Six decades of legacy experience makes the specification and production of screens and masks to produce repeatable precision results mostly an exercise in matching engineering needs with known ink and substrate performance to specify screen and stencil characteristics. New types of functional and electronic devices, flex circuits and medical sensors, industrial printing, ever finer circuit pitch, downstream additive manufacturing processes coupled with new substrates and inks that are not optimized for the rheological, mechanical and chemical characteristics for the screen printing process are becoming a customer driven norm. Many of these materials do not work within legacy screen making, curing or press set-up parameters. Many new materials and end uses require new screen specifications.
This case study presents a DOE based method to pre-test new materials to categorize ink and substrate rheology, compatibility and printed feature requirement to allow more accurate screen recipes and on-press setting expectations before the project enters the production environment where time and materials are most costly and on-press adjustment methods may be constrained by locked, documented or regulatory processes, equipment limitations and employee experience.
SMTA - Surface Mount Technology Association is a non-profit international association of companies and individuals (totalling 4,000) involved in all aspects of advanced electronics assembly, surface mount and related technologies.
IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries is a US-based trade association dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its nearly 2,600 member companies which represent all facets of the electronic interconnection industry, including design, printed wiring board manufacturing and electronics assembly.