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Rigid flex circuit board manufacturer Printed Circuits has completed the installation of the process line and qualification of their new Notion direct soldermask and nomenclature printer.
Printed Circuits purchased the Notion soldermask printer two years ago, and has built the processes to support accelerated manufacturing with the machine. They added an Pluritec UV-DF double sided UV cure unit for additional UV cure after the initial UV cure is done on the machine. They also added a Pluritec Thermotronic 3.5 tunnel oven to provide final soldermask cure on a conveyorized production line.
Printing soldermask and legend ink directly onto rigid flex printed circuit boards eliminates many process steps, accelerates manufacturing, improves accuracy, as well as adhesion and soldermask dam integrity. It also promises an order of magnitude reduction in the sizes of dams, giving their customers more real estate and capabilities on the outerlayers of their designs.
Direct printing is the next generation technology for manufacturing advanced printed circuit boards. The machine offers four-point alignment to accurately align the mask to dimensional changes, such as offset, or rotation or even for trapezoidal distortion – critical capabilities for rigid flex designs. The machine is also capable of printing nomenclature with sequential serialization, as well as bar code and QR code marking capabilities.
“This project is two years in the making and I am really happy to see this accomplishment,” said Matt Tannehill, Printed Circuit’s executive vice president. “More than that, I am proud of our team and the work they did on this. Their extensive internal testing and external qualification validated the processes, the technology and our commitment to it. Direct printing of soldermask is a terrific improvement for us. It eliminates six process steps per side, compared to the way we have been printing mask, and it is 100% additive with no waste or mess and each pass takes 38 seconds. One panel, with soldermask and nomenclature on both sides, can be done in less than three minutes. This will give our customers a much better product at a higher quality, while increasing our productivity in a much smaller footprint,” Tannehill explained.