It's always a good experience interviewing a company you have worked with for years. You get a chance to ask questions that don't normally come up in technical discussion. In a recent interview, Dr. Harald Wack and Sylvain Chamousset of Zestron spoke openly about what they do and how it relates to you.
Jim: In addition to solder companies, what other types of companies do you work closely with? (In relation to the semiconductor market)
Zestron: Great question Jim; Yes, apart from soldercompanies we also work closely with companies that manufacture adhesive, underfill materials as well as cleaning equipments. All products have in common that given an appropriately integrated cleaning process the final product attains a higher reliability, i.e. customer value. In addition we have good working relationships with various inspection companies, as cleanliness is judged slightly different when compared to the SMT industry.
Jim: What information should a customer have ready when they come to you for a cleaning solution?
Zestron: First of all the full set of the residues they wish to reduce. That for instance includes the precise solder paste manufacturer and product identification. Secondly information related to their existing cleaning process. We cross reference both with our internal knowledge database. If we cannot find an exact match that allows us to suggest a process window in their machine, we will ask the customer to allow us to conduct the necessary test in one of our three technical centers worldwide.
Jim: What is the typical turn-around time for a cleaning solution?
Zestron: It mostly depends on the extent of the cleaning evaluation that the customer expects. We have done week long studies for customers due to their complexity, but on average we have a one week turnaround.
Jim: How can cleaning materials save our customers money?
Zestron: Thank you for asking. To begin let me be honest: We are known for the fact that our products are the most expensive in the industry, per unit! But we are able to demonstrate to each and every customer that the overall cost per cleaned part is less than our competition. In other words, our chemical product technologies (MPC &FAST) are able to last longer AND precipitate the residues. This in turn allows the user to use the cleaning agent for a longer time without disposal. This means he/she uses less product, generates less waste and maintenance, which makes it overall less costly. On general recommendation we give our customers: think about all of the cost associated with the cleaning process and then divide them by the number of substrates you cleaned during that time period. This then allows you to compare apples with apples, in terms of cost.