New solder mask line will be installed in summer 2016

No compromises in terms of reliability – this holds for the solder mask too, because every fault can be fatal when it comes to safety-relevant electronics. Especially in the areas of medical technology and automotive industry the utmost surface cleanliness is required. Foreign particles in solder mask are absolutely to be prevented. The market is challenging, and the requirements of the product are still rising. To maintain their top position VARIOPRINT must keep up their consequent policy of investing in new technologies and processes. 

After an intensive planning phase, as well as various smaller adaptations in the building, there is nothing in the way of investing in a new fully automatic solder mask line.

In two stages the following processes will be installed:

  • Stage 1:  pre-treatment / spray-coater / dryer, realization in summer 2016

  • Stage 2:  LDI – solder mask imaging / developer / stripper, realization in the 4th quarter of 2016

Investments in solder mask processes are a win-win situation for customer and manufacturer.

VARIOPRINT is one of the leading producers of sophisticated and top quality printed circuit boards.  Especially in the field of high- frequency PCBs, flex- and rigid-flex boards we can offer a wide- ranging  technology portfolio , which requires specialist knowledge and know-how  to achieve individual technical features for our customers.

Especially in the medical market functional requirements as a must are at the background of the range of requirements, while safety aspects in the aesthetic area are becoming more and more relevant. Thus even the tiniest entrapment or inclusion in the circuit board has to be prevented. VARIOPRINT has accepted this challenge and is able to offer adequate solutions.

In the statistical yield considerations aesthetic defects are a crucial factor when it comes to the surface quality of circuit boards.  Based on this perception VARIOPRINT has decided to further invest in the prevention of such aesthetic deficiencies and will replace the existing solder mask sprayer with an automatic tunnel machine.

In a first stage the chemical pre-cleaning, spray coater and dryer process will be installed and qualified during the summer break. So, for you as a customer an improved solder mask coating process will be available from August 2016, which will in a second stage be complemented by a new LDI (Laser Direct Imaging) system and a developer line.

With the implementation of a new vertical screen printing machine, the DP2500 in 2013, the foundation was laid at the time for state-of-the-art engineering equipment for solder-mask coating.

After the reorientation of the tunnel machine with spray coating process and LDI imaging system now follows the crucial step to the fully automated solder mask process, which is partly operated under clean room conditions. The system comprises a new chemical pre-cleaning by WISE for optimized resist bonding, and Atomizer sprayer, including Beltrotherm oven, allows a reliable and even mask application. Additional handling robots will optimize the degree of automation as much as possible.

In a second stage a direct imaging system for solder mask will follow by the end of 2016, so that the future requirements in terms of precision and resolution, especially in the area of ultra-fine lines can be met.  

New imaging center

With the implementation of the new line we establish a new imaging center, where our  laser direct imaging systems for outer layer and solder mask is located in one common clean room center. This allows an optimum of flexibility – even in bottleneck situations.

In the solder mask area VARIOPRINT has been cooperating for many years with (among others) SunChemical, whose parent company in the USA has been in business since 1945, and is one of the biggest suppliers of varnishes and paints. A wide range of varnishes and coating material to choose from is essential, and ensures that we can offer the most suitable coating system for any type of PCB technology – i.e. flex- or rigid-flex PCBs.

As we are only renewing the hardware and will continue to use the trusted and qualified coating systems, there will be no laborious new qualifications required.

The satisfactory collaboration with our mask suppliers allows us to react quickly to new developments in design and gives our customers the necessary reassurance, also for future PCB designs. You will find information on Design Rules  and feasibility of producibility on our website.