Trends in PCBA Cleaning
EMSNOW met with Bill Kushner, MicroCare Global Product Director, to get his view on current trends in the electronics industry in general and for PCBA cleaning in particular.
EMSNOW: What’s new with MicroCare this year?
MicroCare unveiled our solder paste and flux cleaning test results earlier this year. Since then our Critical Cleaning Lab has been test cleaning additional paste and flux formulations and brands. The published results are a quick and easy way for our customers to determine which MicroCare cleaning fluids work best at removing residue, either at the benchtop or through their vapor degreaser, on the most popular flux and solder paste materials from AIM, Alpha, Loctite, Indium, Kester and Koki.
In addition, we continue to expand our team of experienced field-technicians and chemists. These experts are there not only to help our customers select the right products for reliable cleaning, but to also coach on the best cleaning methods. Whether it’s using the MicroCare TriggerGrip™ aerosol flux remover dispensing system at the benchtop or operating a vapor degreaser, our team has know-how and experience to recommend the safest and most efficient cleaning methods.
EMSNOW:How important is the environment and sustainability to your customers?
Sustainability is as critically important to our customers as it is to MicroCare. Our customers have come to rely on us to not only provide products that clean effectively, but also to meet specific environmental regulations – no matter where they are located across the globe. This includes formulating and packaging new blends for both benchtop cleaning and higher-volume cleaning using a vapor degreaser.
We currently offer several more sustainable cleaning fluid formulations with better environmental profiles that are the result of ongoing MicroCare R & D efforts. Our focus is on developing safe cleaning chemistries with low VOC and GWP ratings, that are globally accepted.
EMSNOW:What key demand trends are you seeing from US customers right now and how are you meeting those demands?
Our customers today are looking for ways to clean faster and more efficiently. Many are constantly searching for improved processes which can increase their yield, repeatability and reliability. The MicroCare TriggerGrip™ dispensing system is helping them streamline their benchtop cleaning processes by adding consistency to their cleaning processes. The TriggerGrip™ also saves time by allowing operators be as proficient and productive as possible. Other customers are exploring vapor degreasing for high-volume batch cleaning. Vapor degreasing quickly cleans and dries PCBs all in one step, saving both time and energy.
Meeting cleanliness standards is also concern for all of our customers. Working with our Critical Cleaning Lab, our chemists conduct cleaning trials on customers’ sample printed circuit boards and contaminants to assure they are using the right cleaning fluid and process to get their desired cleaning results.
Another continuing trend we see from our customers is the need for them to clean smaller and more densely packed PCBs made from a variety of new substrates and apertures. As components continue to miniaturize, they become more difficult for many cleaners to clean and dry. Fortunately, MicroCare has the cleaning fluids and the critical cleaning expertise to help ensure materials compatibility and PCB reliability.