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Continued Investment at Nemco: CM22 Contaminometer

Nemco are proud to announce another new development in our extensive range of equipment: the Gen3 CM22 Contaminometer. We pride ourselves on quality assurance and process control when producing products for customers, which is why we’ve invested in the newest addition to the CM series.

This piece of equipment will impact our ionic contamination testing. Having the top equipment is required in order to check whether the PCB manufacturing process and soldering process and the ionic residues remaining from these processes may affect the reliability of the finished assembly.

Problems such as corrosion that erodes conductors, loss of insulation resistance or shorting of electrolytic dendrite growth can occur in a humid environment. This in turn makes the process of monitoring levels of ionic contamination vital in order to maintain cleanliness of the assembly and increasing expected reliability.

To test ionic contamination, a sample is immersed into a test solution of 2-propanol and de-ionised water to dissolve the contaminants. A change in conductivity of the test solution is caused by the dissolved ionic substances, and this change is measured and conversed into a contamination value expressed as μg/cm2 NaCl equivalence.

In order to give an accurate indication of the total amount of ionic contamination on the circuit, a complex curvefitting routine is generated from the contamination test data. Displayed in simple, easy to read graphics, the test results are displayed featuring auto-ranging curves which are equivalent to contamination units of μg/cm2 NaCl. This data is examined and includes a pass/fail analysis.

There is no question about quality, as after each new test is run the solution is automatically re-purified using a special regeneration or a de-ionising cartridge. To achieve superior measurement accuracy of <0.005μS/cm, the CM series use a powerful pumping system, ballistic amplifier and a solid gold measuring cell, even at low conductivity levels.

All components placed in the contaminometers have been carefully selected to ensure high quality and magnificent reliability. The hydraulics of each instrument is meticulously tested and a unique grade polymer is used for the tanks and the piping in contact with the CM Test Solution, which is a mixture of reagent grade 2-propanol and ultra-pure deionised water. These are usually mixed at levels 50% or 75%, depending on the requirements of the applicable standard.

The specialist software, which runs under Microsoft Windows, gives easy to read results and guides the operator through the testing process. Both 2D and 3D representations of the results are available, with accessible rotation which maximises the analytical principles.

This new addition to our testing strategies has proven to be extremely beneficial to the way Nemco operates. We will continue to invest in both equipment, capability and personnel to ensure that we stay at the forefront of Contract Manufacturing.

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