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10 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2024 In this interview, Alex Stepinski of Smart Factory Design delves into the evolving land- scape of additive manufacturing technology in PCB fabrication. He highlights the historical shis in additive and subtractive processes and emphasizes the recent focus on fine patterning and 3D printing. He discusses the challenges faced in achieving fully additive processes, cit- ing past experiences and the need for extensive process control. e conversation also explores the drivers and barriers to adoption, with Alex underscoring the importance of OEM involve- ment and targeted marketing efforts. Marcy LaRont: Alex, as high-density PCB requirements move to sub-25 micron fea- tures, traditional subtractive PCB processes simply cannot get us there. Let's talk about additive manufacturing technology as it Will Modern Additive Manufacturing Revolutionize PCB Manufacturing? relates to PCB manufacturing: What are its advantages, disadvantages, and costs? Where is the technology headed? Alex Stepinski: Additive processes have been part of PCB fabrication since the beginning. Industry has basically just vacillated the ratio of subtractive to additive over time. It changes based on production and process strategies. As always, there is the consideration of how to get where you need to be technolog- ically, with reliability, and with the equipment you already have. Historically, companies have approached their manufacturing differently. Some companies were all panel plating. Some companies were all pattern plating, and some were a mix of the two. Today, you have a syn- thesis of both. Recent discussions around additive have focused on very fine patterning, which forces Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team

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