Kester

  • Why is flux important in the soldering process?

    Soldering without flux is similar to brushing your teeth without toothpaste- you can do it but it probably won’t leave you with very pleasant results. Flux plays a crucial role in the soldering process. It spreads onto the soldered metal, keeps the surface clean while the molten solder alloy reaches it, and helps the solder spread over the metal. The application of flux is made easier by using a flux pen, giving you more control of the amount of flux you wish to use.

    This is where the new Kester Select-10 Flux Pen on GoKimco comes in, keeping you smiling all Kester Select-10 Flux Penday long because you enjoy properly melting metals together just like you enjoy your pearly white teeth since you use the best flux- err, toothpaste- every day.

    But first, what is Select-10? This is a zero-halogen, no-clean liquid flux. The makeup of the flux makes it great with challenging applications such as reflowed copper OSP boards or with difficult-to-solder components. It doesn’t spread beyond the spray pattern and it won’t clog the fluxer head. The residues are non-tacky and non-corrosive. This flux has the ability to provide desired hole-fill with preheat temperatures of 135 degrees Celsius with no clogging.

    The Select-10 Flux Pen is an inexpensive addition to your work space that will make a world of difference. Being a no-clean pen, there is no cleanup necessary after its use. The pen provides good solderability under air atmosphere and is compliant to GR-79-CORE, the requirement criteria for its physical design.

    The Select-10 Flux Pen was just added to the GoKimco catalog, so make sure to go check it out! GoKimco is a proud seller of a number of Kester products and we are especially excited about the addition of this one. Kester is a leading global supplier of basic and high-tech attachment materials for the electronic assembly, component and microelectric marketplaces.

  • Choosing the Best Tools When Soldering with Lead Free Materials

    photoRecent trends in electronics and other areas have suggested that lead free solder is now more popular than lead options. This being said, it is important to first understand why lead free solder may be a more viable and useful option than other soldering methods.

    Lead has long been known to be toxic making it a difficult

    Lead Free

    material to work with. While it can be harmless in some applications, it can be incredibly toxic in other instances. With electronics and other items that we come in contact with every day, it is highly important that the use of toxic materials be limited to protect consumers.

    Lead free solder paste, lead free wire solder, and lead free compatible fluxes are also necessary. The Kester Lead Free solder paste is a great option that is fairly inexpensive. You will also need lead free solder masking agent like the one offered by Chemtronics Chemask.The European Union outlawed the use of lead in consumer goods in 2008 making it essential for users to find an alternative when it comes to soldering. Lead free alternatives are far more available than ever before as more and more people are switching to lead free alternatives. That being said, it may be necessary for users to find new tools in order to work with these lead free materials.

    Choosing something like the Hakko Lead Free solder pot FX301B-03 is a great place to start. Finding a lead free solder pot is the first step to making a successful transition. It is necessary to get a lead free solder pot as it will have different temperature settings, different gauges and more which could make lead free solder unstable and far less suitable for sturdy and durable solders.

    Still another item you may need is of course lead free solder itself. This can either be solder wire like the Kester 24-6337-6401 331 Organic Water Soluble Cored Wire is a great option. These spooled solder wires are great and are easy to use and easy to work with.

    Another option is of course lead free bar solder like the Kester K100LD 04-9574-0050 bar solder. This is also easy to work with and fast for those that do not want to deal with wire spools and unspooling the solder that they need. All of these products can help you quickly switch over to a lead free solder option making your soldering safer and easier all around.

    If you're still not sure what you need for Lead Free Soldering:

    If you have questions about anything related to Lead free soldering, Kimco has the answers you need.  You can browse our website or If you prefer, you can also contact our team of professional customer service representatives for assistance with your needs by calling (800) 521-9197.

     

  • 3 Crucial Things You Need to Know Before Soldering With Lead Free Materials

    Lead FreeSoldering with lead-free solder presents special challenges that you should know about before getting started. Knowing these challenges can help make it more likely that you will get the results you want. Three of the top items you need to keep in mind to meet those challenges are outlined below.

