A Conversation With A Flex And Rigid-flex PCB Processes Expert

- Aug 03, 2019-

A Conversation With A flex and Rigid-Flex PCB processes Expert


Williams lately talked with Chiem, a flex and rigid-flex PCB procedure engineer, concerning creating internal flex as well as rigid-flex PCB processes and also capacities at their facility in Tucson, Arizona.


Williams: Van, you have an extremely diverse technical history in PCBs. Can you inform us a bit about your past experience and what brought you to Prototron?


Chiem: I have over 25 years of experience in this field. I began as a process engineer at Unisys Firm where we made integrated circuit as well as progressed component product packaging for interconnections like wire bonding, flip chip, as well as tab bonding. This is my 9th task in the PCB manufacturing market. One more task I had was with Enthone in Connecticut at the time, which is now MacDermid Alpha Electronic devices Solutions. I was in the research study team servicing the formulation of solder mask to try and also transform it to photodefinable dielectric material for microvia. Instead of drilling, we made use of a picture process to create a microvia, and then the electroless copper followed by plating the copper to develop the microvia with wise wiring. That was my second job in the industry. I have had seven more work, but that could be too much to speak about.


Williams: Exactly how concerning we conserve the other seven for the next interview (laughs). So, you have actually seen a lot of modern technology adjustments in the last 25 years in the sector and were really one of the original engineers.


Chiem: Well, I do not such as to talk about myself, yet I think you can claim that.


Williams: How long have you gone to Prototron?


Chiem: About a year as well as a fifty percent.


Williams: As well as you have currently completed a fair bit right here. Prototron brought you aboard for the specific purpose of updating their modern technology in a variety of various areas, right?


Chiem: Yes, Kim O'Neil, the general manager below, brought me on specifically to create flexible circuits and also rigid flex PCB processes.


Williams: So, you were kind of the R&D lead on establishing that technology and obtaining it to end up being a sensible technology below in Tucson. What was that procedure like, and what were the challenges?


Chiem: From a technology viewpoint, there weren't any major challenges, as this technology is 20-- three decades old and very mature. I utilized to operate at Honeywell back in the '90s where we developed flex PCB as a chip provider on a daily basis and also spoke about 3-mil lines and areas 20 years earlier.


Williams: It may be brand-new to Prototron, yet it's old to you?


Chiem: Specifically. We were doing some insane PCB manufacturing technology 20 years ago in Costa Mesa, California.


Williams: And also did you have to do anything here from an equipment set point ofview, including changes to procedures, or was it simply an issue of making use of various resources?


Chiem: Certainly, flex PCB and rigid flex PCB need a different material collection, however primarily, we simply needed to establish customized frames, or product handling fixtures, to process the slim products with Prototron's requirement, rigid PCB conveyorized equipment. The Tucson shop was set up for requirement, rigid multilayer PCB production, as well as the equipment set showed that.


Williams: Existed any obstacles you had to conquer since the shop had never ever developed flex circuits below before? Did you need to re-educate the employees or establish brand-new processes as well as retrain people on how to manage this type of product?


Chiem: We also had to change our processes and also treatments to adapt to flex circuits handling. After that, it was just a matter of mixing the existing chemistry as well as tools with the new structures to make flex PCB a reality below at Prototron. As we have actually proceeded, we've obtained understanding on how to establish the in-house flex circuits capability. I also needed to train individuals, write specifications, update the procedures, and also make sure everyone was familiarized with the new procedures.


Williams: Are you likewise considering doing rigid flex PCB?


Chiem: We have established the processes and ran test orders effectively, so I am certain we can construct rigid flex PCB below now. It's easy.


Williams: I like your confidence. I comprehend you're currently dealing with an additional project with some extremely small mechanically drilled holes likewise.


Chiem: Correct. Kim desired me to work on mechanically piercing 4-mil microvias using our existing Schmoll drilling tools.


Williams: And that would be controlled depth exploration of the microvias?


Chiem: Yes, 4-mil diameter by 5 mils deep.


Williams: Earlier, you stated that mechanically piercing 4-mil openings is not that large of a bargain; it's the fluid characteristics of obtaining the chemistry via a blind hole of that size opening.


Chiem: Consequently, we need to put in some new, various chemistry, as the existing conventional chemistry that we have today is not suggested for this application.


Williams: So, it's appealing basic microvia stuff, however you are doing it mechanically instead of laser exploration. Exceptional. What else is on your to-do list for Prototron in advancing their technology degrees?


Chiem: I think we are open to doing R&D partnership with other companies on sophisticated technology. For instance, I am dealing with a company in Toronto, Canada, to create a very innovative PCB design. In that method, we have a mutual rate of interest in between the two firms. We can co-develop this PCB technology as well as procedure that can be used at both firms.


Williams: Wow! As a fellow old board rat, I discover this actually interesting. What do you believe the timeline is?


Chiem: All I can tell you is that it is a recurring iterative procedure as design changes are made after each set of PCBs are developed and examined till the process is improved.


Williams: It's exciting to work with you. I understand you're doing a great deal of wonderful things below, and also I'm anticipating what you think of next. Any individual that needs top quality flex PCB and rigid flex PCB can get in touch with Van as well as the team at Prototron, and also they will look after you. Thanks for taking the time today to talk.


Chiem: Naturally. I am always readily available to aid.