Analysis

Demand is rising for PCB cleaning solution

Designed for cleaning printed circuit boards, Safewash Total (SWAT) from Electrolube, is growing in popularity in military and commercial applications and is well suited for the removal of leaded, lead-free and no-clean flux residues. The cleaner is also suitable for the removal of pastes and adhesives from screens, stencils, boards and accessories as well as general degreasing applications.

Developed with a specially formulated blend of non-flammable solvents, which form a micro-emulsion when mixed with water, Safewash Total is a low foam cleaner, suitable for use in dishwasher and in-line pressure systems, as well as ultrasonic and spray under immersion applications. Supplied as a concentrate, the product has an in-built corrosion inhibitor allowing for the safe cleaning of sensitive metals, including copper and aluminium. It is also harmless to plastics in typical application temperatures and cycle times, although testing is always advised in the specific application prior to large scale use.

Ron Jakeman, Managing Director of Electrolube, commented: “We are delighted with the demand for Safewash Total. Manufacturers are increasingly understanding the importance of cleaning PCB assemblies prior to conformal coating for good adhesion between coating and the assembly surface, and how poor preparation due to modest cleaning can lead to many problems later on in the conformal coating process, not to mention the potentially harmful contaminants that could lead to PCB failure. The feedback from customers has truly endorsed the efficiency of SWAT, particularly when it comes to high cleaning performance at reduced temperatures, the environmental and cost saving benefits and the flexibility for a wide range of assemblies, including those that need to meet military cleanliness standards.”

Cleaning efficiency can be maintained, even after many uses, by regularly filtering the Safewash Total solution to remove contaminants. A variety of methods including refractive index, pH and electrical conductivity can be used to determine the contamination level of the solution. The most suitable method will depend on the type of residue being removed.

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