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What is a preform?

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    Phil Zarrow: Derrick, solder preforms. What are they?

    Derrick Herron: Well, a solder preform is a defined shape and size of a solder alloy. It can be used in place or in conjunction with a solder paste. Solder pastes are probably more common in the industry, but solder preforms are kind of up and coming and are a good option in a lot of applications.

    Phil Zarrow: Very good. And of course you’re in tech support. What are some of the various applications you see for preforms? Which ones come to mind?

    Derrick Herron: Well, a lot of times solder preforms are used to add more volume to a solder deposit. They can be used in conjunction with a paste to add more alloy. And the solder preforms can also be used in situations like a pin in a through-hole. A solder washer is a good application for that.

    Phil Zarrow: So, as you are describing them, obviously they come in all different shapes and sizes.

    Derrick Herron: Yes, absolutely. I brought some examples, here, to show you. So, we do everything from squares, rectangles, discs. We’ve got solder washers. We also have the custom shapes, like these or that one there. We can do flux coatings. You can see some of our colored fluxes. And we also do our integrated preforms, which is an array of washers with defined pitch.

    Phil Zarrow: Now, I would imagine that, for a given application, among all the many, there are a lot of variables. And that these are not necessarily off-the-shelf type items.

    Derrick Herron: Pretty much everything that we do is going to be made to order. And what we need to know for the preforms are alloy, whether you need a flux or not, what the shape is, and what the dimensions are. And then we can go from there. And in a lot of cases, we may have a tool already to produce it. If not, we would have to set up a new process. Otherwise, in nearly all cases, we can make that preform.

    Phil Zarrow: So, if I am an engineer looking to possibly implement preforms, who can I contact at Indium and what resources are there?

    Derrick Herron: We can be contacted through our website,, which also has many application notes and technical papers and blogs all related to this subject, as well as many others. Or you can contact me directly at I’d be happy to work through your application with you.

    Phil Zarrow: Excellent. Thank you very much, Derrick.

    Derrick Herron: Alright. Thanks a lot.