Skip to Content

Author Archives: Camila Melo

  1. The Impact of Humidity in Electronics Manufacturing

    Leave a Comment

    Electronics manufacturing involves the handling and assembly of several delicate, moisture-sensitive components. Maintaining optimal humidity levels during the manufacturing process is key for protecting these components from electrostatic discharge, de-soldering, and other occurrences that can decrease the quality of the final product. This article highlights the importance of effective humidity control for avoiding product damage and maintaining a safe work environment in electronics manufacturing facilities.

    Electronics manufacturing

    Reducing Electronic Damage with Humidity Control

    In electronics manufacturing, both low and high humidity levels can have negative impacts on product quality as well as the safety of the work environment. Three major risks associated with incorrect humidity control are as follows:

    • Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) – Electrostatic discharge describes the sudden release of static electricity when two electrically charged objects meet. In addition to damaging electronic components, ESD events can create significant safety hazards such as fires or explosions. Since low humidity levels increase the risk of ESD, it is important to maintain a humidity level of at least 30% when working with electronic components.
    • De-Soldering – Low humidity levels can cause solder paste to dry too quickly, compromising the strength of the solder joint and reducing the quality of the final product. Conversely, elevated humidity levels can cause condensation to form within the components and facilitate short-circuiting. Proper humidity control minimizes these risks by maintaining a consistent relative humidity level that meets the facility’s specific process requirements.
    • Brittle components – When a facility’s humidity levels are too low, components are prone to becoming brittle and weak. Keeping humidity levels in the appropriate range is key for maintaining the desired material properties. 

     

    The Benefits of Humidity Control in Electronics Manufacturing

    Effective humidity control in electronics manufacturing is essential for the following:

    • Maximizing production output – Proper humidity control ensures a more consistent product output, leading to greater production yields. 
    • Creating a safe work environment – Maintaining optimal humidity levels is critical for reducing electrostatic energy and minimizing the risk of explosions or fires.
    • Prolonging the lifespan of components and devices – Tight humidity control ensures longer-lasting and higher-quality products by preventing corrosion, eliminating ESD, and keeping materials from becoming brittle.
    • Maintaining compliance – Implementing an effective humidity control strategy is important for maintaining compliance with the electronics manufacturing industry’s strict requirements regarding the production environment.

     

    The Optimal Humidity Level for Electronics Manufacturing

    The ideal humidity range for an electronics manufacturing environment will depend on the following:

    • Components – A facility’s humidity levels should be optimized according to the individual specifications and sensitivities of the components being manufactured and assembled. 
    • Location – The physical location of the application and the ambient environment will also influence the optimal humidity range. For example, applications in drier environments tend to require slightly higher humidity levels to avoid static discharge, brittle materials, and other issues caused by insufficient humidity.

    For most electronics manufacturing environments, optimal humidity levels tend to range from 30% to 70%. The ideal humidity level typically depends on factors such as the ambient environment and the specifications of the electrical components and devices being manufactured. For example, maintaining a consistent relative humidity of 50% may be ideal for some manufacturing environments, whereas others may require slightly lower levels to avoid condensation and corrosion in highly moisture-sensitive components.


    Contact Air Innovations for Premium Humidity Control Solutions

    Maintaining the proper humidity levels in electronics manufacturing facilities is critical for preserving component quality and minimizing the risk of safety hazards. At Air Innovations, we provide state-of-the-art humidity control solutions that optimize humidity levels for a range of sensitive electronics manufacturing environments. Designed, manufactured, and tested in-house, our systems are capable of meeting even the most challenging process parameters.

    Humidity control solutions

     To learn more about our humidity control options for the electronics manufacturing industry, please contact us today or visit our humidity control solutions page.  

  2. Custom vs. Off-the-Shelf HVAC Environmental Control Units

    Leave a Comment

    Standardized HVAC units are a reasonable air handling solution for facilities with typical comfort cooling needs and few special concerns. A custom HVAC system or environmental control unit (ECU) can cool specialty spaces and processes within a facility, integrating with a standard ECU. Here, we will explain why custom ECU/HVAC systems are better suited for specialized air handling challenges and offer unique benefits to your space or process.

     

    Benefits of Customizing Your ECU/HVAC Unit

    No two facilities are identical, so standard solutions cannot serve the needs of every application. Whether it’s a completely new system or designed to integrate with your existing air handling systems, a custom HVAC solution offers advantages not possible with standard units.

