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Manual Stencil Cleaning is Now Safe & Effective!

Smart Sonic Corporation (Canoga Park, CA) will make their 440-R® SMT Detergent available to SMT assemblers wishing to clean solder paste and glue stencils by hand. 440-R SMT Detergent is the most widely used and only stencil cleaning chemistry, as part of the Smart Sonic Stencil Cleaning Process, to pass Cal/EPA Certification and complete the U.S. EPA's ETV Program. Until now, Smart Sonic only provided the unique chemistry to customers using Smart Sonic ultrasonic stencil cleaners. Bill Schreiber, President and CEO of Smart Sonic, explains:

"In 1999, the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) certified the Smart Sonic stencil cleaning process when using 440-R SMT Detergent. The data was subsequently verified by the U.S. EPA's Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program. Smart Sonic ultrasonic stencil cleaners remain the only stencil cleaners to pass the rigid standards of Cal/EPA and complete the US EPA's ETV Program, therefore we only provided this unique chemistry to users of Smart Sonic equipment. However, with today's economic environment, several smaller companies have indicated that funds for stencil-cleaning equipment, while important, would not be available for the foreseeable future and that stencil cleaning would need to continue manually using hazardous solvents.

While the use of 440-R SMT Detergent alone will not qualify the process under the ETV Program, users need only concern themselves with the lead from the solder paste. Potential solvent related health and fire hazards and solvent odors are completely eliminated when using 440-R SMT Detergent. If companies are unable to budget for a Smart Sonic ultrasonic stencil cleaner, at least they can help improve their work environment by using a safer and more effective chemistry."

Because 440-R SMT Detergent is a surfactant (wetting agent) and not a saponifier, it is long lasting and safely cleans using cold water. Light brushing with a 10% solution in plain water will easily and safely clean any type of solder paste.

Bill Schreiber
Smart Sonic Corporation
Tel: (852) 22320623/23140038
Fax: (852) 23140048/28610809

Permali Approves Smart Sonic
for Durostone Pallet Cleaning

Permali Composites S.A., manufacturer of Durostone® pallet materials has approved Smart Sonic® Ultrasonic Stencil Cleaners and 440-R® SMT Detergent for cleaning flux residues from reflow and wave solder pallets.

Kenny Munro, Product Manager for Durostone solder pallet materials, explains:

It was previously advised not to clean Durostone solder pallets using ultrasonic equipment as it seriously degraded the material and left it susceptible to flux attack, reducing the life-span of the pallets. Two cases had been reported but a manufacturer supplying the PCB industry did not produce the ultrasonic machines used in both instances.

As many end-users were having problems with cleaning and did not have a budget to invest in a dedicated system just for pallets, enquiries were received from customers if they could use the ultrasonic stencil / pallet cleaners available for this purpose.

Tests were carried out in conjunction with a major ultrasonic cleaner manufacturer, Smart Sonic Corporation of Canoga Park, California, U.S.A. A batch of pallets covered in a no-clean flux were submitted to Smart Sonic for cleaning and returned to the customers' production line. Following cleaning of the pallets, no degradation occurred so it was concluded that given the correct equipment and process settings, ultrasonics does not affect Durostone.

The pallets cleaned at Smart Sonic were,

At a frequency of 40 kHz or higher
With an ultrasonic power input of 11 watts per liter or less of wash solution (12-15 watts would be OK)
In a wash cycle of 10 minutes or less

It was finally concluded that the past problems occurred due to the material being subjected to a low frequency, i.e. below 40kHz. The lower the frequency the more aggressive the ultrasonic cavitation.

Ultrasonic cleaning can be compared to manual cleaning.

However, when employing high frequency / low power ultrasonics, an effective cleaning chemistry must be used to break down the flux contaminants on the pallets. The tests at Smart Sonic were successful using their 440-R SMT Detergent.


Ken Munro
Permali Composites S.A.
Tel: +33 (3) 83 34 2424
Fax: +33 (3) 83 32 2318

Bill Schreiber
Smart Sonic Corporation
Tel: (852) 22320623/23140038
Fax: (852) 23140048/28610809


* * New Product * *

Large Capacity
Stencil Cleaner

Smart Sonic is pleased to announce the new Model 6000-LC, Large Capacity Stencil Cleaner for cleaning stencils used in backplane, motherboard and other large stencil printing applications.

