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44 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2018 systems in PV (photovoltaics), another core market for Schmid. Two more recent markets are batteries and automation. The latter has been a successful business for Schmid and is gaining momentum with new smart PCB fabs that rely on factory automation. Schmid Group makes 40% of its revenue in the electronics market. The productronica show is a very im- portant event for us. Goldman: OK, tell me what's new here at Schmid with your PCB equipment. Lange: We've been in the electronics busi- ness for quite a few years and have seen many changes in the industry. By carefully review- ing the roadmaps together with our customers, we've followed the trend in the past years to higher-end PCBs, which means the feature siz- es on the PCB can go below 10 microns. We've been working on processes for those boards in our R&D labs for a while. We see more requests coming in from customers that are working on the HDI plus, SAP (semi-additive process) and mSAP panels, so the focus in our R&D and en- gineering is on how to serve this market of the future. We're convinced that this is where the elec- tronics market is moving. It means higher in- tegration and bringing embedded components into the PCB, and there's a couple of things that are playing a role here. Number one: as I men- tioned, line and space is going down. That has consequences for the process tech- nology. It brings in new require- ments for the cleanliness of your processes and you get confronted with yield issues. Depending on the complexity, a traditional PCB panel might be anywhere between 100 to 400 USD per panel. If you integrate components you would have a mul - tiple of that value. You can imagine that if we have a panel with inte- grated components worth, let's say 3,000 to 5,000 USD per panel, and we lose a panel in the production, it has significant impact on the pro - duction cost. Goldman: Not only that, it's not likely to be re- pairable. Lange: That is correct, and the integrated com- ponents are scrapped. How can we solve the problems that our customers are facing in the next few years? With our R&D staff we have been working on really new ideas. We've come up with a couple solutions, some are evolu- tionary, others are revolutionary, and we are showing a selection of that here at the booth. The feedback we are receiving is very positive. We have picked up a technology trend that I think will be first implemented in the high-end segment, which will then also continue to the lower-end consumer products. Goldman: What is new in your conveyorized equipment? Lange: What we show here is the second-gen- eration vertical processing equipment, called InfinityLine V+ and we also show conveyor equipment for horizontal processing. We have improved the roller transport system, which is optimized for extremely thin substrates, mean- ing that we can handle products down to 25 microns in thickness. There is no slip, no fric- tion, nothing that would slide or rub on the surface of the substrate and generate parti- cles, which could potentially have a negative impact on the yield. Compared to the first- generation horizontal systems we have also Figure 1: Schmid's vertical processing line, InfinityLine V+.

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