Global electro-chemicals manufacturer, Electrolube, has developed an innovative cleaning solution called Safewash Super (SWAS) for PCB wafer assemblers, following close collaboration with a number of manufacturers to considerably improve their cleaning capabilities as well as speed up throughput, reduce costs and decrease environmental impact.
Whilst cleaning processes can vary from plant to plant, the silicone wafer manufacturers in collaboration with Electrolube all had many issues in common. These included experiencing a bottleneck in production due to a slow cleaning process, using a solvent based cleaning product - which produced disappointing cleaning outcomes as well as increased rejects and re-work - and concerns with environmental impact with regard to storage, transport, disposal and employee safety. The existing solvent-based products in use also displayed a relatively low contamination ‘load bearing’ capability, which resulted in a more frequent need to replace material for a fresh batch.
In a recent case study involving a major multinational wafer manufacture, Electrolube’s SWAS, Safewash Super, proved how one product change can result in an entirely new cleaning process experience for wafer assemblers. This particular customer used a US made solvent-based cleaning agent in a multi chamber machine, consisting of five cleaning tanks plus a loading and unloading station. Electrolube addressed their concerns by introducing SWAS into their process. As a direct result of implementing SWAS, the customer was able to reclaim considerable floor space at their facility by reducing their existing five tank configuration to a three tank configuration (clean/QDR & QDR De-Ionised).
SWAS significantly improved the assembler’s cleaning performance with no residue on the wafer and enabled throughput to increase by as much as 50%, a vast increase assisted by the decreased time in the cleaning tank and the reduced tank configuration.
SWAS can absorb a maximum of 5%-15% of its weight of flux (RA, RMA, no-clean and water-soluble) whilst still cleaning to high military standards. Due to the product’s capacity to ‘hold’ high levels of contaminant particles, the customer effectively reduced the number of cleaning agent changes per week. Costs were reduced even further thanks to the water-based formulation of SWAS, making it cheaper to transport and dispose of after use. Designed to clean to well within the world's military cleanliness standards - ANSI-J-001B/IPC TM-650 - SWAS is non-flammable, 100% ozone friendly and biodegradable. The cleaning agent is low-odour and is far safer for employees to work with and to store.
It has become very evident that SWAS is a very cost effective and technically capable cleaning product in this application, indeed for a majority of wafer manufacturers and PCB/production equipment cleaning applications. SWAS is ideally suited to removing all types of flux residues quickly and efficiently, with minimal environmental effect using low cost, readily available cleaning equipment. It is particularly well suited for the removal of very stubborn flux resides and no-clean fluxes, which can be extremely difficult to remove. Currently used by major manufacturers in a wide variety of cleaning systems, Safewash Super provides advanced cleaning performance to military cleanliness standards at minimal financial and environmental cost.