PR: Plasmatreat introduced REDOX-Tool at IPC Apex 2024

Improving electronic reliability inline by reducing metal oxides under atmospheric pressure.

For the pretreatment of highly sensitive electronic components, Plasmatreat will present a real innovation at IPC APEX Expo in Anaheim 2024: The new REDOX-Tool safely and effectively reduces oxide layers on electronic components in an inline process. By using plasma systems operating under atmospheric pressure processes in the electronics industry can be made more efficient and environmentally friendly. Visitors are invited to see live demonstrations of plasma treatment and get to know more about the plasma technology and how it can help to reach 100% yield in electronics production from April 9 – April 11, 2024 at booth 2843.

Metals play a critical role in electronics manufacturing, but their surfaces can oxidize when exposed to air and moisture, leading to imperfect solder joints in the production process. Plasmatreat is introducing a breakthrough solution at IPC APEX - the REDOX-Tool, a dedicated plasma treatment unit (PTU) that effectively removes oxide layers in an in-line process. This innovative system uses a combination of nitrogen and hydrogen, eliminating the need for environmentally harmful formic or citric acids.

During treatment, components are heated in a tunnel flooded with inert gas (such as N2 or N2H2) and prepared for plasma reduction. Inert gas plasma nozzles efficiently remove oxygen molecules from the metal surface. Controlled cooling of the treated products under inert conditions ensures the stability of the reduction achieved for subsequent process steps.

The application of plasma with the REDOX-Tool results in improved surface adhesion and reliable bonding in subsequent processes, effectively reducing defects, delamination and product failure. In addition, this innovative tool provides complete process control and product traceability.

Surface Pretreatment Before Conformal Coating
Plasmatreat will also showcase the importance of surface pretreatment before conformal coating. Effective pretreatment is crucial before the application of conformal coating in electronics, ensuring optimal coating and adhesion performance as well as maximal protection for electronic components. This preparatory process typically encompasses multiple stages, including thorough cleaning, surface preparation, and conditioning of circuit boards and components.

Failure to properly pretreat the surface before applying conformal coating can lead to various issues, including incomplete coverage, bubbling, blistering, cracking, and curing problems. Incompatibility between the coating and substrate may cause detachment, leaving areas vulnerable. Contaminants present on the surface can compromise the coating’s efficacy and durability. Moreover, certain conformal coatings are difficult to remove for rework or repair, resulting in costly fixes or high reject rates.

Effective pretreatment is essential for addressing and preventing these challenges associated with conformal coating in electronics. Proper pretreatment can enhance adhesion, promote coating uniformity, and bolster the overall effectiveness of the protective layer. Careful selection of pretreatment methods based on factors such as substrate material, environmental conditions, and coating type is crucial. Adhering to industry standards and guidelines for pretreatment processes further ensures the successful application and performance of conformal coatings in electronic components.

“Plasmatreat addresses the growing complexities and challenges in electronics manufacturing processes with cutting-edge, inline-capable plasma technology. The pretreatment of delicate products using potential-free Openair-Plasma significantly enhances product quality, cost efficiency, process reliability, and environmental sustainability," explains Hardev Grewal, President and CEO at Plasmatreat USA, Inc.