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October 27, 2008

Increase Bed Life with In-line Cleaner

We recently installed an in-line cleaner and closed-loop DI (de-ionized) filtration system that uses one carbon and two mixed beds. The problem we are having is the mixed beds are used up in less than a week.

Is there a way to extend mixed bed life to more than two weeks and have any of your experts seen similar problems?

We are cleaning PCB Assemblies after soldering in a Tin/Lead wave soldering process.

P. G.

Experts Comments

There are a few things that you can do for free with your existing system to improve the life of the DI beds, but it all depends on how you're using them.

Saponifiers and water-soluble masks are extremely hard on DI beds. Use of these in a closed-loop system will significantly reduce the life of the DI tanks.

You might check out sourcing separate cation and anion tanks to place in series with the mixed bed tanks. These can be very effective at reducing the "hit" taken by the mixed tanks when processing dirty return water from the washer, and are typically a little cheaper. Mixed bed tanks are usually only used to "polish" the water to a very high purity level.

The quality of your make-up water can also adversely affect the life of the filter beds. While it is an additional cost, installing a reverse-osmosis water purifier in front of the DI filters can improve the quality of water coming into the loop. There are turn-key combination systems that may be a good fit.

Jeff Fouche
Design Engineer
ACE Production Technologies
Jeff Fouche has 2 years of experience as a Manufacturing Engineer for CM/OEM and 2 years as a Design/Process Engineer with ACE Production Technologies. Jeff is also an IPC certified trainer. He received his BSME in 2003 from the University of Idaho.
NOTE: Mr. Fouche is no longer working at ACE production Technologies.
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