Solder repair and rework equipment has come a long way from the days when all electronic components had wire leads and solder was removed using one of those spring-loaded vacuum solder suckers. Modern components the size of fly specs and ICs with hundreds of solder balls underneath simply cannot be handled with the Radio Shack variety of equipment. Many of the systems provided by these companies had microprocessor controlled heat sources and have built-in vacuum systems.
It used to be that repairing a PCB or a circuit assembly was a fairly simple task. Point-to-point wiring or the 2-sided PCBs - some even with plated-through holes - could be reworked with just a good soldering iron and some solder wick. Removing a leaded component (remember when resistors had wires sticking out of the ends of them?) was made simpler with a vacuum desoldering machine, but you could live without it.
Fast forward to 2009. Finding even a single leaded component on a PCB is rare, and even the connectors are surface mount. In some aspects, surface mount is actually easier to rework and with less chance of delaminating the substrate layers. However, the small size of many surface mount components - same as small as 0201 (0.02" x 0.01") - necessitates the use of a microscope and tweezers. Forget have a cup of coffee in the morning because the magnified shake factor will make work nearly impossible. You will end up knocking nearby components off their pads. That is another bother of surface mount - the small size requires heating with a hot air gun from above or beneath, but either way you end up reflowing the solder on surrounding components.
Fortunately, companies like the ones listed here offer products and/or services to help you cope with this brave new world.
Solder Repair & Rework Resources
Advanced Techniques US | 215-364-5588 | Warminster, PA
Manufacturer of BGA rework stations, manual and semi-automatic pick & place systems, and full convection reflow ovens.
Air-Vac Engineering | 203-888-9900 | Seymour, CT
Soldering and desoldering systems.
Automated Production Equipment (A.P.E.) | 305-451-4722 | Key Largo, FL
Rework and repair products including Split Vision, Micro BGA, CSP (chip scale package) and plastic and ceramic BGA applications, together with SMT, (surface mount technology) and traditional thru-hole desolder technology.
BEST | 847-797-9250 | Rolling Meadows, IL
Provide expert rework, troubleshooting, repair, and ECO modifications to your PCBs.
Bokar International | 570-842-4725 | Carbondale, PA
Produces and sells SMT (surface mount technology) rework, repair and assembly tools and equipment.
Circuit Technology Center | 978-374-5000 | Haverhill, MA
Specialists in all aspects of PCB repair & rework.
Den-On Instruments Co., Ltd | 03-3929-6800 | Japan
Research, development, design and manufacture of soldering, desoldering, rework systems and tools for the electronics industry.
Dynamix Technology Ltd | 01865 842034 | England
CTC repair skills certification kits.
Engineering Lab | 905-785-1982 | Canada
Surface mount technology related products including surface mount component kits, soldering | rework tools, as well as engineering related books, courses and training.
eTech-WEB | 512-833-5868 | Austin, TX
Builds, repairs and upgrades printed circuit boards with quality, value and exceptional customer service.
Finetech GmbH & Co. KG | 480 893-1630 | Tempe, AZ
Offers innovative equipment solutions for nearly every kind of rework or micro assembly challenge.
Pace | 910-695-7223 | Annapolis Junction, MD
Quality soldering | rework tools and systems.
PDR | 530-676-6262 | Shingle Springs, CA
Focused Infra-Red (IR) rework systems for SMT/BGA rework.
Solderite | 972-226-2655 | Plano, TX
Lead free soldering stations, soldering tools, tips.
Stencils Unlimited LLC | 503-699-6529 | Lake Oswego, OR
Producers of StencilQuik™, a faster more reliable rework process.
VJ Electronix | 800-858-9729 | Bohemia NY
Manufactures x-ray inspection systems and rework systems (SMT rework stations).
Winslow Automation | 408-262-9004 | Milpitas, CA
Providing fast, easy, cost effective solution for alloy conversion and rework and repair of BGA components.
Zephyrtronics | 909-865-2595 | Pomona, CA
Benchtop equipment and solutions for prototyping, R & D, low volume PCB assembly, along with rework and repair.