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58 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2023 process within the pre-defined control lim- its. is includes checking that there is clean- ing material available to add when needed, and sending alerts from a flashing light on top to digital alerts as the barrel starts to get low. When everything works well, which is most of the time, it prevents problems and saves on time, labor, and trouble. at's a winning com- bination these days. What demands are being placed on the cleaning processes? What are people most concerned about? What's changing are the designs and materials our customers employ; today's cleaning pro- cess must be responsive to those new designs and materials. Let me share an example. If you work in your garden, you're most likely to wash your hands when you come back in the house. But if you sit down to read a book, you proba- bly don't wash your hands aerward. ose are differ- ent activities with different "contamination" risk fac- tors, and we make a choice to either wash our hands or not. As we look at the evo- lution of devices that our industry is producing for the world, whether it be the components or SOICs— along with increased den- sity and increased power in smaller packages— more oen, cleaning is a value-adder, improv- ing yields and reliability. Of course, cleaning technology must continue to evolve to meet these new challenges. e reason the medical and the military people never stopped cleaning was because they always understood the value that cleaning provided. ey know that by eliminating residues, you can improve the performance of your designs. ere's a never-ending drive toward denser, more powerful, and valuable devices and assemblies. Cleaning is a powerful process tool that facilitates that success for many of those new designs. More assembly engineer- ing teams are evaluating and embracing clean- ing to improve their first pass yields and long- term reliability. at's what we're seeing, and there's a continuing education need because so much of the industry has not really considered cleaning a solder paste since it has been called "no-clean" for a very long time. Many of the younger engineers don't con- sider cleaning as a process option. at's why we do so many technical talks, one-on-ones, a n d te a m e d u c a t i o n with clients and poten- tial clients. We want to help them understand the benefits that clean- ing can bring to some of these assemblies. It can solve problems that they're scratching their heads trying to do in other ways. When you're out teaching and sharing your knowledge, what comes up most often from the customers or prospects? Fo r s y t h e : It s t a r t s w i t h t h e e m o t i o n a l response, "I feel a little silly cleaning something called no-clean." In all honesty, that's not a technical hurdle per se, but it's very much a real hurdle, especially for purchasing people. ey look at the engineers and say, "You guys are nuts. What are you doing?" at's where it begins, and it's a case of the customers shar- ing information, such as, "We're seeing these kinds of issues today, and we have data that shows this will help." at's where we dive in. More assembly engineering teams are evaluating and embracing cleaning to improve their first pass yields and long-term reliability.

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