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March 30, 2011

Ideal Relative Humidity for Final Assembly

What is the ideal level of humidity RH% for a manufacturing plant?

Our facility is used only for final assembly. We don't assemble/solder pcb's, but our finished products do contain many assembled pcb's. What is the ideal relative humidity for this type of final assembly facility?

T. P.

Experts Comments

There are two scenarios to consider here. Low humidity will make the risk of ESD damage greater and you should therefore keep it above 30% RH.

High humidity can result in a greater risk of corrosion or moisture absorption by components and PEC's therefore try and keep it below 65 % RH.

Bryan Kerr
Principal Engineer - CMA Lab
BAE Systems
Bryan Kerr has 35 years experience in providing technical support to PEC assembly manufacturing. His experience ranges from analysis of materials and components to troubleshooting and optimizing, selecting reflow, cleaning, coating and other associated processes.

Like most things it is a compromise. Higher humidity increases corrosion (oxidation) and reduces static. Low humidity reduces corrosion, but increases static. The general consensus is 50-60% is ideal for most types of manufacturing.

Mark Waterman
Engineer / Trainer
Electronic Controls Design, Inc. (ECD)
Mark Waterman is a trainer and field engineer with 17 years experience in service and applications specialties. Intimate knowledge of soldering processes and measurement systems. Six sigma and statistical process control generalist.
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