Humidity control for PCB manufacturers

Case Study – How to humidify dry air in production in a few hours with AKIMist® ?

Did you know that during the winter heating season, the humidity in the rooms drops below 20% and dry air endangers the health of employees, reduces the reliability of your products, complicates production processes and damages equipment?

 

In the industrial electronics environment, there are multiple visible and invisible factors that positively contribute to the general level of production, or they can also be detrimental to it. A factor that plays an important role in the well-being of products and productivity is humidity. An industrial environment needs a precise percentage of humidity in order to produce effective and efficient products. If the relative humidity is too high then it can create a condensation, while if the percentage is too low, dust and static charges can affect the production process.

Dry air is the problem. It causes high static charges, the equipment gets damaged more easily, the products have an increased error rate, and dirt/dust particles stick to everything. Furthermore, the environment with low humidity also causes problems with the skin, mucous membranes, and conjunctiva of employees.

In consequence, this impacts your business as you might not be producing at full capacity and, combined with experienced employees being sick, your profit is lower than you planned.

As the PCB manufacturers are part of an industry of developing various products within the range of printed circuit boards, they are dealing with complex processes. Therefore, they need to monitor the humidity level to remain at an optimal percentage. This has a direct impact on increasing the quality of their production, minimizing the level of malfunctioning products and reducing possible haphazard incidents to zero.

Before the installation

The most common issues that our customers encountered are when the humidity is not adjusted, and the existing percentage is between 10-30% relative humidity (RH):

  • Electrostatic discharge (ESD) – causing circuit damages, device destructions, mounting errors and soldering paste printing defects;
  • Dust particle adhesion – leading to increasing the product defects, due to the static charge;
  • Production error rate increased;
  • Low level of humidity increasing the chances of fire and sparks.

In order to control the humidity settings at an optimal (between 50-60 % RH), Ikeuchi recommends the Dry-Fog humidification system AKIMist® “E”. By installing the AKIMist® humidifier, our customers received multiple simultaneous applications with humidity control, prevention of ESD, dust suppression and prevention of dust adhesion.

IKEUCHI humidification systems

Our humidification systems allow you to do your work under optimal conditions in every season.

  • We effectively humidify the environment (indoor) without wetting the surrounding, products or workers. IKEUCHI humidification systems spray microscopic water droplets, smaller than 10μm which we call “Dry Fog”, with efficient nozzles. The Dry Fog droplets are so small that they humidify the air without wetting the environment. This keeps equipment and staff dry and safe.
  • Dry Fog can be used successfully when disinfection of the premises is required. You can fill IKEUCHI humidifiers with  demineralized water or disinfectant.
  • The devices have low operating costs, which are 1/5 compared to conventional steam humidifiers.
  • We can very precisely regulate the level of humidity and temperature you need. As a result, IKEUCHI humidification systems are invaluable in industries where they weigh every percentage of moisture. We can keep the humidity level at the required level.
What are the benefits that our customers received after implementing the AKIMist®?

 

Installing the AKIMist® humidification system in our customers’ factories and plants led not only to solving their issues, but receiving even more benefits, such as:

 

  • An optimal level of % RH leads to providing an adequate temperature, which in the end leads to saving the energy costs, as the frequency use of the air conditioning is reduced.
  • Our customers reported an increase in productivity, as the defect rate was reduced (failure rate by ESD 1/10), and the ESD prevention was increased.
  • Having an optimal % RH, decreased the production and products malfunction and defect rate, which saved maintenance costs as the system didn’t need a frequent maintenance attention.
  • The quality of the products was also increased, due to a two-folded cause, which relates to lowering the mounting defects and enhancing the PCB solder printer quality.

The fact that the AKIMist® humidification system is a Dry-Fog system, leads to the fact that there is no risk of corrosions or damages that might affect the electronic devices. The level of humidity is controlled with a higher accuracy, having the options of either selecting for a spot humidification above certain machines, or an overall ambient humidification. Increasing the humidity percentage to an adequate level assists into dispatching the generated static electricity.

AKIMist

How can you humidify dry air in production in a few hours?

