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August 29, 2011

Fumes from Baking

We are purchasing an industrial oven for PCB baking prior to rework.

Are there any health-related issues regarding exposure to fumes generated during the baking process? Should the oven be vented to the outside?

R. G.

Experts Comments

An oven used to demoisturize the boards would typically operate in the 250 F temperature range. Some nonmetallic materials will off-gas at that temperature, but it will not be high enough to "melt lead".

More than likely, a local code will require ventilation of the oven at a minimal flow rate of 50 CFM. If it were my oven, I would ventilate it. This will also reduce the chance of condensation of the off-gassed products on the cooler parts of the oven, such as a window.

Rick Perkins
Chem Logic
Rick Perkins is a chemical engineer with more than 33 years of Materials & Processes experience. He has worked with Honeywell Aerospace in high-reliability manufacturing, as well as with several oil-field manufacturing companies. He also has a good understanding of environmental, health, and safety regulations.

Best practice would be to have the oven vented to a scrubber or to the outside. There can be residual solvents, flux residues etc. present on a board (especially once it has gone through some assembly processes) that can be potentially harmful and/ or irritating when exposed to heat.

Dennis Hammer
Quality Assurance Manager
Sunstone Circuits
With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Dennis Hammer has had roles as Quality Assurance Manager, Lab Manager, Process Engineering Manager, Lab Manager and ITAR Compliance Officer. He has played key roles with EAR and ITAR regulations and requirements.
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