The electronics assembly industry standard procedures were once driven by the high-reliability requirements of the military. With the dramatic innovation of consumer electronics and their subsequent high-volume global production requirements, the high-reliability world no longer rules the roost. However, as innovation continues to drive capability in medical devices and equipment and other long lived or �can't fail� class three products, the requirements of high-reliability manufacturers are once again coming center stage.
Miniaturization not only increases the opportunity for failure of critical devices, but the small size increases their potential for both mobility and exposure to non-climate controlled environments. Solder corrosion in the form of electrochemical migration has been studied and long known as a failure mechanism in electronics assemblies. Ionic contaminants, especially in the presence of moisture, increased power, whisker growths, and leakage currents, can lead to corrosion. The trend toward highly dense assemblies reduces the spacing between conductors while yielding a larger electronic field.
As the industry moves to higher functionality, miniaturization, and lead-free soldering, studies show that cleanliness of the assembly becomes more important. The purpose of this research is to investigate cleaning relevance when manufacturing high-reliability and, particularly, lead-free printed circuit board assemblies.
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