Solder Ball Harmonized Code

Cheap Solder Spheres (Who’s got balls?)

Every so often, when flip­ping through the Trade Jour­nals, there is an ad or a col­umn that will catch our eye. In the last few issues of the Semi­con­duc­tor Trade Jour­nals, Easy­Spheres has been run­ning this Ad, “Got Balls”. Every­time I see it, I can’t help but think, “Yep, you’ve got balls, alright… charg­ing so much for sol­der spheres!“These cer­tain­ly are not cheap sol­der spheres.

I don’t want to bash Easy­Spheres busi­ness mod­el, which is essen­tial­ly a dis­trib­u­tor of Kester Sol­der Spheres in small­er pack­ag­ing, as dis­trib­u­tors play an impor­tant role in the dis­tri­b­u­tion of goods to small­er cus­tomers, and I’m sure Easy­Spheres pro­vides good ser­vice to its cus­tomers. What I do want to com­ment on though, are the tiny pack­ages these end of being.

How to get cheap solder balls

When you deal with tiny sol­der spheres, 10,000 pieces can be small­er than a tea­spoon of spheres. Even going as high as a mil­lion might fill a table­spoon. The vol­ume of these spheres is real­ly tiny, and what most pur­chasers don’t real­ize is that the weight of the deliv­ery pack­ag­ing can eas­i­ly be 10x the weight of the goods sold. I under­stand that com­pa­nies all want to run on “Just In Time” inven­to­ry, but when you order such small order quan­ti­ties, take a sec­ond to think of the man­u­fac­tur­ing process of these spheres.

Any process that needs to run pro­duc­tion to churn out a tea­spoon of prod­uct is going to be expen­sive rel­a­tive to the quan­ti­ty pur­chased. We looked at this mod­el over and over again, and it just nev­er made sense to us. Yes, you can charge high prices for tiny pack­age quan­ti­ties, but our view is that the bet­ter deal for the cus­tomer is to sell 100x (yes, one HUNDRED TIMES) the amount of spheres — 1 mil­lion or (1 kkpcs) — for the same price as 3–4x (three to four times) that tiny amount.

What makes solder balls cheap?

To start the pro­duc­tion process to churn out essen­tial­ly small pieces of alloyed met­al is an expen­sive process for tiny amounts, but if pur­chasers can buy more of the mate­r­i­al, the price drops dras­ti­cal­ly. So no, we don’t typ­i­cal­ly sell less than one mil­lion pieces, but our prices on one mil­lion sol­der spheres is gen­er­al­ly less than the same price Easy­Spheres charges for 40,000 spheres. Check it out for yourself!

Update Novem­ber 2016: Since this arti­cle was orig­i­nal­ly writ­ten in 2011, CAPLINQ has also decid­ed to move to small­er sol­der sphere pack­ag­ing. We now still offer high-qual­i­ty cheap sol­der spheres in small­er pack­age sizes.

CAPLINQ sup­plies a range of sol­der spheres includ­ing Tin/Lead (Sn63Pb37) Sol­der Spheres or our Lead­free (Pb-free) Sol­der Spheres includ­ing SAC105, SAC125N, SAC305, SAC387, SAC396 or SAC405 and 4N Pure Tin Sn100 Sol­der Spheres.

We also now offer Bi58Sn42 Eutec­tic Lead­free Sol­der Spheres and Bi57Sn42Ag1 Near-Eutec­tic Lead­free Sol­der Spheres. You can also con­tact us if you have fur­ther ques­tions on buy­ing cheap sol­der spheres.

About Chris Perabo

Chris is an energetic and enthusiastic engineer and entrepreneur. He is always interested in taking highly technical subjects and distilling these to their essence so that even the layman can understand. He loves to get into the technical details of an issue and then understand how it can be useful for specific customers and applications. Chris is currently the Director of Business Development at CAPLINQ.

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