Frasertech News

Check out the lastest breaking news from Fraser Technologies, read the latest articles below.

Apr 13

Graham Fraser to present at SMART Group workshop

Fraser Technologies' Managing Director Graham Fraser will present '21st Century Electronics Cleaning' at the Cleaning, Conformal Coating and Component Failures Workshop on the 11th of April.

The all day event sponsored by The SMART Group will be held at Jabil in Livingston, beginning at 9am and concluding by 4pm. Several industry experts will be presenting valuable insight to the world of conformal coating in electronic manufacturing.

Graham's presentation will focus on cleaning during the manufacturing process prior to conformal coating. Electronics cleaning has come a long way in the past 40 years, but with lead-free, low stand-off components, high reliability applications it has never been more important to ensure cleaning is effective and measureable.

This short presentation will cover PCB, stencil and maintenance cleaning applications, looking at the partnership between the equipment and the chemicals, consider some of the pit falls and look at how you can measure cleanliness.

Mar 12

Regulation update: Substance bans under the REACH regime are gathering momentum

Susanne Barker, senior climate and environment policy advisor at EEF alerts manufacturers to latest implications of REACH for manufacturers and stresses that it is not only those in the chemical sector that need to have concerns.

In late December 2011, The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) recommended that a further 13 substances were banned from use under European Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemical Legislation (REACH). By the end of this year, the European Commission wants the Agency to review nearly 250 substances for widespread bans. If you think this wont affect your business, you may need to think again.

The latest substances put forward by ECHA include trichloroethylene, used in specialist cleaning, a number of chromium compounds used in electroplating, ceramic glazes and coloured glass as well as some cobalt compounds which are used to make catalysts, batteries, in surface treatments and in the manufacturing of pigments. Even if you don't directly use any of these substances, you may still be affected if they are used further up your supply chain.

If the European Commission agrees that the substances should be banned, manufacturers must seek permission to use the substances for "essential" applications.

This process is complex, expensive and uncertain. While it is possible to submit an application with others it will cost €50,000 just to submit an application form (with additional fees if there are several applicants) and you will need to demonstrate that you are either adequately controlling the risks to human health and the environment  or that the socioeconomic benefits from using the substance outweighs the potential risks. Even if you are granted permission to use that substance in a specified way, the Commission will review its decision every 18 months.

If that wasn't enough to assimilate, you will also have only a narrow window of time in which to seek permission to use the substance. So far, sunset dates (the date from which use of a substance or its placing on the market will be prohibited) have been announced between 42-54 months after the Commission has made a formal announcement of its decision. Applications must be submitted 18 months ahead of the ban.

Before a substance is banned it is placed on a candidate list of substances of very high concern (SVHC) - inclusion of a substance on this list in itself prompts a number of obligations for manufacturers.

While many manufacturers have glossed over REACH, thinking it's an issue for the chemical industry, the process is clearly of importance to all manufacturers. In fact we at EEF think the issue is so important we developed an e-alert service to help you stay on top of developments. The service is free and open to all manufacturers so that our members and their supply chains can keep on top of the issue.

EEF will let you know when a substance is being considered for listing, when it is on the list and when it is being considered or announced for a ban. EEF will let you know when ECHA is seeking industry views to inform its decision making and will also let you know when substances are being considered for bans for a specific use - referred to as a restriction under REACH.

For more information and to sign up to alerts, go here

Copyright 2012

Dec 11

Study Links Parkinson's Disease to Industrial Solvent

An international study has linked an industrial solvent to Parkinson's disease.

Researchers found a six fold increase in the risk of developing Parkinson's in individules exposed in the workplace to trichloroethylene (TCE). 

Although many uses for TCE have been banned around the world, the chemical is still used as a degreasing agent.

The research was based on analysis of 99 pairs of twins selected from US data records. 

Parkinson's can result in limb tremors, slowed movement and speech impairment, but the exact cause of the disease is still unknown, and there is no cure. 

Research to date suggests a mix of genetic and environmental factors may be responsible. A link has previously been made with pesticide use. 

