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What is New in PCB Fabrication

 

There's a ton that's brand-new. It's certainly not just new equipment and materials to build the PCBs we've been making permanently; there are also fresh approaches to make a whole various type of PCB. You've probably caught tons of whisper about print- ing-- not just inkjetting circuit patterns, but building whole PCBs, from layer 1 to layer n. Is it a possibility? Will it have effect the industry by storm? Or will we proceed creating our boards the traditional way, but with several adjustments and with new, increased processes to get us there? Will PCBs as we know (and love) them disap pear?

Of course, the court is out. However my knowledge is that the old don't ever really disappears. Thirty or so years ago the ending of single-sided boards was commonly predicted as multilayer PCB technology matured and came into its own. But I was working with a Chicago facility that produced a lot of those "punch-and-crunch" pcb board by discovering ways to fit the circuits from two sides onto

 

one side, removing much processing (PTH and electroplating processes) and preserving their customers big bucks. And those are still with us in more volume than ever-- when your cat's toy has a circuit in it, you know they are every where. So too, I believe, with the technological innovations we have nowadays. They don't go away but other techniques will grow up beside them, most probably cannibalizing some amount of square photographs in the process. Regarding the relatively end- less applications that arise at an ever-increasing rate these days, I suppose there is room for all.

 

We talk about really a bunch of ground in this month's issue, from short articles on what is definitely fresh and very unique in the way to create a PCB to better procedures for developing the tradi- tional ones. We also have a several pieces for you guys out on the floor whom require a minimal how- to info. Let's get going and do it!

Joe Fjelstad of Verdant Electronics starts us off with a critique on one of those new approaches

 

to make a printed board circuit, this time by printing a conductive silver paste to make both the circuit pattern and fill the vias.

We stick to this fascinating info with an interview with Nano Dimension's Simon Fried, who tells us regarding solutions to print the entire PCB -- yes, dielectric and circuits, multilayers consisted of-- on a 3D printer. This technology resembles ideal for making PCB prototypes in a reasonably short time interval and we can visualize every developer wanting one right next to his/her desk. Sounds great for every PCB manufacturer, too, to be able to slice their pcb prototype turnaround time to just a few hrs rather than the common 24-- 48.

 

Next, Tara Dunn of Omni PCB fulfills us in (pun intended) on a new via fill technology, this one based on a nano copper ink developed by In- trinsiq. One nice strengths is that the sintering process can be done operating equipment already in the PCB factory.

In one other interview, Amir Tzhori of Camtek tells us about their inkjet-printed solder mask

 

Osamu Sekine of Nano System presents us an interesting dialogue on the various types of lasers that can be used in PCB manufacturing processes to create vias of all sizes and shapes. He then shares flexible machinery that can evolve with one's technology advances and accommodate all these types.

Then, Josh Goldberg of Taiyo shows a remarkably informative primer on developing solder masks for the LED manufacturer, containing the challenges of producing white truly white and maintaining it that way by means of the various heat cycles experienced by a PCB.

Back to via stuffing and one other technology, this one utilizing your presenting nickeling line. Uyemura's George Milad goes into detail on how to set up the copper electroplating process to efficiently and sufficiently plate blind vias. A great, efficient journal for you refine designers out there. And in another one for engineers, we have Steve Williams of The Right Approach Consulting with a discussion on RCA-- root cause anal-ysis. This professional method to troubleshooting gives a very valuable scheme to help keep you on track in your problem-solving endeavours. And of course your customers will more than appreciate the results.