Electronics Assembly Knowledge, Vision & Wisdom
Keys for Moisture Sensitive Device Control
Keys for Moisture Sensitive Device Control
We attach travelers to every group of MSD components taken out of the moisture barrier bag. Is this enough documents on our MSD program? Phil Zarrow and Jim Hall, The Assembly Brothers, share their insight.
Board Talk
Board Talk is presented by ITM Consulting

Phil Zarrow
Phil Zarrow, ITM Consulting
With over 35 years experience in PCB assembly, Phil is one of the leading experts in SMT process failure analysis. He has vast experience in SMT equipment, materials and processes.


Jim Hall
Jim Hall, ITM Consulting
A Lean Six-Sigma Master Blackbelt, Jim has a wealth of knowledge in soldering, thermal technology, equipment and process basics. He is a pioneer in the science of reflow.

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Transcript
Phil
Welcome to Board Talk. This is Phil Zarrow and Jim Hall, the Assembly Brothers, pick and place. Also known as ITM Consulting.

Jim
Here is a question close to our hearts. "Our customer is requesting documentation on our MSD program. We attach travelers to every group of MSD components whenever they are taken out of the moisture barrier bag; is this good enough?"

Phil
Well, it's a good start. I'll elaborate by saying at least you are trying to make an effort to do an MSD program. The traveler is a good start, but so many times we see cases where the times are not filled in or they guesstimated the times they put in the dry box or back in the bag with a desiccant.

Jim
Is it fair to say that in 15-20 years of auditing customer facilities we have found just 2 facilities that had an airtight MSD program in place. Most of them had some program, it just had holes in it.

Phil
Usually the most common hole we see is the lack of operator diligence. MSD is important. The problem has been around as long as we've had surface mount ICs.

We see people starting to become aware of it and we see a lot of people that just don't even have programs. And very few are airtight, or vacuum-sealed in this case.

What we find lacking is that they put the program in place, but nobody really understands it. They've got all kind of essential training on ESD and everybody understands what is about, they do it and follow the procedures.

One of the most important things you could do is have an MSD training program, a boot camp, if you will. Bring everybody up to speed, what is this, why they have to be diligent about filling in the travelers and do that.

And make sure the traveler is proper. I ran to this a couple weeks ago. Company had a traveler and they had it affixed properly, and they input dates on the bag.  

Jim
What's wrong with that?  

Phil
Let's give or take about 24 hours. No times were included, just the date.  

Jim
At another facility they were having problems, but nobody bothered to subtract the hours and total the amount of time that the parts have been out of the bag.

By their own documentation, parts exceeded the J-STD-033 limit for moisture sensitive level. So for type 3, that means it had been out of the bag more than seven days. Type 4, out of the bag more than three days.

So if you are filling out a traveler and it's a type 3 part and it has been out of the bag more than seven days, the bag should be labeled, must be baked before reuse.

Likewise, if a type 4 part has been out of the bag more than 12 hours continuously, it must be baked.

Phil
There are more elaborate systems. There is bar code systems that use bar code scanning of the parts, and there is even RFID code scans system.

But regardless, it's only as good as the operators and technicians knowing what the MSD thing is all about. So the paper travelers can be a very effective methodology, but you've got to do the due diligence. You have to bring the team up to speed, why we are doing it and how we are doing it.   

Jim
And people have to follow it.  

Phil
Remember whether your reflow soldering level 3 or level 4 devices, don't solder like my brother.  

Jim
And don't solder like my brother.


Comments
By their very nature, paper-based MSD tracking procedures are totally reliant on operator discipline and prone to error. Even if your operators are diligent about filling in expiration dates/times, a piece of paper won't beep at you or interlock operations when a component has expired on the line.
Mitch DeCaire, Cogiscan
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