    1. Lead Free Means Higher Wetting Temperature

    Lead free Kester solder requires a higher temperature than those that are lead based. With its tin/silver/copper combination, this temperature is 217 degrees. This solder is no clean, an important aspect of lead free soldering since the higher temperatures required can often lead to unwanted residue.

    2. Stability of Components

    Though there are other types of lead free solder that are made with other alloys - tin-copper in particular - they have a higher melting point. This means that their wetting time is longer and it needs to be maintained for longer periods of time in order to ensure the right flow. Using Kester flux that is VOC, as well as lead free, helps ensure the balance out the high temperatures required by lead free solder.Kester 63-0004-0971 971M VOC Free No-Clean Liquid Flux

    3. Compatibility Issues

    When working with lead-free solder, ensuring that materials are compatible is imperative.This compatibility ranges from the tips used to the materials being soldered. Tips that are specifically designed to be used in lead free applications also reduce the residue, giving the finished product a cleaner look.

    Though working with lead-free solder can present challenges, they can be overcome with a few key adjustments. The benefits of a lead-free environment make the challenge of lead-free solder one to meet wholeheartedly.

     

  • Take Care of Your Solder Tips when Lead-Free Soldering

    Lead FreeIn the mid-2000s, many electronics manufacturers were in a panic. The European Union had mandated that most electronic products be manufactured with lead-free solder by July 1, 2006, in large part because of concern about the effect of lead in discarded printed circuit boards (PCB) on the environment. This meant that anyone who wanted to do business in the EU had to "get the lead out."

    But what can be used instead of standard tin-lead solder, which was cheap and worked well? And what are the considerations to equipment lead-free solder presents?

    One of the most widely used lead-free solders has become SAC305 tin-silver-copper (Sn-Ag-Cu), in large part because of its reduced melting point. In general, however, lead-free solders are not as reliable for mission-critical applications such as military and aerospace. And one problem that's been reported with largely tin-based solders is the formation of tin "whiskers," which can cause shorts in electronics equipment.

    The generally higher melting temperatures of lead-free solders can cause soldering tip defects and premature wear when hand soldering. This, in turn, can lead to surface contamination and nonwettability. Using Sn-Ag-Cu solder, for example, can erode the iron plating on a solder tip four to five times faster than when using traditional tin-lead solder.

    To ensure longer life of your soldering tip when hand soldering, proper care of the tip is required. Tip temperature plays a big role in durability. Using a lower temperature, when possible, can mean increased solder tip longevity. Temperature modulation tools (Auto Turn Off) within the soldering station can help you keep the heat off as much as possible.

    It's also important to clean your solder tip regularly, especially when using rosin-based flux, which is highly corrosive. Cleaning should be done with a wet sponge or brass wire sponge to remove as much flux and oxides as possible after soldering.  If conventional cleaning methods do not work, consider using a tip polisher like the Hakko FT700.  ThinkingEngineer

  • What are the Benefits of Lead-Free Soldering?

     

    Lead-free solder has several advantages over lead-based solder. Many companies in the microelectronics manufacturing and repair industries have transitioned to lead-free solder because of these benefits. Not only is lead-free solder a green option, but it also has benefits in manufacturing.

    Since lead-free solder does not have lead, it is a more environmentally friendly option than lead-based solder. Following precautionary procedures may protect employees from lead poisoning, but the environmental benefits of lead-free solder extend well beyond the assembly plant. Components that are made with lead-free solder are recyclable, unlike electronics manufactured with lead-based solder. As environmental regulations continue to increase, some companies are being forced to build recyclable electronics. For instance, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) requires 85 percent of the electronics a company sells to be recyclable. Using lead-free solder, such as Kester’s Ultrapure Lead-Free Bar Solder from Kimco Distributing, is almost the only way to comply with regulations such as this.

    Ronald C. Lasky, who teaches at Dartmouth College, notes that lead-free solder is easier to use than lead-based solder when working with tight pitches. He explains why: “Lead-free solder doesn’t wet well, so you can get better lead spacing.” A study conducted by Motorola confirmed this. It found that when identical boards were soldered with lead-free and lead-based solder, the lead-based solder flowed more and led to the leads shorting. Because it makes soldering high-density semiconductors in small form factors easier, lead-free solder will continue to become even more common as the demand for mobile devices continues to increase.

