As mentioned before, board cleanliness is also a requirement for our team and our RF water meter clients. The standards for cleanliness are very strict high for RF water meters because of the longer life and higher reliability requirements placed on them by the nature of the application themselves. The massive expense to locate, recall, fix and re-deploy buried water meters requires an excessive amount of money, hence the need for the design and processes to meet the life cycle parameters. Furthermore, the use of low-profile components and the limited space in a water meter RF PCBA makes the cleanliness process particularly challenging.
We pay close attention to end-use requirements as well as the chemistries being used to ensure board cleanliness in its PCBAs and box-build assemblies.
As high reliability printed circuit boards become more dense and complex, a cleaning process is required to remove solder flux and by-products from the PCB assembly. We utilize chemistry assisted spray-in-air inline cleaning systems capable of delivering dynamic energy to the board level. To maximize cleaning effectiveness and performance we have developed and qualified our wash recipe to surpass industry standards for PCBA cleanliness. The process was developed to ensure our fixturing and optimized wash parameters clean under low profile components. The wash recipe manages critical features of the machine operation, such as conveyor speed, spray pressure, DI water temperature, and chemical concentration. To maintain the control required; the process is monitored with the Ionograph and validated through IonChromatography cleanliness testing.