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Researching stencil cleaners

In regards to cleaning RMA solder paste from stencils; Ri... - Mar 26, 2001 by pzohbon  

... - Mar 27, 2001 by pzohbon  

pzohbon

#5736

Researching stencil cleaners | 26 March, 2001

In regards to cleaning RMA solder paste from stencils;

Right now we are cleaning the stencils by hand. I want to get away from this by going to an automatic cleaner.

Any recommendations for ultrasonic stencil cleaning systems using 440-R SMT detergent other than the SMarT Sonic cleaning system itself. Otherwise any combinations that are working for you.

The system needs to handle 29x29 stencil frames. A nice addition would be for it to wash and rinse without touching the stencil during the process, but it is not necessary.

Thanks, Peter

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Verm

#5739

Researching stencil cleaners | 27 March, 2001

Peter, I have completed trials on various machines for cleaning both SMT stencils and misprinted PCB�s for solder paste and adhesive. Why do you have a preference with the cleaning solution, is this flexible? I can recommend a machine which we purchased about a year ago but I do have some reservations e-mail me and I shall elaborate. There was some information in the archives.

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CAL

#5742

Researching stencil cleaners | 27 March, 2001

Our Stencil cleaner is of the Aqueous Technologies variety (AQ-201sc). Being a research company we change chemistries often. We recently have used Petroferm and Zestron Chemistries. Both Chemistries have met all of our expectations to date. Contact Information: Petroferm- Beth Bivins, 904-277-5236 Zestron- Andreas M�hlbauer, 703-589-1198

Cal

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#5744

Researching stencil cleaners | 27 March, 2001

Hi Peter,

Just curious, what do you have against Smart Sonic? I have heard and seen some very good things about their srencil-cleaning process.

We are also still cleaning by hand, but it seems that everytime I visit another facility to evaluate new equipment, I see a Smart Sonic stencil cleaner.

Kerry

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GCS

#5751

Researching stencil cleaners | 27 March, 2001

Ultrasonic I understand maybe the best at cleaning stencils, but we use a "pressure spray" it works very well and only takes appx. 12 minutes to wash & self dry.

Alcohol is the cleaner, but there are several company's making detergents for cleaning mis-prints BETTER than alcohol.

I agree cleaning the stenicl is important, but mis-prints are a must !

Also must consider which detergent is best for you up front because machine stencil cleaners may or may not be compatible with detergent.

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pzohbon

#5752

Researching stencil cleaners | 27 March, 2001

Nothing against Smart Sonic I just want to see what others are using and why. I have heard their chemistry is great, but that the machine is not as robust as other companies.

Peter

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Mike Konrad

#5753

Researching stencil cleaners | 27 March, 2001

SmartSonic states that they will not sell their 440R chemistry unless it will be used with their machines. But to answer your question, the following manufacturers make ultrasonic stencil cleaners compatible with 440R and many other chemistries.

Aqueous Technologies (800) 218-8128 http://www.aqueoustech.com PMR (480) 829-8170 http://www.pmrsystems.com EMC (215) 340-0650 http://www.emcgti.com JNJ Industries (508) 478-5290 http://www.jnj-industries.com Austin American (512) 335-6400 http://www.aat-corp.com/

Mike

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pzohbon

#5756

Researching stencil cleaners | 27 March, 2001

Thank you for the info. Where could I find out more about chemistries that are like the 440.

Peter

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pzohbon

#5757

Researching stencil cleaners | 27 March, 2001

#5758

Researching stencil cleaners | 27 March, 2001

The Smart Sonic 440-R SMT detergent is certified safe and effective by the EPA (I downloaded the documents from their web site). Is this true of the other chemistries that you referenced? If so, where can I find the documentation? If not, why not?

The EPA always has the last say in what can and cannot be used. I have had to change chemistries 3 different times in the past 5 years because of environmental regulations or because the chemistry failed to clean a new flux we brought in. Changing chemistries resulted in a change in the waste stream - what a nightmare! I think we could have bought 3 stencil cleaners after what it cost us in time and effort.

We will soon be looking for a stencil cleaner. As long as the stuff works, I think it is best to go with what the EPA has preapproved rather than risking another forced change. Kerry

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#5759

Researching stencil cleaners | 27 March, 2001

Hi Mike, The Smart Sonic 440-R SMT detergent is certified safe and effective by the EPA (I downloaded the documents from their web site). Is this true of the other chemistries that you referenced? If so, where can I find the documentation? If not, why not?

