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Electronic Assembly - PCB cleansing and COVID-19

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SMTA-Eric

#84709

Electronic Assembly - PCB cleansing and COVID-19 | 30 March, 2020

As we navigate through the CORVID-19 pandemic, many essential manufacturing facilities are still on line and operating. Some at reduced or modified schedules in following the guidelines to help reduce the spread of this virus.

My question is in regards to the handling and cleaning/disinfecting Printed Circuit Boards though the assembly process to minimize or eliminate the potential risk of any spread. The CDC has some general guidelines, suggesting alcohol wipes (IPA wipes – min 70% alcohol). Also outlined was the use of disposable gloves. Are there any recommendations on how to safely cleanse and disinfect the surfaces (PCB, components, etc) of a completed PC board assembly prior to packaging or final system-level assembly? We currently utilize a No-Clean process, and do not have access to an aqueous wash system. Are there any other chemistries, beyond IPA, that could be used to safely disinfect a suspected contaminated electronic assembly?

This message was posted via the Electronics Forum @ SMTASMTA

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#84710

Electronic Assembly - PCB cleansing and COVID-19 | 30 March, 2020

IPA is 99% Alcohol, so i assume should be more than enough.

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DWL

#84712

Electronic Assembly - PCB cleansing and COVID-19 | 30 March, 2020

Heat above 53 Celsius kills covid viruses according to the WHO:

https://www.who.int/csr/sars/survival_2003_05_04/en/

If you want an added measure of safety, you could bake your boards before packing them.

Fundamentally its going to be an issue of process control. your employees should be practicing basic preventative measures; masks and gloves if you can get them, hand washing, covering your mouth when you sneeze, etc.

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SMTA-Gregory

#84736

Electronic Assembly - PCB cleansing and COVID-19 | 3 April, 2020

We need to be careful with product to avoid introducing a new failure mode, namely corrosion and dendrite growth, especially those running no clean processes!

In addition to heat (reflow, wave and some selective soldering processes) killing the virus, UV-C will disinfect the product. If you use ultraviolet light to cure conformal coating it will disinfect it through the cure oven. Reference article: https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2018/02/09/UV-light-can-kill-airborne-flu-virus-study-finds/3081518201355/

Quarantine the product for three days is another option as the virus viability diminishes over time depending on the surface material. Reference this Johns Hopkins article: https://hub.jhu.edu/2020/03/20/sars-cov-2-survive-on-surfaces/

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#84737

Electronic Assembly - PCB cleansing and COVID-19 | 3 April, 2020

Time. The virus does not last a very long time on surfaces. Not sure how long but I read that it does not live long on copper but does last on stainless steel.

As far as I know the virus lives as well on gloves as it does on hands. So you still have to wash your hands even if you are wearing gloves.

Everyone wearing masks would help keep down the number of viruses in the air. You only have the virus if you have infected people. We check everyone's temperature a couple times a day.

From what I understand regular soap is better at killing the virus than even alcohol is. The virus has a lipid shell.

I wonder if ionizers have any effect. I would bet no one has done any studies on it.

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DWL

#84738

Electronic Assembly - PCB cleansing and COVID-19 | 3 April, 2020

That's an interesting point about ionizers. They say the primary means of transmission is through droplets suspended in air. I wonder if ionizers kill the virus and what the turn over rate is for a room of a given size.

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