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How to Select a Cleanroom Wiper for Fine Line Screen Printing

by | Feb 2, 2023

A cleanroom wiper is an essential tool in fine line screen printing of electronic devices. It plays a crucial role in ensuring that the precious metal inks used in the printing process are removed efficiently and effectively from the mesh screens and tooling used in the process. A wiper that possesses the ideal characteristics will not only make the cleaning process easier but also guarantee that the final product is of the highest quality.

Here are some of the ideal characteristics that a cleanroom wiper should possess to clean precious metal inks from mesh screens and tooling:

  1. Absorbency: A cleanroom wiper should be highly absorbent to effectively pick up and retain the metal inks from the mesh screens and tooling. This will ensure that the cleaning process is quick and efficient, minimizing the chances of contamination or smudging.
  2. Lint-free: The wiper should not leave any fibers or lint behind after cleaning, as this can negatively impact the quality of the final product. A lint-free wiper is essential in maintaining the cleanliness of the work environment and ensuring the purity of the metal inks used in the printing process.
  3. Softness: Softness is a critical factor in the selection of a cleanroom wiper. A wiper that is too rough can damage the delicate mesh screens and tooling, leading to costly repairs or replacements. On the other hand, a wiper that is too soft may not be effective in removing the metal inks from the surfaces.
  4. Durability: A good cleanroom wiper should be durable enough to withstand repeated use and washing. This will ensure that it remains effective for an extended period, reducing the need for frequent replacements and minimizing the risk of contamination.
  5. Chemical compatibility: The wiper should be chemically compatible with the metal inks and cleaning agents used in the cleaning process. This will ensure that it does not react with the chemicals, causing damage to the equipment or altering the chemical properties of the inks.

Cleanroom Polycellulose Wipes

Cleanroom Polycellulose Wipes have excellent absorbency and cleaning ability. However, polycellulose abrades easily during cleans, leaving a lot of fibers on the surface with the potential to cross-contaminate other workstations throughout the cleanroom.

Cleanroom Polyester Wipes

Cleanroom Polyester Wipes are soft and compatible with most cleaning agents and solvents but lacks cleaning ability and durability. Polyester wipes are considered very clean out-of-the-bag but faces issues when cleaning edged surfaces or sticky residues.

UltraSORB Foam Wipes

UltraSORB wipers are constructed of abrasion resistant polyurethane foam, eliminating wiper contributed fiber contamination. Moreover, the high absorbency, the conformable/soft texture of the foam enables excellent contact with the warp/weft knuckle enabling superior removal and entrapment of paste and debris that lead to ghost, haze, streak and pinhole misprints.

For off-printer cleaning, UltraSORB’s sponge-like properties enable complete removal of paste eliminating the risk of ghost and haze misprints. UltraSORB is designed to hold and “pump” solvent so that excess ink can be efficiently and thoroughly removes from screen printing masks.

For cleaning clogged screens without solvent, the capabilities of UltraSORB wipers to capture and entrap excess paste and debris significantly reduces void and pinhole defects and associated losses of productivity changing screen masks. The ability to dry wipe clogged screens is especially useful in high volume screen printing of high viscosity solar cell pastes and liquid solder masks.

UltraSORB wipers are production proven to improve screen printing productivity in Low Temperature Co-fired Ceramic(LTCC), print and fire, passive components, touchscreen, membrane switch, SOFC, in mold electronics and high aspect screen printing employed for solar cells. UltraSORB foam wipers are optimized for screen printing processes that have line widths below 100µm.

In conclusion, a cleanroom wiper that possesses the ideal characteristics is crucial in the fine line screen printing of electronic devices. It plays a critical role in ensuring that the precious metal inks are removed efficiently and effectively, maintaining the purity of the inks, and ensuring the quality of the final product. When selecting a cleanroom wiper, it is essential to consider all the factors discussed above to ensure that you choose the best wiper for your needs.

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