Enclosed Media Printing as an Alternative to Metal Blades

Abstract

Fine pitch/fine feature solder paste printing in PCB assembly has become increasingly difficult as board geometries have become ever more compact. The printing process itself, traditionally the source of 70% of all assembly defects, finds its process window narrowing. The technology of metal blade squeegees, with the aid of new materials, understanding, and settings such as blade angle, has kept pace with all but the smallest applications, e.g., 200µ - .50 AR and 150µ - .375 AR, which have been pushing blade printing technology to its limits. Enclosed media print head technology has existed, and has been under increasing development, as an alternative to metal squeegee blade printing. Until recently, the performance of enclosed print heads had been comparable to the very best metal squeegees, but advances in enclosed print media technology have now made it a superior alternative to squeegee blades in virtually all applications.

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Stainless steel foil stencils are used to print solder paste and adhesives on bare PCBs. Stencils of varying thickness, and also ‘step’ stencils with varying thicknesses in specific areas for different deposition requirements are used.
Solder Paste, a complex mixture of tiny particles of solder alloy and flux vehicle, is a challenging material to print onto a bare Surface Mount Technology (SMT) PCB.
Traditional metal screens excel in the printing of many electronic materials on rigid and flexible PCBs. These materials include solder masks and resists, fluxes and solder pastes, and especially conductive inks (silver, carbon, silver chloride), and dielectric inks, both used to form conductive traces, capacitor and resistor elements.
MPM stencil printers pioneered Surface Mount Technology (SMT) solder paste printing and continue to lead the industry in performance and excellence in printing electronic materials, including SMT Solder Paste.
PrintingMPM printers are high-speed, high-precision systems for depositing precise patterns of solder paste on printed circuit boards through foil stencils. Available in a wide range of capabilities.Best-in-class printing performance has always neen a hallmark of MPM printing technology, the recognized world standard for reliability, throughput, and high yields.