Ask the Experts
September 26, 2011 - Updated
September 26, 2011 - Originally Posted

Ultrasonic Cleaning Solution

We have a small operation and assemble both leaded and lead free circuit board assemblies. We currently clean all boards in a bench top ultrasonic cleaning system. What single solution can you recommend for effective cleaning of both of these assembly types in our system?

A. A.

Expert Panel Responses

Yes, there are aqueous and solvent based cleaning agents that are designed for use in ultrasonic equipment and cleaning both, leaded and lead-free pastes. However, any recommendation for the right cleaning agent technology depends on the paste brand and i.d. # as well as any sensitive materials used on the board's surface, which need to be considered from a material compatibility standpoint. We suggest that you contactZESTRON's engineering department to review your process details and make a firm recommendation.

Umut Tosun
Application Technology Manager
Zestron America
Mr. Tosun has published numerous technical articles. As an active member of the SMTA and IPC organizations, Mr. Tosun has presented a variety of papers and studies on topics such as "Lead-Free Cleaning" and "Climatic Reliability".

I am assuming you are using an aqueous solution in the ultrasonic cleaner right now and have a DI water source? Remember even though the focus is on the wash step you are only as clean as your last rinse. There are several safe and effective solutions available to use in the ultrasonic tool. I can provide you with an aqueous concentrate that will require dilution to @10-20%. The next option is a semi-aqueous solution. This is designed to run at 100% (neat) strength. Deciding on the right one will require a brief one on one consult with you. I would like to know the flux and/or solder paste you are using and ask a few more questions in regards to the potential for compatibility issues, etc. Please contact me for further information.

Charlie Pitarys
Technical Expert Sales Support
Kyzen Corporation
Charlie Pitarys has over thirty years of industry experience and has been with KYZEN for twenty-one years. Charlie is a former Marine and a retired Sargent First Class in the Army Reserves. His previous employers include Hollis and Electrovert. Charlie continues to use his expertise on cleaning processes and machine mechanics to help KYZEN customers and partners improve their cleaning operations.
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