'Significant association'

The researchers from institutes in the US, Canada, Germany and Argentina, wanted to examine the impact of solvent exposure - specifically six solvents including TCE.

They looked at 99 sets of twins, one with Parkinson's, the other without

Bacause twins are genetically very similar or identical and often share certain lifestyle characteristics, twins were thought to provide a better control group, reducing the likelihood of spurious results. 

The twins were interviewed to build up a work history and calculate likely exposure to solvents. They were also asked about hobbies. 

The findings are presented as the first study to report a "significant association" between TCE exposure and Parkinson's and suggest exposure to the solvent was likely to result in a six-fold increase on the chances of developing the disease. 

The study also adjudged exposure to two other solvents, perchloroethylene (PERC) and carbon tetrachloride (CCI4), "tended towards significant risk in developing the disease".

No statistical link was found with the other three solvents examined in the study - toluene, xylene and n-hexane. 

"Our study confirms that common environmental contaminants may increase the risk of developing Parkinson's, which has considerable public health implications", said Dr Samuel Goldman of The Parkinson's Institute in Sunnyvale, California, who led the study published in the journal Annals of Neurology.

He added: "Our findings, as well as prior case reports, suggest a lag time of up to 40 years between TCE exposure and onset of Parkinson's, providing a critical window of opportunity to potentially slow the disease before clinical symptoms appear". 

Water contaminant

TCE has been used in paints, glue, carpet cleaners, dry-cleaning solutions and as a degreaser. It has been banned in the food and pharmaceutical industries in most regions of the world since the 1970s, due to concerns over its toxicity. 

In 1997, the US authorities banned its use as an anaesthetic, skin disinfectant, grain fumigant and coffee decaffeinating agent, but it is still used as a degreasing agent for metal parts.

Groundwater contamination by TCE is widespread, with studies estimating up to 30% of US drinking water supplies are contaminated with TCE. In Europe, it was reclassified in 2001 as "category 2" carcinogen, although it is still used in industrial applications. 

PERC, like TCE, is used as a dry-cleaning and degreasing agent, and is found in many household products. CCI4's major historical use was in the manufacture of chlorofluorocarbons for use as refrigerants, but it has also been used as a fumigant to kill insects and grain.

Commenting on the paper, Dr Michelle Gardner, Research Development Manager at Parkinson's UK, said: "This is the first study to show that the solvent TCE may be associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson's. 

"It is important to highlight that many of the previous uses of this solvent have been discontinued for safety reasons over 30 years ago and that safety and protection at work places where strong chemicals such as this solvent are used has greatly improved in recent years". 

She has also called for more research to confirm the link between TCE and other solvents with Parkinson's.

"Further larger-scale studies on populations with more defined exposures are needed to confirm the link," she said.

Copyright 2011

Nov 11

Fraser Technologies to Exhibit at Aero Engineering


Fraser Technologies are pleased to announce that we will be exhibiting at the Aero Engineering 2011 Exhibition. The event takes place on the 9th / 10th of November at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham, Hall 20.

Please come and visit us on stand 510.

Details of the event can be found below. Alternatively log on to the website which can be found here.


Sep 11

Fraser Technologies to Exhibit at SMART Event

Fraser Technologies are pleased to announce that we will be exhibiting at the SMART Group Conference. SMART Group is one of the largest trade associations in the industry, actively involved with the electronic design and assembly issues encountered by members and non-members.

The SMART Group Conference and Table Top Exhibition will be held at The Oxfordshire Golf Club in Thame, Oxfordshire on the 5th and 6th of October 2011. Topics include:

  • Industry trends on area array packing
  • Design reliability of BGA and uBGA devices
  • Soldering and joint reliability or lead free and mixed alloys
  • Aqueous , semi-aqueous or solvent choices
  • Coating under BGA, is it a concern?
  • No clean or clean - which is reliable?
  • Tin whiskers and benefits from coating assemblies

Dr. Mike Bixenman, co-founder of the Kyzen Corporation, will also be discussing the IPC-CH-65B handbook. Mike has over 35 years experience in the precision cleaning field.

For more information please click here.

We look forward to meeting you at the event. Please contact us if you would like further information.


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