An Education on Cleaning Print E-mail
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Written by Dr. Mike Bixenman   
Tuesday, 30 September 2008 19:00

An upcoming symposium addresses rising concerns over residues.

Process Doctor Higher I/O counts, progressive miniaturization, more reliable performance, and other demands are being impeded by circuit board cleanliness effects.1 Contamination can severely diminish the ability to resist shorting adjacent to leads or traces and localized residue under Z-axis area arrays, quad flatpacks and chip resistors.2

In light of manufacturing complexities associated with assembling smaller, lighter and more advanced features, IPC and SMTA are jointly sponsoring a High Performance Cleaning Symposium to be held in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont Oct. 28-29. The technical symposium will address cleaning challenges, cleaning materials and cleaning equipment advances, process integration, process qualification and reliability concerns.

The Symposium Creation Team is composed of experienced individuals who represent OEMs, EMS firms, consulting, and cleaning equipment and material suppliers. The team focused on developing a forum that addresses process engineers’ needs. The conference features two keynote speakers. Renowned 50-year industry veteran Jim Raby, founder, technical director and program manager at STI Electronics, will present the kickoff keynote. The next day, Linda Woody of Lockheed Martin will talk about nozzle design and implementation for cleaning residues from high-density, low-profile component assemblies.

The symposium features three interactive panel discussions designed to encourage audience collaboration.

Engineered cleaning material designs. This session provides an understanding of material options for formulating cleaning products to address current and future cleaning needs. The topics will focus on variables formulators consider when designing cleaning materials, such as solder material differences, overcoming material compatibility constraints, throughput considerations and cleaning process time and temperature constraints.

Cleaning machine options. This session covers cleaning machine options for today’s challenges. The topics will focus on machine design considerations to meet evolving cleaning challenges, environmental considerations, and cost of ownership.

Process integration. The session, made up of users, covers best practices to integrate cleaning materials with cleaning machines and support required to develop a wide processing window. The topics will focus on integrating machines and equipment to address clean versus no-clean, cleaning Pb-free soils, removing residues under the Z axis, and process equivalence using batch, inline or manual processes.

Five sessions cover topics targeted at user needs:

Standards and regulations. The topics include the IPC Cleaning and Coating Committee update; IPC Cleaning Handbook Task Group currently working to consolidate four cleaning handbooks; REACH, WEEE and RoHS regulations; and VOC, Waste and Water regulations.

Cleanliness assessment. The topics for this session focus on test board options, quantitative cleaning assessment testing, spot cleaning assessment under components, and IPC’s technology roadmap and its impact on cleaning and reliability.

Building to customer reliability standards. The topics for this session cover the use of ion chromatography/mass spectrometry to determine component cleanliness reduced cleaning analysis criteria, solid solder deposits for reducing cleaning’s effects, and process development in high-mix/high-volume Class 3 manufacturing.

Pb-free cleaning. This session focuses on Pb-free rework/repair cleaning techniques, Pb-free flux and its influence on cleaning, qualifying Pb-free medical electronics, and using Hansen Solubility parameters to match the cleaning material to the Pb-free flux residue.

Cleanliness requirements before conformal coating. The topics for this session focus on considerations for selecting a conformal coating, the importance of cleaning before conformal coating, conformal coating over no-clean flux residue, and cleaning’s effects on conformal coating adhesion.

The speed of electronics interconnection innovations outpaces testing, regulatory and standards bodies serving the industry.3 Miniaturization constantly imposes new criteria and challenges on soldering materials. The Cleaning Symposium should help users address these complexities.

  1. Terry Munson, “Eliminating Metal Migration Failures, Printed Circuit Fabrication, November 1998.
  2. Blaine Partee, “SIR Testing,” EMPFasis, February 2004.
  3. Don Cullen and Gerard O’Brien, “Implementation of Immersion Silver PCB Surface Finishes in Compliance with Underwriters Laboratories,” IPC Printed Circuits Expo, February 2004.

Dr. Mike Bixenman is co-founder and CTO of Kyzen Corp. (; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



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