Single Or Multiple Chamber Machines For Steam-Aging

Steam-aging is a well-established process for stress-testing solder connections and electrical components. It’s a necessary part of quality control of soldered components.

However, sourcing equipment for QC can beg the question of whether a single chamber steam-aging system is the best purchase or if a steam-aging system with multiple chambers is the better fit.

The answer, of course, is that it depends entirely on the nature of your operation. As with any business decision, there are pros and cons to each, but it becomes a question of which is the best fit for your business.

More Steam Aging Capacity For Volume And Versatility

The obvious is that a multi-chamber steam aging system gives you a greater capacity for steam aging. There is also a greater degree of configurability for testing multiple systems with multiple parameters simultaneously.

For any manufacturer that happens to produce soldered circuit boards at volume, having the extra capacity ensures a greater amount of quality control can be done at any given time. That means lead times are that much faster, and product is going out the door that much faster.

When volume is the name of the game, anything that speeds any process up is absolutely vital.

Having a steam aging system that’s configurable, so different components can be tested under different parameters at the same time.

For the manufacturer that makes multiple configurations of boards or provides soldered circuit boards for multiple parties, this allows for quality control for multiple product lines, instead of having to sequence them, reducing potential logjams.

Or, again, you can steam-age a larger volume of the same boards to ensure QC for entire batches. However it meets the needs of your operation.

Single Chamber Steam Aging Has Upsides As Well

A single-chamber steam aging system is hardly a limitation for the right manufacturer. While the sheer capacity for steam aging is reduced, what’s often gained is a more flexible system.

Most single-chamber steam aging machines typically have a larger steam chamber, which allows for far more variation in the size of boards that can be tested, so the QC process is able to pivot whenever needed for testing different boards and components.

There needn’t be any loss of flexibility.

Some manufacturers specialize in producing smaller runs of different configurations of printed circuit boards, either as small orders for various other companies or because they’re more of a boutique shop in the products they make.

Whatever the case is, the ability to test multiple sizes of board and components in a single system makes the single-chamber system far more versatile than it would seem compared to a multi-chamber system.

Or, of course, if your output tends to be smaller volumes of boards…having a single steam-aging system may not put you at any disadvantage. Again, this depends a lot on your particular business and needs.

In addition, the system will take up less floor space and consume less distilled or ionized water over the course of operation.

So long, of course, as it doesn’t put you at a loss in terms of total output of product.

Get The Right Steam Aging Equipment For You

As with selecting any equipment, you need to get the right steam aging system to suit your particular business, whatever those needs might be. High-volume of varied board assemblies, lower volumes of varied products, or higher or lower volume of uniform products.

Every business is different, so it’s important to know what your needs are now and what they are likely to be in the near future.