Proper cleaning is crucial to the reliability of circuit boards, especially in sensitive and costly industries such as aerospace, medical, and automotive. As circuit board technologies advance and reach new markets, PCBs are becoming smaller and more complex – making it even more challenging to achieve the necessary cleanliness! For these reasons, it is essential to choose the right circuit board cleaning partner!
There are many factors to consider when selecting a cleaning partner and it is imperative that companies do their research to identify the right one! Price is, of course, a huge consideration, but there are many additional elements that must be considered when selecting a partner. Choosing the right circuit board cleaning partner may seem like a big task since there are so many options to choose from! Below are several tips to guide you through the selection process.
- Proven History: Companies should do their homework to better understand the background of each partner they are evaluating. For example, how long have they been in business, who were their previous clients, and have their products won any awards or been recognized within the industry? You want an established partner with proven experience and repeat customers. Additionally, ensure the supplier has ample experience working with a company your size and in your industry. AAT, for example, provides circuit board cleaning support for the medical, military, and aerospace industries among others.
- Offers What You Need: this may sound simple but not all cleaning partners offer the same solutions. You need to be clear on the requirements for your application and if a potential partner offers solutions that meet your needs. For example, what cleaning methods does the partner offer – batch, inline, spray-in-air, and spray under immersion with ultrasonics? What chemistries are used in their equipment? Are the partner’s solvents and equipment capable of adequately removing contaminants to your specification? Keep in mind that partners with a broad range of offerings are better positioned to provide support as your business grows over time. Also, for companies that are unclear on their cleaning requirements, it is even more important to select a partner, like AAT, that has the expertise and knowledge to guide customers through the process of identifying the right chemistry and equipment for their specific application.
- Excellent Quality: quality products are important! You must select a cleaning partner that produces high-quality equipment and that stands behind their products! Additionally, you should have a discussion with potential partners on risk tolerance especially if your PCBs are for a high-reliability or sensitive industry. For any solution a partner offers, you need to understand if it can consistently reproduce the circuit board cleanliness your application requires.
- Customer Service: look for any extra services and customer support that a cleaning partner provides. For example, is it easy to contact the partner with technical support questions, and is the part reordering process quick and straight-forward? Do they require an unreasonably high minimum order value for spare parts & accessories? You will want to discuss these topics with any potential partner to understand the level of customer support provided after the initial equipment purchase.
- Solid Relationship: in the end, you are not simply looking for a supplier, you are looking for a trusted partner that can help your business grow! A true partner asks for input and listens to customers – offering solutions that ensure both parties are aligned and satisfied! Also, every supplier has its own unique company culture and relationships with its customers so ensure you mesh well with any potential partners. Good communication and a spirit of collaboration is needed from the start so do not ignore any red flags you note during the evaluation process – they will not go away after the partner is selected!
AAT’s Electronics Cleaning Solutions
AAT is an innovative, market-leading company, engineering and manufacturing production and assembly systems for the electronics manufacturing industry. From general purpose to high reliability requirements, AAT systems are design-driven by the science of cleaning.
AAT provides a large variety of different cleaning machines for many diverse cleaning applications including: low pressure spray in air, high pressure spray in air, spray under immersion, ultrasonics, solvent cleaning, aqueous cleaning, batch cleaning, in-line cleaning, etc. As a result, AAT has extensive experience and expertise in each of the listed cleaning methodologies and techniques. Below are some of our cleaning systems.
- Mega Series: for pure aqueous, semi-aqueous, or organic solvents with ROSE cleanliness testing
- Aqua Rose Batch: world’s first aqueous batch cleaner and ROSE tester in one!
- Aqua Therm Batch: multiple cleaning technologies in a small footprint
- NanoJet and MicroJet Inlines: known for its small footprint and high performance
- ExtremeJet Inline Micro Hybrid: enhanced wash with 14 spray arms (7 upper, 7 lower)!
- HydroJet Inline: able to wash with chemistry or water in one machine with a small footprint!
Contact us today to learn how we can help with your circuit board cleaning needs.