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FEBRUARY 2022 I PCB007 MAGAZINE 9 How much is it going to cost to get into ad- ditive processing? Do the numbers really add up, or is it, as my parents used to say, a bunch of new math? What sort of ROI are we talking about? What equipment am I going to have to ac- quire to begin additive or semi-additive process- ing? Where's all the R&D? Who's going to step forward and invest some real cash into additive and semi-additive and help establish a set of best practices for designers and manufacturers? Most importantly, who are the experts in this field? Where can I go for answers? IPC offered a lifeline here, with probably a half-dozen con- ference presentations on additive and/or semi- additive processing. We should see more addi- tive papers presented at conferences throughout 2022. For this issue we asked a variety of contributors to share their stories about additive and semi-ad- ditive technology. Mike Vinson and Tara Dunn of Averatek weigh in with their thoughts on addi- tive and their own A-SAP technology, including when it makes sense for OEMs to consider mov- ing into the additive and semi-additive realm. Todd Brassard and Meredith LaBeau of Calumet explain why more competition would help speed along adoption of these processes, and why pure play additive technology could be the answer the microelectronics community has been waiting for, since additive allows manufacturers to scale down to form factors unattainable by subtractive etch. We also feature interviews with Alex Stepin- ski and Víctor Lázaro Gallego, as well as articles and columns by Mike Carano, Steve Williams, Happy Holden, Vern Solberg, Clyde Coombs, and Jordan Kologe and Leslie Kim. I get the feeling that we're going to see addi- tive and semi-additive processes really begin to mature over the next few years. Someone is go- ing to step in and fund the R&D necessary for this to take root—maybe the Department of Defense? But it's coming, and we'll be following the addi- tive conversation as it happens. PCB007 Andy Shaughnessy is managing editor of Design007 Magazine and co-managing editor for PCB007 Magazine. He has been covering PCB design for 20 years. He can be reached by clicking here. Additive Reality: Green Drops, White Drops or Both: Do Solder Mask and Legend Make a Good Team? By Luca Gautero Combining solder mask printing and legend print- ing seems like an obvi- ous and attractive solu- tion, sort of like bringing chocolate and vanilla together. Still, the gain relies on obtaining both functionalities with- out adding complexity. However, from the sum- mary consideration in my December column on the equipment construction, two separate printhead arrays would best match the differ- ent requirements of legend and solder mask. In this column, the story continues. One favorable advantage of a one-tool con- figuration is a single alignment step serving both coating processes. In the common config- uration of printers, the alignment step bounds the table position to the substrate position. This means one substrate, one table. Even when the single tool has two printhead arrays, if a single table services the printing processes, parallel- izing solder mask and legend coating remains unfeasible. Furthermore, the legend print- ing starts only after the solder mask coating is completed. Therefore, these two processes are strictly sequential on the same substrate. The total average cycle time (TACT) is an important tool and process description. In a production floor with several tools, it is the highest TACT that defines the throughput of the complete production line. For this reason, the design of a line has a given target through- put for all incoming tools. This simplifies the optimization of the sequencing since all tools have a similar TACT. To read this entire column, click here.

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