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Electronics Manufacturing & Production Handbook 2019


Drying cabinets for SMT boards avoids component cracking
23 August 2006, Enclosures, Racks, Cabinets & Panel Products

The new Mekko Technologies 'Active Desiccant' range of drying and storage cabinets was designed to guarantee the new class of quality and reliability standards required by surface mount devices and substrates.

By assuring moisture-free components, solder reflow can be achieved without damage from micro-cracking or delamination.

If moisture is absorbed from the environment by surface-mounted components, and then the components are exposed to high temperatures, as in solder reflow ovens (convection, infrared, IR/convection, vapour phase, hot air rework tools), then the absorbed moisture will expand rapidly, causing internal device stresses. This resulting stress can cause internal or external cracking, delamination, and internal corrosion.

Mekko Technologies' unique MTX-flow 'Active Desiccant' component drying and storage technology eliminates 'popcorning' and micro-cracking of ICs and BGAs during reflow. Rather than baking, this drying out of the components resets the 'floor life' clock, offering an optimal solution for storage and drying.

The drying unit is built into the base of the cabinet. With MTX-flow technology, the desiccant rotor rotates in two separate streams of air. One sector has air flowing through it within the cabinet (moisture absorb), while a smaller sector uses an external heated air flow to regenerate the desiccant (moisture release). As the disk rotates, fresh, dry desiccant is always presented to the process air flow.

Benefits of the system include:

* No need for moisture barrier bags, nitrogen or compressed air.

* Less complicated than baking.

* Reduces oxidation.

* Prevents 'popcorning' or other problems associated with ingress of moisture.

* Can use low temperature packaging.

* Closed loop control of internal humidity.

* No 'off' time. Desiccant is always absorbing moisture.

* Powerful molecular sieve type desiccant used.

Much research was done into the air flow, and the design uses a unique air flow system to guarantee speed, efficiency, and minimal cross-over at the wet/dry interface. According to the company, the only consumable costs are an average 50 W of mains power used. There is no need for any extra consumables or services to operate the unit. The rotor drying units continually regenerate the Zeolite desiccant that is used.

For more information contact EIS, +27 (0)11 726 6758.

Supplied By: Electronic Industry Supplies
Tel: +27 11 726 6758
Fax: 086 510 7402
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