Some of the most critical steps in our PCB manufacturing process happen
in the Chemical Area. Here is where dozens of variables come into play simultaneously
to clean, etch and plate the copper and organic surfaces of the board. Superior
technology, best practices and attention-to-detail in our Chemical Area are the
foundation on which Circuits builds flexible PCBs of exceptional quality and reliability.
Develop Etch Strip (DES)
Because our PCB manufacturing scheme employs a Print-Etch process for both inner layers
and outer layers, we placed special care in selecting our Develop Etch Strip (DES)
line. This conveyorized process line was custom-engineered in collaboration with
Chemcut Corporation and specifically built to our own demanding
specifications. Delicate handling of thin core materials, efficient operation and
ease of process control were the focal points in designing, procuring and integrating
the elements of this critical system.
By far the most complex single process in the manufacturing of any circuit
board, copper plating is the keystone of a reliable finished product. For our process,
we chose the combination of a low deposit of electroless copper immediately followed
by a full-panel electroplating step. This ensures the best hole plating characteristics
while allowing for a streamlined, lean process that is as efficient as it is reliable
Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold (ENIG)
Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold (ENIG) is the final finish-of-choice at Circuits.
While many other options are available at the Customer’s request, we feel that ENIG
has emerged as the cleanest, most reliable and assembly-friendly finish presently
available in the market for flexible printed circuit boards. In choosing this mature and proven technology, we paid
special attention to the handling issues of thin flex substrates to ensure that
our customers get the only final finish that combines low operating costs with a
robust, safe and clean process.
Circuits is committed to minimizing the environmental impact of
our PCB manufacturing operations. Our water treatment system is based on ion exchange
technology that enables us to remove metallic and chemical contaminants from process
water before we release it from the facility. In addition, this process allows us
to effectively clean the water without generating solid hazardous wastes and to
recycle valuable materials whenever possible.