Recommendations for handling solder paste


Transporting Solder Paste

  • Solder paste should be shipped on an overnight basis in order to reduce its exposure to environmental conditions. This may be accomplished by land (if possible) or by air. This is especially important during hot/humid weather.

  • International shipments of solder paste should be made as expediently as possible. A transit time of two, three days maximum, is preferable. Solder paste should never be shipped by sea.

  • The inclusion of ice and/or other special packaging materials may be warranted in certain situations, i.e., shipping solder paste during very hot weather; shipping paste internationally; shipping paste of an extremely sensitive composition.

 
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Storing Solder Paste

  • Solder paste should not be allowed to remain on the dock after receipt. Solder paste should be transferred immediately to the proper storage area.

  • Most solder pastes normally have a shelf life of three to six months when stored at room temperature (22°C). However, unopened jars of solder paste should be refrigerated (4°C) whenever possible. Refrigeration will normally double the shelf life of solder paste, while protecting the paste from the varying levels of heat and humidity often found in warehouses and offices.

  • Do not combine new and used solder paste in the same container. This may degrade the new paste.

  • Paste should not be re-refrigerated after the seal has been broken. Any opened material should be resealed and stored at room temperature when not in use. If possible, solder paste should be packaged in quantities no greater than the total daily usage of paste.

 
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Preparing Paste For Use

  • Solder paste should not be used cold.

  • Solder paste should be allowed to reach ambient (room) temperature naturally and completely before breaking the seal of the paste package. DO NOT FORCE WARM THE PASTE. The package of solder paste should be exposed to room temperature for six to eight hours in order to reach ambient temperature. Eight hours (overnight) is recommended for optimal results.

  • Once the solder paste has reached ambient temperature, the seal of the package may be broken. Before applying, paste should be stirred lightly and thoroughly for one to four minutes. Solder paste should be stirred in one direction, either with a spatula (for jars) or with a mixing rod (for cartridges), as per instructions. Stirring the paste ensures an even distribution of any separated material (flux and metal) resulting from storage.

 

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