Digicom Electronics has published a white paper, titled 'Cleanliness of PCB Assemblies Leads to Medical Device Reliability'. The paper explains how design and manufacturing conditions, along with myths about board cleanliness and contamination, have exacerbated the cleanliness problem, and shows how cleaning can eliminate board contamination for medical devices.
Mo Ohady, General Manager, Digicom Electronics and co-author of the paper, commented: "Component manufacturers are continually developing new and smaller packages for components that are mere fractions of a millimetre and have board to component clearances of less than a mil. Pick and place machines have new accessories that allow placement of these almost invisible parts. Components are placed extremely close together. After a considerable amount of research and experimentation, we found that it takes a special combination of chemicals, temperature, wash cycles, timing, and equipment to adequately clean under parts that small."
"Research shows that many failures are a result of printed circuit boards that are not clean enough of contaminants from the manufacturing process. For medical devices, however, the potential for failure is very real and the effects of failure can be devastating," added David Estes, co-author and Engineering Specialist, Digicom Electronics.
In many instances it was found that a combination of comparatively minor points, when combined, led to processes that do not work well in today's manufacturing environment, though their performance in the past was adequate. When products are less susceptible to corrosion-induced failures, maintenance and repair are minimised and costs reduced.