(October 6, 2009) — New stencil products for solder paste printing are designed for cleaner paste release, tighter aperture control, and other user benefits. Stencils, paste print monitors, and process control software debut from DEK, Transition Automation, Photo Stencil, Ascentech, Thin Metal Parts, and Cookson Electronics Engineered Products.
Paste Roll Height Monitor
The Paste Roll Height Monitor tool is designed to eliminate defects and improve end-of-line yield. Using lasers to detect the presence of solder paste, the product monitors the height of the paste roll to provide operators with a new level of process control. It uses the Instinctiv V9 user interface, and consists of two sensors that sit on either side of the squeegee blade framework support and are fully integrated into most printer software. Using laser technology, a light curtain detects solder paste presence or absence, sending a signal to the printer. If paste crosses the light threshold and breaks the light beam, then the printer reads that as a signal that paste is present and will continue to process boards as normal. If, however, the light curtain is not disturbed, indicating a low paste height, the printer will alert the operator to add solder paste. As the paste roll starts to recede, the printer issues a warning so that operators are given time to react before the solder paste is completely gone. Once the warning is received, the printer can be programmed to stop and await manual paste replenishment, or the paste dispenser can automatically engage to deposit paste. By using the automatic paste dispenser option for high-volume applications, operators can automate the replenishment cycle. DEK, www.dek.com.
Laser-cut Nickel Stencils
The ALPHA NICKEL line of high-performance laser cut nickel stencils are designed and manufactured to provide full and half-mil stencil thicknesses for better critical aperture printing, hard nickel for wear resistance and excellent positional and size accuracy, particularly when used in conjunction with ALPHA solder pastes. The Electroforming process produces hard nickel blanks of low internal stress, enabling improved flatness even in areas of high aperture density. ALPHA NICKEL stencils can be produced in half-mil thickness steps, e.g. 4.5 mil (110 µm) and 5.5 mil (135 µm), in addition to the standard whole mil thicknesses. The PCB contact side surface is made mirror smooth for faster and easier cleaning using manual or automated underside wiping. The stencil engineering system ALPHA DIMENSIONS ensures that identical customer-approved aperture modifications are applied, regardless of where the stencil is fabricated. ALPHA NICKEL laser cut technology is targeted for print applications down to 16 mil (0.4 mm) pitch. Cookson Electronics Engineered Products, an Alpha, Cookson Electronics business, [email protected].
The E-form Plus laser-cut stencil is made using electroformed Nickel 11 material finished with TMP-LACH post processing. Alloy 9 Plus proprietary alloy laser-cut stencil is made with the TMP-LACH post processing. Alloy 9 is a proprietary alloy laser-cut stencil with a seven-step aperture polishing process. TMP also offers a 17/7 laser-cut stencil as the base stencil cut on the custom laser. Proprietary material Nickel 11 is used in the E-form Plus stencil for increased solder paste volume, better print-to-print consistency, improved release characteristics, and maximum surface contact between stencil and board. Alloy 9 material was developed to interact with TMP’s custom laser equipment to produce smoother aperture walls and consistently cleaner solder bricks, and to reduce print defects. A seven step aperture polishing process, TMP – LACH post processing five-step procedure, and complex chemical tank systems, as well as custom lasers are used in stencil manufacture. All design, photo-tooling, wet-processing, laser cutting, post processing and coatings applications are performed in-house. www.thinmetalparts.com.
SMT Stencil Aperture Cleaner
The GENSONIC – Ultra Sonic cleaning system, manufactured by GEN3 Systems Ltd. UK, is now distributed exclusively by Ascentech. The GENSONIC System is a manually operated ultrasonic generator equipped with a single 40kHz transducer unit for cleaning solder paste printing stencils. An additional transducer head can be employed for some tougher applications. The Gensonic can be used either directly on the printer or the stencils can be taken to the Gensonic SCC Stencil Cleaning Center. Ascentech, [email protected].
Stencil Design and Production System
The Integrated Process and Stencil Support (iPASS) System is an integrated combination of product, design services, and process management. It provides design for manufacturability (DfM) support with a range of stencils and tooling, along with process management. It suits quick turns, multinational manufacturing, and tight processing tolerances. The product offering includes stencils, screens, blades, and related tooling. The design offering includes CAD services such as design review and check plots, design library standardization and management, and weekly reporting. iPASS process management includes training, managed product rollout, order confirmation and on-time delivery, and data reporting, all integrated within an ISO 9001:2000 framework. Photo Stencil, (719) 599-4305; www.photostencil.com.
Universal Holders for SMT Printers
A wider range of holder systems are available to fit SMT printers. Universal Holder and Blade assemblies are available to fit Yamaha, Tenryu-Sieki, Hitachi, Milara, Speed-Print, Samsung, Misuzu, and Minami SMT printing equipment. The holders feature a lightweight design, sliding paste retainers, and flat secure screw locking of the blade. Options available include colors (-Red, -Blue, -Green or -Silver), and Squeegee Angle. Transition Automation Inc., www.transitionautomation.com.
Verification and Traceability Software
The Verification & Traceability Software Suite offers effective process control and workflow support through verification of product file settings and traceability to board level. It targets manufacturers in critical industries such as automotive and medical. Proofing the print process, the software’s verification element prevents use of incorrect consumables, such as the wrong stencil or paste. It eliminates laborious and error-prone manual cross-checking to ensure consistent quality and throughput. The system can be configured to halt the process, generate a warning or record data for an added level of process flexibility and control. The software links verification data with individual board identity upon entry to the print platform. Recording effective boards and reject counts, this information is downloadable in industry-standard data formats including ASCII. Direct output from the screen printer to the network gives manufacturers access to extensive process data. A circuit board can be traced back to the time of manufacture and operators can find out which platform was used with which process parameters. It uses the DEK Instinctiv V9 machine user interface. DEK, www.dek.com.