Regulating the indoor environments of electronics manufacturing facilities is critical when inconsistent temperature and humidity levels can lead to equipment failure, unplanned downtime and loss of revenue.At the same time, the push for greater energy efficiency and greener options is creating a need for higher performing HVAC options. While today’s facility managers continue to shoulder increased responsibility with ever changing technologies and market needs, more building regulations are adding to already full plates. The Energy Independence and
Security Act of 2007 requires all new commercial facilities built after 2025 to achieve zero-net-energy use and owners of existing commercial buildings to upgrade by 2025.3 Achieving these energy saving goals in the time allotted will be challenging for electronics manufacturing facility managers. That is why it makes addressing these issues essential. In order to accomplish energy saving goals, here are five industry trends that are shaping internal environments in the electronics manufacturing industry.
Air Quality Management: There are several air quality issues unique to the electronics industry. Dust is a primary concern for facility operators. Many electronic components must be manufactured in very clean conditions to avoid contamination of both the process
and the products. Dust contributes to electrostatic charges,which short out electronics components. This problem is
exacerbated in low humidity as airborne dust particles are attracted to static electricity. Additionally, many dust particles are hygroscopic, meaning they absorb and release moisture to balance with the environment around them. In dry environments, the dust particles lose the water weight that would otherwise help them settle out, and are more likely to remain suspended in the air.
With higher concentrations of dust there is an increased risk of dust contamination and in extreme cases, dust combustion. In addition,air quality is an issue for employees as dust particles from the hazardous materials used to create electronic components can become airborne, increasing the inhalation risk. Implementing a humidity control system is one of the best solutions for managing
the moisture content and other air quality issues is electronic manufacturing. In particular, evaporate humidification/
cooling systems are very effective in these applications
- Humidification /Dehumidification The word humidity often conjures up negative connotations,from muggy summers to dangerous mold growth. It’s no surprise that many facility managers assume humid indoor air is a problem. High humidity causes many problems for electronics manufacturers,especially with condensation and moisture on internal components. This can cause the electronics to malfunction. Equally important is the effect low humidity has on electronics manufacturing facilities. In low humidity, static electricity
increases, which can damage electronic components. However, with a humidity level of 40 percent RH, surface resistance is lowered on floors, carpets, table mats and other areas, decreasing static electricity. Many facilities are equipped already with humidification equipment; however, it is not always used or maintained to the fullest capacity. Tracking moisture levels in the building over the course of all seasons can help facility managers identify dryness issues and maintain appropriate levels. In most North American climate
regions, additional moisture needs to be added in the facility environment during the cooler months to compensate for dryer air. Many electronics manufacturing processes operate under very controlled conditions, which means specific humidity and temperature ranges must be maintained for the equipment to optimally perform as well as to keep it under warranty. Evaluating the state of humidification equipment, ensuring it is correctly installed and commissioned and regularly inspected all contribute to efficient and trouble free operation when moisture is required. Many manufacturers offer service programs or regular maintenance kits that can greatly simplify the upkeep of equipment.