We often get questions about cleaning wave solder machines, the fingers on conveyors, and even the pallets used to carry the boards through the machine. One customer asked:
“We are using wave solder pallets in our wave soldering system because there are SMT parts on the solder side. After the boards come out of the wave, we notice white marks (stains) building up on the pallets. We are using lead-free solder and no-clean flux. These marks seem excessive, is there any cleaning process available that will remove them?”
This customer is correct that white residues and flux build-ups on the pallets and the boards are unattractive. Taken to extremes, you need to discard the pallets and replace them, but that is an unnecessary expense. To clean the pallets, use a strong, noncorrosive, slow-drying, aqueous-based cleaner. (You don’t want to use flammables around a wave solder machine, and the fast-drying solvents would evaporate too quickly around the heat of the systems.)
While there are several good choices on the market, MicroCare makes an excellent product which is safe for people and the pallets. Our Reflow Oven Cleaner (#MCC-ROC) is nonflammable, slow-drying, and actually uses the heat of the pallet and the wave soldering system to improve it’s cleaning. The Oven Cleaner is available in refillable pump sprays, gallons, pails and drums. You also can use it on the machine itself, the conveyors, the fingers, and even in degreasing tanks to clean parts and chains.
A water-based choice in a convenient presaturated wipe would be the Uncured Epoxy Remover (#MCC-EPXW).