldering is capable of greater precision than wave soldering, but likewise requires tooling and therefore has more time between components.

Modern Miniature Wave Soldering Has Fewer Compromises

The modern miniature wave system has fewer compromises than older selective soldering systems.

Since the nozzles are interchangeable, the size of the solder fountain is as well, given the manufacturer far more control over the size of the solder joint.

Modern miniature wave soldering systems actuate the board on all three axes of rotation. Since the movement of the board is programmed via CNC rather than manually operated, the board is positioned perfectly to make the same solder joint, time after time after time.

Given that far less – possibly none, depending on the components in question – tooling is needed to begin soldering the board, there’s less downtime between boards. Production time is rapidly diminished as a result.

This makes the miniature wave selective soldering system the near-optimal blend of precision and speed.

Only laser soldering systems rival miniature wave systems for precision and volume in terms of being able to produce precise soldering joints at a rapid pace. However, laser soldering systems also tend to be far more expensive and have far less support in the market to date.

For the time being, miniature wave soldering is the ideal mix of precision and volume, which few other designs of soldering system can even come close to competing with.

While selection of the soldering system is crucial – some are more capable than others in certain respects – it’s still the better method for those manufacturers who need to produce a certain volume of boards with the utmost of precision in soldering.

Why be forced to choose when you can have both?