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January 04, 2023

Measurement and Control of Cleaning Bath Concentration

The holidays are over and winter is definitely here. There is nothing better to warm you up after a day of playing in the snow than a hot pot of chili!

Making the perfect pot needs the right ingredients added at the proper time and in the proper amount. Even more important (and tasty) is sampling while the chili cooks, and adjusting your spice levels along the way.

If you thought that we were going to share our chili recipe next… well, sorry! We make precision cleaning chemistry, so that’s what we’re going to talk about.

Bath Analysis V2 4-0 (00000)-min-jpgWhen it comes to precision electronics cleaning, the same ideas of measuring, adjusting, and monitoring are what will lead to an optimal wash bath and consistent cleaning results. If reliability is critical for your electronics application, then so is achieving and maintaining your optimal wash bath concentration. Whether these applications are for the military, aerospace, automotive or medical industries, failure is not an option.

Previous generations of application engineers have relied on technologies that date back to the 1800s, the most well-known being refractive index. Refractive index tools measure how much the path of light is bent (or refracted) through a material and each chemistry has carefully developed charts to compare the concentration to the refractive index measurement. However, refractive index technology cannot account for bath contamination like flux residues which can throw off the concentration reading by 5, 10, 15% or more!

Today, next-generation manual and automated bath analysis technologies exist that will help you maintain your optimal bath concentration. These tools and technologies allow for much more accurate readings, monitoring, and management than ever before.

Why is accurate bath analysis important? Well, if the wash bath is over-concentrated you run the risk of driving up your cleaning costs. Under-concentrated wash baths can render your cleaning process ineffective. That’s why keeping your wash bath in an optimal range is so important.

How do you know if you need a better way of managing your bath concentration? Instances like excessive bath foaming, increasing chemistry consumption, having to constantly adjust dosing pumps or having inconsistent concentration readings may indicate you need to explore your options. You may want to align yourself with someone who can help explain the automated measurement tools available for your process. Go a step further, and you can find concentration management systems that will automatically control wash bath concentration in real-time, maintaining the desired wash bath concentration level within 1% of the setpoint—constantly and consistently.

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