    Adapts to Climate/Operating Conditions

    Off-the-shelf HVAC units are standardized for installation in some environments. But, if your facility is located in an area that is colder, warmer, more humid, drier, or otherwise deviates from standard conditions, that system won’t perform as well. A customized ECU is specifically set up to work best in your precise environmental conditions. Custom systems can also be designed to unique specifications, such as explosion-proof, high filtration, pressurization, or rugged environments.

    Targets Specific Applications

    If you need to maintain a reliable cold chain, keep a server room cool, have special air filtering needs, or control precise temperatures, a standard HVAC system is insufficient. A customized ECU installation will not only perform better and maintain desired conditions, but it will do so more efficiently. Custom air conditioning can target specific rooms while keeping conditions comfortable for the rest of the facility.

    Better Efficiency

    An HVAC system too large (too much capacity) for its facility consumes more energy than necessary. A system too small for its facility (not enough capacity) constantly works at maximum capacity without effectively maintaining proper filtration, temperature, or humidity levels. A customized system can eliminate these inefficiencies and save on energy expenses. Constructing new buildings gives technicians the opportunity to customize the HVAC system according to the correct configuration of rooms, windows, doors, hallways, heat loads, and other factors.

    Meets Code Requirements

    Local and national codes for ventilation and safety are frequently updated, so a custom HVAC solution can make sure your facility keeps up with those changes and stays compliant.

    Environmentally Friendly

    Because they run based on the precise needs of a space, customized ECUs may also reduce environmental impacts and energy consumption versus a standard solution, while still meeting all the requirements for the space they are cooling. Custom HVAC contractors can recommend special designs, filters, or capabilities to improve indoor air quality and lower operational costs while complying with environmental standards.

     


    Custom Environmental Control and HVAC Systems at Air Innovations

    Air Innovations’ custom environmental control systems are designed to meet specialized needs for controlling temperature, humidity, and filtration. We serve both OEM and non-OEM markets with prototyping and testing as well as mass production. We also design and build systems to a variety of international standards and electrical systems.

    Installation

    Custom ECU/HVAC installation options include the following:

    • Integrated
    • Mounted
    • Standalone

    ECUs configurations

    Installations can also be designed for unique sizes or configurations and for mobile units.

    Control Specifications

    Our systems have been tested for operation in ambient conditions from 0 °F to 100 °F (-18 °C to 38 °C) and up to 95% humidity. Our customized systems can be precisely controlled according to these specifications:

    • Temperature: tolerances down to +/- 0.02 °C
    • Humidity: tolerances down to +/- 0.5%
    • Cooling: DX, chilled water, or thermoelectric
    • Refrigerants: standard (DX) or specialty
    • Filtration: HEPA, ULPA, or molecular
    • Humidification or dehumidification: steam or ultrasonic
    • Pressure: positive or negative
    • Safety and performance standards: CE mark, milspec, ANSI, or other standards

     

    Tailored Solutions for Your Specific Application & Industry

    Air Innovations can customize an ECU to meet your facility’s needs. Common industries and applications we serve include the following:

    • Aerospace
    • Agriculture
    • Explosion-Proof Applications
    • Homeland Security
    • Library & Museum Archive Storage
    • Life Sciences
    • Medical/Healthcare
    • Military
    • Mining & Drilling
    • Pharmaceutical
    • Process Manufacturing
    • Research
    • Semiconductor

    Contact Our Experts Today for Your Environmental Control Needs

    At Air Innovations, our goal is to solve your unique HVAC and environmental control requirements with customized systems, especially when off-the-shelf options are inadequate. Contact us today to start planning a custom air handling solution or to request a quote.

     

    Environmental Control & Custom HVAC Systems
  3. Semiconductor Clean Room Design Requirements 101

    Leave a Comment

    Semiconductors are in almost every electronic device, from everyday items like smartphones and coffee makers to complex automobiles, defense equipment, and spaceships. Manufacturers make semiconductors in special semiconductor cleanrooms because the wafers are extremely sensitive to environmental contaminants.

    Semiconductor cleanroom

    Here we explore semiconductor cleanrooms in more detail, including all their design requirements.

