Hand Soldering - a guide

Soldering by hand may seem like an old-fashioned method of creating printed circuit board (PCB) assemblies in this era of high tech machines and automation. But for some applications, it is simply the best option.

At MPE Electronics, we have a wave soldering machine and highly trained and experienced staff carrying out manual soldering on our PCB assemblies. We will choose manual soldering for applications where it’s appropriate for the number of units required, greater flexibility is needed, the required specification is exactly what our highly trained staff can produce and it is the more efficient way of getting the job done.

Craftsmanship

Our staff who undertake manual soldering are not just highly trained, but constantly have their training updated to ensure they continue to meet the required standard of workmanship. Some soldering applications require precision soldering and craftspeople who can make decisions on the best type of solder tip or technique to use for each part of the work. Their experience allows them to tell if the solder is placed correctly for the component or wire, so they can make adjustments or corrections at the time rather than the fault being picked up later.

Scale

Although we do carry out some higher volume work, our speciality is low volume, highly bespoke printed circuit board assemblies, which have to meet very high standards and carry out complex functions. As such, many jobs don’t require the high speeds of an automated soldering machine to get the work done in time and having a craftsperson to carry out precision work is far more important. The wave soldering machine can be more appropriate for some assemblies, including low volume ones, so we also have this method available and can choose whichever is best for job.

Flexibility

Having the flexibility to choose which soldering method we use means we can get the best results for our customers to ensure our PCB assemblies are reliable and durable. Hand soldering is also a flexible option to use as the technician solders each component separately and can use different solder tips as required. Using this method also allows for last minute changes without the hassle of needing to reset a machine.

Efficiency

Not having to set up a machine also makes this method of soldering the most efficient for some applications. It may seem strange for an electronic assembly specialist to say that, when a person will always work more slowly than machine, but configuring a machine for certain jobs can be very time consuming, while changing solder types is much more difficult and sometimes highly impractical (depending on the type of soldering machine). With manual soldering, there is no set-up time as such and changing the type of solder is very quick and easy. Using this manual method can not only ensure a quick turn-around time but it can also keep costs down.

Knowing which soldering method is best suited to your PCB assembly and having the steady-handed, highly trained and knowledgeable technicians to carry it out is something MPE prides itself on. Our extensive experience and sophisticated quality assurance measures ensure we deliver the high standards of products and service our customers have come to expect.

To speak to MPE about our PCB assembly and product assembly services, and how we can help you, contact us on 01825 764822 or enquiries@mpe-electronics.co.uk.