In PCB circuit assemblies the trend is moving to more SMD components with finer pitch connections. The majority of the assemblies still have a small amount of through hole (THT) components. Some of them can’t withstand high reflow temperatures, while others are there because of their mechanical robustness. In automotive applications these THT components are also present.
Many products for cars, including steering units, radio and navigation, and air compressors also use THT technology to connect board-to-board, PCB’s to metal shields or housings out of plastic or even aluminium. This is not a simple 2D plain soldering technology, as it requires handling, efficient thermal heating and handling of heavy (up to 10 kg) parts. Soldering technology becomes more 3D where connections have to be made on different levels.
For this technology robots using solder wire fail because of the spattering of the flux in the wires and the long cycle time. In wave soldering using pallets the wave height is limited and pin in paste reflow is only a 2D application with space limitations.