     

    Semiconductor Cleanroom Design: Meet Air Quality Standards

    Semiconductor cleanrooms are enclosed environments located within semiconductor foundries or fabs, that have tight control over the following:

    • Temperature
    • Humidity
    • Airflow
    • Temperature change over time
    • Noise
    • Vibration
    • Lighting
    • Airborne particles

    Semiconductor facilities must precisely regulate these parameters to maintain the highest air quality standards, all while optimizing productivity. Following these standards is paramount as even a particle of dust can render a chip useless.

    A proper cleanroom design must have a well designed HVAC system that focuses on temperature, humidity, filtration, and the attributes noted above to treat and circulate air within acceptable limits. Each machine may have individual exhaust systems for removing contaminated air and particulates. Every cleanroom must be able to control particulate matter, static, outgassing, and equipment failure, which can lead to contamination events. These failures can include power glitches, pressure malfunctions, fan motor failure, and wafer handling machine breakdowns.

     

    Controlling Temperature, Humidity, and Airflow

    Semiconductors have an inverse relationship between temperature coefficient and resistance. When heated, semiconductor conductance increases and resistance decreases. The outermost electrons separate from the material compound’s atomic nucleus. As free electrons multiply, resistance drops accordingly. When manufacturing semiconductors, it is vital to keep temperatures within a certain range so the finished chips perform properly in their application.

    Relative humidity in semiconductor cleanrooms should fall between 30-50%. This range is optimal for both inhibiting bacterial growth and the comfort of cleanroom personnel. Airflow should follow vertical laminar flow, where air blows from the ceiling to the floor. The air should enter vents in the floor, be purified by HEPA filters and regulated for temperature and humidity, and then recirculate into the room.

     

    Cleanroom Classifications for Semiconductor Manufacturing

    Semiconductor cleanrooms are required to meet ISO 14644-1 Class 5 or lower, which mandates a maximum of 3,520 particles at 0.5µm or smaller per cubic meter of air. They must also comply with ISO 14644-2, which requires the implementation of a quality control system that meets rigorous classification criteria.

    Depending on the application, a semiconductor fabrication plant may also have industry-specific regulations from the EPA, the SEMI Standards Program, a variety of industry task forces and technical committees, and other regulatory bodies. There is further variation based on the type of fabrication process, wafer size, and line width. All these standards are followed in conjunction with ISO to ensure the cleanroom environment is under control 24/7 and that the products produced are of consistent and long-lasting quality.


    Custom Environmental Control Solutions for Semiconductors

    Air Innovations’ custom environmental control units (ECUs) provide precise temperature and humidity tolerances to meet even the most exacting requirements. Minor temperature differences in the environment during semiconductor scanning can result in false readings. Our semiconductor ECUs control for temperature variations within 0.02 °C, resulting in more accurate readings. Other tolerances include the following:

    • Airflow: up to 4000 CFM
    • Humidity: ± 0.5% relative humidity
    • Setpoint temperature: 19 °C – 23 °C
    • Temperature change: max of 1°C/5 minutes
    • Humidity change: max of 1% relative humidity/3 minutes

    Our skilled team of engineer can design and develop a custom ECU to satisfy nearly any semiconductor manufacturing application or customer specification. We design our ECUs to fit inside or next to the fabrication environment, and they are available in vertical or horizontal configurations.

     

    Semiconductor capabilities

    Contact Us for Your Semiconductor Cleanroom Air Conditioning Needs

    To meet and maintain stringent quality standards, your semiconductor cleanrooms require a custom ECU. At Air Innovations, we are experts in specialized HVAC, environmental control, and cleanroom systems. We test and validate all our engineered solutions through a dedicated R&D department. Our products are certified to meet ETL, CSA, UL, CE, ANSI, SEMI, or MIL-STD safety and performance standards. Contact us today for more information.


  4. Dispatch Desk Design Tips for Personal Comfort and Productivity

    Leave a Comment

    Dispatch centers are tasked with receiving communications and initiating appropriate responses. Different agencies and sectors, such as manufacturing, transportation, and law enforcement, use dispatch centers to coordinate and manage operations. Police departments, for instance, use 911 dispatch consoles to respond to calls and establish the proper response needed for each situation.

    dispatch desk

    Since dispatchers spend long hours at these workstations, ergonomics and desk comfort are critical. Comfort and efficiency directly impact performance in these workstations, so the dispatch desk setup, climate control, and surrounding factors must be optimized.

    Dispatchers play an important role, so any upgrade that increases their performance is worthy of consideration. Here are some tips on how to make your workspaces more comfortable.

