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The impact of 90% solder dross recovery can have a substantial impact on reducing waste and increasing cost savings. I recently spoke with Jay Hardin, MS2® product manager at P. Kay Metal, about the process and benefits of efficient solder dross recovery, as well as product roadmaps, the soldering machine market, and raw materials supply chain for solder alloy manufacturing. As Jay says, “For many companies, the savings are in the thousands or millions” of dollars.
Nolan Johnson: Hi, Jay. Could you tell us a little about yourself and P. Kay Metal?
Jay Hardin: I’m with P. Kay Metal, Inc., headquartered out of Los Angeles, California. I’m the product manager for the company. Since 1978, we’ve been a tin-lead alloy and chemical manufacturer, which includes fluxes and our specialty product called MS2.
Johnson: With a product mix like that, do you primarily sell into both fabrication and assembly?
Hardin: Yes. Primary customers are based in Mexico and the Western United States. The specialty product, MS2, became a global product in 2006. It has been used by most major contract manufacturers and assemblers in the world, including the largest ones. We have contracts with many of the facilities around the world and can supply them all from our headquarters in Los Angeles.
Johnson: The MS2 product is a little different. Can you explain MS2 and what it does?
Hardin: Our company is a solder manufacturer, but our history has always been in dross recycling. Solder dross is a waste that’s formed in the through-hole assembly process of PCB manufacturing—a large solder pot of the solder is constantly in motion, forming a gum called dross, which is removed from the process and sold back to companies like us. We recycle that solder dross back to usable metal and can then sell it back to the customer. The MS2 product was developed when everything was becoming lead-free, and prices of solder went from being $2 a pound to up to $30 a pound. The cost of dross became a huge problem once everything went lead-free.
We thought that the product we used to recycle solder dross could be re-blended and, in a pure form, sold to the producers of the dross globally to eliminate both the solder dross problem and cost. The solder dross that customers generate from the wave soldering machines represents about 60–80% of the total waste that they generate in their facility. It also requires them to purchase new solder bars. About 80% of the new solder bars that a customer buys is to replace the solder dross that they’re removing from the process. If we’re able to eliminate that waste and help the customer to become 95+% efficient with the solder they buy, all they have to do is implement the MS2 process into their lines.
To read this entire interview, which appeared in the September 2020 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.