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32 The PCB Magazine • March 2017 In Part 5 of this six-part series on effectively supplementing your flex production capabili- ties with laser processing, we'll discuss how to develop a process library and learn several best practices, tips and tricks for typical flexible cir- cuit laser processes. Introduction Supplementing your production capabilities with flexible circuit laser processing can pay big dividends. It not only allows you to broaden the set of services to customers, but it also ex- tends your reach into additional markets you might not otherwise be well-equipped to serve. Employing laser technology is one of the best ways to stay current in PCB processing, since it enables you to process more accurate and small- er features than what is possible using mechani- cal processing. In Part 4 of this series, we discussed installation best practices, system verification testing, training and the safe operation of your system. With the system ready to process, it's time to move on to developing laser processes for the products moving through your production line. 1. Choices, Choices, Choices What defines a good process? An important point to consider is that the definition of a good process may vary between companies, the product being processed, the phase of a project and/or production backlog, and even from individual to individual. In theory, there are always trade-offs to be made among variables such as process development duration, cycle time, quality and yield. Looking at this question from an organiza- tion's perspective, the process should support the organization's goals and strategy, each of which have an impact on company priorities. One company may prioritize speed to market over yield and process throughput cost. For this company, a good process might be defined as the first process to meet the minimum product requirements, allowing the company to quickly deliver on their commitments. Another compa- ny may prioritize quality and yield over other factors. For this company, a good process might be defined as one which exceeds certain strin- gent quality and yield requirements, despite Stepping Up to Laser Processing for Flex, Part 5: Process Development FEATURE COLUMN: LASER POINTERS by Patrick Reichel ESI

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