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Sample of Solder supplied with PCB by supplier - What is this sample for?

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Related Topic Tags
pcb (printed circuit board), soldering, suppliers (general topics)
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  Post Number #1  
Old 19th October 2010, 10:22 AM
LesPiles

 
 
Total Posts: 81
Question Sample of Solder supplied with PCB by supplier - What is this sample for?

Hello,


My question is this : when we receive PCBs from our supplier, he gives us a solder sample. This solder sample (stuck in epoxy) is something that annoys us because we never know if we should keep it, and especially why we should keep it. Added to the certificate of compliance, it makes a lot to manage.

What are these samples? Should we keep them? Is there some part of an IPC standard that tells PCB providers to ship their products with solder samples?

Thank you in advance!

François

Last edited by somashekar; 19th October 2010 at 01:11 PM.

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  Post Number #2  
Old 19th October 2010, 10:47 AM
DrM2u's Avatar
DrM2u

 
 
Total Posts: 777
Re: Sample of Solder supplied with PCB by supplier. What is this sample for?

There could be a number of reasons WHY the supplier sends you samples:
- your organization asked for it in the past and the practice continues
- it could be an obscure part of your 'suplier quality manual' or requirements
- it is part of the supplier's common practice
- it is part of some applicable regulatory requirement
- who knows?!?

Anyway, if the sample is not needed and/or required by your organization then you can:
- ask your supplier to retain it as part of their inspection/production records
- ask your supplier not to prepare and send the sample

As far as what the sample is, I suggest that you ask your supplier for clarification if no one within your organization knows. I am not aware of all the applicable regulations and requirements for PCB's.

Last edited by somashekar; 19th October 2010 at 01:12 PM.
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  Post Number #3  
Old 20th October 2010, 01:45 PM
David Hartman's Avatar
David Hartman

 
 
Total Posts: 565
Re: Sample of Solder supplied with PCB by supplier. What is this sample for?

The only reason I can see for receiving the sample (other than what has already been stated) would be so that you can proof the solder composition (provided that it is not entirely covered by the epoxy). With the move to Pb-free solder, and the many varieties available, this may be the suppliers method for allowing you the opportunity to validate the composition of the solder used on the PWB.
  Post Number #4  
Old 29th June 2011, 01:04 AM
wilddogintheyard

 
 
Total Posts: 1
Re: Sample of Solder supplied with PCB by supplier - What is this sample for?

For PCB sample ...i have used this company called pcbfinpo before...i think they are also the manufacturer but not 100% positive....

the thing bothers me is that all the manufacturer we can find online all located in Asia or more specifically China...and they are wellknown for its poor quality ...ok maybe not all...but it is not too difficult to meet one that drives you nut...

Ok...good news is i found this pcbfinpo (pcbfinpo.com) a while ago and tried with them a few times....both quality and time consume is perfect...all u have to do is go on their website and quote it yourself as long as you have the gerber file along with the specs....you can get the instant online quotation for small volume orders ...and purchase them ...i got my order like 2 or 3 days after...amazing ...

i believe their office is somewhere in the states...the only time i got their message is the day i got my DHL online tracking number...there is no more back and forth discussion...they know what exactly to do...hey i can't say my time worth a lot here...but i appreciate the time saving part.. the only down part is you still have to get to them personally when you want bigger amount of orders such as mid-volume or MP...any of you out there knows where can I buy for MP with doing it All-By-Yourself-Online-Quotation?
  Post Number #5  
Old 29th June 2011, 02:02 PM
Wes Bucey's Avatar
Wes Bucey

 
 
Total Posts: 10,982
Re: Sample of Solder supplied with PCB by supplier. What is this sample for?

Quote:
In Reply to Parent Post by LesPiles View Post

Hello,


My question is this : when we receive PCBs from our supplier, he gives us a solder sample. This solder sample (stuck in epoxy) is something that annoys us because we never know if we should keep it, and especially why we should keep it. Added to the certificate of compliance, it makes a lot to manage.

