The latest in SMT cleaning and washing systems

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During an SMT process, printed circuit boards (PCBs) are assembled using various fluxes and solder paste whose residues needs to be cleaned after the soldering process. It is a must to wash and clean rosin flux from the PCB assembly.

By Srabani Sen

Friday, September 14, 2013: In most of the commercial applications, water soluble solder pastes and fluxes are used. They are generally cleaned with de-ionized water. Many electronic companies also use low residue, no clean pastes and fluxes, so that it does not require any cleaning.

Numerous cleaning technologies are available, so one must choose the cleaning process and the SMT cleaning and washing equipment carefully based on the product being produced and the cost, performance, and environmental impact of the technology.

SMT cleaning and washing equipment have evolved over the years to accomplish new technologies satisfactorily. When it comes to cleaning/defluxing, there are two fundamental machine formats—batch and inline. The best batch cleaning systems feature built-in, real-time cleanliness testing capabilities. Today inline cleaners have shrinked to less than half their original length, while improving on performance.

Note: Some major companies in this space like Stoelling, Sonictrin, Technical Devices did not participate in this feature.

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Model: Aquastorm 50 Batch Cleaning System; Brand: Electrovert; Company: Speedline Technologies Inc, USA

Launched in June 2012, Aquastorm 50 (AS50) utilises technologies that are common to the Aquastorm 100 and 200 inline cleaners and offered in a batch footprint. It can assure higher product reliability as it can remove flux residues under low standoff components, and from lead and lead free soldering processes such as rosin, no clean, and water soluble. The operating cost can be minimised through effective fluid management. The machine ensures that the PCBs go straight to test after cleaning. Its intelligent rinse control guarantees desired board conductivity to 1 micro Siemens.

Key features

Base machine equipped for use in DI water or chemistry applications; Short wash, rinse, and dry cycle times without shadowing effects as compared to other typical batch cleaners; Maximum board size of 15 inch x 20 inch (size dependant on process and application); Capable of 180F wash and final rinse temperatures; Closed loop wash; Chemical metering pump; Programmable chemical isolation between wash and rinse; Torrid Zone heated convection dryer

Contact details: Ng Ching How, +60 12 902 3848, ngch@speedlinetech.com, asiamarketing@speedlinetech.com, www.speedlinetech.com

India contact: Sanjay Sawant, +91 9867177129, sswant@speedlinetech.com

India distributor: Leaptech Corporation. For details, see Ad on Backcover

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Model: PS 300 VL, PS 300 VS, PS 300 HD & PS 300 CA, Brand: KOLB, Company: KOLB Cleaning Technology GmbH

Introduced in March 2012, KOLB PS 300 series are extremely compact machines for cleaning of screens, stencils and misprints from SMD paste, flux, oil, dust, grease, etc. These systems are perfectly applicable for smaller quantities as well as for mass production plants where a cleaning system is placed to each printer.

Key features

Push button operation; For cleaning products up to 31 inch X 37.5 inch / 780 X 950 mm; Short process time; PLC controlled process time and filter saturation; Stainless steel front; All systems work in a closed loop without water or water disposal connection with an intelligent two tank system

Contact details: Wilfried Clemens, international sales manager, Ph: +49 (0)2154 947922;

Wilfried.clemens@kolb-ct.com

India distributor: Bergen Associates Pvt Ltd

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Model: ICSF Solus 2b6, Brand: Interflux, Company: Interflux Singapore Pte Ltd, Singapore

The InterSpray stand alone series are designed to fulfil the requirements of the most demanding PCB assemblies. Operated fully independent, it opens up the process window for critical boards which requires precise and controlled fluxing. The system use Venturi spray nozzles with solid cone pattern, which produces an extremely fine mist with a clog free operation due to large passage. This system was launched last year.

Key features

Stepper Motor controlled conveyer speed to allow continuous and discontinuous spray applications; Stepper Motor controlled nozzle movement to secure accurate spray results; Stepper motor controlled PCB width adjustment; Flux amount settngs guided by the multi-flux layer concept; Advanced controls with recipes and data logging; Economical design for mass production; Pneumatic controlled nozzle movement to secure reliable spray results; Manual PCB width adjustment; Spray pressure limits control; Spray width adjustment via PLC

Contact details: Wim van Riet, Ph: +65 68487818, wimvanriet@interflux.com.sg, www.myinterspray.com

India distributor: Maxim SMT Technologies Pvt Ltd

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Model: Trident LD Batch Cleaner, Brand: Trident, Company: Aqueous Technologies Corp, USA

With the award winning focus wash technology and a Windows based PC computer, Trident LD is an automatic defluxing and cleanliness testing system. The control system constantly monitors the real time cleanliness of the assemblies and automatically modify the cleaning cycle accordingly.

A powerful multi-impeller stainless steel pump delivers precisely controlled fluid to 20 rotating stainless steel spray nozzles. The nozzles are designed to reduce the fluid droplet size for improved under component penetration. Additionally, Trident LD is equipped with an onboard cleanliness testing system that allows a user to program a desired cleanliness level.

Key features

Fully automatic wash, rinse and dry; Automatic chemical mixing and dosing; Built-in cleanliness tester; Removes all flux types from any alloy; 16 inch touchscreen user interface; zero discharge operation

Contact details: Ph: 909 944 7771, 909 291 1120, sales@aqueoustech.com, www.aqueoustech.com

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Model: HydroJet SW Solar Aqueous/Semi-Aqueous Inline Electronic Cleaning Systems, Company: Austin American Technology, USA

HydroJet Solar inline cleaning system has been developed using complex modeling techniques. It uses an innovative approach to cleaning and ensures that each progressive stage in the process optimises mechanical, thermal and chemical energy to achieve the best possible performance.

This unique design, along with Austin American Technology’s patented Jet Manifold drying, enables processing of the most complex, high density assemblies. Operating at twice the speed of competitive inline cleaners, HydroJet inline system also offers easy accessibility and simple maintenance to maximise uptime and productivity.

Key features

Efficiently removes water without heat energy; Allows separate chemistry and temperature utilisation; Easy to close loop; Easy and flexible system operation; Flexibility to run water or with additives; Facilitates quick and easy maintenance; Upgradable in the field; Lowest cost of ownership; Exclusive AAT progressive energy wash technology

Contact details: Robert Werkun, Asian/African/European sales manager, +86 021 5117 8937, Mob: +86 186 2136 5093, US: 512 380 1044, www.aat-corp.com/index.html

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Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No. 1 electronics B2B sourcing magazine

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