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PCB | November 13, 2007

HMS ComTech Develop-Etch-Strip Lines

HMS Höllmüller has unveiled a new machine design for the Develop-Etch-Strip process and which will be marketed under the brand name of ComTech.
HMS Höllmüller is exhibiting a strength in its key products. “The merger or acquisition lead us to reflect on our core competence”, says, Joe Kresky, managing director of HMS , “and we realized that we really have state of the art equipment for manufacturing high tech PCB´s!” For example, our Develop-Etch-Strip lines set a high standard that is hard to beat by local competitors.

The developing process achieves fine lines down to 20 µm with a dry film resist using HMS´s standard module and spray design. The etching concept corrects any irregularities before being processed in the stripping unit. HMS´s standard etching module achieves a better uniformity than all these new and complex concepts that upstart companies are claiming to demonstrate. For example, the impulse etch is only available with a chemistry package and lacks any mass production experience. The suction etcher results shown at the last JPCA showed a very low uniformity compared to the requirements of the industry. “What PCB manufacturers need is a repeatable reliability in their production”, say Joe Kresky, “ because a profit can be achieved only through efficiency. There is no short-cut for chemical etching processes and one cannot cheat chemical reactions”. Simple concepts are more efficient and this is for what the HMS name is best known.

With a defined set of operation parameters, HMS etchers provide high etch factors combined with a consistent uniformity across the panel. Every PCB manufacturer has different requirements and the layout of critical factors that influence the etching quality were analyzed by HMS in cooperation with IBM. Critical parameters are flow rates, nozzle design, distance to panel, spray pattern, etc. The data was incorporated into the machine designs and the results have been of a high consistency as shown below.

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