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MAY 2023 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 33 that we should not refer to residue removal as a "defluxing process" and more accurately rename it a "cleaning process," because flux is only one residue species present on an assem- bly. It is the totality of residue species that, when combined with an electrical bias and mois- ture, creates an ECM potential. You stated moisture is an ECM catalyst. If we simply apply conformal coating to the assemblies, won't that prevent moisture-induced ECM? While that is a widely held view, the fact is, conformal coating does not prevent moisture intru- sion. A ll conformal coatings are permeable. While they effectively prevent large volumes of fluid from contacting the assembly, they do allow small amounts of moisture to permeate through the coating. While conformal coating can delay an ECM event, it does not prevent it. Another factor to consider is conformal coat- ing adhesion. All conformal coating manufac- turers recommend cleaning prior to coating. Coating over uncleaned surfaces may result in the delamination of the conformal coating. Do you recommend assemblers move away from the use of no-clean fluxes? Absolutely not. e fact is, no- clean fluxes and pastes are by far the most popular flux types used today. e sheer popularity of no-clean flux has created an envi- ronment whereby it is the most highly engineered and supported flux type within our industry. My recommendation is to continue using no-clean flux and identify and clean what assemblies need to be cleaned based on the cost of failure, the assembly's tol- erance for residues, and the expected reliabil- ity requirements. Thank you, Mike. My pleasure. ank you for the opportunity to discuss this important and relevant topic. SMT007 The fact is, no-clean fluxes and pastes are by far the most popular flux types used today. In a recent roundtable discussion with SMTA staff, we asked about current challenges in hiring and staffing. Mike Konrad, SMTA board member and vice president of communications at SMTA, gave us this response. As a business owner and a member of the SMTA board, what do you believe are the current chal- lenges in hiring and staffing? Recruiting is probably the most challenging, but everything seems to be challenging—recruiting and retention. As an employer we're up against a lot of compe- tition, particularly with younger people. Prior gen- erations would try and get a job for life. The chal- lenge now is getting people connected to some- thing that they feel excited about so we can com- pete with other employers; getting them to be part of something larger than themselves is, I think, the goal. If they think they're being hired to put a screw in a nut all day long, or load boxes and put tape around them all day long—while that may be what they're doing—they need to feel part of something bigger and be connected to what the company pro- vides its customers. In our world, when we get an order, we put a description of what our customer builds on our fac- tory bulletin board. If someone asks, "What do you do for a living?" they can say, "I work for a company that improves the reliability of electronics so that when I send my kids on a flight to Orlando, they're safe," or, "My grandfather's pacemaker won't fail." We want that to be the reason. Putting things in boxes? That's the small perspective. We want peo- ple to have the large perspective. Retention Means Seeing the Larger Perspective MIKE CONRAD ON HIRING

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