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36 The PCB Magazine • October 2015 FeATure by Barry Matties i-connEcT007 While visiting Whelen Engineering, which had just installed Mutracx's new Lunaris ma- chine. I met with Mutracx Sales and Marketing Director Peter Coakley, who showed me how the new machine works and explained how it can save time and money on the shop floor. Barry Matties: Why don't you just start by explain- ing the Lunaris imaging process? Peter Coakley: What you are looking at here is our digital inkjet printer, a key component of the automated process. At Whelen, it is used for etch resist (inner layers), and plating resist applica- tions (outer layers). This process replaces many costly steps in the traditional photolithography and provides significant reductions in process time, massive cost savings in materials and la- bour, and is fully compatible with supporting "green" manufacturing ethics and the environ- mental requirements demanded here at Whelen. In a production environment, we go from a file that the CAM operator prepares to inkjet printing and subsequent etch or plating process in five minutes. That's what we offer, the flexibil- ity and full batch automation that lets you actu- ally print, on the panel, the exact circuit design you need in a short time. With the conventional process, you would have to laminate the panel with dry film, manu- facture a set of artworks and then expose that dry film using these artworks on a separate process followed by a developer process to wash off the majority of that unexposed dry film. Matties: And it's done inline as well? Coakley: It's automation that lends itself to in - line volume production. Due to the flexible CAM interfacing without set up time it's perfect to manufacture in a high-mix environment, even running prototypes between the main produc- tion volume. Using the automated line buffers, you can stop a job part way through and switch produc- tion types and lots, so it has the flexibility built in to switch jobs and print either a negative im- age for subsequent plating or an inner layer posi- tive image prior to etching. MuTRACx: First Install Achieves CAM to Etch in 5 Minutes

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