Equipment Optimization FAQs

There are several options for board cleaning equipment. Ensuring this equipment is optimized is crucial to producing clean boards. If none of these FAQs address your specific question, please contact us.

 

Equipment

Q. Any recommendations to send me down the right path in a transition to a new wave solder machine from the dog I have now?
A. Two return questions – are you transitioning to a nitrogen-based wave solder and is your present system nitrogen based?

 

If you are making the transition to a new nitrogen based system and your present system is not nitrogen based, then screening with your present machine would be a waste of time. You could determine the best performer in air, but not nitrogen. You might consider using an outside source for development, if you wish to transition to nitrogen.

 

If you are looking for low-solids fluxes, Kester 951 should be considered, as well as Alpha SLS-65 And Mutlicore X33-04i. We don’t think there is such a thing as a good flux or a bad flux, but you have to find the one that works best with your parts mix. You will want a halide-free flux, qualified to J-STD-004 – we would not recommend considering a flux unless it is so qualified.

 

Q. How do I choose the best flux or cleaning option for my application?
A. In general, you wish to minimize the amount of harmful residues present on the assembly. Harmful materials are most often the halides, such as chloride; therefore, selected fluxes should be halide-free, or the cleaning chemistry should be effective at reducing chloride and bromide. While we are not in the business of selling cleaners, if you don’t know where to start looking then consider Envirosense Envirogold 816 or Kyzen Aquanox SSA. Both are excellent cleaners and are not harmful to assemblies. Another consideration is compatibility of your components to cleaning. If you have parts which are water intolerant, then aqueous or semi-aqueous cleaning is a problem. Depending on the situation, such water-intolerant parts can be added later, or some cleaners can be rinsed with isopropanol rather than water. The choice of cleaner also depends on whether you are going to be doing high volume in-line cleaning or low-volume batch cleaning.

 

Process

Q. What are the critical parameters of my new manufacturing process?
A. We have found that many process problems can be traced back to a few critical areas: bare board residue levels; solder mask type and cure levels; flux deposition; flux type; the efficiency of any cleaning operations. Most critical is for the process engineer to view the big picture of the process. Everything is inter-related and every step has an effect on the end result. Part of our utility as process consultants is that we do see the big picture and understand the interrelationships.