July, 2020 Clariant Humidity Indicator Cards Continued from page 49

cator card — as her grandfather was of its first button-style humidity indi- cator.

“For me, this organization is a

legacy, and I’m proud of it. We’ve been making humidity indicator products for 70 years — we know what we’re doing,” says Martin. “I want to ensure that everything pro- duced by Clariant Cargo & Device Protection is going to reflect positive- ly on us and on the quality of every component and product that we help to protect.”

Supporting the Growing Computer Market

The emergence of the computer

industry and the importance of pro- tecting electronic components from moisture-related damage has played a pivotal role in the evolution of Humidial and its successor Clariant Cargo & Device Protection. By the late 1980s, computer

makers had developed commercial re-melt soldering processes to attach microprocessors and other small SMT devices to PCBs. However, a leading manufacturer found that if these components were exposed to moisture during storage or shipment, the essential solder connections could pop or crack during assembly, causing expensive problems and cus- tomer rejects. In 1987, three specialized com-

panies in the field of desiccant, humidity and barrier-film materials, one of them being Humidial, were asked by a major semiconductor manufacturer, if there was a way to ensure delivery of dry, ready-to-sol- der SMT devices to global customers. Together, these companies devel-

oped a solution, and proposed a new kind of electronic component package, a “dry pack,” that would protect sur- face mount devices, circuit boards and other vital components from moisture. This white paper evolved into the first standard, known as EIA-583, Packaging Material Standards for Moisture-Sensitive Items, released in 1991.

The standard specified that

components be packaged in mois- ture-barrier bags, together with a humidity indicator card and a mois- ture-adsorbing desiccant, with a shelf life of 12 months. For this appli- cation, Humidial developed the Humitector Type 1 “reversible” humidity indicator card and provided desiccant packets filled with ben- tonite clay, a naturally occurring, highly adsorbent desiccant material. This was the perfect solution.

When the packages were opened, the humidity indicator card, now known to the industry as an HIC, displays if the level of humidity present is acceptable. This measure, in turn, tells manufacturing personnel how much heat drying is required to pre- pare devices and to ensure a trouble- free final reflow/assembly process.

A World of Applications Humidity indication and desic-

cant technology continue to evolve in response to global needs. Until recently, the HICs used in dry pack- ing were of one type — reversible, so they would only indicate current humidity conditions. However, at the request of elec-

tronics industry customers who want- ed a more complete history of the

package, Clariant developed the Humitector Type 2 (patent pending), a new, non-reversible HIC. This card combines two reversible indicators showing current humidity with one non-reversible indicator that acti- vates if the moisture-sensitive con- tents were ever exposed to high humidity levels of 60 percent RH or above for an extended period. This innovation assures the buyers of moisture-sensitive reflowable SMT components, PCBs and other electron- ic devices that their parts have never been exposed to potential damage. For dry-packing electronics, the

desiccant may be of several types, A common and cost-effective desiccant for this application is usually ben-

tonite clay, a naturally occurring min- eral. Clariant’s Desi Pak® bentonite clay desiccant bags, meet MIL-D-3464 (MIL Spec) Types I, II and III, as well as comply with the JEDEC standard

for semiconductor packaging. The company also offers Sorb-It®

with silica gel for a variety of package sizes, as well as Container-Dri® II, which has the absorption capacity to protect the contents of seagoing cargo containers. Container-Dri II carries the Clariant internal EcoTain® label for products that are identified as being particularly sustainable and deliver excellent performance to cus- tomers. But, humidity indicator cards

Desi Pak® bentonite clay desiccant (left) and

Humitector™ Type 2 humidity indicator card (right).

and desiccants serve a much wider array of applications than comput- ers, electronics and military prod- ucts. Through the years, they have found applications with global busi-

Continued on page 56

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