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YOU ARE HERE: Home News Registering Multilayers for Lamination: The Challenge of Registering New Materials on High-Density Interconnection PCBs

Registering Multilayers for Lamination: The Challenge of Registering New Materials on High-Density Interconnection PCBs

Registering Multilayers for Lamination: The Challenge of Registering New Materials on High-Density Interconnection PCBs

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Registering Multilayers for Lamination: The Challenge of Registering New Materials on High-Density Interconnection PCBs

Many people think of imaging as the first step in the manufacture of a PCB. Imaging on the PCB raw substrate is, however, the culmination of much planning; it is also the realization of only one step in the design of a product, and one aspect of information processed into reality. The connections made (or avoided) on a PCB are the physical embodiments of an electronic engineer’s scribbles on a schematic. The designer of the product must bring together many images in order to complete his circuit design. Obviously, if the board is multilayered there are as many images as layers. Then, there are the two solder mask images, a legend, a layer of solderable material added to the pads (a kind of pseudo-image), not to mention the needles of the electrical test machine and the solder paste mask prior to assembly.

      One can’t forget the holes which combine the layers into a working circuit. A modern circuit board contains multilayered holes. Consider that there are through holes, blind holes and buried holes. When considering buried holes, there are those made by drilling through the inner layer and those made by drilling through a laminated assembly, which is then laminated again into a sequentially pressed multilayer. When considering blind holes, there are those made through sequential lamination, those formed by laser from the surface down and those mechanically drilled--there are even holes created by plasma (dry) etching. All holes are like layers of image that need to be brought into the proper relationship to the images of a circuit to make it work correctly.
 
      The Importance of Registration

      When we discuss imaging in PCB production there is nothing more important than registration. The process of registration is no less than the orchestration of all images, features and processes such that each occupies the proper relationship in space with all the other images, features and processes of the PCB. This orchestration begins in the design phase with the design of a data set synchronized to a given Cartesian (X, Y, Z) co-ordinate set of dimensions.

      From data, the image is fed to CAM software where the data is elongated, or foreshortened and fed as an instruction set to plotters, LDI machines, silk-screening machines, electrical test machines, AOI machines, ink-jet machines, drilling and routing machines, registration punches and any other machines responsible for putting features into or onto substrates at specific locations in space, relative to other features of the PCB.

      The registration system is there to follow the images through all their changes. Through wet processes, temperature and humidity changes and scores of processes, the registration system makes certain that the holes meet the pads correctly; that the solder-mask openings are where they are supposed to be; that the conductive part of the solderable surface finish doesn’t build unwanted connections between pads and tracks, and the legend designates the location of a component correctly.

     In short, the registration system makes all the images usable or not.
 

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