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Go Greener in Your Cleaner! - Cleaning Process Benchmarking

Presenter: Dr. Harald Wack
Company: ZESTRON
Date Published: 5/2/2010

Description: Over the past decade, the cleanliness requirements for manufacturers have increased significantly. This is primarily due to higher performance expectations, higher component densities and newer materials being used. The North American electronics assembly market consists mainly of military, aerospace, medical, and automotive manufacturing industries, all of which require a guaranteed life time product reliability. With higher cleaning performance requirements and increased environmental regulations the cleaning process has become a focal point for many companies. RoHs and REACH, but also stricter, local waste water regulations and VOC limits, have forced numerous, recent process re-qualifications.

This study was prepared to focus on cleaning process benchmarking. In other words, how can one compare established cleaning processes with newer process technologies? The authors will present recent cleaning challenges including the removal of flux residues under challenging low standoff components such as 0603 chip capacitors, while using pH-neutral de-fluxing agents as well as alkaline chemistries with reduced VOC levels. The objective was to assess their effectiveness, demonstrate any limitations while adhering to higher environmental standards. To further demonstrate the challenge of increasing VOC limitations, the study also highlights experimental findings on vapor recovery methods used presently in the industry. This will allow users to benefit from experimental comparison data to further enhance their respective cleaning process while conforming to the latest environmental regulations.

Key Words: 

PCB cleaning, RoHs, REACH, VOC, flux residue removal, pH-neutral de-fluxing

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