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Wave Soldering is a large-scale soldering process by which electronic components are soldered to a printed circuit board (PCB) to form an electronic assembly. The name is derived from the fact that the process uses a tank to hold a quantity of molten solder; the components are inserted into or placed on the PCB and the loaded PCB is run across a pumped wave or cascade of solder. The solder wets to the exposed metallic areas of the board (those not protected with solder mask), creating a reliable mechanical and electrical connection. The process is much faster and can create a higher quality product than manual soldering of components.
Wave soldering is used for both through-hole printed circuit assemblies, and surface mount. In the latter case, the components are glued onto the printed circuit board surface before being run through the molten solder wave.