Why Humidify... For Electronics Manufacturing


Ensure product quality and production efficiency with proper humidification.

Electronic devices, printed circuit boards, components and data are highly sensitive to humidity levels. Insufficient, excessive and inconsistent humidity levels cause damage and defects in electronic components and pose safety concerns due to electrostatic discharge, de-soldering occurrences and brittle components. Ensuring proper humidification in your facility will improve production output, elevate product quality and ultimately, boost ROI.

Control Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) occurs with the sudden flow of electricity between two electrically charged objects coming into contact with one another. When objects holding different charges come into contact, or when the dielectric between them breaks down, a visible spark can be triggered, which can damage electronics and pose safety concerns for facility operations.  

What Causes ESD?

Static Electricity  -  One of the causes of ESD events is static electricity which is often generated through tribocharging – the separation of electric charges that occurs when two materials are brought into contact and then separated. Insufficient humidity levels increase the risk of occurrences of static electricity. 

Electrostatic Induction - Another cause of ESD damage is through electrostatic induction. This occurs when an electrically charged object is placed near a conductive object isolated from ground. 

The presence of the charged object creates an electrostatic field that causes electrical charges on the surface of the other object to redistribute. The risk of electrostatic induction is increasing with insufficient humidity levels. 

Eliminate ESD with Humidity Control

With a humidity level of 40% RH, surface resistance is lowered on floors, carpets, table mats and other susceptible areas. Humidifiers add hydration to the air, which forms a thin protective film on surfaces that serves as a natural conductor to dissipate electric charges. When humidity levels drop below 40% RH, this protection disappears and routine employee activities lead to objects being charged with static electricity, posing a safety risk of serious shock for employees and increasing the possibility of damage or defects within electronic components and devices.

Reduce De-Soldering Occurances

Proper humidity levels contribute to the effectiveness of wave soldering and surface-mount technology (SMT) processes. Without sufficient humidity, solder paste can dry out resulting in insufficient solder joints and product defects. Conversely, excessive humidity or ineffective humidity control can cause problems in the soldering process leading to condensation within components which can lower the shelf life of products and lead to short circuiting and malfunctioning devices.

What Causes De-Soldering?

Low Humidity - In low humidity, solder paste solvent evaporates too quickly. This causes the paste to dry out, making the soldering process less effective. 

Low humidity levels can cause the following problems in electronics manufacturing: 

• Processing Time: Low humidity negatively affects abandon time required between prints 
• Overall Stencil Life: Low humidity decreases the lifetime of solder paste, impacting productivity and ROI 
• Tack Time and Force: Insufficient humidity decreases the amount of time you have to place and situate components in manufacturing and lowers the holding strength of paste after placement, lowering the overall quality of the product 

 

High Humidity -  In high humidity, solder paste absorbs water, becoming less effective and may begin to slump, posing bridging defects. High humidity levels can also cause damage or defects in moisture-sensitive components in storage and processing. 

High humidity levels can cause the following problems in electronics manufacturing: 

• Solder Balling: If solder paste absorbs water, it may cause poor coalescence resulting in solder balling defects 
• Out-Gassing and Voiding: Excess water absorbed by an electronic system can out-gas during reflow and increase the size and incidence of voiding underneath BGA components 
• Defects / Damage to Product: Without proper humidity control, moisture-sensitive components experience a shorter shelf life and may suffer defects and/or damage during processing 

Reduce De-Soldering Occurrences with Humidity Control 

Ensuring a consistent humidity level of 50% RH in electronics manufacturing and storage facilities will lower the occurrences of damage and defects due to ineffective soldering and de-soldering occurrences. Maintaining a consistent level of humidity within the 50% to 55% RH range helps ensure the effectiveness of manufacturing materials and processes, and reduces risk of damaged or defective products due to de-soldering occurrences. 

Minimize Brittle Components

The risk of brittle components in electronic devices and products can cause problems with sub-frame components, poor wiring bonding and internal cracking. These brittle components can cause damage to circuit boards and insulators, shortening shelf life of the product and increasing chances of the device short circuiting.

What Causes Brittle Components in Electronics?

The effects of insufficient humidity control on electronics are twofold. On the one hand, insufficient humidity levels can cause the components within electronics to become brittle. On the other hand, insufficient humidity control and variants in humidity levels throughout your facility can cause damage or defects due to condensation.

Moisture and Condensation - Condensation poses significant dangers to electronic products and components. When an electronic product or component is transferred from a cooler area of the facility (with lower humidity) to a warmer area of the facility (with higher humidity), the change in humidity can cause condensation to occur within the device or product.
When trapped moisture expands or contracts during manufacturing, it can cause delamination of plastic parts from the sub frames, poor wiring bonding and internal cracking. Excessive moisture poses a high risk of damage to circuit boards and insulators, which can lead to defects and short circuits to occur within the device.

Minimize Brittle Components with Humidity Control

Ensuring a consistent humidity level of 50% RH throughout electronics manufacturing and storage facilities is integral to preventing moisture and condensation, which can cause brittle components within a device and lead to short circuiting events. Without effective humidity control, the likelihood of damage and defects in electronic components and devices within manufacturing and storage are drastically increased.

Benefits of humidification for electronics include:

  • Increase production output and productivity
  • Boost ROI of facility production and operations
  • Maintain and improve product quality
  • Decrease waste from damaged components
  • Improve indoor air quality for employee health


Our Electronic Clients Include

  • - Flextronics Ltd.

    - Halla Inc.

    - Jabil

    - Hewlett Packard

    - Cascade Microtech Inc.

    - Daktronics Inc.

    - Itron Inc.

Contact us now to learn more about humidity for electronics manufacturing...


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