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Content archived on 2024-04-30

Program for re-engineering and innovating printboard manufacturing and equipment


Industrial objective: The aim of PRIME is to strongly simplify the Printed Board (PB) manufacturing process by redesigning the imaging and plating production steps.

The objectives are:
1. reduce the PB production steps with 50% (from standard 14 steps to 7steps);
2. reduce the PB manufacturing costs with 30%;
3. reduce the environmental impact of PB manufacturing by eliminating the use of most of the presently used consumables and chemicals (currently 30% of used material);
4.reduce the work-preparation time with 45%. (translating to high flexibility in production types);
5. production accuracy has to stay within current production capabilities (however it is expected that they will improve).The current process consists of 14 steps in the standard process (a.o. board preparation, punch tooling holes, drilling, clearing, etching, plating, stripping, finishing). The innovations in PRIME (direct laser imaging and additive plating) aims at a 7 step process (board preparation, punch tooling holes, drilling, laser ablation / imaging, electroless plating, finishing).

Technical objectives:
1. Prototype laser-equipment (including processing software) for direct laser-imaging and ablation of catalised laminate and/or catalised coating;
2. Prototype catalised laminate for PB-manufacturing with laser-ablation / imaging;
3. Prototype catalised coating for PB-manufacturing with laser-imaging;
4. An improved additive plating process to be applied on laser-activated areas of catalised laminate or coating;
5. Specification of integrated PB-manufacturing processes (depending on the way the innovations will be used in the manufacturing process) with direct laser equipment, catalysed laminate and/or coating and additive plating .

PRIME RTD approach: The direct laser imaging technology (laser characteristics) must be adjusted to the catalyst(s) in order to achieve proper activation.
Furthermore the influence of the laser treatment to the substrate / coating surface and the copper adhesion in the plating step must be addressed. Also the optimisation of plating chemistry in relation to the active catalyst is to be tuned for achieving proper adhesion and quality of the copper. The results of this research will be evaluated at the Mid Term Assessment (after 1,5 year). If technological questions have been sufficiently solved, a decision will be taken on the PB-manufacturing route to be taken and a beta-test site with PB-manufacturers will be planned. Prototype Laser Equipment will be set-up together with the developed plating chemistry process. Catalysed (coated) laminates will be processed in the test site. The integral performance of the equipment, base materials and processes will be evaluated. Demonstrators will be defined and manufactured to evaluate the capabilities for industrial application.

The consortium: Representatives from the whole electronics business column participate to the PRIME project. Several (end) user companies play an important role in guiding the RTD project to meet user-requirements. Cimulec (France) and Elbasa (Spain) are both (SME) PB-manufacturers, users of the technology to be developed. Matra (France) is a major OEM in defence electronics, end user of the products to be developed by the technology users. The consortium includes a laminate supplier (LinLam, the Netherlands) that has to develop catalysed laminate, a supplier of chemicals (Shipley, United Kingdom) that will develop catalysed coating and plating chemistry, a laser-equipment manufacturer (Laser Imaging Systems, Germany)that will develop the direct writing laser equipment and a University, specialised in industrial automation (University of Erlangen, Germany), that will deal with the direct connection of CAD-data with the laser-equipment(including scaling).Strategic importance for Europe. The results of PRIME can provide European PB-manufacturers with a highly competitive manufacturing process. Meeting the same state-of-the-art specifications (75 m lines, <75 m via diameter, 150m lands, < 100 m laminate thickness, etc.) with lower costs (30%) and low environmental impact (30% less chemicals) will give a strategic advantage. The manufacturing costs can be made more or less independent from labour costs (extensive automation). This will be the strongest possible basis for survival of the European PB-manufacturing industry. BE97-4986

Call for proposal

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AMP Akzo LinLam V.o.F.
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6800 SB Arnhem

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Participants (8)