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KYZEN is a global leader in providing environmentally responsible, RoHS compliant precision cleaning chemistries for industries ranging from electronics and advanced packaging to metal finishing and aerospace applications. Since its founding in 1990, KYZEN’s innovative cleaning technologies, scientific expertise and customer support have been repeatedly recognized with the industry’s most prestigious awards. We recently spoke to Director of Science Adam Klett, Ph.D. to find out how he’s adjusting to his role at KYZEN as well as his new online series “Ask Dr. Adam.”

Welcome, Dr. Klett. We understand that you joined the KYZEN team almost a year ago. Can you share with us your journey from your previous role at L3Harris Technologies to becoming the Director of Science at KYZEN? What made you want to join KYZEN?

As you mentioned, before joining the KYZEN team, I was a leader in the Materials and Processes lab at L3Harris Technologies. My focus was on material characterization, process development, and failure analysis. I routinely worked with the manufacturing floor to support their process development and resolution of material-related issues. Among other things, this included supporting the cleaning lines with everything from routine bath maintenance measurements to more complicated issues like contamination analysis. This meant that I was very familiar with the KYZEN products, and as my involvement within the industry increased, so did my engagements with the KYZEN team.

The decision to transition to this role at KYZEN was driven by multiple factors. Firstly, I was drawn by the values and forward-thinking culture that defines this closeknit company. This was a unique opportunity to work with a team of talented individuals who not only value contributing to the future of scientific knowledge as it relates to cleaning but also keep “care” on the frontline of their efforts. Secondly, the vision of this organization strongly resonates with my own professional aspirations. The prospect of joining a team that is committed to pushing the boundaries of scientific exploration, coupled with the opportunity to make a meaningful impact within a collaborative and dynamic environment, were compelling reasons to pursue this new opportunity.

While transitioning from my previous role to the Director of Science position at KYZEN presented its own set of challenges, I wake up every day excited to come to work to apply my skills and expertise in this new context. I am confident that my experiences, coupled with the resources and support offered by this organization, position me well to contribute effectively to the team and drive success in our scientific endeavors.

With your background in aerospace and manufacturing, how do you plan to leverage your expertise in your role at KYZEN?

My background in aerospace and manufacturing has equipped me with a diverse skill set and deep industry knowledge that I’m eager to leverage in my new role. Through my experience, Ive developed strong technical skills in areas such as process development, material characterization, and failure analysis, as well as an understanding of regulatory requirements, quality standards, and the control plans used within the industry.

In my new role, I plan to leverage this expertise to drive innovation, improve operational efficiency, and contribute to the overall success of the KYZEN team. Whether it’s identifying opportunities for cost savings through process improvements or applying my knowledge of advanced materials to enhance product performance, Im committed to making a positive impact.

Im confident that my background will enable me to hit the ground running and deliver tangible results that benefit the industry.

What are you most proud of during your time so far with KYZEN?

I am extremely impressed with the R&D portfolio that I have been able to put together with the support of the KYZEN team. Not only are we tackling some of the hardest problems that the industry is facing today, but it is also very exciting to looktowards the problems of tomorrow. The industry is growing at an incredible rate, and the cleaning challenges will only get harder. We have put together a forward-looking plan to make sure KYZEN is at the forefront of the technology to provide our customers with the technical solutions to empower their own progress and success.

We’re excited about your new online video series, “Ask Dr. Adam.” What inspired you to start this series, and what do you hope viewers will gain from it?

I am also very excited about this new series! I was inspired by the lack of readily available, or more importantly, easily understandable content. At one point in my life as a user of cleaning chemistry, I struggled to find the answers to some of these exact questions. Now, I am in a position to provide those answers to young engineers and technicians in a way that is readily available, engaging, and most importantly, gives them an avenue to ask questions through the comments section to which I respond. I hope that my viewers gain a better understanding of their own processes and an appreciation for the subtleties of cleaning.

In your first episode, you discuss the concept of a “balanced cleaner.” Could you give us a sneak peek into what that entails and why it’s important in electronics manufacturing?

When considering cleaning chemistry, it is important to take into account all of the properties of the product, not just the ones that are advertised. For example, when considering chemical compatibility, a specific product might not swell the polymeric materials on your assembly, but maybe it rinses away all of your part markings! Your wastewater treatment facility would love for you to have a pH-neutral chemistry, but maybe it doesn’t last long or has issues rinsing. When we say a “balanced cleaner,”we are referring to a cleaning chemistry where a specific property might not be optimized (e.g., pH), but the overallcharacteristics are such that they meet the requirements and function in its intended application. This is extremely important in electronics manufacturing because the focus on a single property may lead to serious issues down the line.

