Technical Library | 2020-11-04 17:49:45.0
OEMs and CMs designing and building electronic assemblies for high reliability applications are typically faced with a decision to clean or not to clean the assembly. If ionic residues remain on the substrate surface, potential failure mechanisms, including dendritic growth by electrochemical migration reaction and leakage current, may result. These failures have been well documented. If a decision to clean substrates is made, there are numerous cleaning process options available. For defluxing applications, the most common systems are spray-in-air, employing either batch or inline cleaning equipment and an engineered aqueous based cleaning agent. Regardless of the type of cleaning process adopted, effective cleaning of post solder residue requires chemical, thermal and mechanical energies. The chemical energy is derived from the engineered cleaning agent; the thermal energy from the increased temperature of the cleaning agent, and the mechanical energy from the pump system employed within the cleaning equipment. The pump system, which includes spray pressure, spray bar configuration and nozzle selection, is optimized for the specific process to create an efficient cleaning system. As board density has increased and component standoff heights have decreased, cleaning processes are steadily challenged. Over time, cleaning agent formulations have advanced to match new solder paste developments, spray system configurations have improved, and wash temperatures (thermal energy) have been limited to a maximum of 160ºF. In most cases, this is due to thermal limitations of the materials used to build the polymer-based cleaning equipment. Building equipment out of stainless steel is an option, but one that may be cost prohibitive. Given the maximum allowable wash temperature, difficult cleaning applications are met by increasing the wash exposure time; including reducing the conveyor speed of inline cleaners or extending wash time in batch cleaners. Although this yields effective cleaning results, process productivity may be compromised. However, high temperature resistant polymer materials, capable of withstanding a 180°F wash temperature, are now available and can be used in cleaning equipment builds. For this study, the authors explored the potential for increasing cleaning process efficiency as a result of an increase in thermal energy due to the use of higher wash temperature. The cleaning equipment selected was an inline cleaner built with high temperature resistant polymer material. For the analysis, standard substrates were used. These were populated with numerous low standoff chip cap components and soldered with both no-clean tin-lead and lead-free solder pastes. Two aqueous based cleaning agents were selected, and multiple wash temperatures and wash exposure times were evaluated. Cleanliness assessments were made through visual analysis of under-component inspection, as well as localized extraction and Ion Chromatography in accordance with current IPC standards.
Technical Library | 2009-09-18 14:42:37.0
In recent years, various studies have been issued on cleaning under low standoff components; most however, with incomplete information. It is essential to revisit and describe the latest challenges in the market, identifying obvious gaps in available information. Such information is crucial for potential and existing users to fully address the cleanliness levels under their respective components. With the emergence of lead-free soldering and even smaller components, new challenges have arisen including cleaning in gaps of less than 1-mil.
Technical Library | 2019-05-23 10:38:07.0
Solvent and co-solvent cleaning involves the use of engineered solvents in a vapor phase system. The solvents classically used were Class 1 Ozone Depleting Substances, but new types of solvents have been developed that are less environmentally harmful. In some cases, isopropyl alcohol is used with a co-solvent. In these types of cleaning systems, a cloud of boiling vapor solvent is maintained between a boil sump and a cooling coil. When the items to be cleaned are immersed in the vapor cloud, the solvent condenses on the assemblies and acts to dissolve the residues. These processes usually involve a final rinse step outside of the vapor cloud to ensure that all dissolved residues are washed off the assemblies (Figure 1).
Technical Library | 2020-03-09 10:50:17.0
A customer called the Helpline seeking advice for cleaning no-clean fluxes prior to applying a conformal coating. The customer's assemblies were manufactured with a no-clean rosin based solder paste (ROL0) and were cleaned with an isopropyl alcohol (IPA) wash. After cleaning, a white residue was sometimes found in areas with high paste concentrations and was interfering with the adhesion of the conformal coating (Figure 1). For conformal coatings to adhere properly, the printed circuit board (PCB) surface must be clean of fluxes and other residues. In addition, ionic contamination left by flux residues can lead to corrosion and dendrite growth, two common causes of electronic opens and shorts. Other residues can lead to unwanted impedance and physical interference with moving parts.
Technical Library | 2019-08-14 22:20:55.0
Cleanliness is a product of design, including component density, standoff height and the cleaning equipment’s ability to deliver the cleaning agent to the source of residue. The presence of manufacturing process soil, such as flux residue, incompletely activated flux, incompletely cured solder masks, debris from handling and processing fixtures, and incomplete removal of cleaning fluids can hinder the functional lifetime of the product. Contaminates trapped under a component are more problematic to failure. Advanced test methods are needed to obtain "objective evidence" for removing flux residues under leadless components.Cleaning process performance is a function of cleaning capacity and defined cleanliness. Cleaning performance can be influenced by the PCB design, cleaning material, cleaning machine, reflow conditions and a wide range of process parameters.This research project is designed to study visual flux residues trapped under the bottom termination of leadless components. This paper will research a non-destructive visual method that can be used to study the cleanability of solder pastes, cleaning material effectiveness for the soil, cleaning machine effectiveness and process parameters needed to render a clean part.
Technical Library | 2014-10-23 18:10:10.0
The functional reliability of electronic circuits determines the overall reliability of the product in which the final products are used. Market forces including more functionality in smaller components, no-clean lead-free solder technologies, competitive forces and automated assembly create process challenges. Cleanliness under the bottom terminations must be maintained in harsh environments. Residues under components can attract moisture and lead to leakage currents and the potential for electrochemical migration (...) The purpose of this research study is to evaluate innovative spray and soak methods for removing low residue flux residues and thoroughly rinsing under Bottom Termination and Leadless Components
Technical Library | 2020-11-04 17:57:41.0
Residues present on circuit boards can cause leakage currents if not controlled and monitored. How "Clean is Clean" is neither easy nor cheap to determine. Most OEMs use analytical methods to assess the risk of harmful residues. The levels that can be associated with clean or dirty are typically determined based on the exposed environment where the part will be deployed. What is acceptably clean for one segment of the industry may be unacceptable for more demanding segments. As circuit assemblies increase in density, understanding cleanliness data becomes more challenging. The risk of premature failure or improper function is typically site specific. The problem is that most do not know how to measure or define cleanliness nor can they recognize process problems related to residues. A new site specific method has been designed to run performance qualifications on boards built with specific soldering materials, reflow settings and cleaning methods. High impedance measurements are performed on break off coupons designed with components geometries used to build the assembly. The test method provides a gauge of potential contamination sources coming from the assembly process that can contribute to electrochemical migration.
Technical Library | 2017-03-22 20:58:08.0
Water soluble lead-free solder paste is widely used in today’s SMT processes, but the industry is slowly moving away from water soluble solder pastes in favor of no-clean solder pastes. This shift in usage of solder paste is driven by an effort to eliminate the water wash process. Some components cannot tolerate water wash and elimination of water washing streamlines the SMT process. Despite this shift, certain applications lend themselves to the use of water soluble solder paste.This paper details the research and development of a new water soluble lead-free solder paste which improves on the performance characteristics of existing technologies.
Technical Library | 2010-09-09 16:44:48.0
The effectiveness of cleaning stencils and misprinted/dirty printed circuit boards can be effectively monitored. This can be done by washing known clean circuit boards and then checking to see if they have stayed clean as a result of the washing process.