Technical Library | 2013-07-03 10:31:54.0
It has been demonstrated in numerous pieces of work that stencil printing, one of the most complex PCB assembly processes, is one of the largest contributors to defects (Revelino et el). This complexity extends to prototype builds where a small number of boards need to be assembled quickly and reliably. Stencil printing is becoming increasingly challenging as packages shrink in size, increase in lead count and require closer lead spacing (finer pitch). Prototype SMT assembly can be further divided between industrial and commercial work and the DIYer, hobbyist or researcher groups. This second group is highly price sensitive when it comes to the materials used for the board assembly as their funds are sourced from personal or research monies as opposed to company funds. This has led to development of a lower cost SMT printing stencil made from plastic film as opposed to the more traditional stainless steel stencil used by industrial and commercial users.This study compares the performance of these two traditional materials and their respective impact on solder paste printing including efficiency and print quality.