Ask the Experts
January 9, 2024 - Updated
April 2, 2019 - Originally Posted

Cleanliness Requirement for Populated Printed Boards

Has anyone performed a Cleanliness Requirement for populated Printed Boards per VDA 19.1. A customer is requesting that we meet VDA 19.1 but I don't think it would apply to PCB assemblies. I would think IPC 610 would be called out not VDA 19.1.


Expert Panel Responses

W.H. an interweb search shows this to be a European requirement for German automotive OEM's. The title is, "Inspection of Technical Cleanliness - Particulate Contamination of Functionally - Relevant Automotive Components".

The document can be purchased at this link.

Used for determining the particle contamination of functionally relevant components in the automobile industry.

This is common for engine and transmission components or other components exposed to fluids but I find it unusual to see it applied to a finished / populated PCB. Maybe your customer can provide you a .pdf copy of the requirement.

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.

The standard referenced in the question is VDA 19.1 Inspection of Technical Cleanliness-Particulate Contamination of Functionally Relevant Automotive Components. A more common cleanliness standard for post-reflow circuit assemblies is IPC J-STD001-G, including the new Amendment 1 located in Section 8.

I am hosting a webinar on "Understanding the New IPC J-STD 001-G Amendment 1 Cleanliness Testing Standard" on April 16. Register here:

Mike Konrad
Aqueous Technologies
Mr. Konrad has been in the electronic assembly equipment industry since 1985. He is founder and CEO of Aqueous Technologies Corporation, a manufacturer of automatic de-fluxing equipment, chemicals, and cleanliness testing systems.

VDA 19.1 is for metal hardware and not PCBAs. IPC 610 should be used to identify particle risk per class 2 and 3 conditions. The real cleanliness risk on electronic hardware is ionic and organic residues. From fabrication assembly fluxes not heated adequately to create a benign residue and contamination trapped under a component.

Terry Munson
President/Senior Technical Consultant
Mr. Munson, President and Founder of Foresite, has extensive electronics industry experience applying Ion Chromatography analytical techniques to a wide spectrum of manufacturing applications.
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