Aqueous Technologies Corporation

Manufacturer of automated defluxing/cleaning equipment, cleanliness testing equipment, and stencil cleaning equipment.

Manufacturer

Welcome to Aqueous Technologies!

It’s hard to believe Aqueous Technologies is celebrating its 30th anniversary! Like so many of life’s milestones, it seems like yesterday I left the safety and security of a nine-to-five job, and its regular paycheck to jump into the great unknown of entrepreneurship. Unlike most business owners, I did not grow up aspiring to be an entrepreneur. I was quite content with my job selling soldering machines and solvent based cleaning equipment.

In 1989, The United States and ten other countries entered into a treaty known as the Montreal protocol. This treaty promised to ban certain CFC-based solvents common in machines used to clean circuit assemblies. With no acceptable drop-in replacements to these soon to be banned solvents, the industry’s level of panic slowly began to rise as the countdown to the solvent band neared.

That was my “lightbulb moment”. The majority of circuit assemblies at that time were cleaned in batch format vapor degreasers utilizing CFC-based cleaning solvents. While there were plenty of in line (conveyorized) water-based machines available at that time, there were very few water-based batch format cleaning machines. The few water-based batch format cleaning machines available were little more than mildly converted dishwashers that were relatively ineffective. My goal was to design an effective alternative to the solvent-based batch format cleaning machines using water and an environmentally responsible cleaning chemical. I pitched this idea to my employer, but they were not eager to take on any new projects. I felt so strongly about this idea that I offered to fund the development of this new technology and build a prototype completely on my own. My employer agreed to reconsider their decision once my development work was complete. I solicited help from a childhood friend and the two of us designed and built a new style cleaning machine which would provide effective cleaning without reliance on solvents.

Several months later (1991), we completed the prototype machine. I delivered it to my employer for their evaluation. We were a couple of months away from a major trade show (Nepcon West) and I suggested we put the machine in the booth engage attendee reaction. We ended up selling several of these machines during the show!

Over the course of the next year, our company sold several of these new cleaning machines. I would sell these machines by day and we would build them by night. This proved to be more work than we could handle. Loving my job and having no desire to leave, I suggested my employer purchase the rights to this new machine for the equivalent of my out-of-pocket expenses. This time, they immediately agreed!

No sooner had we completed the first machine design, I began to think about the next generation cleaning machine. The world was becoming more environmentally sensitive and I wanted to design a machine that would operate completely closed loop, without the need for a drain. I pitched this idea to my employer, inaccurately believing I had gained some degree of credibility. Once again, they were not interested. At that point I was faced with two choices. I could sulk and be disappointed, or I could do it on my own. Several weeks later, I gave my notice and informed them of my intent to go out on my own.

My motivation to start Aqueous Technologies was not based on a lifelong desire to be an entrepreneur rather it was based on my passion that this was a technology that could make the world a better place by adding reliability to circuit assemblies while protecting the environment.

Over the course of the past thirty years, I have learned so much! My naivety and passion acted as valuable blinders, allowing me only to see the possibilities without realizing the risks a new business brings. Had I been aware of all the risks associated with starting a new business, I may have been too frightened to quit my job and start this company. All businesses face challenges, and we were no exception. Over the past 30 years we have witnessed multiple recessions, a major terrorist attack, and a global pandemic. Throughout it all, we have continued to grow. While starting, growing, and sustaining a business can never be described as easy, it is definitely fulfilling.

Today, more than ever before, electronics are ubiquitous. I take great pride that our products make the world more reliable and the environment safer and cleaner for us and our children. Each year, Aqueous Technologies’ products literally save millions of gallons of water.

I am exceptionally grateful for our loyal customers who, over the past 30 years, continue to recognize the benefit our products provide. I am equally grateful for our team members and partners who are dedicated to build and support high quality products.

I look forward with great eagerness to the next 30 years!

I wish everyone a Happy, Healthy, Safe, and Prosperous New Year!

