Electronics Assembly Knowledge, Vision & Wisdom
What Is the Recommended Component Storage Environment?
What Is the Recommended Component Storage Environment?
What do you recommend for component storage to prohibit oxidation including relative humidity, nitrogen atmosphere, temperature? The Assembly Brothers, Jim Hall and Phil Zarrow, share their own experiences.
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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Welcome to Board Talk with Jim Hall and Phil Zarrow of ITM Consulting, the Assembly Brothers. So what's today's question Jim?

Well it comes from G.H. What do you recommend as an environment for component storage to prohibit oxidation, relative humidity, nitrogen atmosphere, temperature, etc?

Is there a standard storage environment scenario considered as good practice?

With moisture sensitive devices, there are specifications.

Moisture/Reflow Sensitivity Classification for Nonhermetic Solid State Surface Mount Devices

Standard for Handling, Packaging,Shipping, and Use of Moisture/Reflow Sensitive Surface-Mount Devices

You definitely want to abide by those and that's absolutely best practices. We say that but not everybody does due diligence on those so take care of those MSD's and we've covered that on some other Board Talks.

But looking at run of the mill components, if they came in bags leave them sealed in the bags they came in until you're really ready to use them. Minimal exposure to ambient conditions. Obviously you can repackage them.

As far as in your storage area, relative humidity, temperature, nothing really special is needed.

You have to be conscious of any contaminants that are in the atmosphere that are going to affect solderability over the long term.

I think the most important thing is put them back in packages and seal them up reasonably well to prevent them from interacting with the environment. I want to point out that the standard against which for exposure that all MSD components are measured against is 30 C, 60% relative humidity.

You wouldn't want to go above that.

Again, you should be worried about contamination, any sulfur or other stuff that's in the air and avoid big swings in your storage condition so that you won't get condensation.

Put them back in the storage containers and seal them up. It's not necessary to vacuum seal like you do for MSD components, but reasonably well sealed when you're not using them. 

For best practices monitor and control relative humidity and temperature in your storage area. Beyond that, no, you normally don't necessarily have to put them in a dry box. 

The long-term solderability of any part at the highest level is determined by the quality of the surface finish that's on the leads. If they're good and well coated with whatever kind of plating they have.

Most parts are coming in today with tin over nickel. Make sure that that tin is put on properly because if it's not you're going to have problems long term no matter how you store them unless you go to the extreme of a nitrogen environment.

I hope we answered the question succinctly. You've been listening to Board Talk with Jim Hall and Phil Zarrow of ITM Consulting, the Assembly Brothers.

No matter how you store your components and how solderable they are or may not be, when you go to solder them, don't solder 'em like my brother.

And don't solder like my brother. 

You are right when say that there is no need for special condition for the environment to store moisture sensitive components, but you need to remember that the sealed packing guarantee for the shelf life at low humidity for 1 year is if the storage temperature is <40 degrees C and relative humidity at <90%. So, you need keep the temperature and relative humidity at storage area below that.

By the way, the only indicator that can determine if you will need to bake the component when opened from the original packing is the Humidity Indicator Card, just like in J-STD-033 new version D, if its exposed time is exceeded.
Esmailem Flemming, Hi-Mix Electronicos
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