handling PCBs

Protecting your PCB with Gloves One would think it is common sense to wear gloves or finger cots when holding, inspecting, etc… printed circuit boards, but unfortunately it’s not uncommon to see manufacturers whose employees do not regularly wear hand protection.

We found a great video (it’s really just audio in a video player) talking about the subject of wearing gloves while handling PCBs. The video is fairly short (7 minutes) but the two guys are experienced and knowledgeable plus they’re easy to listen to and very personable. If you’d rather not listen to the Assembly Brothers, below is a recap of what they had to say.

Wearing ESD-safe gloves protects boards from ESD but the gloves also protect boards from contaminants, and this simple step is often overlooked. Both dirt and oil are typically present on our hands at any given time, and handling a PCB with bare hands will transfer the dirt and/or oil to the board. The addition of the containments can cause a myriad of board problems including weaker solder joints. Fluxes do not reliably remove the contaminants; they’ll remove oxides but not dirt, oil, etc…Protecting your PCB with Finger Cots

Bottom line: EVERYONE who touches a PCB should be wearing gloves or cots of some sort. On top of wearing hand protection, you have to wear the gloves correctly…cutting the finger tips from gloves for better dexterity defeats the purpose of wearing any hand protection.

For those that do track defects, you will definitely see an improvement if wearing gloves or some sort of hand protection is mandated.