How our pumps & filtration systems can elevate the PCB process for machine builders

In the rapidly evolving landscape of Printed Circuit Board (PCB) manufacturing, technical precision and process optimization are paramount. A significant advancement in this domain is the integration of eductors powered by magnetic drive pumps, and the strategic implementation of filtration systems. These solutions not only optimize chemical performance at reduced consumption but also ensure process solution cleanliness, e.g. preventing rejects by roughness or blocked holes. In this article, we discuss the benefits of these technologies for PCB manufacturing.

The technical value of magnetic drive pumps in the PCB process

PCB manufacturing requires safe handling of diverse chemicals. A clean working environment is only ensured when the possibility of chemical leakage through pumps is minimized. Despite the fact that mechanical seal pumps are more robust for processing chemical solutions, they are never completely free of vapors and little drips. The mechanical seal, which should prevent leakage, requires some “bleed” for lubrication, causing slow but steady build-up of crusting at the outside of the seal. In time, with continuing wear, little by little, some extra leakage will occur. Therefore, these pumps thus need rinsing off with regular intervals. In addition, these seals need to be replaced after approximately a year of continuous heavy-duty operation, or longer for lighter duty or discontinuous operation. 

As for magnetic drive pumps, they are leak-free. The absence of traditional seals minimizes wear and tear of the pump, thus extending the operational lifespan of the pump and curtailing frequent maintenance. In the end, the prevention of leakage ensures both environmental safety and reduced chemical spillage, thus a safer place for the operators.

With this knowledge, Hendor designed the MXH series magnetic drive pumps for PCB manufacturing. Discover the series here.

The Efficiency of Eductors in Process Agitation

In PCB production, the homogenous distribution of chemical solution, i.e. agitation, has a great influence on the entire process. Sufficient metal distribution in small vias as well as blind micro vias can only be achieved if abundant electrolyte is conveyed into the hard-to-reach areas of these holes.

With ever reducing hole diameters and increasing aspect ratios, throwing power is under continuous pressure. Optimizing chemical composition of electrolytes, using best available (pulse) rectifiers, will only help if solution transfer into the smallest holes is optimized as well. Only when depleted electrolyte inside the hole is replenished instantly with fresh chemistry from the bulk, throwing power can remain at top level. Also cleaner processes, conditioners, micro-etches and activators will only deliver top performance at the center of small holes, when solution exchange is maintained first class. Not to mention, poor adhesion and quality of initiation layers of electroless deposits, due to slow start under dilute conditions, caused by poor solution exchange in BMVs particularly. Eductor agitation, driven by magnetic drive pumps, does make the difference, adding significantly more impulse to liquid turbulence than air agitation can ever do. As a result, eductor agitation systems offer best possible solution exchange, even under difficult plating conditions.

Hendor Eductors provide perfect agitation without the limitations of conventional air agitation through their hydrodynamic design. When it comes to the production of PCBs with intricate designs containing large quantities of high aspect-ratio through-holes and minute blind micro-vias, Hendor Eductors maintain chemical exchange in the smallest corners of these holes. Best possible plating quality, throwing power, and even more importantly, sublime interconnect quality in both BMVs and high-AR through holes, can only be achieved with Eductor-supported optimized chemical exchange.

Technical Benefits:

- Homogeneous Chemical Exchange: Hendor eductors facilitate even and consistent mixing and delivery of chemicals at any level, a critical factor in achieving optimal PCB quality.
- No Oxidation of Chemical Additive: The absence of oxygen containing air bubbles, prevent oxidation of sensitive chemical additives, particularly brighteners.
- No air-bubble voiding: In absence of violently dispersed air bubbles, the risk of micro bubbles getting caught in smallest diameter through holes and BMVs during processing, is deleted.

Discover our eductors here.

Ensuring Process Cleanliness & Purity with Hendor Filtration systems

The integrity of PCBs depends on the cleanliness of the process solutions used. A filtration system assists in keeping the solution as clean as possible. By-pass free filtration, supported by flow optimized filtration chamber, ensures no particle will slip through. The optimized flow-to-filter surface area ensures low-pressure filtration, keeping counter pressure at low levels for a longer period, and ensuring sufficient filter turnover for an extended time.

Hendor filtration systems like the HE-series, with their precision filtration mechanisms, are indispensable in maintaining all process chemicals clean. Optionally, a filtration system can be fitted with flow-controlled carbon by-pass chamber or exchangeable Carbon Canister for continuous or intermittent carbon polishing, and removing organic contaminations (TOC) like additive break-down products or leach-out of dry-film. Needless to say, continuous TOC-maintenance is utmost beneficial to deposit quality, resulting in best possible thermal cycle and thermal stress test results, hence delivering best possible reliability PCBs.

Key Specifications:

- Precision Filtration: Free of any by-pass, designed to extract to defined particle size, if required to sub-micron level, Hendor Excellence (HE) filter pumps guarantee that process solutions used in PCB manufacturing are of unparalleled cleanliness.
- Augmented Solution Longevity: By maintaining solution cleanliness and purity, our filter pumps enhance the operational life of these solutions, improving both economic efficiency and sustainability.

Discover our Hendor Excellence filters here

Smart technology in pumps and filtration systems for sustainable PCB manufacturing

At Hendor, we believe in smart technology for future generations. That means that we provide the best pump and filter solution suitable for your PCB application. In our vision, we use a cost-benefit analysis with focus on total life cycle cost. Important determining aspects of this analysis are product quality, - efficiency, maintenance, and repairability. Our magnetic drive pumps, eductors, and filtration systems are beneficial for your PCB plant because of:

- Lowest Maintenance Expenditure: The inherent durability of magnetic drive pumps,  translates to reduced operational interruptions and associated maintenance costs.
- Optimized PCB Quality: The synthesis of reliability, cleanliness and purity results in a marked reduction in PCB defects, minimizing costly rejects and reworks,  amplifying production efficiency and quality.
- Direct and indirect safe environment: With a design geared towards preventing chemical leaks, a focus on more efficient use of process chemicals and improved quality and production yields, these technologies inherently foster a safer and more sustainable manufacturing environment. Additionally, the sustainable reuse and recycling of solutions underscore a commitment to eco-conscious manufacturing.

Hendor understands that every OEM and manufacturer in the PCB industry has different requirements. Therefore, we personally advise you on the best solutions that suit your equipment, based on our 75 years of expertise in the surface fishing industry. Contact Hendor for a consultation with one of our chemical pump and filter experts.

Photo credit: Galvabau AG

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