Developments in Wet Processing: Beyond Spraying and Dipping

Spraying and dipping! Wet processing is based on two simple principles: Spray the work piece or immerse it in a bath. Most of the things you do in a complex machine you could also do with a series of buckets, but the results are likely to be much less reliable or efficient.

My work in the printed circuit industry has involved roles in many factories and using a wide variety of equipment, both new and old. At times, the major battle was just to keep the conveyors turning for another day. Enhancing the process effect was often a matter of slowing down the process to give a little more time for things to happen. Right now, I am involved with the supply of a variety of equipment, some of which I would regard as pretty standard and others that involve new ideas that have the potential to solve particular problems.

The target for equipment sellers is to be able to offer a machine that has advantages over the competition. This drives development, but it is still sometimes difficult to let the end users know what is new on the market. Some of the following examples may be reasonably well known and understood but they show how the equipment can be tailored towards a purpose even though the working basis of the machine is standard.

Earlier this year I was involved in installing an immersion tin line for a customer. The process and the chemistry are not new or special in any way. However, the machine was built to overcome a problem with the immersion tin chemistry, which makes the process more labour intensive to maintain. Immersion tin chemistry does not like to be agitated very much. Bubbles in the solution cause solids to form, which degrades the solution and causes problems with the hardware. The solids settle to the bottom and can damage pumps and heaters, or at the very least make them less effective. The machine I was working on was a horizontal process, which means the immersion tin chemistry is applied in a flood rinse. This effectively means that the conveyor is flooded with chemistry, so the panel is in a complete bath while it is passing through that section of the line.

To read the full version of this article which originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.

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2018

Developments in Wet Processing: Beyond Spraying and Dipping

07-27-2018

Spraying and dipping! Wet processing is based on two simple principles: Spray the work piece or immerse it in a bath. Most of the things you do in a complex machine you could also do with a series of buckets, but the results are likely to be much less reliable or efficient.

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Ladle on Manufacturing: What’s New?

04-27-2018

When it comes to PCB processing, it is not often that you are able to come up with something completely new. There may be some notable exceptions, but often a new process is more honestly an adaptation of a similar process, perhaps from another industry segment or a different application.

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Failure Analysis: A Critical Component to Process Engineering

01-31-2018

My definition of process engineering: attempting to put together the perfect manufacturing stages to produce the desired product. Printed circuit production includes many diverse production stages requiring a wide range of skills and knowledge to manufacture the perfect product.

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2017

Ladle on Manufacturing: Fabricating for Signal Integrity

11-01-2017

Signal integrity! In a world which is increasingly high-speed and digital, the chemical-dependent and mainly analogue-controlled world of PCB manufacturing is not always a comfortable partner.

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Ladle on Manufacturing: Back to Basics

09-19-2017

Many companies in the printed circuit industry are based in a single factory. When everything is going well, this can really help to get the best out of people and machinery. The main drawback is that seeing the same issues day after day, it can be easy to accept your manufacturing problems as being normal.

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Ladle on Manufacturing: Why is the Developer Missing at BATM Systems’ Romania Facility?

08-21-2017

I recently had the great pleasure to be working with BATM Systems at their new factory in Romania. The process concept is the brainchild of Steve Driver. For those who don’t know Steve, he is a gentleman of many years of experience in the UK printed circuit industry. Even after several decades of circuit production, he has an energy and enthusiasm for manufacturing which are most infectious!

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Ladle on Manufacturing: Time to Show our Hand?

07-19-2017

It can be quite tough to satisfy the product requirements of the military and aviation industries, and rightly so. There are not many other parts that we manufacture that could result in a life-threatening situation should they fail when they are in use.

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Testing Times Ahead

05-29-2017

Bare board electrical test: For the most part, it does what it says on the tin. Current CAM software and test hardware means that in theory, it is a pretty simple exercise to make sure that a printed circuit matches the intended design. But are you getting the test you think you are?

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Drilling Deep

02-16-2017

Whether you stack high or drill thick panels, the dynamics of drilling are similar. When you overlay the outer-layer artworks you may notice that the holes on the exit side of the panel or stack have a much higher level of positional variation than the entry side holes.

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Material Matters

01-17-2017

Have you considered whether or not you could improve your multilayer yields by better use of your base materials? Perhaps the following could give you a few ideas of how this could help you.

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2016

Making Suppliers Work for You

12-15-2016

Every company has its own way of doing things. For some, the engineering team develops a detailed specification for the equipment they would like to purchase and this is put out to multiple suppliers for tender, along with full documentation for the commercial terms that will apply to the purchase. At the other end of the scale, a machine inquiry can be a simple phone call: “How much for a new machine?”

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