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34 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2024 Water conservation has become an impor- tant component of the overall system design for most manufacturing operations today. Chang- ing climate conditions and increasing popula- tions are beginning to strain the freshwater sup- plies in many areas of the country. As a result, as equipment suppliers, we see an increasing number of requests for options that reduce water usage in proposed wet processing sys- tems. Etching systems tend to use more water because of the need for close temperature con- trol to maintain steady etch rates and the rins- ing requirements for complete removal of cor- rosive etchants from the surface of the prod- uct before the next process step. is column contains some simple suggestions for reducing water usage in etch systems that won't strain the budget too much. Cooling Water One large source of water usage in the etch system is cooling water to maintain the etchant temperature. Most cooling coils are made of titanium because of the corrosive nature of the etchant. Titanium is not the most efficient metal for heat transfer, so it is common prac- tice to hook up a water feed to the cooling coil and run it wide open. Checking the cooling water temperatures at the entrance and exit of the cooling coil under these conditions will usually show no temper- ature change. is is good if the etchant tem- Reducing Etch System Water Usage, Part 1 The Chemical Connection Feature Column by Don Ball, CHEMCUT

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