More than two decades ago, a company that manufactures circuit boards* for use in a variety of electrical products was facing a quandary. To clean their circuit boards, the company was using a solvent that contained ingredients determined to be harmful to the environment. As a result, they were given two years to phase out the use of these solvents. Company management decided they had four possible options to address this situation:
1. They could simply not clean the circuit boards, a solution referred to as the “no-clean” process.
2. They could turn to cleaning processes that use nonsolvent cleaning chemicals.
3. They could use solvents that were not harmful or less harmful for the environment.
4. They could look into alternative cleaning processes using no chemicals whatsoever.
The manufacturer quickly decided using the so-called no-clean process was not an option. Manufacturing circuit boards sometimes leads to the creation of what are called “solder balls,” which must be removed to prevent short circuits in the product. To remove these necessitates cleaning, meaning the no-clean process was obviously not a viable option. [Read More…]