Increase uptime, reduce board reject rates and protect employees at the same time

Increase uptime, reduce board reject rates and protect employees at the same time

The dangers that rosin-based fluxes pose to the health and safety of employees who are working in soldering applications have been well documented. The combination of solder and flux produce a complex fume (colophony) that can cause serious medical conditions such as occupational asthma.

The dangers that rosin-based fluxes pose to the health and safety of employees who are working in soldering applications have been well documented. The combination of solder and flux produce a complex fume (colophony) that can cause serious medical conditions such as occupational asthma.

Fume extraction equipment for hand soldering, wave soldering machines and reflow ovens is often seen as a necessary capital expenditure on health and safety grounds. What is not always considered is that a good fume extraction system can actually increase uptime and reduce reject rates.

Good fume extraction equipment can prevent the build up of contaminants within, for example, a reflow oven. These contaminants reduce the efficiency of the oven, can be deposited on the boards and worse still, force production to cease while the oven is cleaned. When you consider the cost of shutting a reflow oven down for half a shift or more to clean it (potentially 1000's €), the relatively low cost of a quality fume extraction system to prevent this becomes very appealing.

A reflow oven and a Purex fume extractor

Another common practice in PCB production is to link the oven to an external venting system, yet this practice has its own problems. Atmospheric conditions can create drafts in the system that can make the temperature profile of the oven unstable; the result being, increased rejects and higher rework costs. To avoid this an extraction system that purifies process air and recirculates it back into the workplace should be used along with a closed loop flow control system to maintain the correct extraction rate throughout the life of the filter.

The Purex Powerflow™ fume extraction system incorporates a whole host of features that actively increase uptime. For example, a unique and patented concertina pre-filter is available that can last 10 times longer than a normal pre-filter which, not only means that consumable costs for the unit are low but also that the line can operate for much longer between filter changes.