Comparisons with high pressure and steam humidifiers

The customers that previously installed the high-pressure fog system, mentioned that it takes a high amount of pressure in order to spray, which can create a risk of water puddles, in case there is a leakage or if the pipes break. In addition, the spray distribution is challenging to control.

For the customers that have previously utilized an ultrasonic humidifier, they have mentioned that the main differences in comparison to the AKIMist® humidifier was that they have a small area of coverage. In addition, there is a frequent need for maintenance and because they are less hygienic, there is a risk of bacterial spread and development.

After the installation – Japanese Dry Fog technology brings a number of benefits

results-of-dry-fog

After experiencing our Dry Fog humidification systems, our customers were happy to provide Ikeuchi with feedback, and provide details as to why they were satisfied in selecting the implementation of the AKIMist®, as opposed to other humidification systems from the competitor’s market:

  • The system requires almost no maintenance;
  • The installation is flexible;
  • Adaptable to multiple environments;
  • As the AKIMist® system is a compact humidifier system, it also assists into simultaneously cooling its surroundings.

By assisting with the cooling temperature within a certain environment, this led to decreasing the use of air conditioning and thus, reduction of costs. The operating costs were also lowered in comparison to a steam humidifier, as the AKIMist® is an energy-saving product.

Therefore, the AKIMist® has been recognized to follow the IPC standards for soldered electrical and electronic assemblies.

 

“In this way, I am sending you a positive reference to the IKEUCHI humidification system, which we purchased from you and implemented into our operation in order to humidify the environment in our operation (06/2018). The IKEUCHI system has a number of advantages for us compared to other systems we have used before (high pressure, steam humidification). 

How can you humidify dry air in production in a few hours?

Above all, I would like to appreciate its SAFETY, almost no costs associated with its service and operation, as well as the method of distribution of dry mist (spraying water with compressed air) – even spraying without dripping, water spray, etc. “ (Tomáš Kulich, Head of Maintenance at Enics Slovakia, sro)


Clients also appreciate the improvement of the air in the production premises.

The bonus is that the humidity will partially increase in the surrounding operations, which is also praised by employees for more pleasant breathing during the winter months and reduced dust.” (Minebea)


“As part of printing technologies, we have the required environmental parameters (air temperature, purity regarding dust and moisture content) prescribed by equipment suppliers, hygienic standards, and customer audits. Due to the fact that only drinking water can be used to humidify the air and our drinking water in the company has a very high mineral content, we have had major problems in the past in providing the required humidity. We used a steam humidification system and a humidification section system in the air conditioning units. The high content of minerals in drinking water caused us to settle and result in high maintenance costs. Drinking water treatment plants did not work for us either.

In 2016, we installed an offset printing machine, where the supplier required us to ensure the humidity in the production hall in the range of 46-54% due to the complexity of the technology. Based on the experience of one of the production facilities, where the IKEUCHI humidifier system was trial-installed, we decided to install this system in a new plant. Addressed representative f. Based on the volume of the production hall and technical requirements, Realtime Technologies specified the system (quantity and type of atomizers, osmotic unit, filters, humidity meters). We carried out the installation and distribution of water and compressed air at our own expense.

After putting the system into operation, I can state that the Ikeuchi system provided us with the required humidity parameters specified by the technology manufacturer. This is one of the very important parameters for ensuring the output quality of offset printing. We put the humidification system into operation in January 2017 and I must state its reliability and minimal operating and maintenance costs. Based on this experience, our company ordered two more such systems as part of investment projects for the installation of a flexographic printing machine and a new cutting production hall. In these operations, we had a problem with low humidity and subsequently with static electricity accumulated in the packaging foil packages. We put these systems into operation in November 2018.

Based on our practical experience, I can say that this humidification system has solved a long-term problem with air humidity in production facilities and I can recommend it to all potential applicants.” (Ing. Jozef Bendík, head. odd. of investment construction Chemosvit Folie, as, Svit)


 

If you have issues related to a lack of humidification in printing factory, contact our engineers for a technical assessment of your plant!