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The advantage to be part of the PCB Division of Finmasi Group

Sep 29 2020

Press release

The advantage to be part of the PCB Division of Finmasi Group

Date: 29 September, 2020 10:00 PM

Finmasi Group PCB Division is a unique reality in production and sales of PCBs.
One of the main reasons for that is to have developed integrated production systems for the three companies of the PCB Division: Cistelaier in Italy, Techci-Rhône-Alpes in France and EPN Electroprint in Germany.
The aim of this integration process is to make the production systems of the three companies of the PCB Division more and more capable to interact and to replace each other, so that each one of them could offer its own production capacity completing and integrating the one of the others.
In Techci, this integration process has started in 2011 when Finmasi Group acquired it.
Since then, between the Italian plants of Cistelaier and the French plant of Techci has started an accurate technical evaluation and a deep exchange of experiences and technology knowledge.
Harmonic development logics has been carried out, such as base material’s standardization – the chemistry for production included, which is really important in PCBs manufacturing – and technologies's and machinery’s standardization.
The aim was, and still is, to get the best of each company of the PCB Division and to implement it at the PCB Division level so to make it a standard for the PCB Division itself.
This process has allowed enhancing Cistelaier’s and Techci’s best practices maximising the overall results of the PCB Division.
Today the development of the PCB Division is continuing also with EPN Electroprint, a German PCB manufacturer based in Neustadt (Thuringia region) acquired by Finmasi Group in January 2019.
Only after a few months from the acquisition, EPN already qualified and adopted the same preferential materials of the PCB Division, the same chemistry for production and often also the same machineries.
Finmasi Group’s PCB Division integration continues, sure that this logic represents a concrete asset.
Integration activities very similar to those implemented throughout the companies of the PCB Division, have been developed and continue to be subject to improvement also with our Chinese partners for PCB manufacturing.
Indeed, the PCB Division takes advantage of the cooperation of the best Chinese manufacturers to complete its offer, especially for high volumes batches.
This integration allows to offer to our Customers a support wider than that which each one of the companies of the PCB Division could deliver by its own.
This is important, for example, when a higher production capacity is needed, as a result of an order income higher than the forecasted one or when a production breakdown occurs in one of the plants of the PCB Division.
Risk analysis and management are fundamental activities for leading companies in their own market sector such as those of the Finmasi Group’s PCB Division.
www.cistelaier.com  - www.techci.fr - www.epn.de
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Quality comes first in PCBs!

Sep 17 2020

Press release

Quality comes first in PCBs!

Date: 17 September, 2020 10:00 PM

To guarantee the respect of the specs and of the building characteristics of PCBs according to requirements and more and more restrictive quality standards, it is necessary to equip the laboratories of the PCB manufacturing and trading companies with instruments capable to support the statistical process control and the analysis of the PCBs manufactured trough these processes, starting from the constitutive base materials.
To grant the quality of PCBs of increasing complexity and technological content all along their life cycle became a “must” for OEM active in all marketing sectors from Aerospace & Defence to Automotive and nevertheless in Rail, Medical and Industrial Automation sectors.
The process of miniaturization together with the new coming needs of PCB consumers in terms of performances of the finished electronic equipment had the cumulated effect to increase the complexity of PCBs and, as a consequence, forced to adopt the most advanced technologies to ascertain PCB conformity both, according to the international standards and according to specific requirements coming from the final customer.
The international standards, the IPC norms before all, suggest, in particular, to improve the interaction among the PCB designers – represented by the final customer in the most of the cases -, the PCB manufacturers and the PCB assembly service companies in order to reduce the criticalities of the PCBA (Assembled PCB) and, more in general, of the finished product.
The test methods to validate the conformity of PCBs are described by the IPC TM650 and by different and additional norms related to specific sectors like the MIL for the Military sector and the ESA ECSS for applications in the Space sector.
The way to prepare and to “read” cross sections are also described by the IPC.
Microsections are adopted to check the internal characteristics of PCBs (i.e copper plating thickness, quality of copper filling for blind vias, quality of resin filled vias in case of via in pad solutions in particular) and for the evaluation of the most critical points like the corners of PTH holes and vias or of the annular ring in where inner layers are drilled so to be connected to each other.
Another important aspect is the verification of correctness of the stack up, mainly, but not only, for PCBs with nets with controlled impedance. With microsections is possible to evaluate the presence and the thickness of each and every layer, and, even more, to evaluate thickness of base copper of the inner layers and of the successive platings with chemical copper and electrolytic copper.
The controlled impedance are calculated in the PCB design phase on the basis of the selected base material to produce it, and then will be rechecked and simulated in feasibility analysis and engineering phase by the PCB manufacturer on the basis of the definitive material agreed by the designer and the PCB manufacturer. The dielectric constant of the insulating material – pre-preg and core of inner layers - together with the section size of the nets determine the value of controlled impedance of nets.
Is possible to check the value of controlled impedance trough specific test coupons designed on the PCB production panel and therefore manufactured together with the PCB.
The necessity to reduce the PCB size forced the PCB designers to increase the number of internal interconnections between layers and to adopt more complex technological solutions like blind vias, single and sequential, stacked or staggered, blind vias and buried vias.
More complex structures with increased drill’s density make the internal structure of PCBs more sensible to thermal stresses related to the soldering process where two options, or a combination of them, are possible: wave soldering process for TH components or SMD soldering process for SMD components.
For this reason, the thermal stress tests are important to simulate the behaviours of PCBs and their robustness during the soldering process of the electronic components on them.
Thermal stresses are executed in order to check and validate the quality of copper plating of PTH holes according to two possible options: 3 thermal stresses at a 288°C (IPC TM 650 2.6) or 6 stress a 260°C (IPC TM650 2.6.27).
In addition to the destructive analysis, so those that force to destroy and waste the PCBs, that are often necessary to investigate the internal characteristics of the PCBs coming from the special processes involved in the PCB manufacturing process, not destructive analysis are performed like the X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF) to determine the thickness of the PCB finishes (HASL, ENIG, ENEPIG, tin-lead Hot Oil reflow, Immersion Silver, Immersion Tin, iSiG,- Hard Gold).
The analysis of the thickness of the finishes, are not only important to control the process, but they are necessary to prove the conformity of the boards. Not conformity of the thickness of the finishes could, in fact, generate quality problems of electronic components soldering.
Through the contaminometer is also possible to determine the ionic contamination on the PCB surface, on the finishes and on soldermask. This method is known as Resistivity of Solvent Extract ( ROSE) and is performed with the aim to detect excess of halides on PCB surface that could generate soldering defects and weak adhesion of conformal coating.
Moreover, the most recent 3D microscope technologies for inspection allowed to substitute not destructive analysis to destructive ones i.e. to check surface roughness, dimple of filled holes, cavity depth, etching value for RF nets, and for quality verification of laser and mechanical drilled blind vias, back drilled vias included.
This technology allows to significantly reduce the time needed to test and validate the quality of PCBs.
The whole of the aforementioned analysis, together with some additional ones that will be the subject of another short tutorial, grant the conformity of the PCB and its stability during the time.
The results of these analysis are collected in the most common reports adopted to certificate the conformity of products like the FAI Report, the PPAP and the Test Report prepared and filled according to the EN9100, IATF, ISO13485, ISO TS 22163 and ESA ECSS standards and to different/additional requirements coming from customers.
Cistelaier, TECHCI and EPN Electroprint – the three companies of the PCB Division of the Finmasi Group – grant the quality of PCBs through the best available inspection and test technologies.

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