Why be Concerned with Moisture?
Moisture is an invisible pest in the world of electronics manufacturing. Packages made from plastic are susceptible to moisture-related failure during board assembly.
Excess moisture can turn to steam during reflow, creating defects and reducing production yields.
- Electronic devices can suffer internal damage if they are not handled and stored according to IPC/JEDEC J-STD-033B industry standard. Ball grid array (BGA) and chip-scale packages (CSP) are especially sensitive to moisture, and damage to these components can be difficult to detect.
- Moisture absorption and retention inside electronic packages could cause numerous problems. For instance, trapped moisture can vaporize and exert internal package stresses when the device is subjected to sudden elevated temperature during reflow.
- Package cracking due to such moisture-induced stress is called popcorn cracking. However, even if the package does not crack, interfacial delaminating can occur.
- Surface peeling between the die pad and the resin is caused by water vapor pressure during reflow. Surface delamination is likely, resulting in shear strain on bond wires and wire necking.
- Micro-cracking can extend to the outside of the package. External cracking may appear on the sides, top and bottom of a component. Because the package wall is often thinnest below the die pad, bottom cracking is the most common and very difficult to detect visually.
Component damage due to moisture expansion
Protection for Moisture Sensitive Devices (MSDs)
According to IPC/JEDEC J-STD-033B, SMD packages not sealed in a moisture barrier bag (MBB) may be placed in a dry cabinet, maintained at not greater than 5% RH. Storage in these dry cabinets are equivalent to storage in a MBB with unlimited shelf life.
In addition, storage of SMD packages sealed in cabinets maintained at not greater than 10% RH have limited shelf life. If the time limit is exceeded, these devices should be baked to restore the floor life.
In short, storing moisture sensitive devices in a dry cabinet maintained at not greater than 5% RH, offers unlimited shelf life without using MBB and removes possible re-baking costs which are much more than storage costs.
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