Ask the Experts
March 16, 2009 - Updated
March 15, 2009 - Originally Posted

Is PCB Baking Necessary?

I understand from some EMS industry sources that the PCB Baking is not necessary if the PCB is Vacuum Packed by the PCB supplier. Is this true or do we still need to consider baking for our process?

G. K.

Expert Panel Responses

PCBs need to be treated and handled the same as any other Moisture Sensitive Device, especially in today's higher temperature lead-free processes. Receiving the product in vacuum sealed Moisture Barrier Bags (with Humidity Indicator Cards) is certainly a good start, but you must be aware of the MSL rating and keep track of floor time/life. Adsorption Cabinets are an ideal way to both store AND dry these and other MSDs and avoidoxidation issues associated with traditional baking.

Richard Heimsch
Protean Marketing
Now a director at Protean Marketing, Mr. Heimsch has worked in the electronics industry 25+ years in a wide variety of international sales, marketing and operations roles. Rich spearheads Protean's international business development, specializing in Brand Management and Strategic Communications.

This is a correct statement. PCB Baking is not necessary if the PCB is Vacuum Packed by the PCB Supplier and will be sealed until you are ready to populate the PCB. Only bake the boards if the vacuum package has been open for a period of time (say > 24 hours) and your storage area has high humidity. If your storage area has a consistent low humidity then I would suggest not baking the PCB's.

Joe Karcewski
Product Manager
APS-Novastar, LLC
Joe Karcewski has been a Process Engineer for 16 years in the industry. He is a certified IPC-A-610 trainer and is presently working at APS-Novastar as a Product Manager for Soldering Systems including Selective Soldering systems.

We see no reason to bake good 6012 class 2 or better laminated boards although material selection is key.

James Mahoney
Applications Project Manager
Quick Turn Flex Circuits LLC
James Mahoney is a Technical Operations Manager with a 20 year track record in managing new product introduction. He is a skilled leader, motivator and problem solver with a strong background in Product Knowledge and Engineering Management.
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