     

    Key Dispatch Desk Features for Creating Optimal Workspaces

    Here’s how to design a dispatch workspace for comfort and productivity.

    Provide an Ergonomic Chair and Desk

    The furniture in the dispatch center greatly determines how comfortable and productive dispatchers will be. Recurring pain due to an uncomfortable chair or desk can lead to distractions, reduced productivity, and even absences from work. Ergonomic workspaces are important because they prevent repetitive motion injuries, lower back pain, fatigue, and other forms of physical discomfort.

    Properly Position Office Supplies and Equipment

    Office supplies and equipment should be easily accessible to maximize efficiency. You should consider the positioning of items to ensure they are within reach but not so close they cause distraction or cluttering. Paperwork should be organized and quick to access because delays in dispatcher response could mean life or death.

    Install Personal Climate Control Systems

    Optimal temperature is also crucial for comfort and productivity in dispatch console stations. However, since each person tolerates temperature differently, it may be not ideal to have a “one-temperature fits all” approach in the dispatch center.

    Regulating heat and airflow for every workstation is the best solution to keep every dispatcher attentive and comfortable during their long work shifts. Specific solutions include filtered air fans that circulate room temperature air, built-in console fans, and separate standing fans. These personalized solutions also prevent frustrating thermostat wars in the dispatch center and reduce workflow disruptions associated with temperature variations.

     

    Benefits of Having a Personal Climate Control System

    Adding personal climate control systems to dispatch console workspaces is an essential step toward enhancing comfort and productivity. Below are some of the advantages of having a personal climate control system.

    Optimizes the Workspace

    Every office setting has many demographics and people with different climate preferences. Since there is no perfect temperature that fits everyone all of the time, having personal climate control systems is the best way to optimize the workspace and ensure employee satisfaction.

    Lowers Costs and Enhances Energy Efficiency

    Any agency, business, or institution cares about energy usage and costs. Installing climate control systems in individual spaces can be more efficient and cost-effective than controlling the climate in the entire room or building, particularly when occupancy is lower. In addition, controlling temperature at the individual desk can allow the dispatch center to raise the room temperature in warm months or lower it in cooler months, while still offering end users comfort. These efficiencies help conserve energy and reduce operating expenses.

    Boosts Productivity

    Ensuring employees are comfortable is a proven way to optimize productivity in a workplace. Reducing distractions and discomfort enables workers to focus on their tasks, which improves output. In addition to an ergonomic chair and desk, an individual climate control system allows dispatchers to customize their environment to their preferences so they can perform their high-stress jobs without additional discomfort.

    Reduces the Spread of Airborne Diseases

    Central HVAC systems are one of the reasons for the spread of airborne diseases in the workplace. Considering current global health issues, how workplaces limit the spread of airborne diseases is a key concern. Installing climate systems with filtration onboard in individual workspaces can be an effective solution.

     


    Upgrade Your Dispatch Center’s Desks with MyZone® Systems

    Optimizing comfort and productivity does not end with upgrading your dispatch center with ergonomic chairs and desks. The MyZone® desk console management system can help you achieve ultimate comfort in your dispatch workstations. This innovative personal comfort system is designed to boost comfort and productivity, and the device conveniently integrates lift functions, lighting, environmental control, and HEPA filtration within a single unit. It also has a non-fixed controller, so you can place it anywhere on the desk without hassle.

    MyZone Unit

    Below are the features and benefits of the MyZone® system:

    • Integrated heating and cooling
    • Sit/stand desk leg lifts
    • Task light dimmer
    • Convenient touch screen controls
    • Excellent power efficiency (automated motion sensors help switch off the system after 10 minutes of inactivity)
    • Adjustable louvers to direct air toward the worker
    • Programmable for up to 15 different users
    • Adjustable white noise generator, clock, and calendar
    • HEPA filtration option

     

    Contact Air Innovations Today for More Information

    Ergonomic furniture and the proper placement of items are great ways to improve personal comfort and productivity in dispatch stations. Individual climate control systems take these workplaces a step further by allowing the dispatch center to conserve energy while creating safe and comfortable workspaces. MyZone® units are an important add-on to consider for dispatch centers because they provide ultimate flexibility, control, user safety, and comfort to boost productivity to the highest level.

    The MyZone® system is a product of Air Innovations, which specializes in developing innovative and custom climate control systems. Contact Air Innovations today for more information or to request a free quote.