partially activated flux after wave White flux residues around connector pins

Cleaning possibilities

Services: Cleaning Electronics & Components
Fix Trade has the capability to clean both bare boards and finished assemblies.  Using a variety of methods, Fix Trade  can assure that your boards are clean and prepared for reliable field performance.  Whether needs involve cleaning of the total board or only a specific localized area, we have the tools and knowledge to complete the task.
Some of the specific areas we specialize in include:

  •  Precision Cleaning
  • Rescue Cleaning
  • Restoration Cleaning
  • Proof of Cleaning
  • Cleaning a No Clean Assembly
  • Cleaning a Lead Free Assembly
  • Contract Cleaning
  • Flux Removal
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Dendrite removal
  • Cleaning of Components

We have the capabilities of steam cleaning in both batch and inline cleaners. Our protocol is qualified to IPC ANSI-J-Std 001 for water soluble flux cleaning and cleaning of no-clean flux residues.  The systems are designed for low-pressure, high flood sapponified cleaning and are used in conjunction with isolated steam allowing us the flexibility to clean a variety of products and contaminants. Using our cleaning systems, we are able to handle a range of projects as small as one sample up to hundreds of thousands of assemblies.  We can customize our cleaning process to adjust for parts that are water intolerant. Or with conformal coatings.  All IPC directed ESD protocols are followed for protection of your product.
Once cleaning is completed, results will be validated by certified IPC 610 visual inspection as well as ion chromatography analysis.  With each return shipment, a certificate of compliance will be provided.  If required, each cleaned board can be marked.  If you have a cleaning need, please feel free to email with your information and to obtain a quotation.

Cleaning Electronics

Correct cleaning of electronic components and equipment within the production process is a pre-requisite for long-term performance and quality. Silicone electrochemical range of products aid the preparation and cleaning of surfaces in order to effectively apply conformal coatings, adhesives or potting compounds, within electrical or electronic devices used in the following industries:

  • Automotive
  • Aviation and aerospace
  • Telecommunications
  • Railway and traction
  • Measurement and control
  • Household appliances
  • General electronic and electrical applications

Water Based Cleaners
Where practical and viable we would always recommend the use of a water based cleaner which will have
obvious environmental benefits however, in some cases it is not practical to use these types of cleaners.
Silicones have produced very effective aqueous cleaners for use with both manual and machine automated
systems. There are  aqueous cleaners in three convenient forms: a foaming aerosol, for easy on the spot
cleaning, a bulk solution, supplied ready for use, or as a concentrate, for further dilution.

  • Multi metal inhibited formulation
  • Removes fluxes and residues, especially no clean and lead free
  • Cleans to IPCTM650/ANSI-J-STD 001B standards
  • Removes uncured surface mount adhesive residues from stencils and application equipment
  • Removes some solvent soluble coatings (Acrylic coatings)
  • Biodegradable

The bulk liquids are suitable for use with ultrasonic or spray under immersion cleaning equipment. As with all cleaners, it is important to rinse away all residues to complete the cleaning process.

Solvent Based Cleaners
Solvent cleaners, are fast evaporating solvents that do not contain CFC’s, HCF’s chlorinated or brominated solvents. Degreaser – is designed for removal of greases, oil, silicones and hydrocarbons prior to the application of adhesives, coatings or other surface treatments. Residues should be rinsed off using clean solvent.
PCB Cleaner – specifically designed to clean flux and residues, uncured surface mount adhesives, solvent
soluble coatings from PCB’s and associated equipment, such as stencils. It can also be used as a very
effective label remover.

When cleaning with either solvented or aqueous based cleaners it is important to ensure compatibility with the
materials being cleaned. It is not possible to provide a definitive list of which substrates should be avoided
with specific cleaners. Particularly sensitive to many solvents are many of the modern plastics used within the
electronics industry, such as acrylic and polycarbonate. We strongly recommend testing for compatibility prior
to introducing a cleaner into the production process; selecting a test area where any adverse effects will not be
detrimental to product integrity.
Care should be exercised when using any aqueous based cleaner on unprotected metals to avoid problems
with corrosion.

These are made of high quality, lint free cloths designed for the general cleaning and drying of all surfaces
including glass, plastics, rubbers, metals, LCD and filter screens. They are specifically designed to be tear
resistant and non-linting which makes it ideal for use on delicate surfaces and stencils. They can be used with
any of the cleaners.

Flux Residue Types, Sources and Effects
Flux residues are one of the most common and harmful residue sources that afflict printed circuit board assemblies.   Field product failures occur regularly due to flux residues that have not been fully volatilized from boards during assembly processes.  With today’s circuitry becoming smaller and more complex, with smaller circuit spacing’s and lower standoffs, there are many opportunities for flux residue entrapment in critical areas of circuitry or underneath low standoff components.

The most common flux residues found are chloride and weak organic acids.  Weak organic acids include such substances as adipic and succinic acids.  Flux residues are a result of flux activators, and are normally benign if allowed to fully complex and volatilize from boards.  Flux deposition is also very important in preventing harmful flux residues from being left on boards.  If too much flux is deposited, thermal energy during preheat is spent driving off solvents rather than complexing the flux residues.

When flux residues are left on PCBs or PWBs, they have the potential to react with moisture and an applied voltage to cause electro migration and electrical leakage.  It is therefore important to make sure that flux deposition is controlled, flux residues are volatilized and cleaning processes are optimized.  Foreside specializes in services such as failure analysis, cleanliness evaluation, proof of cleaning and flux qualification testing and consulting.  Below are some pictures of flux residues and their related problems.