The EPA always has the last say in what can and cannot be used. I have had to change chemistries 3 different times in the past 5 years because of environmental regulations or because the chemistry failed to clean a new flux we brought in. Changing chemistries resulted in a change in the waste stream - what a nightmare! I think we could have bought 3 stencil cleaners after what it cost us in time and effort.

We will soon be looking for a stencil cleaner. As long as the stuff works, I think it is best to go with what the EPA has preapproved rather than risking another forced change. Kerry

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Mike Konrad

#5760

Researching stencil cleaners | 27 March, 2001

I would recommend pH neutral chemistries, particularly if a semi-automatic machine is to be used. There are many chemistries available. A partial list of chemistries that I have tested, and that are compatible with a variety of cleaning equipment include:

StencilWash (Solder Paste only) Aqueous Technologies 909.944.7771

StencilWash-AD (Solder Paste and Adhesives) Aqueous Technologies 909.944.7771

Hydrex AC (Solder Paste and Adhesive) Petroferm 904-261-8286

Hydrex AC Plus (Solder Paste and Adhesive) Petroferm 904-261-8286

XJN Kyzen 615-831-0888 (pH is 9.9)

SC-125 PMR Systems (480) 829-8170

SC200 Zestron 703-589-1198

Mike

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Mike Konrad

#5761

Researching stencil cleaners | 27 March, 2001

Hi Kerry,

You are putting too much emphasis on the EPA�s �ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY VERIFICATION STATEMENT� Consider the following EPA statement taken from the specific EPA report that you site:

�� the end-user should contact his/her local, state, or federal regulatory authority regarding management of spend hazardous wastes generated from use of the Smart Sonic aqueous cleaning systems (i.e., spent cleaning baths, rinse baths, and solids containing lead).� The EPA itself states:

�EPA and its partners will not seek to determine regulatory compliance, will not rank technologies or compare their performance, will not label or list technologies as acceptable or unacceptable, and will not seek to determine the �best available technology� in any form��. �EPA has no authority to certify technology performance.�

The fact that a particular process has been verified is good! But the verification process is not required, and is not a guarantee that any locality will accept it. It is, quite simply a good start. Although the verification process should not be discounted, it should not be considered as an implied approval.

As far as the �if not, why not� portion of your question, one can only hypothesize. According to the EPA, no other manufacturer has demonstrated interest in obtaining the verification. Perhaps this is because their chemistries have already tested safe, their equipment is designed to remove all hazardous contamination from a potential waste stream, and they not interested in force-feeding users into both the razor and the blades. Mike

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#5762

Researching stencil cleaners | 27 March, 2001

Mike,

I don't feel that I am putting too much emphasis on the EPA certification. If it wasn't for the EPA, I would still be using freon in my old degreaser and would not have needed to change chemistries 3 times in 5 years. Why fight the EPA if the certified stuff works?

I think you have been misinformed. The certification document is right on Smart Sonic's website (www.smartsonic.com) and the EPA's website (www.epa.gov/etv) Click on "Partners". I called the EPA and was told that basically, Smart Sonic was evaluated and certified by the California EPA (which is much more strict than the U.S EPA) and that the U.S. EPA confirmed and verified the work done by the Cal/EPA. So both EPA's recognize it as environmental and user safe. Several state EPA's have certification programs and act as "contractors" to the U.S. EPA. Once the U.S. EPA verifies the state's work, it becomes universally accepted.

The person I talked to said that in fact several companies have inquired about the program and were sent info, but to date, nobody else has submitted their products for evaluation. He spoke very highly of the Smart Sonic process and seemed knowledgeable about other available processes. E-mail me and I will give you the contact name for the EPA.

As far as the precautionary statement at the end of the Smart Sonic Verification Statement, this is "boiler plate" stuff and found on vertually every MSDS I ever saw. Nobody wants to take legal responsibility for somebody else's mess.

I agree, the certification/verification process is good and if other companies could pass it, I am sure they would have it.

As far as force feeding a "razor and blade." I checked with Smart Sonic and found that they will gladly sell me a stencil cleaner without buying their chemistry. I guess the real question is: Why would I want to use another chemistry that is not certified if the certified stuff works?

