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At the recent SMTA Dallas Expo & Tech Forum, I spoke with Fernando Rueda, sales manager of the Americas for KYZEN, about the company’s newest technologies and trends he’s seeing in SMT cleaning processes. As Fernando points out, cleaning is now a requirement for most boards, and the cleaning process becomes more challenging as features get smaller and faster. No-clean technology can often make a challenging situation worse.
Andy Shaughnessy: Fernando, as sales manager of the Americas, what are your responsibilities?
Fernando Rueda: I oversee sales and technical support for North and Latin America.
Shaughnessy: How are things going at KYZEN? I know you all have had quite a few good years.
Rueda: Yes, we are extremely busy. After a great 2022, we started very strong this year, now beating records as we have every year over the past decade or so. Everything looks good.
Shaughnessy: What sort of trends are you seeing in cleaning?
Rueda: Cleaning these days is becoming must-do; it’s pretty much a requirement. The technology evolves, everything gets more sophisticated with higher performance and smaller boards. That drives things toward cleaning to maintain reliability.
Shaughnessy: How’s business going for you?
Rueda: We’ve had unprecedented growth, even through the pandemic. We’ve been doing very well and continue to do very well. We must be doing something right.
Shaughnessy: It still seems like there’s confusion about cleaning. For years, we heard all about no-clean processes, but no-clean was really a misnomer, wasn’t it?
Rueda: That’s correct. No-clean is just a marketing term. Somebody came up with that term, but you still have residues that could potentially affect the performance of your device. If you have a high-reliability, high-precision product, you can’t leave any residue on the board. You need to clean it regardless of whether it’s no-clean or clean.
Shaughnessy: It’s just getting more and more complex for cleaning, with densities constantly getting tighter.
Rueda: Yes, absolutely. Technology doesn’t make our job easier; it makes it even harder. The solar space technology segment is trying to come up with a no-clean product. They say, “You don’t need to clean this.” All right, but that makes it difficult or impossible to remove residue because it’s not meant to be cleaned. As a result, it becomes much harder to clean, but that’s why we keep developing new products and new technology to meet those challenges that the technology is presenting to us as it evolves.
Shaughnessy: Have you been to the SMTA Dallas show before?
Rueda: Yes, several times. This is one of the best shows that SMTA has put together and the local chapter does a great job with the show.
Shaughnessy: Where are you based, Fernando?
Rueda: I’m based the Washington, D.C., area, very close to Dulles airport.
Shaughnessy: That’s handy; I know you travel a lot. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Rueda: We have some great products here, like our Aquanox A4626. That, in combination with process control system (PCS), provides all the traceability and reliability that you need in a new cleaning process. The Aquanox is our latest technology. Our PCS is the only system in the industry that’s been around for more than two decades and still performing; just about every single unit that we’ve sold is still functioning. Hundreds of them are still working out in the field. No other product like this can make those claims.
Shaughnessy: That’s impressive. Well, it’s always good to see you guys.
Rueda: Really nice to see you too.