Printed Circuit Board Manufacturers

Are Chemical –Free PCBs the Next Big Thing?

Aug 22, 2016

Today, consumers understand the importance of chemical-free products and items. They expect product manufacturers to follow eco-friendly business practices, human-friendly production techniques, and chemical-free formulations. It is no different for circuit board assembly services, or printed circuit boards. Many first time consumers are unaware of the types of chemicals and assembly processes employed in PCB manufacturing. This post discusses common PCB chemicals and their effects, and most popular chemical-free PCBs.

Chemicals Used in PCB Assembly and Manufacturing

Many types of chemicals are used in PCB manufacturing. Most of them have a severe effect on the lives of people working with them, or using these PCBs. This section lists some of the commonly used chemical compounds used in PCB manufacturing, and how they affect human lives.

  • Cupric Chloride: This chemical is used as an etching solution in PCB. Cupric chloride can cause severe eye irritation when a person rubs his eyes after touching it.
  • Zinc Chloride: Zinc chloride is used as a flux in printed circuit boards. This chemical can cause eye problems, breathing problems, and may affect the heart as well as lungs. If a person inhales zinc chloride, it may cause pulmonary edema and severe stomach problems as well.
  • Cobalt Sulfamate: Cobalt sulfamate is used in electrolytic plating of PCBs. This plating agent can cause skin and eye irritations.
  • Bromine: Bromine is used as a flame retardant in PCBs. High concentrations of bromine can cause skin irritations, burns, dizziness, and headaches.
  • Chlorine: Various types of chlorine based substrates are used in PCB manufacturing. Regular exposure to this chemical can cause watery eyes, nausea, headaches, skin irritations, burns, and dizziness. Also, disposal of bromine, chlorine, or halogen-based PCB becomes difficult because they produce toxic fumes on burning.
  • Lead: The lead is used as a soldering agent in PCBs. The tin-lead is used to prevent oxidation in copper circuits. The lead produces toxic fumes during the soldering process, and it may cause breathing problems, and other severe health issues.

Types of Chemical-Free PCBs Available for Purchase

Today, various types of chemical-free PCBs are available in the market. Some of the common ones include:

  • Lead-free PCBS: Many PCB manufacturers are replacing tin-lead finishing agents with non-toxic surface finishes such as tin copper alloy to make them user-friendly.
  • RoHs Compliant: This means the circuit board under consideration contains no cadmium, mercury, polybrominated biphenyls, or hexavalent chromium. The lead-free soldering is replaced with electroplated gold, electroless nickel immersion gold, white tin finishes, etc.
  • Halogen-Free PCBs: Halogen substrates are used to laminate PCBs during the manufacturing process. These substrates cannot be easily recycled. This is why halogen-free PCBs are gaining prominence. These PCBs are environment-friendly, and offer several benefits.

In the next post, we will discuss the benefits of chemical-free PCBs and how they contribute to the green world.



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Creative Hi-Tech has been a long time partner with our Vertex project and has maintained a very good Quality & Delivery performance over the years here at Honeywell. In these turbulent times they have been a stablizing force in supporting our needs.”

- J.K. – Honeywell

Creative Hi-Tech is a great business partner. Creative is very responsive to any request and very flexible. They have helped us through several tough situations and we greatly appreciate their ability to get the job done.”

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Creative Hi-Tech is easy to work with, very customer oriented, and always willing to push to make on time deliveries.”

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Creative Hi-Tech has been a  long time partner with our  Vertex project and has maintained a very good  Quality & Delivery performance  over the years here at  Honeywell.  In these  turbulent  times, they have  been a  stabilising force  in  supporting  our  needs.”

- Richard S. – LED Lighting Manufacturer

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Creative Hi-Tech Ltd.

710 Cooper Ct. Schaumburg,
IL 60173

Phone: 224-653-4000
Fax: 224-653-4100
Email:sales@creativehitech.com