From the Show: A Hands-on APEX Session

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By Bob Wetterman, BEST Inc.

On the first day of the IPC Printed Circuits Expo/APEX/Designers Summit, IPC and three instructors from BEST Inc. decided to bring a more pragmatic approach to a PCB repair topic taught in the technical program. Along with 24 participants, the instructors from BEST led a hands-on reballing session. After a lively, highly participative 60-min. question and answer session on the fundamentals of reballing, the reballing process, and its various attributes, participants eagerly began the hands-on session.

Using real parts, materials, and reflow sources, students saw first-hand under a projected microscope image the ceramic, the metal stencil, and the preform reballing methods they were going to use. Next, it was the students' turn to reball parts using the adhesive preform and metal stencil techniques. These parts were reflowed using a single-zone tabletop oven sometimes known as a toaster oven to simulate the real process.

The mix of multiple instructor styles and the manner by which the students interacted with the three instructors in the hands-on session made for a unique participant experience. One member commented "This was by far the most provocative technical session that I have attended in quite some time." Many present learned about several process nuisances, as both students and instructors shared experiences.

BEST Inc. (Rolling Meadows, Ill.) is a professional soldering skills training center. Bob Wetterman, president, BEST Inc., may be contacted at;


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