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27
February
2012

Mydata: Interest in jet printing reaches tipping point

Mydata says interest in jet printing is reaching a tipping point – sales up 47%.
As electronic assemblers struggle to cope with increasingly complex packages and board designs, Mydata, the SMT business unit within Micronic Mydata AB, reports a surge of interest in its jet printing technology. Software-controlled and stencil free, the technology is now used in 25 countries and hundreds of plants worldwide. In 2011, Mydata’s system sales increased by 47 percent – a record year representing gains in market share for its entire SMT product line, including a strong growth for jet printing equipment.

Screen printing hits a wall

“Screen printers are still needed, but they’ve hit a wall for certain applications,” says Brian Duffey, President of Mydata Automation Inc. He cites a growing need to handle QFNs, pin-in-paste, package-on-package, flexible substrates and other challenging applications such as jetting into board cavities. In one case, a customer needed to pack 69 components onto one square centimeter. “Jet printing allows the kind of paste control that makes that possible,” he says.

Three driving trends

The company says three trends are driving the adoption of stencil-free printing, particularly within the consumer electronics industry: firstly, the need for quicker response times; secondly, the demand for perfect solder joint quality, with zero rework needed; and finally, the growth of increasingly complex board designs due in part to miniaturization and mobility. One final observation, says Global Jet Printing Sales Director Nico Coenen is that the MY500 Jet Printer is being used for both in-line, add-on jobs at very high speeds as well as for short-run and prototyping production.
Completely software-driven

“Because the MY500 Jet Printer is completely software-driven and requires no stencils, the operator can easily apply precisely controlled solder past volumes or adhesive on complex boards for perfect solder joints every time,” says Coenen. And since every job is prepared offline with CAD or Gerber data, the operator can prepare and print a new job in minutes, eliminating the need to wait for stencils. Explains Coenen: “Rather than wasting valuable time cleaning, storing, retrieving and ordering stencils, the manufacturer can now take an order in the morning and deliver finished boards in the afternoon.”

Rapid return on investment

According to Coenen, interest in the technology may have reached a tipping point, mirroring changes in the industry. “For customers handling two or three setups a day and 50 or more new stencils every year, it’s an investment that pays for itself very quickly,” says Coenen.

Gaining momentum in US

Widely adopted by leading technology companies across Europe and Asia, the technology also perfectly aligns with the requirements of the US market due to its ability to optimize solder paste deposits on every PCB pad and provide total control to production engineers.
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