October 15, 2020

“No Clean?” That’s Obscene!

Printed circuit board manufacture is performed in a clean environment. From the first drill hole to the final protective coating process and route-out, microscopic contaminants are spread over the entirety of your printed circuit board.

Boards are kept clean throughout the fabrication and assembly process. But microscopic FOD left behind on the surface of the board will cause latent defects that can disrupt or destroy a printed circuit board. Failures decrease customer satisfaction, increase product down time, and lead to a tarnished reputation — and in today’s cancel culture, you often don’t get a second chance to make things right.

For all of these reasons, printed circuit board manufacturers and assembly shops recommend washing your board before you power it on for the very first time. But board washing isn’t as simple as grabbing your favorite can of aerosolized isopropyl alcohol and a toothbrush. Any solvents used to clean a board can become trapped underneath components, or evaporate to leave the original contaminates behind in concentrated locations. The current industry standard utilizes a cleaning agent and deionized water rinse using high-pressure water diffused through carefully design stainless steel atomizing jets.

As Mike Konrad, owner of Aqueous Tech often says: “You might have no-clean flux, but you don’t have a no-clean board.”

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