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April 14, 2023

Are You Meeting Sustainability Objectives?

Today, you hear the term “Going Green” frequently. I would wager that it regularly influences your daily life - in one way or another. From your personal decision to write on recycled paper to driving a hybrid car, individuals and companies are making efforts to leave a smaller environmental footprint. 

With its use of various chemicals and production processes, the world of SMT electronics is no different. Throughout the SMT electronics industry, sustainability continues to be pushed forward through initiatives set forth by individual companies and regulatory agencies on both state and regional levels.

Firstly, let’s look at what individual companies are doing. You may have heard of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). While there are many different ISO certifications, the one I would point to is ISO 14001. This certification drives companies to environmentally friendly management practices to increase their environmental performance by meeting company-defined goals and achievements. This often includes using chemicals with low levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Chemicals with high VOCs can have short- and long-term adverse environmental effects.

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Secondly, there is the regulatory landscape. Here in the United States, for example, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) was formed in 1976 to act as a regulatory body for sources of air pollution throughout Southern California. Regarding PCB cleaning chemicals, the SCAQMD requires that the applied chemical has no more than 25 grams VOC per liter. Likewise, in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast areas, the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) is another organization that focuses on regional solutions to ground-level ozone problems and has a similar low VOC requirement. As we look forward, you can expect Low VOC regulations to be instituted in other parts of the country – perhaps yours.

In the world of PCB cleaning, over the years, there have been several advances in anticipation of this. Using water-based, pH neutral cleaning products have helped companies meet their ISO 14001 goals. These products, by nature, are more environmentally friendly: they are free of halogenated compounds, biodegradable, have no flash point, and often provide a longer bath life. These pH neutral cleaning products are being developed with an eye toward low VOC content. This speaks directly to those manufacturers looking to meet or exceed their ISO 14001 goals and any regional regulations.

Choosing the right PCB cleaning chemistry is essential for several reasons. Not only can it potentially save you time and money, but it can help you increase your production line efficiency and production throughput. Better yet, as the concept of “Going Green” continues to evolve, choosing the proper pH neutral cleaning chemistry can future-proof your company to exceed its internal environmental goals and any environmental regulations in your area.

Environmental responsibility is here to stay. By “Going Green When You Clean,” you can help do your part to leave things a little better than how we found them.

For more information on how ZESTRON can help meet your Sustainability initiative reach out to your local Sales Manager or download our recent paper on "Modern Electronics Defluxing - Meeting the Low VOC Challenge."


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