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24 PCB007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2019 Ziomek: It's packaged and ready to go. And there's a whole other handling process because you have a pinless panel that's going into the lamination. We have corner blocks and some other unique tools that our customers are us- ing that are very successful in that as well. Matties: You're talking about tight tolerances, and you're using optical registration here to align. You're also saying it's repeatable. But a lot of people are steeped in pin technology; it's what they know, do, and rely on. What's the critical point for them? What's the driving fac- tor for them to make this change? Ziomek: The first thing is we understand that when you leapfrog technologies and go from hard tooling to pinless, it's a complete change in everything. And many layup operators have dedicated 20–30 years of their career to dial in that process; now, we are bringing in this automated system that can eliminate all that. Right off the bat, the DIS systems align up to 40 layers with ease and 17-micron layer-to-lay- er registration. Again, we understand it's kind of hard to grasp at first hearing. It is not a difficult technology—just new learning processes—but there is another very important part that I want to talk about. For this technology to be successful, just like any other new technology that you integrate into a process, you have to have complete buy-in. This means that the other side of the team needs to let go of all of those old ways and be eager to learn something new; let us edu- cate you on the new way. And if you dedicate yourself to that, in about two or three days, you can figure this system out and be running production. Matties: Regarding your rigid-flex layup sys- tem, throughput might be an issue because in a traditional post-etch punch layup situation, I can bring additional people in and set up layup stations, if you will. What's the advantage of time here for a fabricator? Ziomek: In fact, we just got some fresh through- put numbers on the rigid-flex system at our first install location in Pennsylvania. I recall running some 20-layer and 30-layer panels. To- ny, maybe you can talk a little bit about what you saw on the cycle times with that. Tony Faraci: Typically, for each element on this machine, we can align inner layers as well as prepreg because we can position the prepreg as well. Each one of those takes about 15–18 sec- onds per core. And the tack bond is at the end. Depending on how many layers and elements you have, each one takes about 17–20 seconds. Matties: I'm curious about how this compares and contrasts with a traditional system. Faraci: In a traditional system, you take all the inner layers and have to go through a punching process and punch them all, so that's the first one. And if this customer does some internal pinning, you also have to punch or drill each one of those holes. For example, if they have 20 extra holes in the center because they do the internal tooling, each one of those must be singularly punched; now, those hole locations are not going to be perfect because they're based on the image. If the image moved, those holes have moved, so all of that has to happen. With this process, that whole step goes away. And if you do this internal tooling, that goes away too, such as routing the prepreg on the inside for the pinning holes. The lam plates and separator plates are usually made out of FR-4 and polyimide, which is eliminated; you don't need that. You can use stainless steel sep- arator plates. There are big savings right there. For this technology to be successful, just like any other new technology that you integrate into a process, you have to have complete buy-in.

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