The Standard Model 6000-LC is capable of cleaning stencils up to 30" x 60" (770mm x 1530mm). Stencils as large as 40" x 72" (1020mm x 1830mm) may also be cleaned with minor modifications to the standard design.

The Model 6000-LC uses the basic Model 6000 design, which has been available since 1999 for cleaning stencil sizes up to 29-inches (740mm). The tanks and ultrasonic power are increased to accommodate the larger stencils.

Standard features of the Model 6000-LC include a low profile and adjustable loading height to facilitate easy loading and unloading of large stencils, a touch-screen programmable controller that stores multiple cleaning profiles, ultrasonic technology and a performance guarantee to clean any type of solder paste from any fine-pitch aperture.


Stencil Inspection System

Smart Sonic Corporation is pleased to announce StencilScan, the first stencil and screen inspection system designed for SMT assembly.

StencilScan is a fully integrated, off-line inspection workstation using a PC Windows based software package integrated with a high-resolution, calibrated, A3 size flatbed scanner. This combination allows inspection of both stencils and screens for accuracy and blockage after cleaning or after fabrication, and the ability to inspect 100% for absence/presence and correct size of apertures, stencil damage, distortion and stretch. StencilScan then automatically steps the user through all discrepancies of the verification results.

With extreme flexibility, StencilScan inputs stencils, screens, silver or diazo film, mylar images, technical drawings, actual PCBs or original hand-taped designs. With these inputs and StencilScan's "check functions" the user is able to verify quality and accuracy of stencils, screens or Gerber files or supply production with required Gerber data. The LMA (Local Micro Alignment) feature allows aperture error detection down to 0.0003" (0.008mm) at 3200 dpi on apertures as small as 0.002" diameter (0.050 mm).

StencilScan improves print yields, quality and accuracy with 100% automatic inspection of stencils and screens for production errors, accuracy, size, stretch, damage, cleanliness and blockage. StencilScan also creates Gerber files and permits fast and accurate comparison of stencils and screens to bare PCBs.


StencilScan AOI
Assembly Module Upgrade

Smart Sonic Corporation is pleased to announce the new Assembly Module upgrade to our StencilScan stencil and board inspection system. For only $3,000.00 the new Assembly Module upgrade integrates a powerful off-line programming, measurement and data creation capability to StencilScan's unique inspection functions.

The Assembly Module improves productivity and saves time and money by replacing cumbersome and complex CAM software packages and inaccurate, time-consuming manual inspection and programming methods with a sophisticated and user friendly Windows-based system.

StencilScan's Assembly Module produces assembly programs and process documentation for pick and place, insertion, test, inspection and dispensing machines with automatic centroid extraction. Or, scan components to generate measurement data for component libraries and vision files - no more calipers!

The Assembly Module also allows inspection and measurement of wet solder paste, adhesive and thick film materials. Even small material coverage for micro BGAs, wafer bumps and flip chips are easily imaged.

StencilScan's Assembly Module allows the operator to create stencil fabrication data, compare stencil to PCB, create assembly programs off-line, inspect and measure stencils, components, bare boards, loaded boards, and adhesive/solder paste/thick film deposition all in one user-friendly software package!


New Model 6000 Stencil Cleaner
Reduces Chemistry Consumption and Wastewater by 40%

Smart Sonic advances stencil-cleaning technology with the introduction of the Model 6000 Automatic Ultrasonic Stencil Cleaner. The Model 6000 reduces chemical consumption and wastewater by 40% yet increases ultrasonic energy efficiency over Smart Sonic's previous automatic stencil cleaners. The newly designed cleaning tanks are modular and can still clean 29-inch stencils but only use 34 gallons of wash water per two-week cycle compared to 57 gallons every two weeks for the previous automatic systems. In addition, the Model 6000 requires only 3.4 gallons of 440-R® SMT Detergent to establish a 10% wash solution compared to 5.7 gallons for previous models.

