How long after manufacturing can you solder components

One very common question that we get from our customer revolves around how long after a component is manufactured can you solder the part without any issues.

The first recommendation is to review the shelf life of the part that is supplied by the manufacturer and the MSL level of the part to ensure proper storage and handling of the part has occurred.

In speaking with one of my application engineers I found that there are times we will not get a written commitment from the manufacturers on how long these parts are good to solder and he offered the following documents as an informational guide for our customer to review.

Solderability Tests.pdf (31.3 KB)
Stress Test Qual.pdf (872.1 KB)

He also added a note that the common recommendation for using IC’s in an industrial application is three years after production. However, he noted, for instance, for German Automotive OEM’s this recommendation is reduced to 1.5 years to increase reliability.

Looking through this information still leaves the question without a definitive answer for all components. While these recommendations may work for your application we would always recommend the following as well.

  • Ensure proper storage and handling of all components.
  • Verify any shelf life if offered by the manufacturer.
  • Use available resources to inspect contacts for any noted corrosion or other defects that could cause soldering issues.