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68 PCB007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2021 Gautero: e ink is fluid when it lands, so all the theory on the liquid-solid-gas interaction holds. Here, the required information on sur- face wetting comes in hand. Printing strat- egies are flexible and can compensate for a wide range of wetting behaviour. However, a lot of compensation means that something has to give; an underperforming ink might there- fore affect the feature size or the throughput or both. Starkey: Luca, you have presented a very well- reasoned explanation of the science behind your developments, but much of it relates to the laboratory. How can you convince our au- dience that your inkjet technology is ready for production? Gautero: Good question, Pete. First, we can show the performance with a demonstration on our mass production tool, the PiXDRO JETx-M, which is installed in permanence in our lab. Moreover, demonstrations of the tools installed at our customers can be arranged; our distributors around the world—Adeon for EU, Technica for North America, and TKK for Asia—would be very happy to support here. On the other hand, I can give extensive quan- titative answers on dem- onstrated feature size and throughput, though this would relate the discus- sion to our tools, and we want this interview just to present the technolo- gy. Hence, since the read- er can easily retrieve this information, I will take a different angle. PiXDRO is not alone in the mar- ket, we have a number of valuable competitors on the solder mask market. Both your hands are no longer enough to count the number of tools out there printing full size boards. en again, ev- erybody is claiming perfection. While not all of these tools are running productions, still, the tool supplier experience is common: A tool is at a PCB manufacturer, and it has a large table with thousands of nozzles and precise align- ment, and available (and straightforward) inte- gration to automation. is is what the market wants. I would even go further and say that this is what the market is starting to like and appre- ciate, especially when care goes into simpli- fying the CAM-to-production workflow with WYSIWYG concepts. e green factor—the digital nature—will become more and more evident and justify further deployment of the inkjet technology. Starkey: Luca, I've really enjoyed this discus- sion, and I'm grateful for you taking the time to answer my questions and to give such clear ex- planations of how the challenges have been ad- dressed and overcome. I certainly believe that inkjet printing of solder mask is now a practi- cal reality, and I wish you every success in pro- moting the technology. ank you. Gautero: ank you, Pete, for your involvement and interest in inkjet printing. PCB007 Figure 4: Example of "SUSS demo" panels where the typical challenging features are printed and characterized. Two appearances are presented in the picture: From the same ink, a change of printing strategy delivers a shiny or a matte appearence (see the lamp reflection).

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