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62 PCB007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2021 Interview by Pete Starkey I-CONNECT007 Pete Starkey speaks with Dr. Luca Gautero, product manager at SUSS MicroTec Nether- lands B.V., about advances in inkjet printing, even outside the lab. Pete Starkey: I'm delighted to speak with Dr. Luca Gautero, product manager at SUSS Mi- croTec Netherlands, in Eindhoven, who has responsibility for functional inkjet as an addi- tive process in PCB manufacture, with partic- ular emphasis on digital solder mask. Luca, it's good to meet with you. I've heard a lot about you and read some of your published work on functional inkjet printing. Luca Gautero: Likewise, Pete, nice to meet you. Your voice and your interviews have been very inspiring for many. I somewhat think that you almost single-handedly created the market need for inkjet printing, didn't you? Starkey: I don't think so, Luca, but I have cer- tainly followed the progress of the technolo- gy for more than 20 years since I recognised the potential opportunities for inkjet printing in PCB manufacture. During that time, I have been closely involved with several develop- ment groups, both in the equipment and the materials areas, and I have attended and re- ported on numerous conferences and sympo- sia, as well as speaking with many exhibitors at the trade shows. Solder mask has always been an ultimate objective, but realistically un- attainable until recently, for a variety of rea- sons. It has to do, partly, with printer capabili- ty, and partly with ink printability. e formu- lators have had a difficult job because solder mask becomes a permanent material feature of the PCB and is subject to critical qualification and approval. Generally, if an ink would jet, it wouldn't pass qualification; and if it would pass qualification, it wouldn't jet! But because of equipment developers like yourselves work- ing closely with ink formulators, it appears that the ultimate objective has been realised. So, Luca, please tell us a little about your experience in equipment design and devel- opment in the electronics and semiconductor industry. Functional Inkjet Printing in PCB Manufacture

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