Michael Konrad
President/Founder 
Twitter: @AqueousTech
@MikeKonrad
Linkedin: @MTKonrad 
FaceBook: Facebook.com/AqueousTechnologies

Aqueous Technologies Corporation Postings

4 products »

StencilWasher

Ultrasonic Stencil and Misprint Cleaning Systems Cleaning at the Speed of Sound Ultrasonic - Effective - Safe StencilWasher harnesses the power of sound waves to effectively remove raw solder paste and uncured adhesi...

Cleaning Equipment

StencilWasher

Zero Ion Ionic Contamination Tester

Zero Ion Ionic Contamination Tester Today's Zero Ion is designed to meet the cleanliness testing challenges associated with modern circuit assemblies. The Zero Ion is capable of extracting and quantifying assembly contamination le...

Cleaning Equipment

Zero Ion Ionic Contamination Tester

Trident ZDO

Trident ZDO Detaile...

Cleaning Equipment

Trident ZDO

7 technical articles »

Stencil Cleaning Handbook

Aug 17, 2022 | Mike Konrad

Back in the "good old days," stencil cleaning was effortless and effective. CFC-based solvents were sprayed or wiped onto a stencil with apertures hundreds of times larger than modern-day components. The stencil cleaning process was not considered a value-added procedure; instead it was the cleaning of a production tool. How times have changed. The late-1980s ushered in the end of most of the popular solvents, and the machines that consumed them. Assemblers turned to alternative cleaning agents, including IPAs and other solvents....

ECM And IOT How To Predict, Quantify, And Mitigate ECM Failure Potential

Jul 27, 2021 | Mike Konrad

Fast forward to current time. Today, our society embraces cleanliness. We expect, demand, and evaluate cleanliness in almost every aspect of our lives. We wash our cars and pets. We maintain high cleanliness standards in our hotels and public spaces. We require cleanliness in our restaurants and hospitals. We sanitize our hands throughout the day to prevent illness. We live in a clean-centric culture. While we drive clean cars, stay in clean hotels and eat clean food, there is one part of our life where we actually abandoned cleanliness. Many of the circuit assemblies that affect almost every aspect of our daily lives are no longer required to be clean. Even though our life experience confirms the link between cleanliness and reliability, happiness, health, and safety, circuit assemblies no longer maintain that "cleanliness is next to Godliness" status. This was not always the case. There was a time when virtually all circuit assemblies were cleaned. The removal of flux and other process-related contamination was commonplace. Cleaning was as normal as soldering. As we bring history into current time, one may relate the fall of Rome and its adoption of personal hygiene and the subsequent decline in human health to the large-scale abandonment of cleanliness expectations of circuit assemblies and the subsequent reliability issues it has created. How did this happen? Has history repeated itself?...

The Reasons for Cleaning

Jun 28, 2021 | Michael Konrad

This book is a compilation of many articles I have published on the subjects of cleaning, reliability, and cleanliness testing. Throughout these articles, I promote a common mantra: Clean is better than dirty. Less contamination is better than more contamination. Some assemblies can tolerate more contamination; others, less....

The Environmental Cost of Green

Sep 30, 2009 | Aqueous Technologies Corporation

Being involved in the electronics assembly industry for more than 23 years, specifically in the field of defluxing and cleanliness testing, I have seen my share of environmental regulations. Long before the debate over lead-free alloys, there was the Montreal Protocol....

De-fluxing Eases

Aug 19, 2009 | Mike Konrad, President, Aqueous Technologies

There are several advantages to using a contract assembler. One of which is maintaining the ability to dictate desired results. Therefore, how those results are achieved becomes someone else's concern. When you combine this with the fact that many contract assemblers are not accustomed to saying "no," you become a witness to the birth of innovation....

Defluxing Déjà vu

Jul 29, 2009 | Michael Konrad, President, Aqueous Technologies Corporation

While the origin of the phrase "may you live in interesting times" is widely disputed, the fact that we indeed live in an interesting time is certainly not. While record bank failures and declines in stock values, only rivaled by the Depression era, wreak havoc on consumer confidence, the economic trickle-down effect translates to reductions in production output and ultimately the consolidation of many industries, including electronic assembly....

How Clean Is Clean?