    Because it is the environmentally friendly choice and the practical choice, more and more businesses are opting to work with lead-free solder. Kimco Distributing has a variety of lead-free solders to choose from.

    Kester Lead Free Bar Solder

  • Why does solder paste need to be stored in a refrigerator?

     

    Refrigerating solder paste significantly extends the life of the paste. In general, manufacturers recommend storing solder their pastes between 0 and 10 °C (32 – 50 °F), but customers should confirm this with each manufacturer’s specific instructions for storage. The paste should be stored within this range, either in a refrigerator or cold room, as soon as it is received from Kimco Distributing Corp.

    Solder pastes are comprised of flux and powdered solder alloy. (Alternatively, Kimco Distributors also carries flux without powder in it.). The flux in solder paste serves two functions. During the soldering process, it efficiently conducts heat. It also removes impurities, both on the components being soldered and the powdered allow. Thus, even when solder paste is being stored, the flux is reacting with the powder suspended in it.

    These chemical reactions that the flux induces can be slowed by storing the solder paste at cool temperatures. Manufacturers recommend the above range of temperatures, because they have designed solder pastes to not react as quickly at cooler temperatures. Their chemists carefully select compounds that will react quickly at higher temperatures but are fairly dormant at lower temperatures.

    When properly stored, most of the solder pastes Kimco Distributing Corp. carries have a shelf life of approximately six months. (Again, check with each manufacturer’s specifications to confirm this). Once pastes reach room temperature, though, they will quickly expire – some in as little as 24 hours. This is why refrigerating solder paste is so important.

  • Ways to solve wetability soldering issues with solder paste solutions

     

    Kester Solder Paste
    In the microelectronics assembly and repair industries, wetability can be a major issue. As the size of components decrease, parts become more and more susceptible to the surface tension of solder paste. 01005-sized components are the most problematic pieces to work with, but this affects parts that are 0201, 0402 and 0603 as well. Kimco Distributing carries a full line of Kester solder paste, which helps solve the problem of wetability, but changing the solder paste is not the only solution.

    In an ideal world, parts and pad sizes always match up perfectly. Anyone who has repaired laptops or other electronics, though, knows this is not always true. Wettability can be an issue with any microelectronic work, but it especially comes into play when the component and pad size are not perfect matches. This scenario often results in excess solder paste on the pads, which in turn leads to uneven thermal mass distribution. Ultimately, this causes tombstoning.

    Selecting a different solder paste from Kimco Distributors can overcome wettability issues. In addition to changing solder paste, using a different type of wire is another way to alter the wettability. Often this is a less practical solution, since components have their own wires. The wire solder, however, can be altered. Kimco Distirbutors has a Kester wire solder for virtually every type of wire. Finally, since reflow also contributes to tombstoning, using a different flux is another possible solution. Changing to a Kester flux does not directly solve the wettability issue, but it may be enough to prevent tombstoning, which is often the real issue at hand.

    Kester Solder Paste EP256HA

  • Solving Tombstoning Issues with Kester Flux and Solder


     

    When soldering small electrical components to a board, tombstoning is always a potential issue. If one end of a component is secured before the other, the non-secured end is liable to pop up. Even a few seconds between when the first and second ends solder can result in tombstoning or drawbridging. When this happens time and again, creating a Manhattan skyline on a board, the culprit may be the materials used for soldering. At Kimco Distributors, we carry a full line of Kester products that might help with this problem.

    Tombstoning is especially an issue with the smallest components, which are the parts that many of Kimco Distributors’ customers are working with. As the solder on one end dries, tension on the part builds. If the other end is not already held down with solder, the tiniest components do not have the mass or strength necessary to prevent tombstoning. This issue still arises with larger parts, but less frequently. Larger components usually can withstand uneven soldering more than small ones, because they are more rigid.

