Why Selective Soldering Is Still Important

Selective soldering isn’t necessarily favored by the industrial trend of reducing complexity, hyper-efficiency and the leanest of lean manufacturing. In the past 20 years, reflow soldering has assumed supremacy as the dominant method of industrial soldering, with wave soldering coming right behind it. 

Hand soldering is being reduced to a niche and selective soldering is left somewhere in a hinterland by itself. However, it won’t ever be phased out. You may have nothing to worry about if your business currently relies on selective soldering of PCBs. 

Every Soldering Method Has It’s Use

Selective soldering, along with every other soldering method, is merely a tool, a method, for accomplishing a task. Namely, putting electronic components together to create a circuit. The nature of the components determines the correct tool for the task, as well as the setting in which it takes place. 

Hand soldering, for instance, doesn’t have much place in a high-volume industrial setting. Instead, this is best left for boutique operations where a human hand is needed. Boutique electronics such as high-end instrument amplifiers, for instance, are well-served by hand soldering. 

Simple components manufactured in very high volume are very suited to reflow soldering. Massive numbers of components that have to be soldered quickly and simply and sent on; that’s what this method of soldering is designed for and where reflow outperforms selective soldering. 

Selective soldering machines, however, are called for when the details matter a great deal. While it may not be the fastest method, it provides great detail in soldering. 

Through Hole Components Require Selective Soldering

Through-hole components must be soldered on both sides of the board to form a proper connection. Wave soldering is not well suited to the application as it isn’t as precise as required. Reflow oven soldering is not appropriate since both sides of the board must be soldered. Selective soldering, therefore, is the most appropriate method of soldering these components. 

Hand soldering could be employed, but the issue is that many very popular electronics require through-hole components. One of the most common applications is boards with an attached LED screen. Many consumer electronics, such as smartphones, feature components of that exact nature. Other common applications include control modules for automobiles and heavy equipment. 

In short, selective soldering is necessary for some of the most global and popular electronic devices and other applications in which a printed circuit board is necessary, selective soldering will remain a viable soldering method.