Production of flexible printed circuits is an imaging-intensive operation. For that reason, the optical processing areas are the most heavily-traveled parts of the fabricating floor. By their nature, imaging operations are precise, delicate and demanding. From careful handling and transport, to the safeguards needed to prevent particulate contamination, every step of the imaging processes requires care and discipline. Our state-of-the-art imaging equipment, self-contained Class 1000 Clean Room, trained technicians and rigorous quality control regimen ensure compliance with both customer specifications and industry-best standards and procedures.
All PCB manufacturing imaging processes are housed in our 16’ X 20’ modular Class 1000 Clean Room. The area is equipped with air-handling units designed to maintain positive air pressure between the Clean Room and the ambient plant air, a HEPA air filtration system and UV light protection up to 550 nanometers. A Class 10000 gowning room and an interlocking pass-through ensure that the integrity of the clean room environment is maintained at all times. The clean room structure consists of an insulated modular aluminum wall system with a double-plenum ceiling that hosts the forced-air HEPA filters and ground-level air returns which are designed to re-circulate the air from the ceiling to the floor several times every minute.
Fully integrated with the front-end CAM software system, our Crescent 30 Photoplotter uses a Gerber RS-274X format to plot full panel images including board circuitry, coupons, and targets. A single film is generated for each separate layer of the circuit board. The plotter uses a red laser light source with a .25 mil resolution to plot the images on a silver halide photographic film. Processing takes place in a darkroom with independent temperature and humidity controls. The end-result is a black & white film photo tool that can be used in white light for all the imaging operations.
Unlike batch processes, imaging is done on a per-piece basis, making consistent, repeatable quality protocols and precision-handling critical to the overall integrity of the finished flexible printed circuit. Our high-resolution point-source printer has an exposure area of 25” x 30” that can accommodate most flexible circuit board designs. Point-source printing delivers energy to the panel more efficiently, resulting in shorter exposure time. This more robust process means less diffraction of light as it travels through the photoresist, ultimately yielding better trace and space definition on the finished circuit board. The semi-automated printer has a self-contained air conditioning system and a multiple-drawer processing unit to allow for efficient operation.