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104 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2021 Computers, lasers, and artificial intelligence are infiltrating every area of the PCB manufac- turing facility. Over the last few years, most printed circuit manufacturers have invested heavily in integration of the complete shop equipment, controlled from one central com- puter mainframe. The interconnecting intelli- gence allows for quicker file processing, higher accuracy, and vastly improved yields. One of the most expensive machineries is the laser direct imaging (LDI) system. There has been significant improvement in the accu- racy, speed, quality, and reduction in overall manufacturing rejects. The new machines fea- ture numerous cameras to locate the alignment holes, comparing them to the original Gerber file, and then digitally scaling the image to fit the panel. The newer laser imaging machines are capable of imaging down to 15-micron line widths and spaces. From the beginning of a new PCB order, more powerful CAD/CAM manufacturing software is used to inspect the Gerber files, perform a design rule check, and identify any trace or hole violations that would result in shorts or opens later in the process. The new powerful software checks impedance throughout the circuit traces and layers. It adjusts for laminate shrinkage by calculating scaling and resizing each layer to compensate. The software will calculate etchback on traces and panelizes the job for maximum yield. The software does not stop there. It coordi- nates feedback from post lamination alignment and X-ray drill, and adjusts each layer's scaling in a database to ensure tighter layer-to-layer Advancements in Printed Circuit Manufacturing Equipment Consider This by John Talbot, TRAMONTO CIRCUITS

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