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Compaq Computer Corporation

Year Submitted: 2003

Process: Circuit Board Cleaning

Industry: Electronics Manufacturing

Wastes Reduced: CFC's

Substance: Freon-113

Equipment: Low Flux Solders

Location: Houston TX

No. of employees: 8500

Contact: Walt Rosenberg

Phone: (713) 374-7436


Compaq Computer Corporation manufactures desktop, laptop and system personal computers. The process involves soldering electronic components to printed circuit assemblies. Organic fluxes comprised mainly of alcohols and resins are applied to the printed circuit assemblies in preparation for the solder process. The fluxes remove oxides from the metallic surfaces of the assemblies to provide a clean surface for application and adhesion of the solder. Due to the corrosive nature of the fluxes used in the soldering process, the printed circuit assemblies had to be cleaned following the soldering process. The typical cleaning agent used to remove organic flux residues in the electronics industry is Freon 113, a chlorofluorocarbon, which has been linked to the depletion of the protective stratospheric Ozone layer surrounding the earth. Compaq made commitments in 1989 to reduce CFC emissions from the manufacturing process 50% by 1993 and to eliminate CFC's from manufacturing by 1995. To achieve the goals, Compaq formed two (2) teams. One team evaluated and implemented modifications to existing process equipment resulting in significant reductions in CFC emissions. The results from the CFC reduction team are documented in previous case studies. The second team reviewed potential alternatives to the use of CFC cleaning materials.

P2 Application:

Compaq, working together with our suppliers, established our manufacturing site as a beta test facility for evaluation of alternative processes and substitute cleaning materials to replace CFC cleaning agents. Compaq developed quality control and benchmarking protocols to assist in performing the evaluations. A variety of alternative cleaning materials were evaluated and rejected due to concerns over safety, environmental, quality issues and cleaning efficiency. The research team ultimately turned its attention to reviewing and evaluating a new type of flux for use in our processes. Special, low solids fluxes were developed which could remain on the printed circuit assemblies eliminating the need for CFC or any other cleaning agent. The new type of flux, termed "no-clean" fluxes were refined and proven in a series of trial applications at Compaq. In 1993 Compaq completed the necessary process changes to make the entire manufacturing process at Compaq locations worldwide CFC free. Compaq has shared the knowledge and experience gained from the elimination of CFC's with our suppliers and other companies (including competitors) that are dedicated to CFC elimination. All Compaq products are made from CFC free processes. All Compaq option suppliers are free of CFC process. Compaq continues to use environmental criteria in the evaluation of our suppliers.

Environmental Benefits:

The environmental benefits include elimination of CFC emissions (an ozone depleting chemical) to the air. Environmental benefits also include the elimination of CFC waste materials such as waste solvents and still bottoms from the cleaning process, waste CFC materials were transported off-site for recycling and reuse prior to implementing the no-clean flux process.

Details of Reductions

Additional Information :

Cost savings are realized from the elimination of the necessity to clean the printed circuit assemblies. Cost savings include expenses originally used for cost of the cleaning solvent, maintenance and operating expenditures of the cleaning process, handling, storage, transportation and recycling of the waste materials. Increase efficiency due to equipment removal (Degreasers) which allowed Compaq to initiate a new method of high volume manufacturing process called vertically integrated manufacturing (VIM). With VIM Compaq has been able to increase manufacturing capacity while eliminating CFC emissions and potential impact on the environment.

Source: TCEQ

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