Just my opinion, I could be wrong. Kerry

P.S. Thank's for helping me talk this out. I think I just made a decision on what stencil cleaner to buy - when and if I ever get my budget approved.

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Mike Konrad

#5764

Researching stencil cleaners | 28 March, 2001

Hi Kerry,

I also am glad that we have the opportunity to discuss the EPA �certification� with regards to equipment and chemistries.

I also have contacted the EPA with specific questions concerning the program you are promoting. The EPA responded to me with copies of correspondence between the EPA and the company in question. The document states that the company in question was providing �inaccurate and misleading� information and included a demand that they stop such practices. They have been ordered to stop using the words �EPA approved� and other misleading statements including the line �other cleaners may soon be obsolete�. The EPA stated IN WRITING that they have NO POWER to approve or disapprove the cleaning process, as evidenced by the fact that, on �that company�s� web site, the EPA statement recommends that a user obtain local, and state approvals before using such a system.

The EPA further stated that they lack the mandate to stop anyone from using a chemical that is legal. I believe that the EPA Verification program is helpful in determining that a process works as advertised as much as I believe in the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. But to leap to the conclusion that other processes are in any way jeopardized is an error in judgment and in EPA regulation. After all, do you really think that companies like Petroferm, Alpha Metals, Kyzen, Zestron, and dozens more are barred from selling their chemicals by the EPA? Do you really think that equipment manufacturers like Electrovert / Speedline, Accell, EMC, Aqueous Technologies, JNJ, PMR, Trek Industries, Stoelting, Corpane, Detrex, Branson, and dozens more are barred from selling their systems by the EPA? According to one company this seems to be true. According to the EPA, this is not true.

I realize that this information may not be easily believable as it contradicts your previous statements. But believe me, I am not making this stuff up! It is time to set the record straight. If you would like a copy the EPA letter that makes the record clear, please email me and I�ll be happy to provide it for you, or anyone else.

Mike konrad@aqueoustech.com

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#5774

Researching stencil cleaners | 28 March, 2001

Mike,

I see that you are from Aqueous Technologies and you sell stencil cleaners. I now understand your sensitivity to this subject.

I seriously doubt that the EPA would copy you on correspondence between the EPA and another company. If they did, it was highly unethical. If the EPA ordered Smart Sonic to stop using certain phrases or words, why do they continue to link directly from the EPA Certification website into Smart Sonic�s web site? As far as the EPA not having power to approve or disapprove a cleaning process - herein lies the problem.

Equipment, chemistry and waste management companies are not regulated prior to sale. However, when the products are purchased and married as a process, the process may not meet EPA guidelines (I found out the hard way). This is where the EPA has �the power� to reject the process or not approve a permit. The EPA certification process appears to be proactive to help prevent permitting problems. They certainly had the power to stop me using Freon and two other chemistries (which I will not mention by name) over the past 5 years because of VOCs? Unfortunately, the regulating guidelines of the EPA, AQMD and OSHA are dynamic. What is �legal� to buy and sell today is not always acceptable by tomorrow�s guidelines and certainly not always approved by the Permit process. If the EPA would regulate the process before it was sold, then the problem would be yours, and the other companies you mentioned, not ours. If the EPA would regulate you (the seller) and not the user, we would not be having this conversation. At least by certifying a process, the EPA is telling us what is acceptable so there is little risk and no surprises downstream.

My contact at the EPA is Mr. Tony Luan. I recommend you contact him at 1(916) 322-5244.

Mike, I seriously think that if other companies cold obtain EPA Certification, they would. And, if they are not interested in becoming certified, they are doing their customers a disservice.

Kerry

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#5776

Researching stencil cleaners | 28 March, 2001

Hello Mike,

Let me try to explain the Certification vs. Verification for you. There are two EPA programs. The California Environmental Protection Agency's Certification Program where Cal/EPA Certifies the entire cleaning process for environmental safety, user safety and verifies that all performance claims made by Smart Sonic are true and correct. Once a technology is certified, the data can be submitted to the Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program, which is a U.S. EPA program that acts as a �disinterested third party� and verifies that the data provided by the Cal/EPA program is correct. Although the ETV is a national program, the Certification by Cal/EPA makes it much more notable because California�s standards are, in many cases, more strict that the national and many international standards. In the 11 years that Smart Sonic has provided this stencil-cleaning process, there has never been a situation were the process failed to meet environmental or safety regulations - worldwide.

