SMTA International Conference Proceedings

Comparative Cleaning Study To Showcase The Effective Removal of OA Flux Residues

Authors: Jigar Patel, Umut Tosun, and Michael McCutchen
Company: ZESTRON America
Date Published: 10/14/2012   Conference: SMTA International

Abstract: In the electronics manufacturing industry, pure DI-water processes are prevalent for removing water soluble (OA) flux residues. However, recent industry developments as well as customer case studies have shown that these water only processes may no longer produce the required cleanliness levels and thereby guarantee the long-term reliability of assemblies.

In addition to the cleaning challenges posed by the latest solder paste formulations, the move from leaded to lead-free is presenting even greater challenges due to higher soldering temperatures. More complex and increasingly smaller board and component topologies are becoming more difficult to clean. Increased densities, reduced component sizes and standoff heights as well as a large variety of component packages are all contributing factors that will be the driving force for DI-water users to start looking into introducing the appropriate cleaning agent to their process.

In response, a revolutionary cleaning technology has been formulated to address all of the above issues. This technology allows for an environmentally friendly and cost-effective cleaning process eliminating the need for high temperatures and concentrations while meeting the current cleanliness requirements.

This study was conducted to primarily assess the cleaning performance of the newly developed cleaning technology for operations at low temperatures and cleaning agent concentrations. The performance of the new cleaning agent was compared to pure DI-water. It employed the use of a specifically designed test board populated with the most challenging component geometries commonly seen in the industry. Cleanliness was assessed visually as well as via Ion Chromatography. Furthermore, the overall energy consumption at different process settings was measured to validate the potential cost savings of process operations at lower temperatures. The study has also been supplemented with empirical data gathered through customer case studies.

Key Words: 

OA flux residues, cleaning agent, chemistry

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