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Electrolube joins cleaning and surface preparation debate

Electrolube will be participating in a digital debate, that was originally scheduled as a live panel discussion during SMTConnect 2020. Due to the event being postponed, the organisers have brought the debates forward in a series of online webinars, covering hot topics for the electronics community.

Electrolube’s Technical and Business Director for Conformal Coatings, Phil Kinner, will engage in a debate with a panel of industry experts to discuss ‘Cleaning and Surface Preparation – What You Need to Know’. The panel includes Nico Coenen (PlasmaTreat), Mike Bixenman (KYZEN), Phil Kinner (Electrolube) and Mike Konrad (Aqueous Technologies). 

The debate will be held on the 9th June, hosted by Global SMT & Packaging, and will focus on reduced geometries driving the increased need for cleaning, the higher density of components that are making surface preparation and surface tension more important and a host of cleaning related questions, which will be followed with live Q&A.

Conformally coated assemblies that have omitted the cleaning process can potentially hide harmful chemical matter, which may ultimately cause circuit failure or reduced efficiency.  These residues can also negatively impact on the efficiency and performance of solder pastes or fluxes, which in turn can lead to poor soldering or joint reliability.

The potential risks of hazardous circuit contamination has been widely acknowledged by manufacturers of complex assemblies for high reliability applications  such as the Military and Aerospace sectors, who fully incorporate cleaning into their production process to maximise long term reliability, particularly in harsh environments.

The biggest problem of not cleaning prior to coating is the greatly increased risk of reducing the end-product’s reliability. Cleaning circuits prior to conformal coating quite simply eradicates all doubts regarding reliability issues caused by remaining residues. Additionally,  the coating itself keeps the surface clean and protected from potentially harmful contamination.

However, many people still choose to coat over no-clean processes, conversely, there is still an element of doubt regarding the level of cleanliness of the incoming boards and the quality of ionic testing for each batch.  A no-clean process demands meticulous control, otherwise, residues that can lead to corrosion and other coating related defects will remain.

Speaking of his participation in the upcoming debate, Phil Kinner, commented: “The debate about cleaning and surface preparation will always meet with mixed opinions. Cleaning, prior to conformal coating, would generally be recommended as best practice, however, with increasing component density and reduced pitch and component standoff, cleaning can be extremely challenging and partially removed residues, and cleaning media residues themselves can be more of a reliability hazard than not cleaning. 

“Therefore, thorough evaluation of the efficacy of the cleaning process and compatibility testing between coating materials and residues has become more important than ever.  I am really looking forward to putting across our opinions and experiences at Electrolube to help the audience understand the benefits of cleaning further and help them achieve highly reliable circuit protection.”

The ‘Cleaning and Surface Preparation – What You Need to Know’ debate will take place on the 9th June 2020 at 3:45pm (London). To register your interest in this webinar, click here

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