    The fluxes, pastes and solders used directly impact the likelihood of tombstoning. These all affect the distribution of heat, and even a couple-second delay can have dramatic effects. Uneven distribution of thermal mass leads to the setting of one end’s solder before the other. As described above, this places tension on the other and is often the cause of tombstoning.

    Because the fluxes, pastes and solders used directly affect tombstoning, changing the soldering materials used is the easiest way to solve this problem. At Kimco Distributing, we carry the best materials in the industry. Kester flux, Kester solder paste and Kester wire solder are all designed to minimize tombstoning. If it persists, even after trying different materials, we have loctite adhesives that can also be used to prevent tomstoning.

     

  • Kimco has solutions for Dealing with Component Tombstoning & Wettability

     

    In the microelectronics assembly and repair industries, wettability can be a major issue. As the size of components decrease, parts become more and more susceptible to the surface tension of solder paste. 01005-sized components are the most problematic pieces to work with, but this affects parts that are 0201, 0402 and 0603 as well. Kimco Distributing carries a full line of Kester solder paste, which helps solve the problem of wettability, but changing the solder paste is not the only solution.


    In an ideal world, parts and pad sizes always match up perfectly. Anyone who has repaired laptops or other electronics, though, knows this is not always true. Wettability can be an issue with any microelectronic work, but it especially comes into play when the component and pad size are not perfect matches. This scenario often results in excess solder paste on the pads, which in turn leads to uneven thermal mass distribution. Ultimately, this causes tombstoning.

    Selecting a different solder paste from Kimco Distributors can overcome wettability issues. In addition to changing solder paste, using a different type of wire is another way to alter the wettability. Kimco Distirbutors has a Kester wire solder for virtually every type of application. Finally, since reflow also contributes to tombstoning, using a different flux is another possible solution. Changing to a Kester flux does not directly solve the wettability issue, but it may be enough to prevent tombstoning, which is often the real issue at hand.

    As you might guess, the solution for tombstoning and wetability requires a unique approach for your specific application. Selecting the right product to meet your specific need might require a quick converstation with one of our customer service representatives. Please feel free to contact us via email sales@gokimco.com or call (800) 521-9197. With over 30 years experience working in the electronic repair and assembly industry, repair and assembly industry, there's no application issue we can't fix.

  • Feature Brand of the Month - Kester Soldering Products

     

    With over 100 years of manufacturing experience, Kester is a leading global supplier of higher performance interconnecting materials and related services for the electronic and semiconductor assembly markets.Kester has established itself as one of the most respected welding product manufacturers in the industry, and Kimco Distributing is pleased to offer Kester’s products. Because Kester focuses on providing supplies for the micro-electronic and semiconductor assembling industry, their products are among the best available for those purposes. Kimco Distributing Corporation has a full line of Kester’s products. As a primary distributor for Kester Products, Kimco can offer you their quality products at a VERY LOW PRICE plus we stock the items you want for FAST Shipping.

    Kimco Distributing Corp.’s best selling Kester products are their wire solders. Many of the flux-cored wire solders have an instant “wetting behavior,” which makes working with them simple. Because these wire solders spread quickly, they are perfect for fast-paced assembly situations. Businesses often use them in assembly lines, because they are reliable and can be quickly applied. In addition to their viscosity, Kester’s wire solders are compatible with a variety of different metals.

    (Those who know exactly what solder they need are able to search the site by product number. Kimco Distributors has Kester wire solders with product numbers: 2460400027, 2463370010 , 2463370027, 2463376401, 2463376403, 2463376411, 2463378800, 2463378807 and 2470687601.)

    In addition to the Kester wire solder Kimco Distributing carries solid bar solder, flux, flux remover and defoamer. Solid bars of solder are sold by the bar. Customers looking for flux, however, have several sizes to choose from. In addition to these, Kester’s defoamer is available in a 5-gal. container, and their flux remover comes in a 1-gal. size.

    Kester has been around since 1929, when the company transitioned from Chicago Solder Company to Kester, Inc. Few other companies have as long a history as Kester does in the microelectronics industry, and Kimco Distributing is proud to provide their products.

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