Adhesives Assembly / Assembly in Action / Dispensing Assembly / Columns / Electronics Assembly

Nano Coating Yields Better PCB Panels

February 4, 2013
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

Among the largest purchasers of Vicor Corp.’s power components and systems are electronic manufacturers for the U.S. military. These products use printed circuit boards (PCBs) and always meet MIL performance specs. Founded in 1981, the company currently manufactures its products using highly automated processes in several facilities, which are ISO 9001-registered.

In early 2011, Vicor Corp. researched ways to improve stencil yields on the company’s PCB panels, also called multiblocks. Each board has a unique stencil, through which solder is pushed via a squeegee to indicate where components will be located.

PCB panels are often used to increase manufacturing capacity. They consist of many smaller individual PCBs that will be used in the final product. The panels are depaneled at some stage in the manufacturing process.

Ray Whittier, senior process engineer at Vicor Corp., looked into using coatings to improve yield. Eventually he attended a webinar hosted by DEK International discussing its Nano-ProTek coating.

Nano-ProTek is a two-part, wipe-on coating that renders the underside of the stencil fluxophobic, preventing flux and the integrated metal solder paste particles from leaching into the stencil web. The coating applies easily to new or existing stainless steel and nickel stencils.

“There’s always room for process improvement,” says Whittier. “I decided to try the stencil coating on a very challeng-ing product we were producing to find out if it would yield any benefit for us. I was pleasantly surprised.”

Vicor applied the coating to numerous PCB panels, each of which housed nearly 200 components (0402, 0201, BGA and micro-BGA) and had a circuit size of less than 1 inch wide by 1.25 inches long. The panel requires a 501-aperture-count stencil, which was printed using a DEK Horizon 01i platform.

The Horizon 01i platform has an 8-second cycle time and handles PCBs up to 508 millimeters square.

Stencils coated with Nano-ProTek were compared with non-coated stencils. Whittier says the coated stencils increase transfer efficiency and significantly improve first pass yields and process capability. It also improves cleaning effectiveness and reduces cleaning frequency.

“When you consider operator and line stoppage costs, the savings we are realizing are considerable,” says Whittier. “For a per stencil cost of less than $50, I think it’s a pretty darn good return on investment.”

Nano-ProTek can be used to coat stencils up to 29 by 29 inches.

Environmentally friendly, the coating can be applied in less than 5 minutes and reapplied at any time. It complies with the Registration, Evaluation,
Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation of the European Union.

For more information on stencil coatings and PCB printing platforms, call 901-797-9368 or visit

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Assembly Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Behind the Scenes at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant

People are the heart and soul of the 2012 Assembly Plant of the Year. This slideshow shows some of the men and women who build three different types of electrified vehicles alongside traditional gas-powered cars on the auto industry’s most flexible assembly line—Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI. Photos courtesy Ford Motor Co.


Tim Hutzel, President, Tim Hutzel American Business Services and Dave Lippert, President, Hamilton Caster & Mfg. Co have deep and unique perspectives on reshoring. That’s the primary reason they’ve been invited to deliver the keynote address at 2014’s The ASSEMBLY Show.

More Podcasts

Assembly Magazine

assembly cover september 2014

2014 September

The 2014 September Assembly includes articles about engine assembly plus much more. Check it out today!
Table Of Contents Subscribe

Assembly Plant Age

How Old Is Your Assembly Plant?
View Results Poll Archive


Welding: Principles & Practices

This text introduces students to a solid background in the basic principles and practices of welding.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Assembly Showrooms

ASSEMBLY Showrooms


facebook_40px twitter_40px  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40pxgoogle plus