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46 PCB007 MAGAZINE I JULY 2018 In a recent conference call, our I-Connect007 editorial team was joined by Circuit Automa- tion's Yuki Kojima, VP of engineering; Lar- ry Lindland, sales and applications manager; and Tom Meeker, CEO, for a lively discussion about solder mask. Spoiler: It's not all about the equipment. Patty Goldman: Gentlemen, let's start with some background on Circuit Auto- mation. Yuki Kojima: Circuit Auto- mation has been manu- facturing double-sided screen printing sys- tems for the circuit board industry since around 1980. Main- ly it's been for the rigid circuit board industry, but now we're getting into the flexible circuit board industry, too. Larry Lindland: I've been with Circuit Automation since 1995. As Yuki said, we've been working with sol- der mask manufacturers all over the world trying to provide the best application system out there. Goldman: Yuki, if you would, please give us an overview of what you see happening in the solder mask world. What are the current prob- lems and where do you see things are going? Kojima: The requirements and specifications for solder mask have been diversifying. It's been just computer boards and consumer products. But now, with HDI, smartphones, flexi - ble circuit boards, communication panels, there is a wide spec- trum of different types of circuit boards out there. Each has such unique requirements, and we have to meet different demands. For exam - ple, I think the big- gest challenges right now are the expo- sure, or I would say imaging, after photo masking. Now, many people are getting more and more into di - rect imaging—laser di- rect imaging, UV direct im- aging—and we need to meet the requirements, which are basically the mask thickness, even- ness, and distribution and that sort of thing. I also do sales and marketing in Asia where the biggest challenge I see right now is via Circuit Automation on the Ever-Evolving World of Solder Mask Feature by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team

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