Electronics assembly or circuit board cleaning is important to consider for reliable and dependable products. No matter what your PCB cleaning process, getting the basics right is a great start.
The Basics of PCB Cleaning
Eight factors must be considered to successfully clean circuit boards – electronic assemblies:
- Printed Circuit Board / Assembly to Be Cleaned: The part being cleaned, and the end result and customer expectations will drive the cleaning process.
- Soil(s): The type and make-up of the solder flux/pastes, the mix and the solubility of each soil will be a determining factor when developing a cleaning process.
- Processing Conditions: How your PCB is put together will affect the cleaning process – your reflow profile, how many times the assembly will see reflow and any other processes that will change the properties of the soil being removed.
- Bottom Terminated Components: Gap height and component pitch will be a driving factor when designing your cleaning process. Considering time, temperature, mechanical energy and solvency will lead to flux removal success.
- Material Compatibility: Part markings, metal interactions, component compatibility are key factors developing a cleaning process.
- PCB Cleaning Agent: A cleaning agent must be matched to the soils and the cleaning equipment.
- Harder to clean soils require stronger cleaning agents
- Poorly matched cleaning agent will not remove the soil
- Cleaning Machine: Choosing the right machine for your specific needs starts with your through-put expectations. You should also consider mechanical energy especially if you are cleaning complex assemblies.
- Process Control: Keeping your cleaning process balanced will provide consistent cleaning results and save money in the long run.