A Contract Manufacturer's  Quest for.Removal of Cured Conformal Coating Residues from PCBs

In the world of electronics manufacturing, printed circuit boards (PCBs) play a crucial role.

Reliability is a critical aspect of PCB manufacturing, and conformal coating is often used to protect PCBs against moisture-induced failures, creeping currents, electrochemical migration, and much more. Cleaning prior to coating is recommended to ensure proper adhesion, but what about removing coating for rework purposes?

Currently, the most popular options for coating removal include either harsh, hazardous cleaners or manual hand chiseling. Not exactly ideal for high-reliability PCBs.

Join us as we help solve a customer's desire to clean conformal coating residues safely and effectively.

BackgroundThe Problem

A ZESTRON customer and well-known player in the automotive aftermarket industry dedicated to producing high-quality replacement parts needed to remove cured conformal coating residues from their PCBs. These residues can be challenging to eliminate, and the customer was currently testing hazardous chemicals to tackle the job. Keen to find an environmentally safe cleaning agent and detailed process parameters, they reached out to ZESTRON for support.


the Process

To ensure their cleaning process meets their standards, the customer provided 10 PCBs with cured epoxy/urethane-based coating material for testing. The goal was to identify a cleaning agent and process that would effectively remove the coating residues.

The customer's dedicated ZESTRON Applications Engineer tested three ZESTRON chemistries in multiple types of equipment at the ZESTRON Technical Center in an effort to find the most effective option. They adjusted cleaning time, temperature, and concentration to see the ideal process. Ultimately, ATRON® DC, a pH-neutral and environmentally friendly cleaning chemistry, was chosen for the task at hand. Optimal cleaning results were conducted in the ZESTRON Technical Center using the  MbTech MC200+ Spray-in-Air Batch Cleaner. 

The Results 

The study results were promising, and upon completion of the testing, the customer received a detailed technical report, including guidance on process recommendations specific to their equipment and potential optimizations that could lead to even better results.

The cleaned PCBs were returned to the customer. After inspection, it was confirmed that the ATRON® DC successfully removed the epoxy and urethane coating residues from the PCBs just as well as the harsh chemicals previously used. There was no damage to components, and the customer was happy to find an environmentally safe solution to their problem.

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Our Conclusion

This success story highlights the capabilities of environmentally safe cleaning alternatives and the importance of choosing the right partner for your cleaning needs. ZESTRON is more than a supplier; we're an extension of your team - utilizing our capabilities and industry knowledge to solve your problems as if they are our own. 

Our commitment to innovative cleaning solutions continues to support companies in their quest for excellence in the electronics industry.

Reach out today; we'd love to help! 

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