Throughout life, we are constantly training to succeed. In school, you continuously train to advance your education or attain a degree. If you’re an athlete, you may spend countless hours training to win the next game. If you’re on a diet, then you train to develop healthy eating habits to lose weight. The list goes on.
As the PCB production industry pushes forward, you have to stay in the know, keep with the times, and learn industry trends. In short, you have to train. Advancements in technology, material usage, cleaning processes, and cleaning chemistries are being made every day. Without active training, it’s easy to get left behind. What happens when you get left behind? Your process may lose efficiency over time, your cleaning results may lag behind industry standards and you may even increase your level of risk.
Take Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) for example. For many years, IPA has been used in various cleaning applications throughout the PCB production process. Be it table-top defluxing of printed circuit boards, underside wipe and stencil cleaning, or cleaning maintenance equipment and tools, IPA has had its place. The industry pushed forward, and new water and solvent-based cleaning alternatives became available that enhanced cleaning effectiveness and line efficiency. As these cleaning agents evolved, the user had to evolve their knowledge to keep pace; for if you trained on these new technologies and their optimal implementation, then you could experience the cleaning results better than before.
Today’s cleaning environment boasts new solder pastes that are more difficult to clean, increased board densities, lower stand-off heights, and shifts to newer production processes like jet solder printing. To overcome the cleaning challenges associated with these, you must train on the most effective methods of cleaning them, as well as how to utilize today’s advanced cleaning chemistries.
You may ask, where does this training come from? How can I keep up to date? A great place to start is to look within the industry itself from experts who are already on the leading edge. Manufacturers of equipment, solder pastes, and cleaning chemistry can be excellent resources and coaches for how best to utilize their products, how their products react in different scenarios, and how to attain the results you are looking for. When it comes to your particular PCB cleaning process though, like an elite athlete training for competition, you may want to consider customized training as an approach. Customized training programs offer deep dives into the latest technologies, process enhancements, and particular cleaning chemistries.
The pace at which the PCB production process evolves will only continue to quicken. With the right customized training from an industry expert though, you won’t get left behind.