The Opportunities for Plasma Processing


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Pete Starkey interviewed Andre Bodegom, managing director of Netherlands-based Adeon Technologies B.V., about their long relationship with Nordson MARCH, typical applications for plasma equipment, and what the most challenging materials are from the point of view of plasma processing in the PCB industry.

Pete Starkey: Andre, thank you for joining us. Why don't you start by introducing the nature of the Nordson MARCH plasma equipment and it's applications in the PCB industry?

Andre Bodegom: We have represented Nordson MARCH as distributors since 2001. Back then, we selected it due to the high uniformity that their plasma systems were providing. As you know, in the batch process in PCB manufacturing, it is extremely important that the uniformity for the first panel is as good as for the last panel in the same batch, but also throughout different batches. It needs to be capable of working with basically all the materials that people would like to treat with plasma.

It’s been a long relationship, and we’ve been very happy to stay because of the Nordson MARCH plasma support, and also the technology developments that they provide.

Starkey: What are the typical applications this is used for in PCB fabrication, including what operations and at what stage of the manufacturing process?

Bodegom: There are really three to four different types of applications. By far the most important is still desmear and etch-back—the hole-cleaning process. Also, plasma is widely used for material activation and surface preparation. Due to a really wide variety of all sorts of materials that are used in the market today, this is the reason why we believe these systems are one of the better ones out there, because they are capable of treating all sorts of different materials.

Starkey: In your opinion, what are the most challenging materials from the point of view of plasma processing?

Bodegom: It's a combination of materials, as well as chemistry. It is really not a machine you're selling, it's a process that we're implementing for customers. We have a lot of different experiences with various types of chemistry, used after or even before plasma treatment, and reaching out with Nordson MARCH h behind us to those chemistry suppliers provides a better machine for the customers at the end of the day. There are more challenging materials like LCPs that are coming in, and a variety of flexible materials. And it's the combination of materials and chemistry that people are using. Different brands of chemistry tend to react differently with different types of materials before and after plasma treatment. Therefore, with the Nordson MARCH organization behind us, we’re capable of reaching out to chemistry suppliers and have their cooperation to work towards better results for the customers.

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