The use of laser technology in contactless PCB production is very appealing to many users because it reduces tool handling and the associated costs. Users of mechanical PCB processing systems often want shorter processing times, higher precision and narrow insulation channels. These demands can easily be met with a laser system. At the same time, investing in such a system used to be a challenge for many companies. What has changed now?
Last year, the first table laser system with compact dimensions and an appealing price was launched on the market. The plug & play system with intuitive software, extensive material libraries and other integrated features, enables users to master contactless PCB production very quickly. In addition to the elimination of carbide surface milling tools by using a laser, insulation channels can be made up to 100 µm smaller. Processing times are drastically reduced, regardless of whether the user decides to use a full rubout or just a simple insulation of their conductor tracks.
How does laser-based PCB production look like in reality, using PCBs with through-hole plating? A through-hole plated circuit board requires the following basic manufacturing steps: Drilling the through holes, plating through holes, laser processing of the upper and lower layers, surface treatment with solder mask and finally cutting out. Basically, the process steps are quite simple:
- Import of the CAD data
- Then insert reference holes
- Then the through-hole plating is carried out
- Selection of the right software program based on the input for the production of a double-sided printed circuit board
- The next step is to select FR4 variants with different core and copper thicknesses
- Software calculation of the laser process for processing the circuit board, based on the CAD data
- Implementation of individual process steps
- After completion, the copper on the bottom side of the board is removed directly with the laser
- The board is then turned over manually and the bottom side is processed
Do you have questions regarding this matter?
Your contact person: Lars Führmann
company: LPKF Laser & Electronics AG