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Preheating Part VII - Lamp-Type Infrared and Ceramic Plate

Lamp style preheaters  have the fastest response time of any of the previous preheaters mentioned in other posts. The lamp filament is practically the sole thermal mass; it is so fast that the response time is measured in seconds rather than minutes, as with the other models.  This type of preheater can reach peak temperatures that are exceptionally high as long as there is an advanced control system. If the control system is not available it could cause damage to the board. 

Unfortunately, these lamps can be on the expensive side because they often have a gold-plated reflector which may require water cooling. The units are also very fragile and need to be kept impeccably clean. If dirt or flux gets on the lamps, there is a high risk of scratching them during the cleaning process, which would cause permanent damage.

Ceramic plate heaters are not commonly used either. The heating rates and design are almost identical to quartz plate preheaters. The response time is quick because the electrical elements along with the thermocouples are embedded into surface of the plate. This ensures a smooth and easily cleanable surface. They are also resilient and can withstand possible damage by falling boards.

*This is the eighth post in an eleven-piece mini-series entitled Preheating. This mini-series which is part of a larger program entitled Wave Soldering (A Segmented Synopsis).