We understand that each episode of “Ask Dr. Adam” will cover various aspects of electronics manufacturing cleaning, including chemistry, and analytical techniques. Can you elaborate on some of the specific topics viewers can expect to learn about in upcoming episodes?

We have many episodes of “Ask Dr. Adam” planned. A batch that I am most excited about will review analytical techniques that are commonly used in the industry. For example, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. During these episodes, I plan to give a brief overview of the physics behind the technique, explain how the hardware can carry out the measurements, and review the limitations of the equipment. Additionally, I will review how to analyze the data and draw useful conclusions from the results so that users can get the answers they need.

As a member of the SMTA Global Board of Directors, how do you see your involvement in industry organizations shaping the content and direction of your series, as well as your role at KYZEN?

When planning a series like “Ask Dr. Adam,” which aims to help answer common questions, it is important to know what those questions are. What are people actually curious about or need to know for their job? It is one thing to make a video series cataloging the answers to various questions, but I want to ensure that the content is relevant, or else it would be a waste of time. As a member of the Global Board of Directors for SMTA, I am exposed to many aspects of the industry. I speak to the representatives of all sections of the SMT line, and I am quite literally on the ground floor interfacing with the pioneers of electronics manufacturing. I believe that this will help the content stay relevant. I see this benefiting my role at KYZEN in a similar fashion. Being knowledgeable of the issues the industry is facing will help drive my efforts at KYZEN to stay relevant and on the frontline of technology.

KYZEN already offers the Tech 2 Tech series addressing cleaning topics. How does “Ask Dr. Adam” complement or enhance the existing technical content?

The current Tech 2 Tech series is a great way for viewers to gain an in-depth understanding of a specific topic for a specific application. They are about 10-15 minutes long each, and they can be considered a “deeper dive” into a particular application. These videos may cover multiple concepts as they pertain to the focus of the video, and the viewer can gain knowledge and appreciation for how they come together in the context of the larger focus. Ask Dr. Adamepisodes, on the other hand, are designed to be much shorter, ranging from 2-3 minutes, and only cover a single concept. For example, what is NVR? They are designed to be short, easily digestible morsels of information that are easily searched. During an episode of Ask Dr. Adam, my goal is to equip the viewer with the significant details about a particular topic so that they can make an educated decision to pursue more information and then provide them with the guidance to move forward if they deem it necessary.

Can you share any insights into future episodes of “Ask Dr. Adam” or any exciting topics viewers can look forward to?

We have put together a playbill of episodes in which viewers of any background can expect to learn something. For example, we have a group of episodes planned to focus on different types of cleaning machines, how they work, why they are designed the way that they are, and best practices when using each type. We also have a group of episodes planned to discuss different acronyms and terms used in the industry, like “NVR,” “SIR,” and “ROSE.” Another batch of episodes will focus on the chemistry of cleaning, diving into topics like how surfactants work, what surface tension is, how pH affects cleaning, and what saponification is. I think I am looking forward most to filming the episodes where I answer common questions about analytical techniques used in the industry, like FTIR, SEM, and titrations.

With your background in research and academia, how do you plan to ensure that the content of Ask Dr. Adamremains both informative and accessible to a wide audience?

Striking a balance between informative and engaging will most definitely be a challenge. Those of us who hail from academia tend to fall into the trap of characterizing something to the nth degree and trying to share every last detail. I would argue, though, that such a level of understanding is not necessary most of the time and, in some cases, may even be limiting. The last thing that I want to do is to create boring content that nobody can understand. I do my best to keep the videos short, sweet, and to the point (with a little humor sprinkled in every now and then). I have a great team behind me at KYZEN who keeps the content in check and lets me know if I am getting into the weeds. That being said, I am looking forward to the day when someone leaves a comment asking for more details!

Finally, how do you envision Ask Dr. Adam contributing to the broader conversation around environmentally friendly cleaning solutions and sustainability in manufacturing?

I hope that by sharing this content, our viewers will gain a better understanding of the importance of environmentally friendly cleaning solutions and sustainability in manufacturing. In the world of electronics manufacturing, technology has grown to the point that no one person can know all the details to have a successful process. As an industry, we are a team, each of us with our own subject matter expertise that, as a whole, can accomplish anything. At KYZEN, we view ourselves as the cleaning subject matter experts with the goal of providing the best cleaning technology to our customers. Ask Dr. Adam is meant to be a small part of our contribution to environmentally friendly cleaning solutions and sustainability in manufacturing.