The new modular tank design enables using the Model 6000 to perform multiple cleaning applications. An ambient wash tank is provided as standard equipment for the safe cleaning of solder paste from stencils and misprinted PCBs. However, an additional heated wash tank may be incorporated for cleaning flux residue from pallets and oven radiators or SMD adhesives from stencils and misprinted substrates - all within the same footprint of the previous single application machine. A touch-pad controller stores multiple programmable cleaning profiles to facilitate easy one-button operation for all users.

Ergonomics has also been improved by reducing the loading / unloading height from 52-inches down to a 36-inch level. Located directly below the loading/unloading station is a built-in drying rack to allow up to three 29-inch stencils to air dry naturally. If automatic drying is required, this area can be converted into a unique low-temperature dryer to safely dry stencils automatically without exposing the stencil to high temperatures that could weaken the bond of the heat-cured adhesives used to attach the screen to the frame and etched foil. High drying temperatures could also distort fine-pitch apertures and screen tension due to irregular expansion and contraction.

The Smart Sonic Stencil Cleaning Process is guaranteed to clean any type of solder paste from any fine-pitch stencil.


Stencil Dryer

Smart Sonic has introduced the industry's first independent stencil dryer. The Model LTD-3 (Low Temperature Dryer - 3 Stencil Capacity) safely dries up to three 29-inch stencils at one time. The most common bottleneck of a stencil cleaning operation is the drying cycle. While washing and rinsing may only take 5 to 10 minutes, the drying cycle often requires an additional 10 to 15 minutes. The LTD-3 improves stencil-cleaning throughput by eliminating the drying cycle of the stencil cleaner, allowing the stencil cleaner to continue cleaning stencils while drying is accomplished independently. By incorporating an independent stencil dryer, throughput can improve by 200 to 300% and at a fraction of what an additional stencil cleaner would cost. The low temperature design conserves energy and protects stencils from heat that may weaken adhesive bonds, alter screen tension or distort the etched image due to expansion / contraction. The overall height is only 36-inches allowing for easy loading and unloading of large stencils. Controls are adjustable to suit other applications such as drying pallets, oven radiators and PCBs. Smart Sonic Corporation, Van Nuys, CA.

440-R SMT Detergent
Nominated for The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award

The Smart Sonic Stencil Cleaning Process may have yet another accolade to add to its list of prestigious distinctions. The 440-R SMT Detergent that is used in the process has been nominated to receive the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

President Clinton announced the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge in 1995. The program was established to recognize and promote fundamental and innovative chemical methods that accomplish pollution prevention through source reduction and that have broad applicability in industry.

Smart Sonic's 440-R SMT Detergent is a non-hazardous aqueous detergent designed to replace hazardous solvents used in SMT assembly of printed circuit boards. Previously used solvents included CFC's (chlorofluorocarbons) that deplete the earth's protective ozone layer and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) such as alcohol and terpene-based solvents that contribute to smog production and pose a fire and explosion hazard to the user.

Stencil cleaning has been identified as the most hazardous process with the greatest potential environmental impact associated with printed circuit board assembly. The lead contained in the solder paste to be cleaned from the stencils is poisonous; the chemistries used for cleaning pose concerns for fire, explosion, high alkalinity, fetal disorders, scalding water and CFC / VOC emissions.

Since its introduction, 440-R SMT Detergent, as an integral part of the Smart Sonic Stencil Cleaning Process, is the only cleaning chemistry to become a Certified Technology of the California Environmental Protection Agency and Verified by the U.S. EPA's Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program.

Industry experts have evaluated 440-R SMT Detergent resulting in two SMT Vision Awards, the Canadian High Technology Award and finalist in the NEPCON West Milton S. Kiver Award for Excellence. The Smart Sonic Stencil Cleaning Process is used by hundreds of printed circuit board manufacturers such as Motorola, Intel, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Lucent Technologies, Sony, Jabil, Ford, Delco, Flextronics... and is directly responsible for the reduction of millions of pounds of CFC and VOC emissions and the elimination of associated health, fire, explosion and safety hazards inherent to systems using CFC, VOC and low flash point solvents.

In addition, 440-R SMT Detergent is formulated to clean all types of solder paste at ambient temperature, which serves to conserve energy and maintain stencil integrity over chemistries requiring elevated cleaning temperatures.

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TEL: (852) 22320623/23140038 · FAX: (852) 23140048/28610809
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