Eurocircuits Printed circuits blog

What keeps us busy at Eurocircuits, projects we are working at, new idea's, background information and a platform where you can participate, give your opinion and guide us to what is important for you as an electronics developer

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Eurocircuits maakt de E&A-gadget print en lanceert hiermee: SEMI-FLEX pool.

Sinds vele jaren zijn wij trouwe sponsor voor de printen van het gadget dat onze jaarlijkse elektronica-beurs in het Nederlandstalige gebied kleur moet geven. Nog snel een gadget, e-brace, reserveren? Doe het hier!

Deze beurseditie, E&A 2015, is voor ons bijzonder want de print van het gadget is dermate speciaal dat het voor Eurocircuits de start is van een nieuwe pooling service: SEMI-FLEX pool.

De print is een Rigid-Flex waarbij het flex gedeelte geen traditioneel polymide is maar standaard FR-4 met een speciaal bewerkte koperlaag. Dat definiëert de Flex als SEMI-FLEX. Het aantal buigingen en de radius zijn daardoor beperkt (typisch: 5 buigingen van 180° over een radius van 5mm) maar de functionaliteit biedt wel een geweldig alternatief indien men twee printen moet verbinden, aldanniet onder een hoek gemonteerd, en men wil connectoren vermijden. Dat kan verschillende redenen hebben: signaalintegriditeit, plaatsbeperking, kosten, enz...

Hoe ziet de buildup eruit?

In het midden zit een core FR-4 Isola PR370HR 100micron 35/35micron Cu. Dit is het SEMI-FLEX gedeelte met het speciaal behandeld koper waardoor dit zachter blijft, buigt en niet scheurt. Vanwege de mechanische eigenschappen kiezen we voor 35micron Cu wat de patroonklasse beperkt tot klasse 6.

Aan de buitenzijde zitten twee FR-4 cores 360micron dik en 18micron basis koper. Hiervan etsen we een laag weg, zodat we in het totaal over 4 lagen beschikken. (Voor de e-brace kozen we cores van 360micron dik. Voor de SEMI-FLEX pool service zullen deze cores 510micron dik zijn.)

Tussen de cores zitten 2 noflow prepreg lagen van 63micron dikte. Nog voor het persen, frezen we in deze prepregs het latere SEMI-FLEX gedeelte vrij. Noflow betekent dat deze prepregs minimaal uitvloeien tijdens het persen.

Na het persen frezen we diepte gecontroleerd door de buitenste cores waardoor het SEMI-FLEX gedeelte vrij komt te liggen.

Veel meer operaties noodzakelijk dan voor het maken van een 4-laags. Eigenlijk maken we hier een 6-laags reverse buildup waarvan we op voorhand laag 2 en 5 wegetsen. Het verwijderen van laag 2 en 5 maakt de registratie van de ander 4 lagen op elkaar voor het persen iets eenvoudiger.

D&D bestukt de e-brace protos, A1 de pre-serie en op de live line tijdens de beurs, bestukken de gadget partners de resterende hoeveelheid, telkens in een klantpaneel van 3 printen. Het paneeltje ziet er dan schematisch zo uit:

We staan met de e-brace aan de vooravond van een nieuwe service voor Eurocircuits. Wij hopen dat er onder onze klanten voldoende enthousiasme zal zijn om met deze nieuwe pooling mogelijkheden aan de slag te gaan.

Tot op E&A!

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Eurocircuits as loyal long term sponsor of GROUP T’s formula student team.

For the last several academic years, Eurocircuits have been supporting the Formula student team of GROUP T in Leuven with PCBs for their car.

In the following video are some impressions of their work and team.

Design UMICORE LUNA from Formula Electric Belgium on Vimeo.

https://vimeo.com/120733447

You really should visit their website and admire what these enthusiastic group of students can do: http://www.formulaelectric.be/home

Eurocircuits involved in a project that is out of this world: WUSAT.

Eurocircuits had the immense pleasure to provide the PCB’s for such a prestigious project as the recently launched WUSAT-2, and are very pleased to be sponsoring Warwick's next planned satellite, WUSAT-3‎.

For the last year, eight engineering students from Warwick University, led by their project director Dr Bill Crofts, embarked on a project to design, build and launch their own Satellite into space.

The satellite will measure light frequencies from the outer atmosphere and transmit them back to the team before dropping back to earth. They have designed their machine to estimate the density of elements such as sodium and O2 via their light emission because that is one way satellites can detect other potentially life-supporting planets in a galaxy.

The project is being backed by the European Space Agency, and the German and Swedish Space Agencies are both on board as well.

After months of hard work and dedication the team were ready for launch last Tuesday the 17th March 2015 ‎from the Swedish Space Centre north of the Arctic Circle.

In the words of the project director: “The launch was almost on time, perfect weather conditions, we got some great pics and video of it, the nosecone deployed exactly on time, the satellite ejected, the communications system powered up, and we started to receive data signals through our ground station where most of us were situated on Radar Hill 2km away.

The team were ecstatic and very emotional! Every aspect that each of them had worked on was successful. Later, we heard two sonic bangs which we think was the satellite breaking the sound barrier on re-entry.

Even the ESA guys were excited! Apparently, this is the first time they have successfully achieved transmitted data from an ESA/Rexus ejected unit on re-entry, so an amazing achievement. We have a lot of data now to be analyzed, and we are hoping to estimate the speed of the satellite via the Doppler shift of the radio signals. Nevertheless, to achieve transmission at all in these conditions was quite exceptional! As expected the satellite could not be recovered, but the ejection unit was recovered by helicopter along with the rocket’s service module 40km away.

