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Laser Cut Tape for PCB Masking Prior to Conformal Coating

Why Custom Masking Tape For Conformal Coating?

Many times the most time-consuming part of the conformal coating process is the tape masking and de-masking process. The time-consuming part of the process is the cutting to size, trimming and then forming of the tape around the area needing to be masked. The other time-consuming part is the de-masking or taking the tape back off of the component. Both of these processes require time. In some cases where there are test points, connectors, shields and other locations which need to be masked off from conformal coating, the preparation of masking the board is the most time-consuming part. With the added pressure of being an “end of the line” process, lead time pressures in the conformal coating of printed circuit boards puts pressure to make the masking and de-masking processes go as quickly as possible.

BEST Inc. has a new way to realize BOTH a reduction in the time it takes to mask as well as insuring a greater quality conformal coating masking process with less rework. Instead of your conformal coating prep technicians having to cut each of the shapes and forming them, BEST will deliver to you custom, laser-cut conformal coating masking shapes on a tape sheet. We call these TapeShapes™. These custom laser cut shapes of tape are then removed from the sheet, saving the cutting time. In most cases we will configure the TapeShapes™ to be one board per sheet or one boards’ worth of conformal coating masks tape shapes in a confined area. This means that when the conformal coating is done the technician can see if all of the shapes have been removed from the backing material meaning that no masking locations have been “missed”.

TapeShapes™ CUSTOM TAPE MASKS

 

So instead of spending lots of time cutting out the shapes for masking, let BEST Inc. cut tape sheets will be completed quickly and accurately. The laser cuts will be within a 0.1 mils in precision meaning the keep out areas will be well-defined. This means that consistency in the coating areas will be maintained resulting in pleasing even the most discerning customers.

Files can be delivered to BEST Inc. in one of two ways:

A. You send us the engineering files. We can take the 2D files in many CAD formats (like .dxf and .dwg). We will then layout the shapes either where the SAME SHAPE is repeated as many times as possible on the working surface of the tape sheet –or- ONE OF EACH SHAPE required on the PCB assembly. In this second approach, you can see when all of the shapes have been pulled off the backing to make sure that all areas have been taped off.

B. You send us the dimensions and we take the time to turn them in to engineering drawings which will allow the sheets to be cut.

 After we have received your information we will generate a check plot for your approval of dimensions. You will know what you are getting within 24-48 hours.

The shapes will be cut from 3M Type 301 tape. The specifications can be found here. It features a proven, proprietary, solvent-free adhesive formula removes cleanly in one piece with no adhesive residue left on the PCB. It remains in place around corners, over contours and irregular surfaces so that when it is “formed” around the edge of a connector that it can “follow” or “shadow” the shape. It can withstand surface temperatures up to 250 degrees F/ 121 degrees C for up to 30 minutes in conformal coating curing ovens.

The TapeShapes™ program for conformal coating masking in this program includes the following tapes:

  • Type 401 Green Mask Tape
  • Type 22-SHercon Polyimide Tape
  • St-Gobain M797 tape
  • Blue Painters Tape

 TapeShapes™ trademark of BEST Inc

 Type 401 is a 3M product

Order products here.

Medical Device Laser Machining

Lasers have been used to fabricate parts for the medical device industry for some time. The precision of the laser source, its small cutting “footprint” and its hygienically “clean” cutting aftereffects all make laser machining for medical device manufacturing of small-featured parts a favorite.

There are a myriad of different applications where laser machining has been used to cut or identify medical devices including but not limited to :

  • Slitting catheter tubes
  • Cold cutting of polymers that are lenses
  • Cutting holes in high precision filter
  • Microsurgical needle fabrication
  • Cutting tight tolerances for implantable devices
  • Guide wire machining

Laser machining of small parts using a laser in the medical device industry is used for a variety of reasons including but not limited to:

  • Intricate parts manufacturing as the cutting beam can be steered in a very precise method
  • Fast up time of new designs as no tooling has to be waited on
  • High repeatability
  • High material utilization rate as the cutting area is very small and parts can be nested more closely

In addition, the low aspect ratio (part minimum cutting dimension versus the material thickness) is low with laser machining of medical parts using a laser. Typically this is in the 10:1 or better range.

Not only can BEST perform the machining of Kapton™ for cutting purposes but it can also providing for the laser marking of medical devices. Date codes, bar codes, serialization and part number generation are all areas where laser marking of materials like PEEK, Kapton™, Cirlex™ and others can be completed using BEST’s wide variety of laser sources.

In addition to pure laser machining services, let BEST be your partner in getting your new product off the ground. We can provide prototype to medium volume assembly services including testing, soldering, marking, packaging and fulfillment. Our production and engineering team can support your efforts to bring the product to market so you do not have to worry about the assembly and laser machining of medical devices.

BEST is ISO registered and has a robust quality control system including tools in place. We have a variety of digital metrology tools to make sure the parts we are producing meet the tolerances and specifications you have on the print.

BEST can accept a wide variety of file formats including GERBER, dxf, dwg or IGES or other 2D files.

SOLDERING TIPS

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WHAT'S NEW?

ARTICLE: MASKING OF CONFORMAL COATING

ARTICLE: DEAD BUGGING

 

 

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    BEST has solid high quality service every time, and at the right price. They are very dependable. I am able to start a project in less then 24 hours with no hassles. The teams always work to meet the demands placed on them by the customer, and are very honest about what they can do and when they can do it. They offer great value to the customer; they are willing to go the extra mile to make the customer happy.

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    Best has always come through when we needed them. We started using them for board repairs, now they assemble all of our boards. BEST is always responsive to our needs. On many occasions, we needed boards repaired immediately. They have always come through for us.

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    The team at Best made some of the best dots we’ve ever seen on the last order. Last batch was perfect all around. Working great for us and our customers.

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