In June 2001 Dataweek ran an editorial on TraX Interconnect, highlighting technological innovations in the local printed circuit board (PCB) industry. Since that time a number of new processes have been added that the company would like to bring to the attention of readers. TraX Interconnect continues.
The most significant of the new innovations is the addition of a fully automated 'Immersion Tin' plating line as an alternative to the existing hot air levelled (HAL) finish. This process offers numerous advantages over HAL, not least of which are perfectly flat surface mount pads. It will also meet the lead free requirements soon to be legislated in European markets. Feedback from customers and contract manufacturers is positive, with one Cape-based customer reporting zero rework on machine-assembled boards. As the name suggests, 'Immersion Tin' is an electroless plating process that lays down a 2 µm layer of white tin.
On the new equipment front TraX Interconnect has purchased a second laser photo plotter and another 4-spindle routing machine which will bring its routing capacity up to 11 spindles. The second plotter was purchased to build in some redundancy as well as to increase plotting capacity to allow complex jobs to be made off master films and not the Diazo film currently used.
A new precision optical punch has been installed for registration of artworks. This system reduces the 'eyeball' factor and is part of an update to registration systems throughout the plant necessitated by decreasing track widths and spacings and increasing layer counts.
TraX Interconnect's engineers are working hard to reduce track widths and spacings to 5 thou (0,13 mm). This has already been achieved using 17 micron copper inner layers. This goes hand in hand with the improvements in film handling and registration.
The addition of the company's automatic loading Lenz drilling machine last year with its option of Z-axis control has allowed it to do successful jobs for customers requiring 'blind via technology'.
TraX has also just placed an order for a new high speed conveyorised solder mask curing oven. This machine will dramatically reduce curing times of solder masks and legends as well as significantly reducing bow and twist and handling damage.
Factory floor area has been increased to allow for expansion in the multilayer production area and for the introduction of a clean room facility for the photographic and registration processes.
TraX is shutting down over the festive season from 20 December until 16 January and wishes to thank its existing customers for their continuing support and for pushing the boundaries of mutual development.