Cleaning strength is measured by the Kari-Butanol rating of the solvent, shown on MicroCare product specifications as the “Kb number.” (Some competitors do not offer Kb ratings on their products, which we find odd.) A rating of 20 or so is mild while anything over 70 is a aggressive solvent that will probably not be plastic-safe. Our strongest solvent, the Lead-Free Flux Remover – PowerClean™, has a Kb value over 100.
All that being said, if you need real muscle for age-hardened rosin fluxes or maybe some nasty conformal coatings, try these: Lead-Free Flux Remover – PowerClean™ (#MCC-PW2) or Heavy Duty Flux Remover – SuprClean™ (#MCC-SPR) for fast-drying choices, and the Uncured Epoxy Remover – ExPoxy™ (#MCC-EPX) for a slower-drying choice. If the environment permits flammable cleaning fluids, a good choice is the Polar Flux Remover (#MCC-PFR). All are superior choices for most cleaning applications. If you are cleaning residues that may be soluble in water, go with the money-saving Reflow Oven Cleaner (#MCC-ROC).
Here are the details…
- Heavy Duty Flux Remover – SuprClean™ was first introduced late in 1998. Formulated specifically for high-powered defluxing, it cleans great, dries fast, has almost no aroma, and is nonflammable. It is a great choice for cleaning traditional fluxes, pastes, oils, grease and some inks. Ozone-safe, easy-to-use SuprClean™ rocks with cleaning power. It knows no bounds! TriggerGrip™ compatible.
- Lead-Free Flux Remover – PowerClean™ is the strongest of the nonflammable, fast-drying solvents. Most importantly, it works great on the high-temperature lead-free solders and pastes and easily eliminates the white residues that often occur when cleaning those materials. It’s the least expensive product in it’s class. It also can be used with the TriggerGrip™ system.
- The Uncured Epoxy Remover is a combination defluxer, degreaser and stencil cleaner. Based on a hydrocarbons it’s relatively slow-drying and about as strong as the old 1,1,1-TCA (especially on grease, oils and other heavy contamination). This means it is ideal when you are cleaning more than just circuit boards — such as mechanical parts, housings and work benches. Overall, it cleans well, is very versatile and highly affordable, with superior toxicity ratings and less expensive than other choices.
- The Reflow Oven Cleaner is a powerful, water-based cleaner. It is an aggressive, nonflammable, slow-drying solvent engineered specifically to remove baked-on fluxes from inside wave solder machines and reflow ovens. This cleaner dissolves conveyor-clogging flux residues inside the ovens. The chemical is safe on pallets, baffles, heating elements, clamps, chains, pulleys, drive gears and housings. Rinsing is never required. The refillable pump spray makes cleaning easy and fast.
One final warning: all of these products are very, very aggressive cleaners. Before putting them into wide-spread use, you should test them thoroughly, especially on soft plastics, gaskets, insulation and rubber. While they will not damage today’s tough SMT components, they can easily chew up older passive components, housings and mechanical parts (e.g., platens, drive wheels) coming in for repair.