Project Director Dr. Bill Crofts was keen to point out the vital role played by all of the sponsoring companies in helping the WUSAT team overcome the huge engineering challenges they faced with the WUSAT-2 mission. "They are a key part of the team, and also help to enhance the experience and knowledge that the students acquire through working with them". We are now aiming for WUSAT-3 to be a fully orbiting satellite potentially launched from the International Space Station. How cool is that!”

Eurocircuits wishes the team great and continued success.

One small step for Man and one giant voyage for Eurocircuits.

You can follow them on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/WarwickUniversitySatellite and twitter https://twitter.com/WUSAT_Team

Posted by   Dirk stans  on 24 Feb 2015  | Posted under   PCB production Hits: 3470
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In January we made one of our largest investments in a single piece of machinery when we installed a Ledia V5 direct imaging system from Japanese image-processing company Screen.

Our commitment to the European engineering design community demands continuous investment in new production technology. When you need a new PCB technology we must have the necessary manufacturing processes in place. For example, fine-pitched components (BGAs etc.) require increasingly fine soldermask dams between pads to minimize the risk of solder shorts. The Ledia V5 allows us to offer finer dams than are possible with conventional imaging technology.
 


The Ledia V5 will also give us

  • shorter process times and more capacity. That way we keep fast deliveries on time.
  • more pooling service opportunities to help you keep your costs down.

What is Direct Imaging?

Traditional PCB imaging systems expose photosensitive etch and plating resists and soldermask inks using film-based phototools. Direct imaging systems cut out the phototool and use scanning technology to “write” the image directly onto the resist.

 


The success of the new technology can be seen from equipment sales within the PCB industry: since 2010 Direct Imaging systems have outsold the traditional phototool-based exposure systems by 3 to 1. 

What are the benefits of the Ledia V5?

We will use Ledia for inner layers, fine-line outer layers and tight-toleranced soldermasks.

The Ledia V5 direct imaging system installed in the yellow room in our plant in Eger.

1. Higher quality imaging, especially of fine-line PCBs

1.1. More accurate imaging of fine tracks and fine features.

The Ledia V5 uses a more coherent light source than conventional exposure systems. The LEDs can be fine-tuned to give a more precise polymerization of photosensitive resists and inks. Using Ledia V5 we can image fine lines and features on PCBs more accurately and more reliably than before.

1.2. Better registration allows tighter tolerances on outer layers and soldermasks.

Conventional exposure systems use fixed phototools. Designers must reduce packing densities on multilayer PCBs to accommodate the process tolerances on the phototool as well as the tolerances required by PCB manufacture. Multilayer bonding in particular can introduce linear and non-linear distortions in production panels. These distortions are difficult to predict as they depend to a large extent on the copper layout itself.

Direct Imaging brings two advantages: it eliminates the tolerances required by the phototool, and it allows dynamic registration on each production panel. Thus the Ledia V5 automatically aligns the image to each drilled panel, and then uses fiducials to compensate the image “on-the-fly” for any linear or non-linear distortion in the panel. Even on large pooling panels fine-line circuits can be registered individually without loss of throughput. Image compensation allows successful imaging of tighter-toleranced PCBs with higher packing densities. 

2. Tighter toleranced soldermasks for fine-pitched components (BGAs etc.)

Higher quality imaging and more precise registration means that we can image soldermasks with tighter tolerances.
 


This allows

  • designs with higher packing densities. Smaller soldermask windows allow smaller gaps between copper pads and adjacent tracks
  • more reliable soldering at board assembly. Ledia can image finer soldermask dams between fine-pitch pads to prevent solder shorts.

3. More plant capacity for faster and more reliable deliveries.

Direct imaging cuts out the process steps needed to plot, inspect and register phototools as well as to register them onto the exposure units. As we specialize in prototype and small batch orders we need to process tens of thousands of phototools annually (in 2014 at our Eger plant we used 36,000 films for imaging and 25,000 films for solder mask). Reducing these figures, perhaps by as much as two-thirds, will shorten our production cycle and increase plant capacity, meaning faster and more reliable deliveries, especially for 2 – 3 day jobs.

4. Minimum disruption to production and to processes.

The first Direct Imaging systems used UV lasers, but, as its name suggests, the Ledia 5V uses high-intensity LEDs. The peak efficiency of a UV laser falls within a very narrow frequency band, so DI systems using UV lasers need special resists. The Ledia V5’s LEDs have a broader frequency range so that we can continue to use our existing resists and soldermask inks. This makes Ledia 5V a “drop-in” upgrade to our existing imaging processes. So no time lost evaluating and approving new processes; there is minimum disruption to production – and our customers don’t need to re-qualify our soldermasks.

 

Posted by   Dirk stans  on 23 Jan 2015  | Posted under   Eurocircuits Hits: 5566
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It’s the beginning of a new year and we would like to thank our many customers for their valued business. As our thank-you, every user will receive a pack of eurocircuits playing cards with his first Eurocircuits order placed on or after Monday 12 January 2015. The cards will be shipped with the delivery.

Often, companies limit their thanks to the “first lucky 100” orders. Eurocircuits have over 9,000 active customers in a year and we want to thank as many of their eurocircuits users as possible. We have prepared plenty of packs of cards. So we can say that the offer is limited to the first 8.000 smart users.

As well as the playing cards we will be offering many other good things during 2015, good deliveries, good quality and good prices, as well as new tools to help you bring your projects to market on time and on budget. For a starter, visit our blog Looking forward in 2015. We will keep you updated via our Technical update emails – and every new release will be fully described in a blog.