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JULY 2018 I PCB007 MAGAZINE 55 Meeker: Larry's right. Every system has pluses and minuses and tailoring the system for the specific application is the key. What are you trying to do and how much real estate space do you have for these equipment processes? Lindland: The one other piece of advice I think we would offer is to consider what you're do- ing now, but consider what you're going to be doing five years from now, and your systems. Because we've had many people that we sell a system to, put it in, and everything works great. then Their workload or demands change, and their requirements change. So, they went in a direction they didn't originally think they needed to go in. Therefore, look what you're doing now, and get a feel for what you'll be trying to do in the future, as well. Goldman: Do people still do a lot of curtain coating and spray coating? Meeker: Curtain coating in the U.S. is dead. There's less than a handful. Spray coating, there's some. Spray coating is much more popular in Asia and Europe. Some of the major guys in Eu - rope still have curtain coaters, but nobody is buying a new curtain coater, let's put it that way. Goldman: Is that a volume thing? I'm just curi- ous. Meeker: Well, the curtain coaters work really well for solvent-based ink, which means sol- vent developable, which is obsolete. It's still heavily used, I think, in a lot of the automotive industry. So, that's why there are still a lot of curtain coaters in Europe. Kojima: Curtain coaters are better for low tech, rigid panels, and no fine definitions. Panels like that will be okay. For thinner panels, or more intricate circuits, I don't think it's as desirable. That's why the number of installations in Asia, for example, have significantly decreased. I don't think there are that many left anymore. Lindland: Plus, as we talked about before, many people are required to use different solder masks, and a curtain coater does not lend itself to easy mask changes. Goldman: So not a good option all around. But if people are doing spray, is that mostly sol- vent-based also? Meeker: No, most of the spray ink is water- based chemistry. From the Circuit Automa- tion point of view, the spray is our competi- tor. The advantage of our coating is it's much more even across the entire panel than a spray board, because by nature, when you're raster- ing across the panel with a va- riety of spray heads, some parts get sprayed twice. Some parts get sprayed three times. Some parts get sprayed once. You have high-low valleys. When that be- comes an issue, that's where we excel. In a lot of places, that doesn't matter to them, so there- fore, spraying is okay. Goldman: Perhaps it isn't very versatile; I suspect changing to a different mask chemistry could be pretty involved. Meeker: Well, some of the small spray guys try to put four or five different colors all at once into the machines. If you're doing a really small group, one or two, that's an acceptable process. But it hasn't really lent itself to pro- duction-level volume. Kojima: Also in Asia, due to the production requirements, they still use fully automated spray lines. And that's due to speed. Goldman: OK, thank you so much for your time, gentlemen. We appreciate it, and so will our readers. Meeker: Thanks, Patty. PCB007 Tom Meeker

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