SMT007 Magazine

SMT-June2016

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26 SMT Magazine • June 2016 By Stephen Las Marias I-CONNECT007 At the recent NEPCON China event in Shanghai, I had the opportunity to talk to Thomas Bredin, area sales manager at Mycron- ic, about solder paste printing, and how the jet printers are getting up to speed with the chal- lenges such as tighter tolerances and finer lines and pitches. Stephen Las Marias: What are the biggest chal- lenges that your customers face when it comes to soldering? Thomas Bredin: In our experience, if you don't have a jet printer, you need to compromise on the stencil thickness, or you need to go into step stencil or 3D stencil. It becomes very challeng- ing to have the right volume for every single solder joint. The challenge is, of course, yield; you need a lot of inspection machines to verify that you do have the right volume of the solder paste after screen printing with the different ap- erture sizes. We think that when you have the freedom to use a jet printer, every solder joint will be per- fect; but the machine is not always fast enough to keep up with the takt time of the line. Obvi- ously, more and more customers are using the jet printer as a complement to screen printing to do add-on jetting. So you have a two-prong approach to achieve the perfect volume. Las Marias: What about the trend towards minia- turization? Nowadays, boards are getting smaller, with tighter tolerances and narrower lines and pitches. What's your comment on that? Bredin: In parallel to that, when you see small- er boards obviously you need to have a grid of boards actually. It's not fast enough to do one at a time. With many screen printing process- es, you have a problem with the stretch of the board, and then you need it to align the stencil and so on. It can be very challenging to have the accuracy needed for those small volumes. Again with the jet printer, you can do the same as every pick and placer. You can either locate the global producer mark on the panel or Solder Jet Printing: Keeping Up with the Challenges FEATURE INTERVIEW

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