EIPC Summer Conference 2019, Day 1

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EIPC_DonMonn_0919.jpgContinuing with the inkjet theme, the conference wouldn’t be complete without hearing from Don Monn of Taiyo who didn’t disappoint with his presentation on white solder mask for automotive applications. He started with an estimate of the automotive lighting market value, which was US$25.7B in 2016 and will rise to US$35.9B by 2022. Then, Monn explained the requirement for white solder mask in automotive lighting with details of the stringent specifications for gloss, reflectance, and colour stability after thermal ageing. He also addressed the challenges of producing a highly opaque material that had high-enough photosensitivity to offer a wide process window.

Monn went on to explain that cracking is more prevalent in white solder mask than standard green solder mask during assembly and the reasons behind this before introducing Taiyo’s new white solder mask, which was specifically designed to reduce the challenges of cracking and photosensitivity without compromising other essential properties. In addition to the general requirements, Monn shared additional specifications for ionic contamination, hot storage, and solvent resistance along with the test results for the Taiyo product showing that all requirements were fully achieved.

EIPC_DavidBernard_0919.jpgClosing the session and the first day of the conference was David Bernard of David Bernard Consultancy, whose presentation was entitled “Bare Board Inspection: Ensuring a Sound Foundation for Assembly.” He began by explaining how PCB assemblers had long used X-ray inspection techniques driven by the need to inspect optically hidden joints. X-ray systems offering high-magnification, high-resolution imaging provided top-down and oblique angle views. Considering the difficulties faced in checking bare boards before assembly, Bernard introduced the concept of using the PCB assembler’s existing X-ray equipment to provide quick, non-destructive tests on representative samples of bare boards.

To demonstrate this concept, Bernard showed oblique X-ray images with impressive examples of poor drilling quality, layer misalignment, plating failure, and cracks. Moving on from the 2D examples, he showed partial computed tomography (PCT) images where the benefits of reconstructed 2D X-ray slices at different levels in the Z-direction with a decluttered image allowing individual layers to be analysed were readily apparent. Bernard described the PCT technique as being able to be undertaken anywhere on the board non-destructively, whilst full CT, which is destructive, requires a small volume (like that used for micro-section) to enable high-magnification/high-resolution 3D models. Bernard concluded by stating that there is a place for all of the described techniques and suggested that they are used in this order: 2D views, then PCT, full CT, and micro-section.

EIPC_JuergenDeutschmann_0919.jpgTour and Dinner

Before departing for the bonus programme visit to AT&S, Jürgen Deutschmann gave an informative presentation. He explained that although AT&S is headquartered in Austria, it operates six manufacturing plants in Europe and Asia with 10,000 employees. In addition to being among the top 10 PCB producers worldwide, AT&S also holds the third position globally in high-end technology. Deutschmann then identified R&D as the key for technological leadership and informed the audience that over 40% of revenue is generated with products that had new and innovative technologies introduced to the market within the last three years.


After a safety briefing, AT&S hosted a tour of its Leoben facility, which was impeccably clean, well-organised, and highly automated. Delegates were highly impressed at the level of technology in the plant and professionalism that was shown by the AT&S guides and were very grateful for their kind hospitality.


EIPC-on-board-Leoben-Bus-0919.jpgFollowing the AT&S tour, the delegates were invited for dinner at Gösserbräu in Leoben where the EIPC staff were, once again, surprised to find that a brewery made an excellent networking venue. The beer and food were excellent, but I most highly appreciated the quality of the company. Daniel Geiger graciously joined us for dinner and very kindly requisitioned some local buses to take us back to the hotel.

Look for Part 2 of this coverage coming soon.

Technical editor’s note: I most gratefully acknowledge the support of EIPC Chairman Alun Morgan for preparing this review and providing the photographs. Many thanks! —Pete Starkey


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