Top Tips & Best Practices for PCB Handling

by Michelle S. on February 10, 2014

Even minor mishaps can have destructive consequences. Get a handle on printed circuit board (PCB) handling with best practices to avoid common pitfalls – read on for our expert advice.

Keep it clean. Shavings and soldering debris can build up more rapidly than you’d realize. It’s essential to clean your station at least every few hours to avoid transferring foreign object debris (FOD) to your assembly.

Minimize handling. Maintain as little hands-on contact with assemblies as possible, using tray carts, racks and other specialty transport materials instead. When you must handle assemblies, hold them gently by the edges.

Glove and re-glove. Keep in mind that gloves are easily contaminated by epoxies, adhesives, fluxes, etc., or by simple unconscious actions like touching the face or hair. It’s important to change your gloves at least once every few hours.

Leave the lotion at home. Many companies provide special lotion that doesn’t contain silicone, an ingredient which is harmful to electronic assembly. You should never wear personal hand creams from home when working with PCBs.

Consider you storage solution. When not being worked on, assemblies should be placed in an acceptable storage container. It’s important to consider the type of assembly, as storage requirements can vary widely.

Handle with care. In an unprotected environment, boards and components must be transferred between stations in an ESD-protective bag. Be sure to
keep it closed – never use the bag like a pot-holder, as this renders the board completely unprotected.  

Watch your step. Don’t fall into the trap of common mistakes, like placing an antistatic bag on the workbench over grounding materials – this simply acts as an insulating layer between your grounding device and the board, leaving it unprotected.

We make it easy to find everything you’ll need for safe, effective PCB handling right here at All-Spec, with stock and custom solutions available to suit any application requirement. View our comprehensive offering from top brands like Fancort, Metro, CCI and more to discover your ideal solution.

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