Kester - Manufacturing Considerations When Implementing VOC-Free Flux Technology

Our thanks to Kester Co. for allowing us to reprint the following article
by David Scheiner, Senior Technical Service Engineer Kester

In 1990 the United States Environmental Protection Agency Issued the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act and subsequent amendments are designed to limit the use of chemicals that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The document goes into great detail setting limits for allowable VOC emissions for different industries.

Manufacturers and assemblers of printed circuit boards fall into the category of manufactures which are allowed to emit up to 15 pounds of VOC emissions per day per manufacturing site. This limit considerably lower than most of the larger manufacturing cites emit at this time. 15 pounds is approximately equivalent to two gallons of flux or flux thinner.

Presently the US EPA does not have the resources to enforce these amendments, however that will change in time. As in the case of eliminating CFCs the US EPA acted swiftly and within a matter of a few years these materials have disappeared from the market completely. The same or a similar process will soon be used to eliminate VOC containing materials. Conscientious manufacturers are currently looking at VOC-free technology to replace their existing flux chemistries...

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