|Ask the Experts|
December 12, 2017
Concerns Using Hand Sanitizers
Many of our line operators have been using hand sanitizers. Should we be concerned that we might be contaminating our circuit board assemblies if our operators handle them without gloves shortly after using a hand sanitizer?
|Expert Panel Responses|
Yes there are some issues with Hand Sanitizers. Hand Sanitizers are made with Glycerin. Glycerin is considered a "contaminate" for circuit boards. It can negatively affect circuit boards because it is Hygroscopic and can attract moisture to the Circuit. A lot of this used to be used in HASL Fluxes and is a no go for Circuits that are not going to be washed. They too could dissolve the natural Halides from your fingers and transfer the Halides to the Circuit with added moisture leads to potential failure. Alcohol Based Sanitizers are also like alcohol based napalm, it is highly flammable, and when lit it considered to be a white flame (hottest that a flame can be). There are Antibacterial Lotions is being used by electronic assembly plants that do not contain any of the contaminants of PCB's Ex. Lanolin, Glycerin, Mineral Oils, or Silicones. You should probably have your company provide these approved lotions on the factory floor and restrict the use of personal lotions.
Fuji America Corporation
Absolutely you should be concerned. Oils, both natural and those in various sanitizers can easily cause surface contamination on sensitive/delicate surfaces.
If you are using original scent hand sanitizers which are mostly alcohol I would think that it would be OK. Just stay away from the scented or "enhanced with moisturizers" as they may carry contaminates to your process.
Regional Sales Manager
OK International Inc.
I did a study on this topic a few years ago. It was published in the IPC Apex proceedings. The title was "An Investigation Into Hand Sanitizers and Hand Lotions and Potential Risks to High Performance Electronics". Whether it is a concern or not depends largely on whether you are incorporating cleaning or not, but for hand sanitizers, we found no real issues. Our concerns were more for hand lotions. See: http://www.ipcoutlook.org/mart/50748.shtml
Principal Materials and Process Engineer
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