What are these samples? Should we keep them? Is there some part of an IPC standard that tells PCB providers to ship their products with solder samples?

Thank you in advance!

François
Quote:
In Reply to Parent Post by David Hartman View Post

The only reason I can see for receiving the sample (other than what has already been stated) would be so that you can proof the solder composition (provided that it is not entirely covered by the epoxy). With the move to Pb-free solder, and the many varieties available, this may be the suppliers method for allowing you the opportunity to validate the composition of the solder used on the PWB.
Four years ago, I wrote this post
Quote:
In my high tech contract machining business, I normally added a clause to each contract (since we were making custom products to a customer's design):
[we] will forward the exact First Article sample together with a list of the instruments used to measure each parameter together with the measurements so recorded so customer may independently check dimensions replicating the instrumentation used. [we] will send test samples of final inspection together with the inspection sheets listing the instruments and dimensions checked with the results for customer to confirm, hold, and maintain.

[we] will maintain test coupons of each lot of material together with physical and chemical properties analysis in a permanent file for any future reference which may be required.


We gave the product samples to the customer, since it was his design. We retained the material "coupons" [a six to ten inch bar of the material] together with a laboratory analysis of a similar coupon cut from the same bar from a specific lot of material because we often would use the same material for multiple customers since we specialized in making aerospace and medical device components from some "exotic" materials like titanium or specialty stainless steel alloys.

We were silent on "in-process" inspection because the dimensions and other characteristics during in-process were often merely internal to our Control Plan and had no relationship to final characteristics of finished product.
I presume the supplier is doing something similar with the solder - he attests the solder is something and provides a test coupon for the buyer to make (or have made elsewhere) its own analysis to confirm the attestation, either randomly or every time. Sealed in epoxy to prevent contamination!

From my point of view, I would keep these samples indexed and identified with the other quality records for the organization's standard retention period of such records. It's a good reference point for tracing root cause if any field samples of your PCBs come back with failed solder joints.
Thanks to Wes Bucey for your informative Post and/or Attachment!
  Post Number #6  
Old 1st July 2011, 07:19 AM
Jonny147

 
 
Total Posts: 1
Re: Sample of Solder supplied with PCB by supplier - What is this sample for?

I used to work in a PCB supply company. If they are bare printed circuit boards you are purchasing (i.e. not built with components). Then the sample is probaby a microsection of a finished PCB - this will show copper thickness,pth integrity,build etc. They should keep one of these samples themselves. If you don't want one why not let them know, it would mean less work for them and i'm sure they don;t want to produce extra microsections if they are not required
  Post Number #7  
Old 26th July 2012, 02:03 PM
pcbman

 
 
Total Posts: 1
Re: Sample of Solder supplied with PCB by supplier - What is this sample for?

I was just browsing for relevant posts for my project and I happened to stumble upon yours. Thanks for the useful information!
  Post Number #8  
Old 26th July 2012, 05:58 PM
Mikishots's Avatar
Mikishots

 
 
Total Posts: 849
Re: Sample of Solder supplied with PCB by supplier. What is this sample for?

Quote:
In Reply to Parent Post by David Hartman View Post

The only reason I can see for receiving the sample (other than what has already been stated) would be so that you can proof the solder composition (provided that it is not entirely covered by the epoxy). With the move to Pb-free solder, and the many varieties available, this may be the suppliers method for allowing you the opportunity to validate the composition of the solder used on the PWB.
It seems reasonable, but a bit odd; if I was concerned about the solder content, I would have the solder on the PCB tested, not some separate sample that may or may not have been used on that PCB.

I have come across one instance (only one, mind you), where a board purported to be RoHS compliant came with a small sample sliver that was confirmed through XRF to be lead-free. However, the solder on the PCBA was 63/37.
The explanation from the fab house (mainland China) was first that we were mistaken, then changed to "oh, we made a simple logistical error" when presented with the reports.
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