Mar 19, 2009 | Michael Konrad, President; Aqueous Technologies Corporation

Over the past several years, post-reflow defluxing of circuit assemblies has gained in popularity. Microminiaturization of components and boards, combined with higher expected reliability and increased product liability, have contributed to the prominence of defluxing. Lead-free solder paste - with its higher reflow temperatures and negative effects on flux - increase the likelihood of post-reflow defluxing to increase a product's reliability and aesthetic appearance....

161 news releases »

Industry Experts Team to Present Cleaning/Materials/X-ray Workshop

Mar 24, 2016 | Circuit Technology, KIC, KYZEN, Nordson DAGE, Aqueous Technologies and AIM Solder announce that they are working together to present the “Reliability Workshop: Cleaning – Materials – X-ray” in Raleigh, NC on Tuesday, April 12 and Asheville, NC on Thursday, April 14. Both workshops will take place from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Aqueous Technologies Will Demo Its Cleaning and Cleanliness Testing Products at productronica

Oct 21, 2015 | Aqueous Technologies will exhibit in Hall A2, Booth 528 at the productronica International Trade Fair, scheduled to take place Nov. 10-13, 2015 at the Messe München exhibition center in Munich, Germany. Company representatives will demonstrate the Trident ZDO and Zero-Ion G3.

Aqueous Technologies Releases “The Reasons for Cleaning: A Handy Guide for Cleaning Circuit Assemblies”

Oct 13, 2015 | Aqueous Technologies is pleased to announce that its CEO Michael Konrad has released a new cleaning book entitled, “The Reasons for Cleaning: A Handy Guide for Cleaning Circuit Assemblies.”

Aqueous Technologies Will Present at the Huntsville Cleaning & Reliability Workshop

Aug 10, 2015 | Aqueous Technologies announces that its CEO Michael Konrad will present at the Huntsville Cleaning & Reliability Workshop, scheduled to take place Thursday, September 10, 2015 in Huntsville, AL. Mr. Konrad will present “A Candid Conversation About Cleaning” during the free technical workshop. The event will be presented in cooperation with Henkel, KYZEN and PVA.

Aqueous Technologies Free Cleaning and Reliability Webinars Available Now

Jun 24, 2015 | Aqueous Technologies is pleased to announce that its technical webinar series is now available for on-demand viewing.

Aqueous Technologies Releases Free Cleaning and Contamination Guide

May 12, 2015 | Aqueous Technologies, a manufacturer of fully automated cleaning/defluxing machines and cleanliness testing equipment, announces that it has released a Cleaning and Contamination Guide. The guide was written by Aqueous’ CEO Michael Konrad and is available for download free of charge at www.aqueoustech.com/cleaning-book-1.

Aqueous Technologies Releases Free Cleaning and Contamination Guide

May 12, 2015 | Aqueous Technologies, a manufacturer of fully automated cleaning/defluxing machines and cleanliness testing equipment, announces that it has released a Cleaning and Contamination Guide. The guide was written by Aqueous’ CEO Michael Konrad and is available for download free of charge at www.aqueoustech.com/cleaning-book-1.

Aqueous Technologies Discusses the Challenges of Modern Day Cleaning at the SMTA Intermountain Expo

Apr 09, 2015 | Aqueous Technologies announces that its CEO Michael Konrad presented during the recent SMTA Intermountain Expo at Boise State University. Mr. Konrad presented “Low Standoffs, High Densities, and High Reflow Technologies. The Challenges of Modern Day Cleaning.

Aqueous Technologies Appoints Two New Sales Partners

Jan 27, 2015 | Aqueous Technologies has appointed two new sales partners. Quantum Systems was appointed as Aqueous Technologies’ exclusive sales partner for the Arizona, New Mexico regions of the United States and the Sonora region of Mexico. BRL Marketing & Sales was appointed as Aqueous Technologies exclusive sales partner in Illinois and Wisconsin.

See Aqueous Technologies' Lineup of Cleaning & Cleanliness Testing Products to APEX

Jan 21, 2015 | Aqueous Technologies will exhibit in Booth #1549 at the IPC APEX EXPO, scheduled to take place Feb. 24-26, 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center in California.

151 more news releases from Aqueous Technologies Corporation »

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