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Precision Cleaning for Electronics

Precision cleaning solutions for improved productivity and reliability

Circuit board being immersed in a bath of Novec Engineered Fluid

Effective, thorough electronics cleaning during initial assembly and in rework/repair operations is critical to ensure long-term device reliability. Oils, fluxes and other residues can impede connectivity, obstruct adhesion of coatings, tapes and adhesives and ultimately lead to device failure.

Yet specifiers of electronics cleaning systems and materials must reconcile demands not only for improved performance, but also for lower operating costs, lower environmental impact and a safer, healthier workplace.

3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids strike an outstanding balance between all of these needs.

Novec Fluids are a family of nonflammable, non ozone-depleting, low global warming cleaning solvents used in a wide range of vapor degreasing, immersion, hand-wipe and spray cleaning applications. These versatile, sustainable materials are effective on a wide range of soils, ranging from fingerprints and particulates to tough no-clean and lead-free solder paste. Engineered fluids offer excellent compatibility with most metals, plastics and elastomers commonly used electronics manufacturing.

  • Effective on a wide range of soils
  • Non-electrically conductive – can be used on energized parts
  • Excellent materials compatibility
  • A fast, cost-effective alternative to aqueous cleaning systems
  • Outstanding penetration of tight clearances in complex parts
  • Fast drying
  • Non ozone-depleting, low global warming potential
  • Low in toxicity*
  • Nonflammable throughout the cleaning and drying process*

  • * See Material Safety Data Sheets for precautions and handling recommendations.

Removing Flux Residue

Because of the wide variety of flux types in use, including liquids, pastes, Type RMA, RA or R and Lead-free and No Clean Solder Paste, recommending a single cleaning solvent is very difficult. While 3M™ Novec™ 72DA Engineered Fluid provides outstanding flux cleaning results (see graph below), numerous process variables can affect cleaning performance, such as:

  • Solder reflow profile
  • Time between soldering and cleaning
  • Orientation of the board
Graph shows high flux removal efficiency of Novec 72DA fluid

Taking these variables into account, 3M technical service engineers can help you optimize your process slightly to improve flux cleaning performance, whether you choose to use Novec 72DA fluid or an alternate Novec fluid. For more information, contact a 3M Electronics Cleaning Specialist now.

The cost saving precision cleaning alternative to conventional solvents and aqueous systems

Novec fluids can offer cost savings in a number of areas, including lower energy costs; fewer regulatory recordkeeping requirements; and typically no need for costly abatement systems. But the greatest cost savings are the result of reduced emissive and drag-out losses.

Graph shows low vapor degreaser emissive losses of various Novec fluids, compared to conventional cleaning solvents

Emissive Losses – The evaporative loss of Novec fluids when used in vapor degreasing or a similar, recirculating system, is lower than most other precision cleaning solvents for two important reasons: higher molecular weight, and a relatively low vapor pressure. As a consequence, diffusive losses are substantially reduced compared to other cleaning solvents.

Drag-Out Losses – The low surface tension, low viscosity, high density and low heat of vaporization of Novec fluids result in reduced dragout losses compared to other cleaning solvents. Conventional solvents tend to cling to complex surfaces after cleaning and rinsing, due to surface tension forces, and are drawn out of the cleaning system before they can drip off or evaporate. In contrast, Novec fluids drip away quickly, without becoming trapped in small spaces when a part is raised through the vapor zone. Further, the lower heat of vaporization means that less energy is required to evaporate the cleaning solvent from the part in the freeboard region. This helps to reduce solvent and energy consumption.

Graph shows reduced vapor degreaser dragout losses of Novec 7100 fluid, compared to conventional cleaning solvents

In many applications, Novec fluids are also a cost-effective alternative to aqueous cleaning systems, offering faster cleaning times, fewer process steps, lower energy usage, improved cleaning of parts with complex geometries and more. For a complete discussion of the advantages of solvent cleaning with Novec fluids vs. aqueous cleaning, download our special white paper report.

Typical Solvent Cleaning Applications

The following overview shows some of the ways various Novec fluids are typically used in precision cleaning. Bear in mind, however, that every solvent cleaning application is unique. For assistance in determining the optimal Novec fluid for your application, please contact a 3M precision cleaning specialist.

3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids for Light-Duty Solvent Cleaning

Novec fluids can be used in their "neat" or pure form to remove light hydrocarbon and silicone oils. They effectively remove particulate from components and final assemblies. Their ability to penetrate tight spaces on complex parts allows for thorough cleaning of precision components.

3M™ Novec™ 7100 Engineered Fluid
3M™ Novec™ 7200 Engineered Fluid
3M™ Novec™ 71IPA Engineered Fluid

3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids for Medium to Heavy-Duty Solvent Cleaning

For medium to heavy-duty cleaning of lubricants, low MP waxes, polishing and buffing compounds, fluxes and other soils, Novec fluids are available in several azeotropic blends with one or more organic solvents.

3M™ Novec™ 71DA Engineered Fluid
3M™ Novec™ 71DE Engineered Fluid
3M™ Novec™ 72DA Engineered Fluid
3M™ Novec™ 72DE Engineered Fluid

3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids for Heavy Duty Co-Solvent or Bi-Solvent Cleaning

For the most challenging soils, a co-solvent cleaning process that uses a low volatility organic solvent to dissolve soils from part surfaces, and Novec 7100, 7200, 71IPA, or 7300 fluid as a rinse agent, has proven to be an effective and flexible solution. The higher boilng point of Novec 7300 enables superior cleaning performance for high melting point waxes, buffing compounds, and high temperature solder pastes. Co-solvent cleaning with Novec fluids enables effective removal of heavy-weight oils, greases, waxes and no-clean flux, while maintaining a more favorable environmental profile.

3M™ Novec™ 7100 Engineered Fluid
3M™ Novec™ 7200 Engineered Fluid
3M™ Novec™ 71IPA Engineered Fluid
3M™ Novec™ 7300 Engineered Fluid


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