051_EETE

EETE FEBRUARY 2013

Publisher André Rousselot +32 27400053 andre.rousselot@eetimes.be Editor-in-Chief Julien Happich +33 153907865 julien.happich@eetimes.be EDITORS Nick Flaherty +44 7710236368 nick.flaherty@eetimes.be Christoph Hammerschmidt +49 8944450209 chammerschmidt@gmx.net CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Paul Buckley +44 1962866460 paul@activewords.co.uk Jean-Pierre Joosting +44 7800548133 jean-pierre.joosting@eetimes.be Circulation & Finance Luc Desimpel luc.desimpel@eetimes.be Advertising Production & Reprints Lydia Gijsegom lydia.gijsegom@eetimes.be Art Manager Jean-Paul Speliers Acounting Ricardo Pinto Ferreira Regional Advertising Representatives Contact information at: http://www.electronics-eetimes.com/en/ about/sales-contacts.html european business press European Business Press SA 7 Avenue Reine Astrid 1310 La Hulpe Tel: +32 (0)2 740 00 50 Fax: +32 (0)2 740 00 59 www.electronics-eetimes.com VAT Registration: BE 461.357.437 RPM: Brussels Company Number: 0461357437 © 2013 E.B.P. SA ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING TIMES EUROPE is published 11 times in 2013 by European Business Press SA, 7 Avenue Reine Astrid, 1310 La Hulpe, Belgium Tel: +32-2-740 00 50 Fax: +32-2-740 00 59 email: info@eetimes.be. VAT Registration: BE 461.357.437. RPM: Nivelles. Volume 15, Issue 2 EE Times P 304128 It is is free to qualified engineers and managers involved in engineering decisions – see: http://www.electronics-eetimes.com/subscribe Copyright 2013 by European Business Press SA. All rights reserved. P 304128 Bench-top cleaning: Be careful what you ask for By Mike Jones bench-top cleaning is superficially very simple, yet it is a challenging industrial process. This is because the requirements for successful bench-top cleaning are very different than the requirements for a chemical to be used in an automated cleaning machine. A cleaning fluid must meet a number of criteria to make it an acceptable product for workers to use on the bench-top. It must have exceptionally good toxicity profiles and should be fast drying and with no aroma, and preferably with no flashpoint. The cleaner has to be easy to use, handle, store, dispose of and affordably priced. It must also be powerful, but not so strong as to attack substrates and components being cleaned. There are not many chemicals that can meet all of these criteria. On top of these performance requirements are new regulations being imposed around the world, inconsistently and often by regulators with little knowledge or interest in the particular problems of employees working on the bench-top or the companies that pay them. REACH in the EU, and the new CLP rules in Europe limit the choices engineers make. These dynamic regulatory pressures are eliminating many otherwise promising chemistries. Another constraint is the current packaging and labeling requirements. Many countries now require safety labeling in local languages, which is a worthy goal. But there are 23 official languages in the EU. The unintended effect of this requirement is to push companies out of smaller markets, denying customers in those regions the benefits of innovative chemical technologies simply because it is not possible to get safety warnings in 23 languages on to a label.Lastly, many regulatory decisions are made without considering the entire workflow. For example, in many locations the recommended cleaning fluid is water because it is deemed as ‘green’ and ‘environmentally safe’. This is an over-simplification, as water does not work in every application such as in bench-top de-fluxing. Furthermore, since burning fossil fuels to produce electricity is one of the main sources of greenhouse gasses, any migration to water-based cleaning will have the unintended and undesired effect of increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Like it or not, increasing regulatory pressures are a fact of life and companies are going to have to adapt to them. Better choices require new guidelines For busy manufacturing engineers, finding, evaluating and approving bench-top de-fluxers and cleaners is a time-consuming and expensive process. A few simple rules may help simplify the selection process: 1. Any alternative chemical selection should limit consideration only to commercially available materials that have long-term market viability. Materials subject to international regulatory scrutiny that could affect long-term availability should be avoided. 2. Engineers must consider not just the chemical itself but the packaging in which it comes. Modern packaging can enhance the effectiveness of a cleaning fluid as well as minimize any environmental impact and improve worker safety. To make a solvent selection by simply comparing MSDS sheets, for example, is to miss a big part of the cleaning story. 3. Finally, engineers need to consider the cleaning process itself. The old-style ‘dip-and-brush’ cleaning is obsolete. Several manufacturers now provide cleaning tools designed to work and enhance their cleaning fluids. These tools can dramatically improve cleaning performance whilst reducing cleaning costs. Mike Jones is Vice President at MicroCare Corporation – www.microcare.com - he can be reached at MikeJ@microcare.com 50 Electronic Engineering Times Europe February 2013 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE FEBRUARY 2013
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