Join the jet set

ES Oct15 Pg37 Gemini 1Gemini Tec exclusively uses solder jet printing to apply solder paste during PCB assembly. The reason? Lower tooling costs and increased product quality.

Those producing surface mount technology (SMT) assemblies have been using stencils to apply solder paste to printed circuit boards for decades, but this traditional method is a distant memory at Gemini Tec, thanks to investment in new manufacturing technology.

At its UK based production facility, Gemini Tec exclusively uses solder jet printing to apply solder paste to PCBs during the surface mount production process. Mycronic MY500 and MY600 series jet printers are providing cost savings along with increased benefits in product quality.

Reduced tooling costs

With no need to engineer, tool, order or wait for stencils to arrive, production can commence immediately, saving engineering time and resources on all new orders. Updates and PCB revisions are also easier. With stencils, any changes add time and cost, which can be frustrating when the modification is small, however at Gemini Tec, all paste programs can be generated within minutes.

According to Gemini Tec, solder jet printing also provides valuable advantages in finished quality, especially when producing rapid delivery orders. Now all types of SMT boards, including complex and dense PCBA products with ball grid array (BGA) and package on package (PoP) devices can flow through production easily. Manufacturing costs are optimised by removing the risks and physical constraints associated with stencils.

Jet printing technology applies the correct paste deposit to each and every pad on the PCB. Surface mount components such as 0201, BGA, µBGA and quad flat no-leads (QFN) all benefit from this paste printing process. Process control also helps achieve optimum reflow conditions first time, removing indirect costs such as rework. This results in an increased yield through the entire production process and a lean approach for batch sizes of one-off upwards.

Enhanced NPI

Solder jet printing facilitates the use of new components with ‘odd’ footprints and processing windows, such as PoP and devices sitting inside cavities on the circuit board. This can help free up PCB real estate by, for example, placing 0201 devices directly next to D-PAK devices with no limitations on where the jet printer can deposit solder paste.

Gemini Tec operates two Mycronic jet printing systems, allowing capacity for a high mix of customer orders, from rapid delivery prototypes, through to production batches of 1,000. To further support new customers, Gemini Tec has invested in two additional Mycronic SMT machines, plus reflow and automated optical inspection (AOI) equipment, which customers are encouraged to visit for insight into jet printing process advantages.