A BGA (Ball Grid Array) rework station is a specialized tool used for repairing and replacing BGA components on printed circuit boards (PCBs). BGA components have solder balls on the bottom that connect to the PCB, rather than leads that go through holes in the board. A BGA rework station uses controlled heat and specialized tools to safely remove and replace BGA components without damaging the PCB.
What is a BGA rework station?
A BGA rework station consists of a platform to hold the PCB, a microscope to view the work area, a heating element such as a hot air pencil to melt the solder, and vacuum pickup tools to remove and replace components. The platform often has a split design to allow access to both sides of the board.
How does a BGA rework station work?
The main steps in using a BGA rework station are:
- Secure the PCB to the platform and align it under the microscope.
- Use the hot air pencil to evenly heat all solder joints of the BGA component until the solder melts.
- Use a vacuum pickup tool to lift off the old BGA component.
- Clean any residual solder from the PCB pads using solder wick.
- Apply flux to prepare the pads for the new component.
- Use solder paste or balls to attach the new component.
- Carefully place the new component onto the prepared pads.
- Heat again so the solder reflows to form the joint.
Why use a BGA rework station?
The precision control and specialized tools of a BGA rework station enable safe, high-quality BGA repairs and replacements that would be extremely difficult with basic soldering equipment.
The different types of BGA rework stations
There are various configurations of BGA rework stations providing different levels of control, automation, and features. More advanced stations may have features like split optics, infrared heating, and automated pick and place tools.
Benefits of using a BGA rework station
Using a proper BGA rework station provides many advantages over attempting BGA work without the right equipment:
Improve the quality of PCBs
The specialized heating and vacuum tools of a rework station prevent damage and give higher quality solder joints than manual techniques.
Reduce the cost of manufacturing
Reworking BGAs avoids the need to scrap PCBs due to damaged components, reducing waste.
Increase the lifespan of PCBs
Proper reworking extends the usable lifespan of PCB assemblies by enabling repairs and upgrades.
Optimize production processes
The ability to safely rework BGAs without damaging boards saves time and streamlines production.
How to choose a BGA rework station
Important factors to consider when selecting a BGA rework station include:
Factors to consider
- Type of heating element (hot air, infrared)
- Vacuum pickup tool range
- Microscope quality and zoom capability
- Platform size and PCB holding method
- Degree of temperature control
Different types of BGA rework stations
- Basic – Lower cost station with simple hot air pencil and basic microscope
- Professional – Mid-range model with standard features
- Advanced – High-end station with split optics, automation, and advanced features