In the past, electronic devices were mainly used at standard temperatures, under very safe and controlled environments. Modern-day electronics need to be faster, more efficient, and feature powerful circuitry, even when they’re being used under intense conditions. To support these new demands that consumers put on modern electronics, printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturers have to innovate faster than ever.
These manufacturers are creating complicated boards that can function in super-harsh environments with relative ease. Be it a cochlear implant or an automotive component that’s frequently exposed to extremely high temperatures – PCB manufacturers are always creating highly advanced components that push the boundaries of innovation.
To constantly manufacture high-quality electrical components and electronic devices, manufacturing companies need to use high-temperature soldering (also known as HMP or High Melting Point soldering). Soldering professionals who can carry out these processes need to be extremely skilled because, with this type of soldering, there’s always risks of disastrous component/board failures.
But, let’s look on the plus side. As operating tolerances for PCBs get pushed to their limits, the demand for high-quality soldering professionals increases. Hence, soldering professionals who receive proper training and certifications have plenty of lucrative career opportunities.
Importance of Training and Character
Being a part of the manufacturing crew that produces high-temperature electronics isn’t easy. Professionals entering the fields of soldering, electronics assembly, and electrical equipment manufacture need to be realistic individuals. They need to prioritize training and receive their certifications on time.
In their professional lives, they’ll constantly be tasked with responsibilities that demand them to be tactile, mechanical, investigative, and inquisitive. Apart from technical knowledge and hands-on soldering skills, these are the qualities soldering professionals need to harness at a top Michigan Solder Training Center.
Some basic entry-level skills and qualities modern-day soldering professionals need to have are –
- The ability to manually solder surface mount and through-hole components as per important IPC standards. Hence, receiving IPC-A-610 and J-STD-001 certifications should be the priority of every aspiring soldering professional.
- Have the latest certificates of completion for relevant IPC standards. For instance, if you plan to be a quality control manager, you’ll need to complete the IPC-A-610H acceptability standards requirements program. (The “H” revision is the latest update to this IPC standard)
- The ability to clean, inspect, and test electronic components and assemblies as per the latest ISO and IPC standards.
- Experience in soldering both surface mount (SMT) and through-hole components.
Here are some interesting industries that are currently looking for trained, skilled, and IPC-certified soldering professionals.
The Avionics Industry
Aircraft development and PCB manufacturing industries have evolved side by side. The success of the avionics industry depends heavily on the constant stream of highly-qualified soldering professionals that IPC-certified training and certification centers create. Now that the “More Electric Aircraft” (MEA) initiative is gaining a lot of traction amongst aircraft manufacturers, the industry’s dependency on high-quality soldering professionals is set to increase rapidly.
The MEA initiative seeks to replace old-school centralized engine controllers with less complex system architectures. Hence, soldering professionals should expect to work on light wire harnesses and super-complex interconnections while attempting to lower operating costs. Sounds like a challenge? Well, that’s the life an average avionics technician leads. These professionals are responsible for –
- All electronics aboard aircrafts
- All wiring connections to the aircrafts’ electrical systems
- Running cables
- Mounting antennas
- Connect instruments for accurate navigation
- Engine monitoring
- Installing autopilots
These jobs require amazing troubleshooting skills and the skills to perform intricate yet highly reliable soldering on sensitive components and flight-critical systems. Since the work that soldering professionals do in this industry is so vital and directly impacts passenger and crew safety, the remuneration is very good. Professionals who’ve just completed their training from top solder training institutes can expect to earn up to $21.78/ hour.
Medical Instrument Manufacturer
The demand for high-reliability electronics for medical applications in sensitive conditions has constantly increased every year. Creating devices like autoclaves, pacemakers, cochlear prosthetics ultrasounds, and other instruments that help patients tackle “life-threatening” conditions and devices is not easy. That’s why the demand for masters of lead-free soldering processes is very high in the medical instrument manufacturing industry.
Similar to the aviation industry, car manufacturers are now looking to replace outdated mechanical/hydraulic systems with complex electromechanical systems that feature plenty of locating sensors, control electronics, and other complex components. Hence, the demand for soldering professionals (lead-free soldering) who can provide rework/repair services is very high in this industry.
The good news for aspiring soldering professionals is that they can learn all of these skills and acquire all of these certifications at any top IPC-certified solder training center. After they receive their certifications, they’ll need to continue their educational journeys and keep re-certifying themselves, as most IPC certification programs are only valid for two years. In-between receiving certifications and re-certifications, top soldering professionals can choose from various exciting jobs in various interesting industries!