I must agree with Kerry. The Cal/EPA Certification and the ETV Programs are available to any company that can meet the standards. Companies not participating in the EPA Certification and/or Verification Programs are doing their customers, and the environment, a disservice.

Kerry gave you a good reference at the EPA. The original person that coordinated the Smart Sonic Certification, Mr. Pat Bennett, has been promoted to another department and is unavailable for comment. So, I thought I would quote him from an article published in Circuits Assembly, �Surface-Mount Stencil Cleaning� by Nick Lester (past editor of CA), November 1998, pp 55 -58.

�We don�t just verify technologies, we certify technologies here in California, and that makes the ETV pilot program unique. We are geared to test and evaluate technology to help with the commercialization. If the specific technology passes, it will receive a Certification from California�s Secretary of Environmental Protection and (verification from) the U.S. EPA.� Note the phrase "to help with commercialization." The Certification Program is designed to expidite the acceptance of a technology in order to better serve the environment and the technology users.

Mr. Tony Luan was also quoted in the article, but, as Kerry indicated, he is available for comment at the EPA, Department of Toxic Substances Control.

There are several published articles on the subject of which copies may be found on our website.

I am unaware of receiving any negative communications from the EPA. If you would fax or e-mail me a copy of what you say you have, I will gladly address it.

Regards,

Bill Schreiber, President

Smart Sonic Corporation

Tel: 1(818) 909-6400, Fax: 1(818) 909-6409, E-mail: bill@smartsonic.com

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Mike Konrad

#5778

Researching stencil cleaners | 28 March, 2001

Hi Bill,

Please let me refresh your memory�

On April 1, 1999, the United States Environmental Protection Agency sent you a letter based on what they called �inaccurate� statements made by SmartSonic (ironically on SMTNET.COM).

EPA letter dated April 1, 1999 To: Bill Schreiber From: United States Environmental Protection Agency

"The ETV program has reviewed the following attached documents obtained from SmartSonics� web site and http://www.smtnet.com web site, and wish to bring the following inaccurate (underlined) statements to Smart Sonic�s attention for immediate correction."

� "Throughout the material, references are made to the �certification� of Smart Sonic by the ETV program or by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), itself. All such references to certification must (underlined) be removed. As the enclosed ETV Strategy states (page 2). ETV �EVALUATES� and �VERIFIES�, but it expressly does not (underlined) �CERTIFY� performance.

��EPA has no authority to certify technology performance and no such authority can be asserted by anyone with the possibility of incurring potential legal difficulties�

� �All implications that ETV verification implies EPA �approval� of Smart Sonic technology must (underlined) also be removed. Again, as stated clearly in the ETV Strategy (page 3), EPA and its partners will not seek to determine regulatory compliance, will not rank technologies or compare their performance, will not label or list technologies as acceptable or unacceptable, and will not seek to determine �best available technology� in any form��

� �Again, the ETV is not an approval process and does not convey legal authorities of any kind.�

Bill, I appreciate your passion regarding your equipment. But you owe it to the readers of this forum to state the facts, as truthfully as possible. It was the misstating of the facts on this very forum that caught the EPA�s attention and triggered the warning letter. It was the EPA that made this letter available in an effort to prove to the cleaning industry that they had indeed warned you and that many of your statements were non accurate.

Mike

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Rob Fischer

#5782

Researching stencil cleaners | 28 March, 2001

This is brutal. I think we should call a truce. Mike has very good points and his quotations from the EPA letter are fact. If there isn't a competitor of Bill's who hasn't seen this letter I'd be surprised. We could go on and on about this and the fact would remain, the majority of participants in this forum could give a @#$% about our feuding. I have to say that I personally resent the blatant advertising Bill does on SMTnet forum but if it's okay with them, I guess we could all do it. I choose to win business the old fashioned way and I think Mike does too. EPA this and certification that, the fact of the matter is that the performance of a stencil cleaner involves more than EPA "certification", it also involves results in performance, ease of maintenence (we all got you there Bill), and flexibility in chemistry use, allowing you to use what is best not only now but also four years from now, without voiding your warranty. We need to pick a time to discuss this over dinner, maybe Boston. Heck, I'll buy. That is if the EPA doesn't shut me down before then. Or maybe I could get a banner ad and get away with it.

