Cleaning is an added step to the electronics assembly process, meaning that the reliability and yield benefits of cleaning must outweigh the additional cost, energy use, and time involved in operating cleaning equipment. These products tangibly reduce costs, increase flexibility for customers, and can have added environmental benefits like lowering VOC emissions.
Vapor Recovery Technologies
Zentech Manufacturing, Inc., an EMS provider in Baltimore, MD, had to develop an alternative cleaning solution for customers that required rosin-type fluxes with reduced in-line process costs. The elevated temperature and pressure needed led to high evaporative losses. Processing cost were higher than expected and Zentech needed to reduce the cost associated with this process. A highly efficient vapor recovery device is required to dramatically reduce evaporative losses. ZESTRON demisters and condensers are designed for the recovery of exhaust vapors originating from automated cleaning processes without negatively effecting the operation of the associated equipment. The ZESTRON Condenser was developed to reduce cleaning agent losses generated through an automated cleaning process. It enables a maximum cleaning agent recovery of up to 85%. The Condenser can significantly minimize VOC emissions. The unit can be applied in cleaning processes utilizing products from the VIGON and ATRON product family. With the installation of the Condenser and ZESTRON’s application technology and sales department support, Zentech Manufacturing brought evaporation losses down by 85% on average, which resulted in savings of 46% in chemistry monthly. Contact Zentech at [email protected]; http://www.zentechman.com.
The ZESTRON Demister significantly decreases evaporative losses and reduces operating costs by recovering up to 14% of the cleaning agent. The internal airflow design of the Demister does not promote any clogging, i.e. no negative impact on the exhaust blower. It does not require additional blower capacity either. The integrated access option supports easy routine maintenance. Zestron, www.zestron.com
Contract Cleaning and Cleanliness Testing
A full-service contract defluxing and cleanliness testing service will be offered from Aqueous Technologies’ southern CA facility, using the company’s Trident automatic defluxing equipment and Zero-Ion resistivity of solvent extract (ROSE) testers. The defluxing equipment is capable of removing all flux types (RMA, no-clean, water-soluble) from assemblies soldered with any type of alloy (lead-free or eutectic). The service is offered for volumes from a few assemblies to a few thousand assemblies, with pricing determined by hourly rate rather than board count. The service includes DI water, defluxing chemicals, and all labor. Same-day service is available at no additional charge. All defluxing services include sampled military and IPC-approved cleanliness testing utilizing a ROSE tester. Aqueous also provides stand-alone contract cleanliness testing on a per-board basis. The cleanliness testing equipment meets all military and IPC cleanliness testing standards, including Mil STD 2000A and IPC-TM650. Aqueous Technologies Corp., www.aqueoustech.com
The MEGA ION cleaner/tester is used in applications where products need to be cleaned and tested to the R.O.S.E. standard in one piece of equipment. MEGA ION cleaners are designed for high reliability, environmental friendliness, solvent-based cleaning and testing applications. These closed-looped, solvent-regenerative systems feature quantitative ionic contamination detection and R.O.S.E. cleanliness testing. The MegaION batch cleaning system cleans and tests in one operation rather than the standard separate systems. It is multi-solvent compatible and environmentally friendly. Features include a sealed process chamber, low solvent consumption & VOC levels, closed-loop spray under immersion, and a small footprint. Austin American Technology Corp., www.aatcorp.com
Environmentally Friendly Cleaners
The ecologically friendly TECHSPRAY RENEW product line uses current “green” technology, maintaining high cleaning strength. Benefits include low VOCs; sustainable and biodegradable ingredients such as corn-based ethanol, seed oils, soy-based oils, and citrus-based oils; recycled/recyclable packaging; and compliance with California CARB and similar restrictions, European REACH and WEEE requirements. The ECO-STENCIL cleaner and ECO-OVEN cleaner are effective, non-flammable, biodegradable, non-ozone-depleting, and use low VOCs and zero GWP. The ECO-STENCIL cleaner effectively removes all types of solder paste (water-based, RMA, no-clean, lead-free, eutectic) and uncured adhesive from screens, misprinted boards, and equipment. It is safe on stencils, squeegees, and equipment surfaces. ECO-STENCIL replaces isopropyl alcohol (IPA), which is often restricted because of safety and environmental restrictions on VOC emissions or waste disposal issues. It suits manual stencil tool, work surface and squeegee cleaning, and automatic underside wipe stencil cleaning. It is not designed for use in automatic stencil washers.
ECO-OVEN cleaner cleans reflow ovens, wave soldering systems, and associated heat exchanger systems by removing all types of flux residues (water-based, RMA, no-clean, lead-free, eutectic). It is used for periodic preventative maintenance to keep equipment performing at peak levels and is reportedly fast-acting and more effective than IPA for baked-on flux residues. ECO-OVEN removes baked-on flux residues from SMT oven and wave solder equipment. It also is recommended for use in all brands of wave solder equipment and for use in periodic preventive maintenance of SMT ovens and wave solder equipment. The cleaners were developed in the company’s TECHSPRAY RENEW R&D initiative. Techspray, [email protected]
Expanded Services Offering
ZESTRON’s 15,000 sq.ft. Technical and Analytical Center expanded its cleaning services. For proper implementation and on-site optimization of the cleaning process, customers can choose ZESTRON’s Process Ramp-Up Service. One of ZESTRON’s application engineers implements the selected cleaning agent into the user’s equipment and provides technical advice and product training. The additional equipment support will help to achieve the most cost-effective cleaning process and reduce cleaning costs by up to 20%, the company reports. Users also receive detailed cleaning process documentation. ZESTRON America, www.zestron.com