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pzohbon

#5791

Researching stencil cleaners | 29 March, 2001

Rob, How does your chemistry stack up against the 440R? I see you mentioned ease of maintenance as one down fall in that chemistry's make-up. Could you elaborate for me. Thanks.

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Rob Fischer

#5792

Researching stencil cleaners | 29 March, 2001

Our company and most others do no specify any specific chemistry but offer equipment with configurations for running the best chemistry based on your application. Listed in one of Mike Konrad's postings are the contacts for chemistry. Ease of maintenance refers to the equipment, not the chemistry. This comment is based on customer comments made to us while in the field. I feel it's not in this forum's best interest to have one vendor criticize another vendor's piece of equipment. If I were and end-user I would certainly volunteer my thoughts. We all have reference lists and track records, I suggest you contact each supplier for theirs.

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#5794

Researching stencil cleaners | 29 March, 2001

Hello again Mike,

First, I apologize to the people that have been put through this exercise. However, I cannot let you continue to misrepresent my company.

Your continued attempt to cloud this issue by referring solely to the U.S. EPA�s Verification Program while ignoring completely the Cal/EPA Certification program is not only circuitous, it is bordering on deception.

As I have pointed out to you in the comments above and in the past, the California EPA certifies the Smart Sonic Stencil Cleaning Process and the certification data was submitted to the U.S. EPA program (ETV) for �Verification.� The U.S. EPA only verifies the data to be true and correct and, as a result, cannot and will not favor any particular technology and welcomes any commercial ready product that wishes to be evaluated.

Smart Sonic participated in the original ETV Pilot Program and because Smart Sonic was simultaneously participating in the Cal/EPA Certification Program caused some initial confusion. Once the U.S. EPA evaluates the data, the Verification Statement can be prepared and released rather quickly. Although the Cal/EPA Certification data was completed and subsequently submitted to the U.S. EPA for verification, by California law, the Certification must go through a 60-day public notice phase and a final signature phase. As a result, the U.S. EPA Verification Statement was released before the official Certification.

The letter you reference is asking me to use the term �Verified� because technically the process was not yet �Certified� and the U.S EPA does not certify technologies. The U.S. EPA Verification Statement was released in February 1999 and Certification was not issued until July 1999. For those 5 months, Smart Sonic could only use the terms "Verified or Verification.�

As you know, Certification and Verification of our technology are now both official. Again, I recommend that you contact Mr. Tony Luan or go to the websites that have been referenced for current documentation and cease with your continued attempts to discredit these programs. Better yet, submit your technology for evaluation. Healthy competition is always welcome.

Sincerely,

Bill Schreiber

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Mike Konrad

#5795

Researching stencil cleaners | 29 March, 2001

Hi Bill,

spin doctor Function: noun : a person (as a political aide) responsible for ensuring that others interpret an event from a particular point of view

You made your point and I made mine. I will apologize to the readers for the excessive bandwidth used to make such points but I feel that they needed to be made, lest someone makes an expensive decision based on erroneous information.

I�d better go now, the EPA is chaining my doors closed.

Mike

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DMZog

#5803

Researching stencil cleaners | 29 March, 2001

To all following this string, there is at least one other chemistry which has passed the South Coast Air Quality Management District testing and has Clean Air Solvent CERTIFICATION! Call Zestron for details 703-589-1198. Dave

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#5804

Researching stencil cleaners | 29 March, 2001

Hi Dave,

I looked into the South Coast Air Quality Management District Clean Air Solvent Certification when I was having my problems with VOCs. The problem with the SCAQMD CAS Certification is that it only certifies chemicals as they are found in the original container. They do not take into account how the chemical is used; the resulting waste stream and they allow a certain amount of VOC content.

Just because a chemistry is CAS certified, doesn't automatically mean that it is acceptable for use in a hazardous application like stencil-cleaning where the waste stream is contaminated with heavy metals.

I think you will find most all chemistries sold for stencil-cleaning have a CAS certification. It is a good screen, but I wouldn't recommend that anybody implement a chemistry based solely on a CAS certification.

Regards, Kerry

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